Interview with Senior Move specialist Amanda

Introducing Amanda Fyfe – Director of the Seniormove Partnership, Audley’s retirement homes downsizing specialists.

“Downsizing and decluttering is mostly perceived as an unwanted chore, which gets put off because it is more interesting to meet friends for lunch, play golf or read the newspaper.

In this period, it is an unprecedented opportunity to have the time to go through things slowly and with no pressure. Dig out the family albums and enjoy looking through them.“

– Amanda Fyfe

About me

I’m from an army family and have moved many times. I worked in Italy for years, owned a large logistics business and later started Senior Move in 2008. I'm married, with three amazing stepchildren, a grandchild, and our dog called Islay!

I made the decision to move my parents when they were elderly to live near to me and it was all-consuming. The move took place on top of the daily running of a business, a home, kids, dogs, etc and it was challenging. I heard about the senior move industry when I was in America and decided it was both needed and something I wanted to do.

My work experience

A little bit of everything! I started as a secretary, then became a tour guide in Italy. On return to the UK I worked for McGraw-Hill running their Italian desk for IT information, then the Middle East desk and finally the European desk, so have traveled a lot throughout working with governments and utilities providing them with information for their systems. I left to run a logistics company as their MD and opportunity arose to start my own business, then in 1997 I started a logistics company providing training material to the IT industry throughout Europe. In 2008 I discovered the senior move management industry in the States and went to train in America.

I then opened a company in Berkshire with a colleague providing local relocation support for senior living. In 2012 I sold the logistics company and then...

...I started The Senior Move Partnership with two colleagues so we could provide exactly the same level of service to clients regardless of where they live in the UK and where they were moving to.

We now have Move Managers up and down the country all providing a consistent quality service for people looking for retirement homes, but carried out with their own personal flair.

Why do you like working with Audley?

I love working with Audley, the ethics of the company match ours. The teams are professional which makes working with them easy, but most importantly they clearly care so much for each individual client and spend time understanding them in order to best help them.

Clients love their experience with Audley, so we know if we provide the relocation support they need, they are going to make a very successful transition into their new home and be very happy once they are there.

Also, all of the Audley retirement properties are so beautiful, it is a pleasure to work in such a lovely environment.

What do you do day to day? What do you love about your job?

My day is split between client work and running the business (with my two fabulous partners). The blend of the two roles means I have the best job in the world. My client work is amazing, we usually start working with them when they have just decided to move, and our final job is unpacking and settling them into their new home.

We get to know them very, very well. Every day my appointments are different, I could be helping someone downsize (very physical and can be challenging to support someone correctly when making sometimes hard decisions), doing drop-offs to charity shops or the tip, contacting auctioneers to arrange valuations, creating floor plans, doing consultations for new prospective clients or unpacking on move day.

I love every aspect of the role and every client and home is different, what a privilege for people to share their lives so intimately with us.

I take regular calls from clients who perhaps are worried about something, have received a letter about the move they don’t understand, are having a wobble or just want to share some good news, such as an offer on the home, exchange or a new great-grandchild.

The business side is all about ensuring our partners are fully supported, our developers are receiving the service they want and planning, training and recruiting new senior move managers (and endless spreadsheets) – I love it all.

Useful hints and tips for decluttering/organising your home during this time when you’re indoors

If you are just thinking about the possibility of downsizing to a retirement property sometime in the future, I would take this opportunity to really look at each room in your home and try to see it with fresh eyes. People who are viewing properties have a real problem with seeing past belongings in a home, it distracts them from looking at the actual room shapes and stops them from imagining their belongings in that room.

So, it would be a good time to think about all the ornaments and photographs you might have on display, you may not even look at them anymore - they are just there and could be sorted through.

The clearer the surfaces and the less personal items on view the easier it is for a prospective purchaser to really see how lovely your bricks and mortar are!

For decluttering, I would do one cupboard or drawer at a time, perhaps one a day. Prepare three bags or boxes, one for charity, one for the bin and one for family/selling. Take out everything in the drawer or cupboard before you start sorting. Lay everything out so you can see all of the items and then you can start to sort.

You will probably find things you forgot that you owned and if that’s the case you don’t need to keep it.

If you find something that prompts a memory, remember to share that memory with your partner or the next time you talk to a family member on the phone. Only put back onto the shelf or into the drawer those items you want to continue having in your life, otherwise decide its destination and if it’s for charity, the bin or family.

If the family then tell you that they don’t want the item, try to put it into another box and not back on the shelf.

Just do a small amount a day, it is amazing how satisfying it can be and how after a few days, you will have made great changes.

Read the top 10 tips for tackling downsizing, written by Senior Move last year. The principles are timeless.

How to use this time at home as a positive experience to get prepared ahead of moving

Downsizing and decluttering in retirement is mostly perceived as an unwanted chore, often put off because it is more interesting to meet friends for lunch, play golf or read the newspaper. In this period, it is an unprecedented opportunity to have the time to go through things slowly and with no pressure.

Dig out the family albums and enjoy looking through them. Talk to your family about the photographs, sometimes they have not seen old family albums for years so they may be interested in looking through them, once we are all meeting socially again.

If you are able to do some gardening, a lovely tidy garden helps to keep your house looking lovely and the fresh air just makes us all feel better, so with the slightly better weather here, spending some time in the garden can be good for you and for your home. It’s also an opportunity to have another look in the greenhouse or shed – is there anything in there you can sort out now and part with?

You will have time to sort your study out. Put aside 15 minutes a day to shred paperwork. The pile will reduce, I promise!

Lastly when you get up in the morning and go to your wardrobe to choose something to wear, start at one end and try on 5 things you haven’t worn for years. If you still like them, put them back in, if they don’t fit or you don’t like yourself in them anymore, put them in the charity bag.

If you do this every morning, your wardrobe will end up full of everything you love and enjoy wearing and you will feel fabulous for sorting it out. Retirement living can be the best time of your life!

Services Senior Move offers:

  • Relocation and downsizing consultations and advice
  • Furniture floor planning so you know that what you are taking will fit perfectly in your new home
  • Physical downsizing support with removing items to charity and for the tip
  • Organising auctioneers, clearance and disposal of items not going to the new home
  • Organisation of suppliers such as removals, clearance, cleaners
  • Change of address and notification of utilities
  • Unpacking support and preparing the new home to move in

If you are considering a move and would like to speak to Amanda and her team, please get in touch.