My Biz: Interior designer deals with downsizing

Cedar Rapids helps ease moving woes for seniors

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When interior designer Christine Smart worked at Ethan Allen a few years ago, she noticed customers — especially seniors — often were looking for the same thing: less.

“People would come in and be looking for smaller tables because they were moving, and they were just overwhelmed,” Smart said.

From that idea, Smart launched her own business in 2008, Designing Moves. Her services include everything from deciding what to take with you during a move — and what will fit in the new space, complete with a floor plan — to packing, overseeing the move and unpacking.

“We come right along side our client as they move making sure that they are in control of all the decisions,” she said.

Once clients have decided what they are keeping and which valuable items should be passed on to family members, Smart and her team of six employees work to find the appropriate resource for dispersing other items — whether selling them to help offset the cost of the move or donating them to various not-for-profit organizations.

“It’s not just one source for each move. We might work with 10 sources,” Smart noted.

Designing Moves was the first National Association of Senior Move Manager-affiliated company in the Cedar Rapids-Marion area, Smart said.

“I come from an entrepreneurial family,” she recalled. “My dad was a tractor salesman in central Iowa, my mom started her own preschool and her dad owned his own welding shop.”

Managing moves involves a variety of tasks on any given day, Smart said. She’s typically dealing with phone calls and emails, researching reliable items or sources for clients, and meeting with potential customers. Throw planning ahead and managing growth of the business into the mix and it makes for a very busy workload.

And moving itself is a tricky job.

“Even the most well-planned move can be derailed at the drop of a hat,” Smart said. “Something changes, another piece of furniture wants to be moved, health issues arise, closing dates change, and families change their minds on what they want.

“But, we’ve learned to be flexible, have back up plans and make adjustments.”

  • Owner: Christine Smart
  • Company: Designing Moves
  • Address: 1132 First St. NW, Suite A, Cedar Rapids
  • Phone: (319) 377-6891
  • Website:

Know a manager or owner whose company has been in business for at least a year and would be ideal to feature in “My Biz”? Contact business editor Michael Chevy Castranova at

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