my second act

My Second Act, Downsizing Our Parents Home

My Second Act

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Melanie Silk, owner, and blogger at Mels 2nd Act. A lifestyle blog devoted to exploring women’s second act in life, “my second act”. Or like we say, what we are doing after the kids leave home, or after we retire.

Women are moving from their first act and beyond retirement, like this post- “my second act”. Most are now exploring their strengths, true talents and passions. This movement is both amazing and joyous to watch…and better to join in on.

My second act

I have always loved to help tidy up or as we say today, declutter. I think the two are more alike than different. I helped Mom, who had three jobs as a single mother, clean, cook, and iron. I love to iron. Just relaxes me and it’s my Think Time!

I graduated from college with a master’s degree in social work at an early age. It was my career for 20 years. What did I do? I managed housing and case management programs for families in crisis. Drugs, alcohol, violence, poverty, lack of education, etc…

Being responsible for eighty housing units and eighty families meant we did a lot of home maintenance and home organization training. I taught lots of home maintenance classes. And did many home inspections. I loved my career, but it was time for ME!

My Second Act, it’s time for a story…

So, when I got married for the first time, at 39, I moved to Kansas. I was too young to retire and didn’t know anyone in the area. I joined several local non-profit boards and got to know some great people. Some are now my dear friends.

And did I mention that my husband and I totally gutted our home? Oops. Yep, that took up my time too. After 7 years, I decided to start a blog. But what about? Over the years, I helped friends, and a few clients declutter their homes and reorganize them. I loved it. It was my passion.

And so ryoureadytoorganize was born. My second Act. It’s a work in progress. Yet very clearly, I want a strictly online business with a few valuable program memberships. Memberships where subscribers pay a nominal monthly fee and get step by step info on decluttering each room in the house. I’m launching my first program, a free beta One Room a Month Home Organization Reboot in March. Participants get a room-by-room calendar, info, tips, and fun engagement on my Facebook Page. Members can follow easy instructions and tips to re-organize each room each month. And should someone need more help, I offer one on one coaching, for those tough jobs! A perfect chance to launch your second act.

What do I mean by coaching? Here is a testimonial from one of my clients. A true testimony of trying my second act in the middle of a crisis.

Downsizing-A case for My Second act!


Time for Lori to jump into her phase of My Second Act. Home downsizing can come to you like a train wreck. And it usually does.

For empty nesters of a certain age, like Hughes and her husband, the idea of downsizing makes so much sense. Lower housing and insurance costs. Less maintenance. Fewer people pay to help with the upkeep of a home, inside and out.

And yet, parting with possessions is sorrowful, not sweet — even when we know that many things, we’ve kept hold little usefulness to us anymore.

If you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork, and when the mournful time comes. Otherwise, you might be forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hire a hauler to cart away everything you don’t want, or wouldn’t be donating.

Most antique dealers (if you can even find one!) and auction houses have little appetite for your parents’ stuff, either. That’s because their customers aren’t interested. Even charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill frequently reject donations of home furnishings, I can sadly say from personal experience.

Someone close to you, your parents, children, loved ones can suddenly fall ill or God forbid, pass away. You could be left with an entire home to move into storage, or in Lori’s case, into her garage! Let’s learn from our coaching sessions…

My parents suddenly died! Now, what will I do with their belongings? Home downsizing emergency…Lori’s story


This is a true home organization intervention with Lori B. Let me summarize my first consultation with Lori B. when she contacted me last May 2017. Lori and I knew each other on Facebook. She sent me an instant message last spring. She was in trouble, stressed, and overwhelmed. Her dad passed away a few years earlier and now her mom has moved into an assisted living facility. She was left with an entire home she lived in for over 30 years full of their belongings. She moves all her parents’ things into her garage. That’s when I got her first message! Here is her story…

Home downsizing emergency – Lori’s “my second act” story

Before we begin, let me bring you up to September 2018. Lori messaged me last spring. She sent a picture of her garage. It was unbelievable. (put a pic here) She moved her parent’s entire home full of belongings into her garage. We messaged each other for over a week and here is what we did.

my second act

Home downsizing-Grief First

First, we addressed her grief. That is the most important thing to do. Face your grief before trying to sort and declutter your parents’ (or your own) things. We talked about where she and her family were with their emotions. How she felt and at what point she could grieve enough and start decluttering the garage. We talked about making a journal to write her feelings and thoughts. This is critical. Sit quietly and write. Write, write, write. Get the family to accept the grief as normal. Even a given!!

I set Lori up with my “tried and true” Four Quadrant Declutter Method for Organizing. Read How to Organize the Garage using my Four Quadrant Declutter Method. She went through her grieving like a champ and then got to work.

My second act…

Home Downsizing -Lori B. The exact transcript!

September 2017 in a message to me Lori wrote to me after following up with her to check on the garage:

“I was waiting until today to answer… My son can park in his garage again! It’s not done, but big strides! I’ve taken three loads to Goodwill with another ready to go!

I need to put the donation items in the suburban, store the empty moving boxes, and spend another couple of hours with what remains. I have left a stack of boxes at the back. I am committing to five boxes a week. I will bring them in, sort, toss…. too overwhelming now.

my second act

Me too Lori: You’re a rock

!!!! Yay!!! That is so impressive Lori…kudos!!!!

Lori to me: Update: husband took pity on me and stopped his yard work to load the donations. This is what’s left on the other garage… The right side is all empty boxes.

Me too Lori:

Tearing it up… Yay!
May 2018
Lori to me: Guess what!!!!???
Me too Lori: What???
Lori to me: THE GARAGE IS EMPTY!!!
The garage with all my parents’ shit, you can park a car in it!

Me too Lori:

Ha..yes…before and after pics…priceless…you are the boss lady. Congrats!!!!!
Send me after pics and we can post them soon.

Lori to me (regarding her participation in my 30 Day Home Decluttering Challenge in April):

I’ve meant to reach out to you…I started the challenge strong… the second day we heard that my brother-in-law had stage 4 pancreatic cancer with weeks to live.
Somehow the crap in our pantries meant so little. He is 56 with four children…we are devastated.
I think the push today in the garage kept us both occupied and focused.
Such an awful thing to deal with…. had spread to bones, lungs, liver, etc before being diagnosed.
Me too Lori: You know how to rank “on the dime” now. You’re getting the feel of organizing. Great work Lori!

Lori to me:

I guess when your life is in chaos you try to organize. I will say this is the first time my husband has helped!
I just wanted you to know… I’m not a total slacker!!
Me too Lori: No. I knew you were chiseling away at its Lori. Not slacking.
Lori to me: He broke down all the empty boxes and took them upstairs to the attic. He also confirmed my “we don’t need to save this, do we?”
I was also incredibly supportive of the army of boxes lining the wall that I hadn’t fully been through.

Me too Lori: So much progress!!!


Lori to me: I feel amazing!!! It’s such a relief!
Me too Lori: Fabulous. I feel good too. So happy.

my second act

Lori to me: When one is living day-to-day, as we are… Today I have a brother, tomorrow I may not…. these accomplishments feel so much better. It has been an excruciating journey. How to keep living when one so close is quickly dying.

What do you change in your own life? How do you make each day count? It forces you to make a lot of changes…. Hopefully for the better! He had back pain for several weeks… nothing crazy…

Me too Lori: Right. We clear out stuff and only keep what we love. Only what truly matters.
Lori to me: Pain meds, steroids, finally testing… tumors everywhere…. too far for him to do anything… although he had gone through three weeks of experimental chemo.
Me too Lori: You are an angel, Lori. Truly!

Lori to me (about the 30 Day Declutter Challenge in April 2018) I just wanted you to know that I am still committed to your program. Our sidetrack was significant but I’m so proud that we came back and finished our earlier challenge in the garage!

Me too Lori: You betcha!


So proud of you.

Lori to me: Me too! Good night!!! P.s. I’m in LOVE with your garden!!

My second act

Lori B.’s testimony of her overall experience:

“After my father passed away and my mother moved into an assisted living home, I was left with the task of clearing out and selling their five-bedroom home. Many items relocated to my house, turning my garage into a storage unit. Rebecca was so supportive throughout, offering tips on how to sort, how to attack the chaos. With so many emotions attached to the objects, I did take the winter off. Following her organizational strategies, I can now park in the garage again!! Still some boxes to sort through but there is progress! Thank you!”

Where is Lori now? My second act success story.

She’s thrilled that her daughter graduated from law school. She is even more thrilled that her garage was empty as her daughter moved back home until she hears about her results from the bar exam. Way to go Lori!

What fun I had working with Melanie on My Second Act. Stay tuned for more posts like My Second Act coming soon!

Join my free 2019 home organization reboot challenge and refresh your home. We organize one room a month using a calendar for each room, emails, and videos. A perfect launch to my second act.

I am so excited to launch my 2019 Home Organization Reboot. We can safely say this is Part 2 of the post-2019 Home Organization Resolutions that I published a week ago. We continue chatting about how we are going to refresh and reboot our homes…from decluttering each room and organizing to our taste. What can be a better start to our New Year and launch my second act?

My mantra for January is “Start Fresh”, just like in this very post, my second act. If you haven’t already, start by joining the 2019 Home Organization Reboot here! We’ll focus on one room a month, use a calendar with tasks that easily help you declutter and reboot. I usually work one on one with folks and declutter their homes with category-like paper, books, pictures, clothing, kitchen, and bath. This is incredibly intense for an online challenge.

Instead, we are focusing on one room a month, depending on the type of item. So, you’ll have one room and declutter by group (some of the ones I listed above) until that room is completely rebooted or refreshed. The pace and assignments are much easier to manage, follow, and complete. And we all want that. Trying to do too much at one time causes us to quit. None of that.

So, we’ll take:

Another “my second act” opportunity!

Big Goal →Home Organization Reboot and

not let it scare us or stop us,

face the fear and anxiety,

and just start!

Breaking down big goals that can be scary is key. When we fear something, our brains stop us. To protect us. But we don’t always need to stop in the face of fear. We need to push forward and face the discomfort. To WIN! To forge towards “my second act”! Once we do increased things that are scary, we build MOMENTUM and JOY. Pride in what we can do!

The 2019 Home Organization Reboot is completely free this year. If you are a current member or subscribe to my community and emails, you will need to join and register for this reboot separately here. When you register for the reboot and want to subscribe to my community and receive even more fun, easy and valuable tips, and services, sign up here. One of my big goals for 2019 is to grow my online community so if you would, and are not a regular subscriber, consider joining and becoming a regular member here!

Ending on a happy note, we can end each post by spreading happiness. Your challenge today is to do three extra acts of kindness for other people. Ready, steady… GO!

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