Is There a Second Life for Formal Frocks?

And so they wait.  Oh so carefully boxed up, tucked up and shielded from light.  When was the last time your vintage gowns, tuxedo – or wedding dress saw the light of day?

Like many of us, you’ve stored them for safe keeping expecting that someday you will pass them on to someone who will cherish them as much as you: a daughter, daughter-in-law or favourite niece.  But now the move date is fast approaching and you break out in a sweat.  What to do with those lovely treasures now that you are downsizing?  Friends and family you had counted on to enjoy the gifts have all politely declined.  The frocks don’t fit, may not appeal to current fashion sensibilities or they simply have no opportunity to wear them.  Whatever the reason, you now have an unexpected challenge. 

As Senior Move Managers, this is a situation that we are all too familiar with.  Like other treasures of by-gone eras, aging formal wear is richly imbued with memory but has limited market appeal.  Before you cry over crimped crinoline though, here are suggestions for re-use or sale that might provide some relief:

Consignment Stores: Seek out stores that specialize in formal wear and have strong brand awareness. If you do not live in a region with such a store and you have items that are more modern or classic in nature, consider exploring online options such as the Smart Bride Boutique.  SBB makes it easy and affordable to expand your exposure, as they do not charge commission.

Donation:  There are so many wonderful options available here.  You will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing your gift is delighting someone who could not otherwise afford such a luxury.  A few in the Ontario market:

Forever Loved Angel Gowns is devoted to transforming wedding gowns into miniature angel frocks for infants born too early or still born.  Volunteer seamstresses deconstruct each wedding gown and give it new life as a free gift to parents who are dealing with the loss of an infant.

Theatrical Groups exist in most communities, colleges and universities.  Many of them rely upon donated items such as gowns and tuxedos to stock their wardrobes. 

Choral Groups are also a donation destination for tuxedos.  Members of such groups look for for classic and affordable suits to help them present a polished and professional image.

Creative Recycling:  Consider the many ways that fabric from treasured items can be repurposed to allow you to enjoy it in a new way.  A talented seamstress can transform your treasure into a lovely quilt, christening gown, tablecloth or piece of fabric art. 

Whatever solution you settle on, take heart in knowing that you are freeing up storage space as part of your commitment to a new chapter in your life.  The many memories associated with the garments don’t consume space, and there is no limit on the amount of times you can replay them!

Lessons Learned From the SMM Trenches in 2015

If year-end is a time for reflection, then I have more than the usual amount to reflect on.

SAGE Relocation Services was launched in 2015 with a modest goal of providing Senior Move Management (SMM) services to the communities on the eastern fringes of Toronto.  As a business focused on seniors, we accepted and embraced the fact that the first year would be full of new learning and unexpected lessons.  What we didn’t anticipate was the strong degree of support and interest from our communities.

We are grateful! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our clients for entrusting us with their projects.  We appreciate that we became part of your lives at a critical juncture.  Through working with each of you, we learned about each of your unique lives, the characteristics of your generation and the common challenges faced by seniors in transition.  It was a year full of joy and too many ‘AHA’ moments to recount.  

As a small ‘Thank You’ to our clients we’d like to impart a few ‘Sage” lessons learned that are worth sharing.

1.    YOUR home is NOT the messiest, most disorganized, overstuffed or cluttered house known-to-man.  Trust us when we say that we have seen worse - and have been able to create calm order out of seemingly insurmountable chaos.  Our message for new clients is this. “Feel free to invite us into your mess.”  Our job is to bring order to your world so that you can move on.

2.    The word ‘Collecting’ is a verb for a reason.  We have met avid collectors of fascinating artifacts of all description.  While each collection is impressive, the sheer number of items becomes a burden to an owner interested in downsizing.  Our message is this.  “There are creative ways to retain the joy and satisfaction of a collection – while letting go of many of the physical items.” Talk to us to find out how.

3.    Downsizing does not always equal less. It many cases, it equals more! How is this possible you may wonder?  It has been our experience that the clients we have downsized, emerge with a renewed sense of calm, energy and increased happiness.  They tell us this is due to their decision to let go of the previous chapter of life and move forward with less ‘stuff’ and more ‘purpose’.  Downsizing means fewer items to maintain, less housing-related costs, less space to clean and less home maintenance.  Inevitably, our clients state that they should have done it sooner.

These were just 3 of the many lessons we learned.  You are welcome to apply them to your own life.  Talk to us and we’ll be glad to tell you more.

In the meantime, SAGE would like to acknowledge and thank all our clients.  You made 2015 more joyful and meaningful than we could have imagined.  We move forward into 2016 with eager anticipation for the new clients, friends and experiences that lie ahead.