TWO WOMEN AND A DOLLY

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 16:05 PM by ellen

So, it’s Thursday evening and we receive a phone call from the family of one of our long time clients; they need to move him out of one apartment and into a bigger one in the same building by the following Thursday. Can we help? Well, of course we can! Helping clients with the moving process has become not only something that we do but has also become a bit of a passion for us. It is so satisfying to help people with the business of moving.

We quickly set our plan in motion and 2 days later, Saturday we begin the process. Our goal is to have him completely moved out of the old apartment and completely set up in the new apartment by Sunday. Two full days’ work and viola on Sunday, his new home is ready. Except for the fact that this apartment is larger one might not even realize the move occurred. Our job here is not only to move the things but to make sure his place is set up in a familiar way so he transitions to his new place easily. We have been working with this particular client for a while and we are very familiar with his routines, what he likes, his particular needs and what papers are important, where they are filed, etc. This familiarity allowed us to execute the move with little direction from his family and therefore their time was spent with him as it should be. We moved bookshelves, dressers, clothes, home office, computer, art, medicines, his bed, photos and more. On the other end we set up the bookshelves, books, home office, bed, clothes, hung art, labeled drawers, etc. We also researched information the family requested such as bill paying services and tech providers who could un-mount, move and reinstall the large flat screen TV.” There were certain tasks that the family chose to do…going through some of the papers, selecting books to donate…just part of our collaborative approach with clients. One of the great things about our move management services is the client can choose the type of help they want.  

How do we do all this work so quickly? We are a team, in sync not only with each other but with our clients’ needs. We come prepared with gloves, boxes if needed, tape, labelers, hammer, nails, drills, wipes, lots of energy and even our very own dolly (moving dolly that is). I think we must find a name for it, rather than just dolly, as it became our best friend and team member during the move. Toward the end of the second day, Sunday, while we were putting on the finishing touches we had an epiphany of sorts or maybe we were just deliriously tired…for this move we were “Two Women and a Dolly” of A Sorted Affair organizing. It doesn’t get any better than that!  

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GREAT INFORMATION FOR SENIORS AND THEIR FAMILIES

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 15:36 PM by Caitlin

A Sorted Affair loves all our clients but we particularly enjoy our senior clientele and their families. We wanted to share with all of you a new (but not really new, just packaged differently) services we provide – SENIOR MOVE MANAGEMENT. With this service we can help manage all or part of an upcoming move. We will help downsize, schedule movers, supervise the pack and unpack and set up your new home. This is especially important for seniors as moving is a particularly stressful time. Often there are health limitations, but with a little support from us, the senior can still be a part of the process without being overwhelmed. With our help the new home can be set up and ready for a good night’s sleep quickly.  

 

We are advertised in the Guide to Retirement Living Source Book (www.retirement-living.com), the Jewish Council on Aging (www.accessjca.org) and are members of National Association of Retirement Counselors. We also have many resources within the industry so if you need help finding a good Gerontologist, a senior care manager, movers or more give us a call.  

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Client Blog featuring NPR's Jacki Lyden

Friday, December 4, 2009 04:31 AM by Caitlin
Series One/Post Two

Client: NPR Correspondent and Host, Jacki Lyden and Washington Post Photojournalist, Will O'Leary
Project: Basement Clean-out
Project Hours: 20

Jacki's Project Diary

I used to go down into my husband’s basement whenever I wanted to get depressed. I’m normally a somewhat ebullient person, but there’s nothing like the good old cry you can have, staring around at all that stuff. Old tools. Boxes of first communion cards. Checks from 1991, and those ‘nude not naked’ pictures of old girlfriends my husband, a photographer, took when he was a knave. One of his friends had left behind a life-size thingy of Christopher Reeve as Superman, but I got rid of that a long time ago. The head was bent over. The whole place reminded me of a beautiful novel by the late Laurie Colwin, “A Big Storm Knocked It Over.”

When I moved in here from New York and added, really just a FEW bits and pieces (surprisingly little, being a gal who likes to travel light) –well, I worked on the house and garden. The whole joint was a challenge; and I do like those. But I am not an archivist of anyone’s life but my own and perhaps, my mother’s. Everyone else can fend for themselves… but all this STUFF. Once, trying to write an article, I wound up dumping old phone books all day instead. I wasn’t sure if I had married a hoarder, but it looked like it.

We pared it down over the last few years, but it was still anything but sightly. Sometimes, writing upstairs, I could feel the basement crowding me all the way up here to my garret.

And then Caitlin came. Poof! Things are in ZONES! I cannot touch my husband’s STUFF unless he AGREES. (This brought him around. He had once vowed that she would NEVER darken our doorway. It helped that she is Irish, too.) We have made a small castle of boxes around “his” table but meanwhile, we have gone ahead. It’s too bad that almost 10,000 dollars of new electrical work and a new furnance/air conditioner are not something you can really talk about at dinner parties. Anyway, back to the ZONES! (What if we'd spent that money going to Africa? Then we'd be cold when the furnace broke.)

I love zones! Zone 1, memories. Zone 2, athletic equipment or garden stuff, whatever. Zone 3, maps. She got me a map case—better, for me than jewels. Ok, not better but: good.

She never laughed at us! Not even when she held up an old boot of mine and a mouse had chewed right through it. Do you know how disgusting I found that? About as bad as the niger thistle seed I found everywhere. It’s birdseed, I kept saying. Bird seed.

My Husband's Photographic Equipment

My husband’s old photographic equipment could have opened a studio, and did something like that at a nearby high school. (I will have to be patient about old film negatives.) I found a movie poster I had had painted in Tehran, a woman’s huge face. I have a loft in Brooklyn; it’s too big for THAT. But now, it is going to hang in our basement AS A ROOM DIVIDER. HOW COOL IS THAT? When we were in Arlington for Will's aunt's funeral, (where the Hibernerian society meets) I lured him into Crate & Barrel and we bought a sofa for the basement. (I don’t know about you, but the last time I got to go shopping with my husband at a Crate & Barrel was about five years ago, once. I think we bought a vase.)

Bookshelves

So today, when I should have been upstairs writing, I found my car going to IKEA. Who knew it could do that with me hardly even noticing? And there I was, measuring Billy Shelves again (too tall) and scoping out what else they had: just like I had done in my youth. Because let’s face it: there’s alot more IKEA ahead in our lives than we might have wanted to believe there would be before the term “credit default swap” came to our rosy lips. If I I had a skill with packing crates; you’d be eating on them or THEY’D be the new shelving. But it takes too long to find packing crates these days. And guess what? Caitlin's normally encyclopedic knowledge of organizing products was WRONG about the Billy bookcases; they’re too tall. But I found something else. Some red things with a Swedish name, like LINNEAROP. Aren’t you glad IKEA is yellow & blue for the Swedish flag? If it were Irish, it would be gold and white and green. Soon, though, I am going to need a third dwelling place for all the books.

Caitlin and I talk about our lives while we work. This is curatorial work. When I leave her, or she leaves me, carting off the ugly, useless crap--making our lives a little freer and more functional--I want to do a little pole vault right back up to my desk. Soon, I’ll have to go out to my husband’s man-cave of a garage to have that sobfest; because the basement is becoming a sanctuary of sanity.

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Not Ready For The Holidays? We'll Get You there!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 11:39 AM by Olivia
The holiday season can be a hectic and stressful time. How can you prepare for the holidays with your already packed schedule? Let A Sorted Affair take the stress away this season by decorating for you. We'll bring out the boxes and bins, unpack, and decorate (leaving you more time to shop!). When the holidays are over, we'll carefully pack and store it away, preserving it for next year. Just call us at 804.464.9820. Or better yet, give us as an early present to someone you love!

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Client Blog featuring NPR's Jacki Lyden

Friday, November 6, 2009 18:02 PM by Caitlin
Series One/Post One—Jacki and Will's Basement

Client: NPR Correspondent and Host, Jacki Lyden and Washington Post Photojournalist, Will O'Leary
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Project: Basement clean-out
Project hours: 20

Caitlin's Project Diary

For me, finishing an organizing job is a double-edged sword.

When you really love working with a client, you miss your time together when you have done your job and they are, well, organized. This has been my experience with Jacki Lyden.

Jacki is an incredibly talented reporter and host at National Public Radio. She is married to Will O'Leary, a gifted photojournalist at The Washington Post.Given their respective professions, I knew that their basement would reveal buried treasures--and it did. Over the next weeks, Jacki will recount in her own wonderful voice our memorable, hilarious and creative hours together taming their unruly (though not unusual) basement.

Enjoy and let us know what you think!
Caitlin


Jacki's Project Diary

The Beginning

I met my husband, a photojournalist, after he'd had nearly four happy decades of bachelor guy hood. He'd been based in D.C. all those years; I'd traveled the globe. So, you might think I'd have more "stuff." But my husband had been a filmmaker and photographer; the center of his "men's" club. Our basement was chock-a-block with photos of everything from his enormous clan of a family to mademoiselle--shall we say, temps perdu. There were photo posters, negatives, paint cans, the contents of drawers, tools and twenty of years of newspaper clippings. Quaintly, once upon a time, those were called tearsheets.

Sometimes, upstairs writing in my second floor office, I'd distract myself by wandering down to the basement to see what I could "curate" into the recycling bin. A new bride, this did not make for matrimonial harmony. I had never had either a house or husband before, and the entire undertow of both seemed to consist of a tide of objet left over from the '70s. We got the house looking like ourselves, but what about the basement and garage? The Dungeon of Dark Despair; that was my name for it. And as two active people in the creative trades- I could be spreading out maps and documents and so on in the basement; he could be matting photos and creating cards-- we just needed the space.

When I read of Caitlin's "Sorted Affair," I felt she'd be amusing and understanding. Today she came, and she was both and much more. It was a delight.

She discovered my husband's 20 years of negatives and photos nestled up against the furnace. My husband had devoted his considerable handiness to the upper house since we got together--downstairs; there laid a netherworld of lost lore. Caitlin didn't flinch. With ceiling panels gone and wires hanging everywhere? Hey, she admired the window light. A collection of grey industrial shelves? Why not paint them a cute color? She was acting as a curator and as a journalist, I understood that-- take the best parts to tell the story. And moreover, she couldn't ethically throw anything of Will's away without him being there. That ought to make him happy.

My husband comes from an Irish family that saved every last thing. And I mean, every. last. thing. His father found precious things in his trove-- a triple A ball club invitation, speaking awards, photos of the family in Ireland, and so on. We haven't found those things downstairs yet. But by separating our basement stuff into his and hers and making two work zones-- well, low and behold, order began to emerge from chaos. Plus she gave me a tip: sit there with your husband while he tries to release some of those old clips, term papers and the good times of his '20s. I'm going to try that.

But in the meantime, I feel I have a partner in the draining decisions of what to move and throw first. For the first time I DO think that basement will one day be the beautiful storage, guest, and project space I intend for it to be.

Thank you, Caitlin!

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Joanne’s Story

Sunday, February 8, 2009 20:12 PM by Caitlin

Joanne had an interesting challenge. She was moving from a smallish tri-level to a much larger center hall colonial. She had worked with the space in her old home very well, maximizing each closet and corner, and supplementing storage with no less than 8 armoires! She called for help in planning her use of space in her big new home. 

We walked through both homes with Joanne, talking through how she used the old spaces, and how we could maximize her use and enjoyment in the new spaces. She was especially excited about our recommendations for her master closet storage and her craft/art room arrangement. And each armoire found a place of perfect utility!

 

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