Helping people let go of things to focus on a new season of life is what Blissworks is all about.
Wendy Wolff launched Blissworks, Beautiful Living in Simplified Spaces, in 2019. The company merges the 15 years she spent working as a Minneapolis Public School counselor with her personal transition into a minimalist.
“Most of my clients are age 55+ who are moving from a single family home where maybe they raised kids and are ready to live in a smaller space where they hope to retire and/or reduce their responsibilities of maintaining a home,” observed Wolff, who lived in South Minneapolis for 20 years and recently moved to Northeast Minneapolis. “Some of my clients are busy professionals who are moving due to a work shift or promotion and do not have time to organize their new space, but most of my clients are just looking for a smaller space that allows them to focus their energy on a new season of life.”
What exactly do you do for your clients?
What I do is help people who are in the midst of a move –particularly those who are downsizing into a smaller living space – decide what they want to take with them into their new space and what they want to let go of to create a living space that is “simply beautiful.”
Realtors will tell you sellers will need to remove about 60% of the furniture and decor in their home to stage it effectively to sell quickly. I help my clients “stage” their home only with what they want to move with them.
We create the simplified and beautiful space they want in their new home as we stage the home they are selling.
By the time the moving trucks arrive, the decisions have been made and nothing goes into the new home unless it was intentionally invited.
My background in counseling has been particularly useful as many of my clients have emotional attachments to things that no longer serve them. Things they used to do that they no longer can do. Things that were connected to raising children or managing a family home. Things connected to a deceased partner. Lots of emotion, loss, grief and sometimes even anger that life did not play out the way they had expected or imagined.
For instance, one of my clients used to love sewing. She sewed clothes for her children and her grandchildren. She had five sewing machines. But she no longer sewed due to arthritis. Every time she looked at her sewing machines, she grieved. She was angry. She became bitter that this gift she used to have was no longer accessible to her because of the way her body had aged.
It was time to let go of the sewing machines, and find another way to create beautiful things for the people she loved.
I walk with my clients through these decisions, I ask hard questions, I imagine their new space with them, and I take care of the logistics of donating, gifting and throwing things that no longer serve a purpose.
I love hearing my clients’ stories and learning about their past and present as we envision their future.
How do you help downsize and declutter?
I truly believe our living space impacts our mental and emotional wellbeing. I help my clients design their space with intention. The most significant way I help my clients who are downsizing, moving or just decluttering their space is by asking the right questions.
What do you love? What do you need? What do you want your space to communicate to others? What are your favorite spaces in your current home? How can we create more of that in your new home? What do you need more of? What do you want less of? What is MOST important to you as you move into this new season of life? What things seem to keep you stuck in old patterns?
How does your work help people as they move through different phases of life?
I believe that consumerism in our society has led many of us to focus more on quantity of what we have verses quality and meaning and function. Some of the things we hold in our space actually keep us from being the people we want to be in the present. Helping people make these critical decisions with compassion and asking the right questions to help them let go of what is no longer necessary or life giving is what motivates me to do the work I love.
What tips do you offer folks?
The tips I offer folks really vary according to the needs of my client. The two questions I ask as we go through their spaces are: Is it essential? Do you love it?
Some of my clients are reducing their square footage by 70% and they just need to get rid of things. Others just desire a change so it’s as easy as rearranging furniture to utilize their space more efficiently and accentuate the natural beauty of their home.
How do you help folks who need to clean out a parent’s home?
Many of my clients are helping their aging parents move. I serve as a mediator, helping families make the hard decisions that are often involved in a move, particularly when people are downsizing.
Sometimes family members disagree about what is essential or necessary so I facilitate healthy conversations to move them through their decision making process. I listen to the opinions of everyone involved, and create a plan that respects and honors everyone. As my clients wrestle with these questions, we create a moving plan that allows them to design a living space they love.
The greatest reward is when my client simplifies and beautifies their home to sell quickly, and keeps just the right things to create a new home they love with the things that bring them joy in their current season of life.