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What to do with all those collectibles

Created date

December 31st, 2008

THE ERICKSON TRIBUNE Like most people who relocate to a retirement community, Kathy Hutzel had to downsize her life before making the move. But the task ahead of her was daunting. "That s an understatement," Hutzel chuckled when asked if her old house, in Rutherford, N.J., had a lot of things she needed to get rid of. "I lived in all four floors. I had things in the basement, and of course in the attic it was all storage." Her new apartment home at Cedar Crest was smaller, which meant less space for unneeded belongings. "I think this is what everybody that moves here is concerned with," Hutzel says. "How do you downsize when you ve lived in a house for 53 years?" So when she was set to move to the Pompton Plains, N.J., community this past fall, she turned to two people for help: her daughter-in-law and Margaret Semezko, Cedar Crest s personal moving consultant. "Margaret came to the house and showed me the plan [of my new apartment home] on paper, and said, You can take this; you can t take that. Then of course, my family and I decided on what to keep and what to leave." Action plan The main concern for Hutzel, who taught piano for many years in her Rutherford home, was whether she d be able to fit her Steinway grand piano. "If I couldn t bring that I probably wouldn t have come," she says. Thankfully, there was room for the piano in her new home. But she also had a number of collectibles that needed new homes, as she couldn t take most of her existing furniture with her. "I have lovely things," she says, "like china and things from my parents. They re years and years old, but I treasure them." She also had small clocks and photos of her children and grandchildren that she wanted to display. Semezko teamed with Hutzel s family to figure out where to place some of these items. Hutzel bought a curio cabinet to hold some of the smaller items, and, on Semezko s suggestion, had shelves built in the hallway leading from the entrance to the living room. "When I did the floor plan for Kathy and we were trying to figure out where she could put more keepsakes, I mentioned installing display shelves in the hallway," Semezko says. "The hall is too narrow for a piece of furniture, but the narrow shelves work well." Cedar Crest s on-site design studio, Custom Interiors, installed the shelves and other custom items. Hutzel had penlights installed in the ceiling to shine down on the piano and some of her favorite paintings and other keepsakes. "I was very much surprised at how much customization can be done," she says of Custom Interiors work. "We made it as homey as possible. I ve had three people come in and say to me, Jeez, this place is you!