My husband and I need to clean, de-clutter and downsize a house we have lived in for 30 years. We plan to move to a smaller one level condo near my mom. We need help doing this...and have heard about several companies that do this transitioning service. Have you had experience with this? Was it expensive? What are some of the problems you ran into? etc What were your experiences?

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We used such a service for my dad when he moved to independent living apartment. It was a great thing to do because she went there and based in the floor plan, took measurements and then helped determine what furniture that he liked and wanted to keep could be made to fit there. She went through and tagged articles he wanted to move took photos of how his place looked now so she could replicate it. My sister and I went through his kitchen to select what he would need and they packed it all, unpacked it and hung up all the things on the wall and voila, his place was ready that afternoon. She arranged for the movers to come and load and unload the stuff that was going. If you're young enough and have the energy and want to save money, by all means do it yourself. My sister and I were not going to do it and hiring was the best decision ever. They were very respectful. We then had an estate sale of what didn't move. When you feel it's hard to let something go,offer it to the family, then if they don't want it, take a photos to keep and then decide you will let it bless someone else's life. It's only a "thing"'s the memory attached to it that makes it difficult to let go of. I have tons of things in my homes attached to memories, but if a fire or tornado took it all tomorrow I could not replace it. But would still have the memory.
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The #1 problem I have in getting rid of stuff is thinking about how much I paid for it when new. If you can get past that, you're a better person than I am.

Number 2 would be items handed down tome from relatives gone by. I am the most sentimental in my family and have a accumulated stuff that I'm not sure my kids want. So what to do with that?

Books, music and movies is another BIG problem. Need to pare down for sure.

So I'm right there with you. Good for you for handling this yourself. By that, I mean not leaving it for your kids to do.
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I wonder if you could hire a professional organizer to come in (even for 4-5 hours over a couple of meetings or once a month) to get you headed in the right direction? They can help you figure out how to tackle it so it makes the most sense. I'd check out napodotnet, the National Association of Professional Organizers. They help you find someone who has experience. You could interview different people in your area to see if you clicked with any of them. That's where I'd start. It's their business and they can help you put together a plan. Just knowing what you need to do step-by-step is a big help (at least to me).
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Thanks, we have one place (big house) that we need to move out of to a smaller place. Tons of stuff to go through and get rid of. And my son and his family eventually (1 year) want to be in the big house with some renovations done. I think for now we are going to plug along and have a that it looks like we have found the smaller place.
Good idea about the moving party. Thanks for the good wishes.
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Moving a lot of household stuff, is kinda like the old question, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is, "One bite at a time...[over time, with determination]!"
We had one site we needed to leave; another 2 persons needed to get out of their untenable apartment. We also have another site that needs to be dealt with. So, we found a mutually beneficial house and chose to "house-share".
We started with packing small stuff into bins and free boxes [Costco and other stores are good resources], moving it either to the new place, or into storage.
We couldn't do one room at a time, because of how things went. But, as one room got almost empty, whatever was left, got consolidated into another room, allowing total clean out of the emptied room.
As one packs, look HARD at stuff...has it really been being used, or mostly stored? Is it sentimental value [double check it, if that] or is it stuff you feel more like you've been "care taking"? Can the clothes that don't fit go to give-away--Freecycle or Goodwill or Visiting Nurses, Church rummage, etc? I took much to the Co-Op as giveaway and Church rummage, but also posted free on Freecycle--great thing about that is, they come get it, instead of me having to make a special trip to get rid of it...if one fails to show, post it again, 'til someone else does--make the getting rid of stuff process as easy on yourself as possible..
Since we had to do so much renovation on the place being moved to, we also had to evaluate if tasks were beyond our current abilities [then hire a contractor for that part], or if it was realistically something we could do ourselves, even if only a bit at a time.
Our move, renovations included [at least those that had to get done before any of us moved in], took about 3 months. In that time, we fixed the part of the new place the other 2 people were to use 1st, since they had a renter's contract cutoff at their old they could move in a month sooner than us. That gave them time to get used to the place without us in it [and their 2 cats].
Somehow, we managed.
We only had to ask friends with small P/U trucks for help for a few large items needing stronger and/or more strong arms and backs to lift/move/use someone's truck. Everything else, we managed by carloads [many carloads!], or using our little trailer.
Still loads of things to get done and we're still gonna have to deal with that 3rd site, over time and as funds allow, but we've so far consolidated 2 smaller sites into one larger site, while doing large renovations on that main site. Pretty epic for a couple dragged down by age and infirmities. Things are slowly being sorted and finding where they need put; more stuff is being discovered that can "go away", or be used in interesting new ways.
Big and/or heavy items tend to create mental-blocks; once those items get moved, it tends to make the other stuff easier to shift [our biggest mental blocks were the laundry set and a couple large furniture items].
Most important is, you must decide what and how much you can do for yourselves, with maybe some help from your friends, without doing more harm than good, physically or financially.
If you have too little Time to make the move, it might be worth spending the money to hire people. We were able to cover one extra month's rent to buy time, because of getting a great rebate from the new utility, for replacing a derelict water heater; otherwise, we would have had to borrow to afford that extra month's rent to allow more time for vacating the old place. Take a good look at your circumstances, to see where other funding might be found, to help cover your costs.
It might also be do-able to hold one big moving party with willing friends [or a few smaller ones, depending on various person's schedules], to bring their trucks and have something like a spaghetti feed at your place, while things get moved.
OH...hiring cleaners to clean the old place? That's a tough one...what we've found in our area, based on other's experiences, is that the old place needs to be pretty well basically cleaned, before hired cleaners get there...they really don't do much "deep cleaning"--some don't do carpets--that's a separate hire. Almost none do windows...or sills. It seemed I had to be 'on the top of my game', to handle finding, arranging, and checking up on all contractors. We've been deluged with some really bad contractors, who are ready and willing to take customers for anything they can get away with. So be very careful to get at least 2 or more different estimates on a job of any kind, and evaluate each one very carefully....and know there are still no guarantees they will do it properly.
Hope everything works out well for you!
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Yes the price quote was very high...almost scarey. Maybe we can find some more able body folks to help us as we go. Good thing is we have a 1 year time frame...bad news is we only have a 1 year time frame.
Thanks for the information...we'll come up with a plan...
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We were referred to one that - Sounded - very nice and helpful, until I got estimates. This was in the South Sound area of WA State. The people sounded nice enough, but they are running a profit-making business.
Instead, we spent 3+ months doing DIY repairs on the house we were to move into, cleaning the one we were leaving, and, packing and getting rid of things, with very little help from our friends [all of them similarly afflicted with that thing: "age and infirmity"].
It would have cost well-over $7000 to hire others to declutter, pack, organize and move our stuff, for just very basic minimal level of hire.
I also estimated it was still going to be too costly for us, if all they did was move the stuff we'd already packed. Also, as with any moving company, there is that "limited liability"-- if there are losses, check in advance, what the insurance really pays --- it could only reimburse losses by the poundage, not the value.
That might be fine for some, but we simply couldn't afford that, and afford to do house repairs.
We still have lots to go for repairing things, but it felt good to do it ourselves while we could still [albeit marginally, and not every day] do it.
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I haven't used one of these, but I suspect it's expensive, but maybe money well-spent. For your own safety remove all valuables and paperwork which contains your personal information.
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Have you found any organization that can help with transitioning seniors from one place to another?
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