home downsizing

Home downsizing rescue-Lori’s Story

Home Downsizing…

Are you ready to help your parents?

Best advice-be prepared!

Home downsizing can come at you like a train wreck. And it usually does. 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!

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 initial 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 prior and now her mom 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 of her parent’s things into her garage. That’s when I got her first message!  Here is her story…

Home downsizing emergency-Lori’s 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 parents’ entire home full of belongings into her garage. We messaged each other for over a week and here is what we did.

home downsizing

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 down 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.

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 right now.


home downsizing

Me too Lori: You’re a rock ?!!!! Yay!!! That is so impressive Lori…kudos!!!!

Lori to me: Update: hubby took pity on me and stopped his yard work to load the donations. This is what’s left on the other garage…. 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 of my parent’s 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 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 in 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 prioritize “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 it Lori. Not slacking.
Lori to me: He actually broke down all of the empty boxes and took them upstairs to the attic. He also confirmed, “we don’t need to save this, do we?”
Was also very supportive of the army of boxes lining the wall that I haven’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.

home downsizing

Lori to me: When one is living day today, 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 on the garage!

Me too Lori: You betcha! ?
So proud of you. ?

Lori to me: Shhh….. honestly? Me too! Good night!!! P.s. I’m in LOVE with your garden!! (Talking about my Friday Facebook live videos in my RYouReadytoOrganize Facebook Group)


Here is 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!”

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Where is Lori now?

She is 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!

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