Can you imagine how difficult it would be to downsize to move into a place that is less than half the size that you live in now? The task seems daunting.
I recently met Cindy Hofen, president of Managing Moves and More in Mountain View. She’s a Senior Relocation Specialist. I was fascinated as she told me about her business that began after she helped her mother-in-law downsize. Cindy immediately understood how difficult and stressful the process was on people, but figured out how to make it easier by helping them feel good about letting go of things.
She and her team have done thousands of moves and not all of them are older folks downsizing. They also help families that are relocating to the bay area. Managing Moves can set up every room in an 8k square foot house. Their website tells you all the different services that they offer, everything from move planning, to decluttering, or setting up the entire home.
One thing she does is mirror certain little areas of the new home. Their favorite chair and table, set up exactly like they had it in their previous home, will make them feel right at home as soon as they walk in the door. Her team takes photos, lots of them, of the pictures on the walls, the way things are arranged on the bathroom counter, and the way the night stand is organized. When the client walks into their new apartment for the first time, it is already home to them.
I watched the team set up a studio apartment in Oakmont of San Jose. The client was downsizing and Managing Moves was easily able to move him in one day. I would have loved to see the look on his face when he saw that his entire apartment was set up just like he had it before and all he had to do was walk in the door and relax.
Cindy went through Leadership Mountain View in 2017 and each student in the program is asked to do some kind of community project. Her project was a direct result of the fact that she’s helped so many people downsize, and get rid of so much.
People don’t always want to donate items to the usual Goodwill or Salvation, for whatever reason, but if they knew the items were going to be given away, for free, to a local family that really needed them, they would be happy to help. Cindy’s LMV Community Project was born: House 2 Home Connection, a 501C3 nonprofit that connects low income family to much needed household items.
Many times, the people are transferring from a shelter into their first home in a long time and they have nothing. A helping hand, of some everyday household items, is life-changing in that situation.
House 2 Home Connection clients fill out a request list, that has everything from plates, mugs, silverware, to towels, sheets, and small appliances like mixers, toasters, and coffeemakers. Cindy and her team explain to the Managing Moves clients that some of the items that they might want to donate could be used to help the House 2 Home families. If they agree, and who wouldn’t, the donors are given a receipt for their taxes and they actually feel good about letting go of things. Everyone wins.
I was particularly interested in this project because my LMV Community Project was working in the food pantry at Community Services Agency. It was raining on my first day there. I had never seen people waiting in line at a food bank until the day, and there they were, standing in the rain, waiting for free produce, canned goods and day-old-bread.
Our community wasn’t always one of the most expensive places in the county. It was just a regular, small Bay Area town, not as big as San Jose, and not as expensive as Palo Alto. Now that it has become one of the most popular places to live and work in the entire world, it’s even more important to support the nonprofits serve the most vulnerable in our community. House 2 Home Connection is a fiscally sponsored project of Los Altos Community Foundation.