Simply Moving On with Kitty Krueger [UPDATED]Published 7:31am Thursday, May 10, 2012 Updated 8:02am Thursday, May 10, 2012
Her second vocation is a new service. Relying on her caring heart and organizational skills developed in her former career, combined with her passion for antiques, Kitty has formed the business, “Simply Moving On”. This is a “one call does it all service” as a brochure explains. Designed for people going through life-changing transitions, Krueger provides knowledge and care to arrange and perform estate sales in Perham.
Kitty explains, “About three years ago I was at the real estate office when a client came in to list their deceased parent’s home. As I spoke with this person he said his parents had died over 3 years before and he had simply locked up the house and not done a thing with it. He now wanted to get it ready for sale but it was full of stuff (everything from furniture to clothes to spices in the cupboards) and he didn’t know what to do with everything since he had no need or desire for any of it.” It was then that Kitty realized that there were more people in need, dealing with disposing items in order to prepare a house for sale. Kitty created “Simply Moving On” to be a service that would complement the real estate business.
Scenarios for clients include those planning a significant downsize to lifestyle and family members caring for houses full of belongings after a love one has died. These instances carry difficult emotions and sometimes logistic complications. Kitty remembers adult children from the East and West coasts returning to Perham after their parents had died. Neither had extensive time to devote to careful disposition of their parents belongings. With “Simply Moving On,” Krueger listens to the family’s needs and desires. She works to make the process helpful to the family in transition.
Downsizing also brings time consuming details and possibly overwhelming tasks. People may feel vulnerable in this situation. Kitty and her husband of over 40 years, John, provide assistance through the transition. John has been a Lutheran pastor for 35 years.
The referral process for “Simply Moving On” is the recommendations of those that have been served by Kitty. They appreciate her expertise and thoroughness. She is also a licensed realtor and works with Jen Hanson, the owner of Remax Home Team in Perham. Commenting on Kitty’s service, Jen said, ”It is amazing for customers. It makes moving so comfortable for families and extended families.”
Kitty relies on communication skills for the success of “Simply Moving On.” To begin the process, she includes a contract. The contract provides clear language for families and Kitty to understand the process of sorting the items, pricing and selling.
Families are required to remove all items that have been willed to or wanted by them. Only after this is finished does Kitty begin her sorting. If family members desire items after pricing is done, they then pay for the items.
When the home is ready for her, she sorts through items, disposing hazardous waste, arranges furniture, dishes, tools, sporting equipment, and collectibles in attractive displays. Then she begins the pricing process, which is the most time consuming part of the process. Kitty’s knowledge of antiques is vast. She has loved antiques since she was a teenager. If she is unfamiliar with an item, Kitty enlists the help of antique expert friends to find the appropriate price for an item or collection. For items that are not antiques, Kitty shops stores and flyers to see current list prices.
The estate sale is held over two days. Kitty believes that buyers tend to pay more for an item when it is in the original setting. She does all the sorting, arranging and selling. John is often at the cash register so Kitty can answer questions.
After the sale, Kitty sweeps the home, “broom clean” as the contract requires. Kitty’s payment is one third of the sales. When accounting for her time with the family and spent in sorting, arranging, pricing and selling, she earns around $1 an hour!
Why does she continue to do something that doesn’t bring financial profit?
The answer lies in Kitty’s lifelong service to people, her integrity to bring quality service to folks in vulnerable situations and her enjoyment of antiques.
“We offer this as a service not as a way to make a living. We charge enough to try and cover the cost of gas, prep, and disposal of leftover items, advertising and a small amount for our time. But essentially this is a way to help others who have needs that we can meet. Ordinarily we do not do “garage sales” for folks who are very capable of doing it themselves; rather, we try and assist folks who have a real need for our service,” says Kitty.
She jokes that she traded working with teenagers to working with octogenarians!
Confidentiality is part of the “Simply Moving On” contract. Former clients were not reached to comment on the “Simply Moving On” experience. Word of mouth about the service keeps Kitty extremely busy in the Perham area.
Kitty and John have two married daughters, Jen and Heidi, and four grandsons (Dirk, Riley, Caleb and Sean) that also keep them busy.