Part 13: Moving Forward

My mortgage lender has finally responded to my Deed in Lieu (DIL) request, which means I may return my condo to the lender and they absolve me of all legal, financial and other obligations to the property. In other words, I am free to move!

I’m postponing a visit to LA until I know more about the DIL negotiations and a possible condo closure date. My property title must be clear and the lender accept the value of my condo as worth releasing me from the mortgage.

To assist with the complicated legal transactions, I’ve hired an attorney who is a specialist in real estate DIL, foreclosure and bankruptcy. He will assist with negotiations and make certain my rights are protected.

Meanwhile, my condo remains for sale. Although I’m impatient to put a deposit on my senior living apartment, the timing is premature.

The Benefits of Working With Professionals

The good news is that I can comfortably move in 30 days, when the time comes. Downsizing slowly for the past year has not been difficult.

Using a professional organizer was interesting and useful. Based upon experience with only one company, the following are my pros and cons to using a professional organizing service for senior living downsizing:


  • Experienced, energetic professionals assist with goal-setting and execution.
  • Trained in the sensitive nature of downsizing, the organizers help desensitize the process and move it along.
  • Organizers are non-judgmental regarding clients’ belongings, clutter or neatness, and hesitancy to discard items.
  • The organizers bring their own tape measure, markers, paper and trash bags.
  • The organizers remove trash and empty boxes, and take with them items for charities or disposal. They discard the items and mail clients receipts.


  • The professional organizers I interviewed charge by the hour, with a three-hour minimum. Suggested work sessions are three hours, twice a week until the project is complete. Prices ranged from $65-$75 per hour for one organizer. Depending upon the size of the project, using an organizer can be a pricy expense.
  • A senior with excellent cognitive function can determine which items to select and discard, along with encouragement and assistance from sensitive, caring family and friends if available.
  • Moving to senior living presents unknowns. I expected the organizers to be resources of information regarding tasks related to organizing, such as moving vans versus shipping companies. I requested names of tried and true firms. I also expected a recommended system, such as color coding marks on boxes, for shipping to different locations and ease of identification upon arrival. Disappointingly, for these functions, I did not find the organizers helpful.

In summary, if cost is not a factor, the professional organizer is worth the expense. However, in my opinion, a sensitive and physically fit family member, friend or community volunteer could assist with the sorting, discarding and organizing process.

Enjoying the Journey, Day by Day

Journeyers, next to be tackled are the kitchen, bathrooms and office area with files of paper nearby and stashed in closets. In addition, four boxes of photos remain to be sorted. Still, relocating to senior living on the West Coast is progressing. In the next installment of Joan’s Journey, I will report on the DIL process. Until then, enjoy the journey, day by day.


*For more tips on effective downsizing for senior living, see “How to Avoid Downsizing Drama” an Interview with Catherine Arendt, At Your Service Manager at ERA Living.

Written by Joan London, a freelance medical and social issues writer, who plans to move across country from Baltimore to Southern California to enjoy life at senior living and be close to her children and grandchildren.

Read Part 14 of Joan’s Journey: Packing and Moving 101

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