Let the Kids Help

By Linda Balentine, President, Crowning Touch Moving Services

After 22 years of helping seniors downsize, pack and move, I have noticed a disturbing trend. My senior clients are intimidated about asking their children for help when faced with a major move. The problem seems to originate in the hearts and minds of those aging parents. Even when faced with the burdensome cost of hiring “movers”, most parents are shy about asking for the most basic help.

Oh, sure, our children lead busy lives. They may be overloaded financially, they are probably burdened with work and community commitments and perhaps are even challenged with dangling responsibilities for their own “almost grown” children. BUT, as parents, we still have the responsibility to continue teaching our children as long as we are on the planet. We cannot be too afraid to ask them for help. We are actually offering a growth experience, one of the few remaining chances before we exit. Remember, their children (our grandchildren) learn from patterned experiences. What better example for our children to set for their children then leaning into a legacy project like helping us move?

There is so much to gain by deepening the family connection during a move and much to lose if hands are not joined. What better time to share family stories and history? Seize the event to associate meaningful pieces of furniture, photos and other collectibles with a family chain that will be lost forever if we (myself included) do not grab the moment. As seniors, most of us have assets to give to our children. Don’t just let them do a “grab and run”. Allow them to give back. They can help pack, sort and unpack, even if it means taking a few “vacation days” for our major life change. Then when we are gone, they will have peace in their hearts, knowing that at every stage of our life with them they were there for us, as we have been for them. In exchange, they will inherit the respect and tender caring from their own children, by virtue of their example. And any sacrifice they make, as they pitch in, expands the hearts of everyone. AND ISN’T THAT WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT?



If you’re one of the lucky ones, you can “age in place.” So what does that mean?

It means with minor adjustments like chair lifts or ramps or major ones like remodeling a bathroom or moving a laundry room, you can stay longer in the home you love and are used to.  

But for most seniors, especially those who have lost a spouse and are now alone, the burden of upkeep on a single family home, even if adaptations have been made, becomes too worrisome. Yard maintenance, appliance repair, and general upkeep is an uphill battle, often impossible to do by yourself without expensive help.

So, you are faced with the reality of a move, and that is more than you want to contemplate. It means downsizing – parting with treasures, familiar views, and close neighbors. Nobody wants to think about it, let alone do it. The sorting, the packing, the unpacking – ugh.

But the first, and most important step is to adopt the right frame of mind. Come to terms with the basic concept of “shelter” and what that means to most people on the planet. If you’re dry, if you’re warm, if you’re safe, THEN you are blessed with the common denominator on any human being’s wish list for a shelter.

Start there and be GRATEFUL. If you know you are blessed then you can proceed with a lighter heart and it makes the downsizing process so much easier. Downsizing in America means you may go from having more than you need to having JUST what you need. That is a win/win. Let’s all get a grip.

Finally, the term “shelter” is all-encompassing. Not only are you looking for a new home to embrace you but you will probably have friends and family to continue wrapping their hearts and arms around you. The love and support of expanded family will always shelter you and supersedes the attachment to anything you will ever put on a moving truck. So do not be afraid to seek new shelter. There are very few of us left out in the cold.

BB&T Insurance Services recognizes Crowning Touch claim-free moving service.

BB&T Insurance ServicesBB&T Insurance Services once again recognizes Crowning Touch Senior Moving Services for its excellent, claim-free moving services.

“Since BB&T Insurance began servicing the Crowning Touch Senior Moving Services insurance program in 2008, you have never had to file a personal property claim.

“This is exceptional and proves that your excellent training program is yielding great results. You are obviously focused on providing detailed attention to your client’s belongings while in your care.”

— Sarah Vandgriff, CIC/ACSR, CSR,
BB&T Insurance Services

Crowning Touch: Claim-free Moving ServicesWe take great pride in our training program and our packing and moving staff and appreciate them for keeping us “claim-free.”

Click to read the letter »


Don’t Get Buried Under Your Blessings

We are blessed to live in America. Few would dispute that. Most of us acquire all that we need and more during our lifetime – often leading to a household full of “stuff.”

We use, we enjoy, and finally we have to dispense with many of the “accoutrements” that we have surrounded ourselves with as we yield to gravity.

Crowning Touch Movers taking old treasures on the road in Roanoke, VA.

We get older and we need less. The kids don’t want our “stuff,” so what do we do? Most of us STRESS, but perhaps that’s uncalled for. Time to put things in perspective.

Do we really need to squeeze the last dollar out of every possession? Can we grow a generous heart and give away, or sell for “less than we COULD get,” those things we no longer need?

There is great joy to be had being a benefactor – simply giving away (even without a tax deduction) that which we no longer need. Of course, there are avenues of dispensation that will yield financial benefit. Selling on consignment or at auction will yield financial benefit, which may help with moving costs.

Donating what will not readily sell will handle the rest of your concerns as long as you realize that in today’s world, some of your “treasures” have no (that’s right, absolutely zero) value. Give it up. Console stereos, older TV’s, china cabinets, even china . . . . the world turns.

If you have lots of stuff, you have enjoyed their value over so many years. Amortize the supposed value over as many years as you have enjoyed those “things” and RELEASE. Therein lies the path to a relaxed state. Now move down the path and ENJOY what God has for YOU.

Crowning Touch Radio Ad | Roanoke, Virginia’s Best Moving Company, Consignment Shop and Auction House

Crowning Touch Senior Moving Services has been moving Roanoke Valley’s seniors for over 21 years!

We are the only moving company in southwest Virginia to sell what our downsizing clients no longer want, in either our consignment shop or auction house.

Pay us a visit online at www.crowningtouchusa.com or visit us at 6704 Williamson Road, Roanoke, VA 24019. For immediate help with a move or consignment pickup, just call us at (540) 982-5800.

How Much Is My “Stuff” Worth? Tips to Valuing Used Possessions of Downsizing Seniors

Or, how much is my mother’s “stuff” worth? These are common questions that resonate frequently in our American society, where the senior demographic is quickly swelling to become 25% of our overall population. A downsizing senior must grapple with this question over and over again, often without much help. The incessant refrain, “but I paid thousands of dollars for this sofa and it has rarely been used” is heard over and over.

What we paid for something 30 years ago may not justify a price point in today’s marketplace.

So why don’t our treasures hold their value? There are three major factors to be considered when assessing the value of household goods in particular.

  • The first factor involves the current decorating spirit of the buying population. Is your item in vogue? Furniture trends come and go. Colonial and French Provincial furniture styles, once very popular, have little commercial reception today. Most dark wood pieces from the 40’s and 50’s, especially formal dining room pieces like drop leaf tables and big china cabinets, simply have no audience. On the other hand, mid-century modern décor is “hot” and well-crafted pieces command a good price. It pays to research the manufacturer as well because desirability and value are frequently tied to a trademark. Today’s market is eclectic, which means that many furniture styles can be mixed together in a home and have wide-ranging appeal. So, an oversized, dated, dining room “buffet” can be painted and repurposed as a bedroom dresser, thereby finding a new “forever” home. Just remember, if someone has to remediate a worn tabletop or reupholster a chair, do not expect to get much, if anything, for it.
  • Do your items have any special vintage or antique value? Even antiques (using the IRS definition of 100 years old as a qualifier) wax and wane in popularity. Oak used to be hot, now it’s not. Pump organs and treadle sewing machines are becoming homeless. Even pianos have become a hard sell. Rapidly changing technology makes selling computer equipment over 3 years old or any TV, other than a new flat screen, almost impossible to sell. The X generation and the millennials, who stand downstream of the assets we are looking to sell or give away, are not into “collecting” the way the boomers were. So doll collections, Hummels, collectible plates of any kind, and Beanie Babies have fallen on hard times. Even silver plated serving pieces have little value, if you can imagine!.
  • Finally, is there any intrinsic value? Does the item in question have it or not? Intrinsic value means it has a value not tied to its Fair Market Value. An items owner is frequently the sole determinant of its intrinsic value. For example, if a particular chair is not exceptionally handsome, but instead is especially comfortable, then it has a certain intrinsic value. But such value does not translate readily into marketability. The upholstery may be dated or soiled, dramatically affecting the perception. So the intrinsic value, generally tied to an item’s usefulness, will have to be communicated beyond what is easily observed. Without inherent, intrinsic value, the item in question may have no resale value at all.

The rapidly growing self-storage industry is a testimony to the backlog of homeless items stuffed away waiting for some relative to relieve the pressure. In today’s real estate market, the price of new homes is escalating so quickly that young potential homeowners, buried in student loans, are finding it difficult to become homeowners. Instead, they are staying at home longer, then renting apartments or sharing spaces when they leave home. They have no room for our “stuff.” Most homes being built now don’t even have formal dining rooms.  The trend is leaning towards expansive “great rooms.” Open floor plans cater to a more relaxed style of living and entertaining, so who wants our high maintenance china and crystal.

See the problem!

There is a solution but it means we all have to get more realistic. We can sell our “stuff” through consignment or auction if we don’t overvalue it. And we can always give it away (or, almost always). Even Goodwill and the Salvation Army, who resell our donated treasures, have now raised the bar on what they will accept, so lots of your items will go to the curb or the landfill.

Don’t let your feelings get hurt. It’s only “stuff.”

You Are Not a Hoarder – You Just Have Too Much “Stuff”

Seniors GuideArticle by Linda Balentine, President, Crowning Touch Senior Moving Services and featured in the July 2017 issue of Seniors Guide.

You're Not a Hoarder - You Just Have Too Much "Stuff"And “stuff” can be a problem if you are a senior planning to move. Because whether the move is immediate, or just on the distant horizon, you will need to formulate a system for clearing the deck. First of all, do not apologize or feel badly. You are in good company. It seems to be part of the American condition to wallow in more than we need. But in the last decade or two of our lives, we have a chance to make it right.

Attack the “overweight” corners of your home first, such as junk drawers, bathroom cabinets, kitchen pantries, closets, craft rooms, garages, attics and basements. When eyeing the excess, be ruthless. (Often it helps to have a friend with you who will not allow you to deceive yourself.)

Initiate your overview utilizing brightly colored, adhesive dots available at any office supply. That way you don’t have to move and segregate anything. Just dot the items in place – “stuff” on shelves, wall décor, lamps, furniture, tools and even rugs.

Here are the filters to apply that will help you with your decision making:

1st — Mark those items with yellow dots that you know in your knower you will be keeping for either sentimental or utilitarian reasons.

2nd — Get the family to step up and identify, or better yet, pick up the items they want. Different siblings can be assigned different colors.

3rd — There will probably be items to sell to help offset the cost of moving, so mark those items with green dots for the color of money and arrange for a dealer to assess their value.

4th — The rest should be donated or trashed. Remember, every home has “stuff” that no one else wants.