My colleague, Jennifer Pickett, often teases me that I believe everyone (and everything, for that matter) is “Six degrees of separation from senior move management.” Truth be told, she’s right. Everywhere I turn, I encounter issues, scenarios, and potential clients for senior move management. Last Friday, as I was driving to the post office, I spotted an estate sale sign on a recently-deceased, elder neighbor’s home. I recalled hearing something about how his widow might be looking for a condo closer to their grandchildren.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you I am generally not attracted to signs heralding a garage or estate sale. In fact, I usually drive down another street to avoid the congestion. This past Friday was a glorious early spring day, however, and I felt a little crazy. So I stopped.
Our neighbor’s home is a classic mid-1960s split-level. The well-manicured front lawn was updated several years ago, with boxwoods and flowering trees replacing the overgrown evergreen bushes. New-ish casement windows are evident from the front and sides of the house. Objectively, the home’s curb-appeal would earn kudos from any realtor or appraiser. It looked like nice folks lived here, and they did – for a very long time.
It was 10AM on Friday, the first day of the two-day sale, so I thought I had a chance to discover some really good stuff. Our twin daughters are receiving graduate degrees in the next few months, and they both are planning on moving from our suburban home into an apartment in one of Chicago’s hipster neighborhoods. Surely, I could find a cute table or shelf they might like.
Once inside this home, however, I was propelled into a disconcerting “time and space” continuum. As I walked from one room to the next, I became increasingly overwhelmed with not only how much stuff this lovely older couple had, but the age and condition of most of it.
I smiled as I spied a hand-lettered sign on a 40-year old stereo turntable that said “VINTAGE,” or another sign on a 50-year old dinette set stating “RETRO.” A lava lamp, two beige desk phones, and three piles of dog-eared paperbacks sat atop a distressed (not in a good way) desk in the family room. Commemorative plates and kitschy mugs from long-ago vacations were scattered throughout the kitchen and dining room. And there was more . . . a lot more.
Without providing the full play-by-play of the house tour, suffice it to say I didn’t buy a thing. Two things about this experience struck me: 1) It’s hard to envision our neighbors living with all this stuff – rickety, worn, and no longer very attractive or appealing and 2) It’s even more difficult to imagine what I saw the next day: lots of people enthusiastically hoisting and hauling their estate sale purchases to their cars at the curb. What? Huh? Why?
How could this be? Did I miss any genuine “finds?” Did I overlook anything with real possibilities, especially after a splash or two of spray paint? I don’t know. What I do know is I just don’t know. Were these good neighbors prisoners of their own stuff? Did they enjoy living this way? Might a Chicago-area senior move manager have helped them achieve a less cluttered, more satisfying quality of life . . . without ever moving? Oh yeah! But we are all very different, and that’s what makes this life (and our stuff) so very interesting.
So you see, I wasn’t doing anything but driving down my own street . . . and I came upon the need for a senior move manager. That’s got to be way fewer than six degrees of separation . . . more like two or three.
Are you a frequent estate sale customer? Got any great finds or stories you care to share?