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Helping Loved Ones with Downsizing by Using a Professional Organizer

We are very fortunate to have the services of a fantasic professional organizer right in our own town! We  recently interviewed our local professional organizer Diana Laflamme with Refresh Your Space Organizing to learn more about how she helps clients and what the process can look like.


Helping a parent downsize for a move can be complicated. Where you see a houseful of stuff to sort and toss, your parent is apt to see treasures, essentials, and a lifetime of memories. Moving an older relative from their family home to a new – and usually smaller - residence is labor intensive for you and emotionally disruptive for them. Tempting though it may be, it’s not a good idea to surprise a family member by sorting through their stuff when they’re not around. If you try to make an executive decision about their belongings, chances are, you’re headed for a run-in with them or others in your family. This is where hiring a professional organizer can be helpful.


Diana Laflamme is Ladysmith’s local Professional Organizer. A newcomer to the area, she and her husband retired to the island 3 years ago. Organizing is in her nature, and she’s always been one to help family and friends turn messy clutter into an organized space. After a few years of retirement, Diana found she was wanting more to do with her time, and through a suggestion of her husband, she joined the Professional Organizers in Canada and turned her passion into a new career.


The Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) is the national association that represents professional organizers across the country. The POC provides supportive environment for members to share ideas, network and exchange referrals. The website also offers an online directory to help you research and connect with professional organizer and the FAQ section answers common questions people have about getting organized and professional organizers. In addition, the POC provides training programs for their members, hosts an annual conference and provides media releases to educate the public. You can rest assured that when you select a POC member to help yourself or your loved one, you know that this person is committed to professional excellence and adheres to a strict code of ethics.


Diana works with all types of people in various stages of needing help with organization. She has a special place in her heart for working with seniors, and takes the time to help them let go of belongings they may have held on to for years, and are needing to let go of in order to downsize. She says her favorite part of working with her senior client’s is learning their history and hearing their stories. Her compassion balanced with a firmness to the task at hand ensures her senior client’s will be heard, respected and still be able to move towards their organizational goal.


Bringing in a third party such as Diana can relieve the stress off the family. Often when trying to assist aging parent’s to downsize, a family member may be unable to help due to various reasons such as work schedule, location or family dynamics. Diana finds that every organizing situation is unique, but one thing they all have in common is the most challenging part and that is getting started. She will first come, meet the client, assess their situation and then determine a plan from there and what the service will cost. Diana likes to make it a fun and collaborative process. She will also assist clients in honoring their emotional attachment to belongings and help them come up with a way of letting go of the objects. She says seeing her client’s demeanor change through the process is very rewarding, from feeling burdened by all the ‘stuff’ that has gotten out of control to feeling free and at peace in their space. She finds it very rewarding seeing her client’s living in a healthier place.


If your loved one simply has too much stuff for a smaller space, broaching the topic of downsizing can be a scary thought. You might be wondering, how can I ask Mom and Dad to give up so many mementos they obviously cherish, and risk upsetting them? Indeed, the conversation – and the culling process itself – can be quite distressing. Enlisting trusted friends and family to help your loved one clear their clutter can be an enormous help. Having others around to share memories with can make the process less painful, for one thing. It can also make it less overwhelming and time-consuming – sometimes seniors are daunted by the size of the task, or feel physically incapable. Sometimes, though, the situation is so dire that professional help is warranted. Consider the services of a professional organizer such as Diana to help with the process and ease everyone’s stress.


Thank you again Diana for meeting with us and we look forward to learning more organization tips from you! 

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