Begin before you’re ready to sell: A Real Life Story

"Downsizing." A word that can strike fear in the hearts of baby boomers. Folks born between 1946 and 1964, who may be contemplating their own move to easier-to-maintain housing as empty-nesters, or are moving elderly parents from a home they have lived in for 40 or 50 years.

Either way, these homes are filled with a lifetime (or a couple of lifetimes) of possessions that have to be sorted, organized, and packed. Some items have to be thrown away, or donated, and the remaining items have to be moved to a new location.

If you are thinking about selling your home or the house of a family member, experts say that homes sell faster and for a higher price when cleared of personal items.  That process can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting - its no wonder boomers are afraid of the process!

Downsizing a home is inevitable for a majority of people in the United States today, and is a task easy to put off until you have to do it. And at that point, there is often a time crunch that makes the process even more stressful.

However, there is good news to share about this process. Downsizing can take a slower, gentler path. 

Into the picture comes Lorrie White, owner of Whites Cleaning and Decorating. Lorrie is a professional stager and interior decor specialist who has helped hundreds of home sellers get their homes ready to market- some long before they are actually ready to put a For Sale sign in their front yard.

One such homeowner doing this 'preemptive downsizing' is Pam Ellerton. Pam knows she and her husband John will eventually move from their large family home on the hill, east of Manlius, NY. They know a smaller place with less maintenance makes sense. But the thought of going through all their decades of belongings is daunting.

In a conversation with Judy Winslow to examine possibilities for the future, Pam learned how Lorrie would come to her home and build a new view of her furnishings and decor. Lorrie came to Pam's home to make space and "breathing room" for her long before a move was to occur. With a bit of rearranging, some mindful decluttering, and a few, minor updates, Lorrie has been able to give the Ellerton’s home a whole new feel.

BEFORE/AFTER images of Pam's home

Pam looks at her home differently now. Though skeptical at first, Pam learned that Lorrie listened closely to learn what her concerns were. Then she provided tailored ideas to help make the rooms feel more spacious and free of clutter.

“I can’t tell you how much weight has been lifted from my thinking by working with Lorrie! I can breathe now.” said the happy homeowner.

Lorrie White has been in business since 1992, originally cleaning and staging for area modular home builders. Around 2008, she began working with real estate agents to help sell homes faster with the power of staging, the process of de-personalizing and de-cluttering a house so that prospective buyers are better able to envision themselves in the home, rather than homeowners decor and furnishings. 

“I live for what I do and I truly love every second of it,” said Lorrie, “using my creative vision to transform and enhance living space for homeowners who want to prepare their homes ahead of time, and get breathing room in the process.”

Pam and Lorrie worked together over many months on and off, taking the process a room at a time. White’s favorite question is, “How does this space make you feel?” Once Pam identified how she was impacted by the current decor and room layout, White made arranging and updating suggestions to change the flow, which ultimately changed the feel of the room.

Pam Ellerton is now a enthusiastic proponent of downsizing before you have to. She highly recommends Lorrie’s services, saying “When we do move, I’ll be in such a better place to do that work. And in the meantime, I’m enjoying my home more than I have in a long, long time.”

White’s promise to Pam Ellerton and all her clients is that she will "always keep the downsizing process real, and at the same time make it fun.” Learn more about Lorrie White’s business at Houzz and Facebook.

Judy Winslow is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist Real Estate Agent (SRES). Contact Judy to find out she can help you with your specific need!