Family Ties
Project Info

Two sisters and one massive downsizing project — see how Let’s Move helped make this an easy, enjoyable transition.

“The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.” – Cali Rae Turner

Like most sisters, Betty and Jane grew up and created their own separate journeys. They got married. Had children, lives and homes of their own. Then one day they woke to find that their children were all grown up and they themselves were no longer “attached to husbands” as Jane put it. Meanwhile, their aging mother was sick and needed someone to care for her full-time.

“We decided we would live together,” Jane said, “and we went looking for a house that would accommodate the three of us.”

When they started going through their list of must-haves for their new home and scouring the market for spaces that fit their stringent requirements, they realized that their perfect house didn’t exist — they would need to take matters into their own hands and build it themselves.

They found a lovely one-acre lot on a cozy cul de sac in a great neighborhood. They built a huge two-story home with 14 rooms that included an elevator and a master suite with private bath for each of them. Betty, who was still working at the time, had a dedicated office. They created a storage area in the walk-out basement, along with a bedroom and a bathroom in case they decided to hire a live-in assistant for their mother. The home had also an enormous kitchen, dining room and living room, and a picturesque porch for entertaining and hosting family gatherings with Betty’s five grown children and their families.

But before construction could wrap up, their mother passed away.

“It was just the two of us,” Jane said. For 13 years, these sisters shared this space and made it a home, filling it with furnishings, memories and the kind of love that only sisters share. Betty managed the finances, while Jane kept everyone full and happy.

“We’ve worked out all our difficulties, like a married couple, and learned how to live with each other,” Jane said. “It was a very large house, but over 13 years, we filled it quite well. There was so much room, why get rid of something, when you could store it?”

So when the sisters decided it was time to sell the home and downsize into a smaller space in a nearby retirement community, they weren’t quite sure where to start. But they did know that they would continue living together. They decided on the community of Riderwood, and worked with them to build a custom unit — the first of its kind in Riderwood history — that consisted of two separate living spaces connected by a large open kitchen. During the construction process, Riderwood connected them to Let’s Move to assist with their downsizing and moving needs. Jane and Betty were fully aware that they had some difficult decisions to make. They were, after all, going from 14 rooms, to two.

That’s where Bette Williams, long-time project manager for Let’s Move LLC, came into the picture. She whole-heartedly empathized with the challenge ahead, because it’s what she and the move management experts at Let’s Move face every single day: How do you translate years’ worth of memories, furnishings, treasures and stories into a smaller space that honors the past while welcoming the future?

Bette knew the first step to getting it right was to simply listen.

“We sat down and talked,” Bette said, “and I understood them immediately.”

Together, Bette and the sisters formed a plan, a timeline, and a relationship built around trust and achieving one common goal.

Bette guided them through every step of the process, from determining which furniture would fit into their new space, to how many pairs of shoes, tops, dresses and pants each of them could take to their new home. She pulled in collaborative experts like Debbi Hasty, who planned each one of the sister’s new closet spaces, creating custom solutions designed to accommodate as much as she could.

“It was extremely difficult,” said Jane, “and Let’s Move was instrumental in helping us see what would fit in the new apartment. We never could have done it without them.”

Let’s Move also worked closely with the Custom Interiors department at Riderwood to create their one-of-a-kind, two master-bedroom environment. Because of the trust they had built over weeks and months of working together so closely, Bette and Jane were happy to take Bette’s suggestions, and they were happy to step aside and live their lives while Let’s Move managed every aspect of their move from start to finish. The scope of the project was so unique, Bette enlisted a total of 15 Let’s Move employees to collaborate over the four-day moving process.

“There were a lot of moving parts,” Bette said. “We don’t usually have that many people working together in such a short span. Everyone who worked for Let’s Move did their jobs, and it just all came together.”

Over the course of those four days, they prepared and delivered countless items for donation and/or storage. They carefully packed each of their belongings, color coding every box and piece of furniture so the movers knew whose side of the apartment to put it on. The trust Betty and Jane had in the Let’s Move team was so great that by moving day, they were barely involved in the process at all. All they had to do was look forward to enjoying their new space.

“When they moved us in, things were in place and we were able to find everything we needed. It was just absolutely wonderful,” Jane said. “It was as if we had been here forever.”

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Two sisters and one massive downsizing project — see how Let’s Move helped make this an easy, enjoyable transition. “The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.” – Cali Rae Turner Like most sisters, Betty and Jane grew up and created their own separate journeys. They got married. Had […]

Client:
Date:
July 6, 2016
Location:
Category:
Downsizing, Moving, Moving Forward, Organization
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