After one of her sons got married and another headed off to college, then-Maplewood resident Nancy Marshall realized it was time to consider downsizing. But the longtime antiques dealer and designer noted that even with her years of experience in estate sales, when it came time to pack decades worth of belongings, she was overwhelmed.
Once she emerged on the other side of the move in a townhome in Millburn, Marshall had a brainstorm: Why not put her expertise, knowledge, and first-hand experience to good use by offering a lifestyle concierge service that simplified her clients’ lives and allowed them to focus on the positive aspects of their lifestyle change?
“I realized there was a bigger need I could help fill — to help people downsize, organize, and stage — and get the most value for their home,” she explains. “Whatever their needs are, many are in a fragile state. It’s overwhelming. I serve as a ‘moving counselor.'”
Marshall’s new business, The Lifestyle Concierge, incorporates the multitude of skills she’s acquired throughout her career.
“People are at different stages of their lives. Some are getting a divorce, others have lost a spouse. There are lots of different reasons for downsizing. Then there’s the sandwich generation who want to move themselves and are helping their parents downsize at the same time. I can come in at step one and take it from there. Many times people throw up their hands and wonder, ‘Where do we begin? We have 40 years of things in this house?’ I help them allay their fears.”
Marshall points out that she’s invested the time and “done the research and homework” to find the trusted professionals who can assist at each point in the process.
In addition to her connections within the real estate and estate sale industries, Marshall can also assist clients who need luxury storage. Further, she says, she has reputable, reliable movers at the ready.
“I can handle all the things that you don’t want to think about at that point,” she says. “If something doesn’t sell at an estate sale, I work with top-notch auction houses who will come in within a day and buy out of the remaining pieces. I also have a list of charities for donations at the very end.”
Marshall is also willing to work with clients to help them stage their homes or, depending on the scope of the project, collaborate with other stagers.
“Having just gone through the entire process personally, including staging my home for sale, I have a genuine appreciation for the amount of stress a homeowner goes through,” she explains.
When she isn’t assisting clients with their impending moves, Marshall maintains her online antiques business at Ruby Lane.