My mother lost her partner Don almost a year ago. They were together close to 25 years. Due to complications from a prior stroke my mom decided after Don’s passing that it was best to relocate out of their second floor condo to ranch-style living that would best accommodate her physical impairments. She has almost no use of her left arm and her left leg injuries make it pretty hard to walk and balance. This move would make life much easier for her including daily tasks like grocery shopping, walking the dog and visiting neighbors.

My mom, my sisters and me.

My mom, my sisters and me.

So now I had a handicapped mother living in Florida alone who was about to move by herself. Additionally, she is quite often in pain, on pain medications and has limited energy. My “organizer brain” was screaming at me, “Oh my gosh, how is she possibly going to pack, unpack and organize for this transition?”

My sisters and I were not able to fly down to help her for many reasons. We had all been down prior, helping out right after Don died. We have children, husbands, careers and schedules to contend with. Flying back and forth is not a simple or inexpensive venture. The list goes on, BUT this is our mother and we all wanted to help in some way and the best way we could from afar.

So one night, the solution came to me literally in the middle of the night, “I know what my mom needs. She needs me, not the daughter me, the professional organizer me! That’s it, I’m going to hire a professional organizer to help her. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? What took me so long?” It made perfect sense.

The very next day I went to the National Association of Professional Organizers (www.napo.net) and searched for organizers in the Tampa area. I called a few and interviewed them and then chose the one I felt would be the best fit. My sisters and I agreed her services would be the perfect moving/house warming present. Then I called my mom and told her what we were doing. At first I think she was confused. My mom said, “What is she going to do?” I answered, anything you would want me to help you with. Consider her your “rent-a-great-daughter”! So my mom made a big list and Sarah Doering from Simplicity Organizing in Tampa, Florida arrived on time already knowing my mother’s needs and got almost everything on my mother’s list done in one afternoon. (And let me tell you, my mother had a long list of To Do’s to be organized!) They really liked each other as well. Now I know who I can count on when we need help in the future.

This was such a unique experience for me. I realized that the reason I hired Sarah was so similar to why my clients hire me. My clients need my physical, intellectual, mental and inspirational organizing strategies, ideas, solutions and in-house personal service that they can trust. It was a little strange being in the other shoe.

Many of POSSE’s clients don’t have their grown children in town to help or even help enough through the rigorous time consuming project of going through a home to prepare for a move, or simply to declutter an entire house after decades of their parents living there. Sometimes seniors want to stay and are very attached to their own house and it can be best for them to “age in place” but this too takes planning, decluttering and maybe even some safety precautions to prepare the property for an aging senior.

napo_websiteI encourage you — if you have loved ones that live too far from you but you want to help them in their homes — consider hiring a professional organizer. I guarantee you it will be one of the best gifts you ever purchase. It was for me! 

To learn more about the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) go to www.napo.net. You can search nationwide for a professional organizer near you or for loved one in another city/state.