by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
From the March, 2019 issue
Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has sparked a global movement with its challenge to downsize, streamline, and simplify. But "not everyone can--or wants to--do that for themselves," says Sharon McRill.
With the Greatest Generation fading into history, and their Baby Boomer children retiring, "there's a huge wave of stuff that lots of people will be looking to get rid of, all at the same time--a tsunami of stuff," McRill says.
As owner of the Betty Brigade, she knows stuff. A former Borders employee, she founded what was then a one-woman concierge business in her basement sixteen years ago. It now has seven full-time employees, several part-timers, and is increasingly focused on the business of downsizing. "I have found that a lot of people don't realize how hard it is to downsize and move after living somewhere for twenty, thirty, or forty years," she says. "We become impacted in our homes, like a tooth is impacted."
McRill's new book, Downsizing the Silver Tsunami, offers advice on everything from signing a will to finding a good Realtor, selling and giving away possessions, staging a house for sale, and how to choose a new location.
As the Betty Brigade nears $1 million in annual sales, McRill hopes to celebrate a second milestone this year, when she begins opening locations around the country. To promote both the company and her book, McRill has hired a public relations firm and revamped her website. "It's time," she stresses, "for us to take our extensive contacts and service to the next level." For now, though, she's still thriftily based in her basement.
[Originally published in March, 2019.]
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