Thinking Out of the Box: Amy Roberts gets things moving for seniors and professionals.

by Lisa Gibalerio’s of the BelmontPatch

Amy Roberts is an enviable woman. She is beautiful on the inside and out, has two adorable kids, is married to a great guy, and lives in a lovely home. While all that is desirable, these are not the reasons I envy Amy. What impresses me most about Amy is that she has a job that absolutely makes her heart sing.

Having left a career I relished to raise my brood almost 15 years ago, I pay attention when women talk about the professional lives they successfully forged while nevertheless electing to have children. Amy is one of those lucky women who chose to stay in the field she loved – and now runs her own business. Her business, Out of the Box Moves, is both flexible and challenging, while also being amazingly rewarding and fulfilling. Let me tell you a little about Amy’s professional life.

Amy worked at an assisted-living residence for over 11 years, and then as a “senior move manager” for four years, before deciding to start her own company. While working with senior citizens and their families, she saw first-hand how much support families need when moving into a new – often much smaller – space. Family members are too busy with the demands of their own lives, jobs, and kids to fully help their parents with this stressful transition. Plus, adult children often live a great distance away and find it difficult to manage the details of a move remotely.

“I developed the mission for Out of the Box Moves with the core belief that seniors could be better served during a very emotional and complicated transition,” Amy told me. “By managing every identifiable aspect of the move – from packing boxes to unpacking boxes, to finding homes for the stuff that won’t be moving, to arranging for repairs, to buying rugs, furniture, and food for the new residence and setting that new residence up – I am handling the complicated details and therefore lessening the stress for my clients.”

Over the past four years, Amy’s core clientele has shifted: now she not only moves seniors, but she also organizes moves for professionals who have demanding careers and don’t have the time to prepare their house for sale, hire a mover, or pack/unpack their possessions.

“There’s a lot that goes into this transition,” Amy explained, “especially when a move involves downsizing.”

I asked Amy, who absolutely glows when she describes what she does, what she loved best about her job.

“It’s the personal touches I love the most. If a couple is having trouble donating a couch that is too big for their new space, I’ll cut and frame a section of the fabric from that couch so they’ll have a piece of it forever. I love listening to their life stories while we make decisions related to what will be moved and what will get donated. It brings me tremendous joy and satisfaction to set up a new kitchen or to purchase and hang the new curtains.”

As she told me about her clients and the services she offers during a move, it became clear that, in addition to organizing the myriad details involved in a move, Amy offers an invaluable service in the form of psycho-social support. It’s not that she merely listens to how a couple came to own a particular dining room table set, it’s that she cares about this piece of their history. She understands that part of accepting the notion to leave one residence and settle into another involves processing these unique stories.

The other piece of the job that Amy finds gratifying is identifying the appropriate places to donate those items that won’t be moving with her clients.

“Almost nothing left behind ends up in a dump. I make it my mission to find a home for everything.” Books, she explained, go to book collectors, while clothes and household items go to consignment shops. For the latter, she works with Boomerangs, a company owned and operated by the AIDS Action Committee of MA – they sell consignment articles to college students etc. and use the proceeds for HIV prevention and wellness services.

Amy is also committed to being “green.” She said she only uses flip-top recycled plastic boxes that can be packed and unpacked very quickly and can be used again and again in move after move.

As Amy and I ended our conversation, I expressed how amazing it was that she was able to carve out a niche that she loved and that worked with her family. She admitted that while the days are long, she can’t imagine doing anything else … professionally.

“There is such satisfaction that comes from helping people during this stressful time. I enjoy being part of this transition and transforming a dreaded experience into a happy one. It’s a very rewarding feeling for me and for our team.”