No Stranger to Difficult Times

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Guest Blogger Gina Siegel, Owner of Caring Transitions of Cincinnati East.  

My dad was a wise and peaceful man. Born in 1922, he was no stranger to difficult times, and often told me that it would take a common enemy to bring the world together. Back then, my young mind went to aliens – I now see a different form of this enemy: COVID-19.

Gina and Otto

It has been fascinating to watch how our country and others have united under this threat, and I’m proud of our nation and its leaders for holding firm to inconvenient, yet essential mandates. We’re not building tanks on consumer vehicle platforms or making parachutes in lieu of women’s nylon stockings this time – our enemy is much more microscopic these days. We’re seeing Rum manufacturers in Puerto Rico, skincare companies in Germany, and distilleries in Pennsylvania shift gears (literally) to produce hand-sanitizers and disinfectants (New York Times); amusement parks have become ground zero for the National Guard relief efforts; and trendy restaurants are now delivering food to those most compromised. Companies are doing what they can with what they have to make a difference.

Caring Transitions™ owners across the country are repackaging the value of our breadth of services as well, demonstrating how we can authentically continue to come alongside families and older adults to help them through overwhelming situations, both pre- and post-virus. Within tight restraints, we have joined local relief efforts and partnered with other senior services to offer help to hospitals, senior communities, and individuals. We are donating blood, sewing and delivering masks to individuals and organizations in need, and writing notes of encouragement to our current and past customers who we helped transition to new homes and communities.

Until we emerge from the social distancing mandates, there are things that you can do within the walls of your own home and beyond to make a difference in your life and in your community. Here are some ideas to use this forced “social pause” to meaningfully help yourself and your family:

  1. Start having conversations.
    I feel like I was well prepared for having children. There’s a club of men and women who have gone before me who told me what it would look and feel like. Whether solicited or not, there was no shortage of parenting advice to be had. Conversely, managing the older years leaves many of us at a loss of what to do and how to do it. Reduce the stress of a sudden unfortunate incident and start by having conversations with your parents or your children now.

  2. Tackle one box (or ten)!
    Inhale, count to three, and exhale—now you’re ready. Commit to going through just one of the boxes that are taking up prime real estate in your basement/attic/storage unit. Chances are you’ll get on a roll and do more, but commit to at least one now. No one said sheltering in place couldn’t be productive! This is a great time to peek into the unopened boxes you’ve moved from one home to another or address the family treasures you agreed to temporarily store 10 years ago. Use Marie Kondo’s mantra, “if it sparks joy”, to decide what to keep. Get one bag for trash and one for donations, mix up a “Quarantini” that suits your mood, call it a party and start sorting! Unsure if an item has sale value? Caring Transitions can help make an assessment via phone, or in person as soon as the mandates are lifted.

  3. Dive back in!
    While it might feel counterintuitive, it will be important for all of us, as we’re able, to continue pouring into our economy through contributions, saving/investing, and re-engaging with both large and small businesses. If you’ve ever been white water rafting, you’ve been instructed to dig in and paddle through rapids, which seems, and definitely feels illogical because your instincts are telling you to hang on for dear life! Simply put, we’ll all be better off if we act out of confidence and not out of fear.

  4. Retail vs. Resellers
    The economy that evolves from COVID-19 will likely redirect many consumers from purchasing “new” to purchasing “pre-owned.” Resellers will be able to bridge the gap for families in need of furniture and home items who find themselves without the financial resources to buy retail.

  5. The Power of Online Auctions
    One trend that has experienced incredible growth, are online auctions. If you’ve been shy about the resale market, this is a great time to consider online auctions to purchase new, vintage, antique, and gently used items. You’ll find an array of options from fine art, jewelry, and high-quality furniture, to cast iron skillets, exercise equipment, and pool tables.

    Why you should consider (or reconsider) online auctions for shopping and liquidation:

    Participation is simple. Find an auction, type in what you are looking for and read through the search results. Good online auctions feature quick but thorough descriptions, supported with enough photos that allow you to make an informed choice.

    Shop local auctions or expand your search parameters to see what items are in markets near and far. Pay attention to shipping charges when shopping outside your local zip codes.

    Online auctions are mobile. You can participate in auctions at home using your computer, or on the go with your cell phone.

  6. The Difference, Caring Transitions’ solution for online auctions, is a great place to start. With over 200 offices nationwide, we’re able to offer high-quality items at fair and enticing prices. What sets us apart:

    Caring Transitions teams are all background-checked, and carry the highest amount of insurance, including Workers Comp, standard liability, and professional liability, in the industry.

    Caring Transitions teams can work seamlessly and efficiently in vacant or occupied homes and can provide a multitude of services beyond online auctions themselves.

    Caring Transitions teams can work seamlessly and efficiently in vacant or occupied homes and can provide a multitude of services beyond online auctions themselves.

    CTBIDS fulfills all current social distancing mandates. Our owners have been immersed in proper COVID-19 precautionary procedures and have incorporated strict policies to protect both our client families (often the most compromised) and our team members.

    We can prepare for online auctions as soon as the shelter-in-place mandates lift and hold off on the actual the sale until our clients are ready and comfortable to move forward.

    Most offices offer shipping across the country, including Hawaii and Alaska; and our auction pick-ups are always controlled and managed appropriately and thoughtfully – especially now.

    If family members live in different cities and states, we can videotape each room, cabinet, drawer and closet contents, and email room vignettes to each family member to allow them to “shop the house” from their own homes before beginning to prepare for a sale. When the family has agreed to the disbursement, we can pack and ship all items to each family member (from important documents and drink coasters, to fragile heirlooms and large furniture pieces), and then begin the process of shooting pictures and loading items online for your sale.

    This is a great time to clear out your storage units! We can help you sort and organize items efficiently into sell, donate, or discard categories, and host an online auction right from your storage facility. If needed, we can even return the lock & keys to the storage company and forward all of the appropriate documents to you.

    The best reason to register for CTBIDS is in knowing that your purchases support families and individuals in transition. Many of our clients are able to pay for their moves with their auction profits, so if you needed another good reason to purchase that special item on your list, know that every dollar makes a difference to a family in transition.

The collective mood has been somber at times, however we’re a nation of over-comers. It’s now our time to show the world that we will emerge from this crisis with respect for the greater good and a commitment to be better than before. Look around and you’ll find heartwarming examples of new life emerging from ashes, which is what I fully expect we will see at the end of this COVID-19 odyssey. Bob Marley put it best in my opinion when he said, “you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice. - Bob Marley


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