The Downsizers

Meet Our Team

ELIZABETH HIRSH, OWNER AND DOWNSIZING MANAGER 

After helping several family members with challenging moves, Elizabeth launched The Downsizers, the Triangle’s leading move management team specializing in serving the senior community and individuals in transition.

Downsizing through a move can be mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. After speaking with senior communities and individuals going through a transition, Elizabeth realized the tremendous need for these services in the Triangle region and is now driven by a sincere desire to help. 


Thriving on building teams who exude compassion, efficiency, and positivity, Elizabeth enjoys serving the Triangle community.  Elizabeth and The Downsizers are members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce, National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC), Health Affairs Roundtable (HART). The Downsizers are also a Business Partner of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), an Orange County Living Wage Employer and are certified as a Dementia-Friendly Provider through the Orange County Department of Aging. 


Elizabeth is currently serving on The Board of Directors for (NAPO-NC) - the North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers and won "Business Woman of the Year" through the Carolina Chamber in 2020. 

JEN HARRIS, BUSINESS AND OPERATIONS MANAGER

After supporting her mother during the downsizing and relocation process from Florida to the Triangle area, Jen knows the physical and emotional challenges with such a transition. She organized, downsized, packed and got her settled in her new home. Jen found that many of her friends were supporting their parents in this same transition. They felt overwhelmed and alone. Jen joined The Downsizers to provide the senior community, individuals in transition, and their loved ones with a trusted and compassionate resource.

As a Certified Public Accountant and Holistic Health Coach, Jen has supported clients for years through a variety of financial and health challenges. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Virginia Tech, Jen’s ability to determine her clients needs, develop plans of action, and help clients implement these plans have made her well-suited as a Move Manager. Jen is also an active member of the Triangle area community, regularly volunteering through Activate Good delivering meals to homebound individuals, serving dinner at Raleigh homeless shelters, helping local schools, and supporting other local organizations. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage children.

Jen has transitioned from managing hundreds of projects as a Downsizing Manager to now, leading our Business and Operations Management for The Downsizers. 

“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens to us. Not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life.”

IBBY WOOTEN, DOWNSIZING MANAGER

Four years ago, Ibby and her husband made the decision to downsize. After all, the kids were grown and the house seemed so big. They both were caught off guard by how much stuff had accumulated over the years, and how attached they had become to their cherished items. While they managed to overcome the mountains of stuff and their sentimental bonds, the move was actually a much larger “life event” and an emotional journey. They realized that letting go was freeing, liberating and could lead to new experiences and opportunities. Ibby enjoys offering compassion, empathy and encouragement to others throughout the moving process.


When she joined The Downsizers, Ibby’s professional life became a tale of three unlikely, but well-traveled career paths converging into one. With an 11-year career as an Activities Director at a local continuing care retirement community, a 10-year career with an antiques and auction firm, and a career as an event planner, Ibby brings strong project management skills to her clients. With her background, Ibby understands how the senior living industry works and is very familiar with retirement communities in the Triangle Area. She loves to help individuals with decorating projects and understands what it takes to turn a house into a home.


Ibby enjoys spending time with her husband and family. Healthy cooking, photography, antiquing and spending time at the coast are her favorite past times. Ibby is also an avid Carolina fan. Go Heels!

JENNIFER CHRISTMAN, DOWNSIZING MANAGER


With a degree in Sociology and nearly 20 years in various managerial, entrepreneurial and customer service roles within the home décor, luxury retail and territory sales markets, Jen returned to North Carolina and sought to merge her professional and personal life experiences to effectively support others.  This followed 7 moves with her family throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States.  Throughout each move, Jen was amazed at the volume of childhood, adulthood and parenting keepsakes in addition to various family heirlooms she would come across while undergoing the packing and unpacking process.  Realizing the importance scaling back and decluttering plays in each successful move and life reset, while cherishing the importance of family effects in new design elements, Jen pursued her passion and achieved a Professional Certification in Home Staging (CSP).


Building relationships with clients, colleagues or new neighbors has always been a priority for Jen.  Her “eye for design”, display of empathy and drive for creating beautiful spaces to call home is the reason why Jen is called upon by realtors, family, friends and neighbors as they seek assistance in creating that proud space of their own! 

Family and faith are important to Jen.  


In her personal time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, their two daughters and three crazy pups!  As time allows, she likes to grab a novel off the shelf, travel, spend a day at the Carolina coast or shop for that new, unique accent piece for the home!

MELINDA KIZER – LEAD DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST AND TRAINER

Working with seniors in many different capacities for over 20 years, Melinda has experienced first-hand how difficult transitioning can be for a senior. She has assisted seniors and their families with the moving process for years. Melinda has the drive, compassion, and patience to work with seniors during what is often one of the most frightening and difficult times in their lives. She has been an advocate for seniors and enjoys helping them achieve their desired outcome. Working with seniors is truly Melinda’s passion. 


SARAH RHYNE, LEAD DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

After spending over 15 years working at various non-profits and receiving her Master’s Degree in Public Health, Sarah realized it was time for a change. Her last position, Disaster Program Manager at the American Red Cross, was quite literally a 24/7 job that held a lot of responsibility with very high stakes. She managed 100’s of volunteers within 6 counties in NC during calm times and various local disasters.


But in every job the two aspects that she enjoyed the most were: 1) organizing and 2) working one-on-one with clients. Early on in her career, she spent 5 years working at The Container Store, where she got a lot of experience helping people organize, in particular helping to design their closets, but it wasn’t until she decided to embrace her love of organization that she realized buying all the cute containers in the world will not solve the real problem. Decluttering first is the key to creating a calming and lasting organizational system. This is also true when it comes to downsizing.

Sarah’s organizational skills came in handy after her dad died and she had to help her mom downsize from her 6,000 sq ft childhood home to a 2,500 sq ft home. And now 15 years later, she is helping her mom in the beginning stages of another downsize. It is with this knowledge and experience that Sarah wanted to help other individuals and families who are overwhelmed and stressed by the downsizing process.

KRISTI LAMB – LEAD DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

After her mother-in-law passed away, Kristi was faced with the challenge of going through many years of precious possessions and memories that had been lovingly collected and inherited over several decades.  A short time later, she was faced with the same challenge when her mother had to leave her home due to Alzheimers.  It was overwhelming having to find homes and useful places for practical, valuable and sentimental possessions accumulated over a lifetime, all while finding the best home for her mother and taking care of her mother’s needs as well.


With time and patience, she was able to care for both estates and settle her mother into assisted living nearer to Kristi’s own home. A few years have passed and now Kristi is excited to meet Downsizers, where she can apply the skills and knowledge she learned from her own experiences to help make the same journey a bit easier for other families. Her genuine desire to help each client she works with is seen as she treats each family’s possessions with the same loving care she had for her own families.

KAREN WATT – DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

As a restless retired corporate project manager and baby-boomer who couldn’t sit home any longer, Karen completed organizational management training as her next career after downsizing and transitioning friends and family members.

Karen knows the importance to be able to make new surroundings uniquely represent what a home means and needs to be for each individual. She utilizes many ways to make a new home environment your own by working to help you establish and accept what needs are important for you to successfully move forward.

NINA MCPHAUL, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

Nina has always been the “go to” family member when anyone in her family needed to relocate. Being the eldest daughter in a family of seven children, Nina has both the organization and communication skills needed to help people “downsize” by eliminating the superfluous and retaining the important.


Nina and her husband, a local real estate appraiser, ran a “short-term furnished” rental business in Chapel Hill for over twenty years. She was “Air B&B” well before they were even dreamed of. Nina planned, designed and implemented the furnishings and room layouts while also being the Manager of over 14 rentals. Nina’s people skills and ability to listen to people and their wishes has proven to be one of her best attributes.


Nina has also created a boutique floral business out of her home where she nurtures her insatiable artistic eye. Nina’s typical response when asked “What do you do?” is “Whatever it takes!” and she means it!

BARBARA TURNER, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

After helping her parents downsize their home of 42 years and move into independent living facilities, Barbara realized the value of having someone respectfully and carefully assist seniors as they transition into new homes. A “people person” to her core, Barbara has a degree in Anthropology and loves working with people of all ages and backgrounds. In her previous life as a gym owner, personal trainer, and fitness and nutrition coach, Barbara spent years helping people solve problems and overcome significant personal challenges. After successfully selling her gym, Barbara is excited to be working with the Downsizers team, meeting new clients, and moving boxes instead of barbells. When she’s not working, Barbara enjoys reading, hiking and traveling with her husband, two daughters and their chocolate lab, Annie.

THERESA FLOOD, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

Theresa  is a student at North Carolina State University. She is currently working towards a B.S. degree in Ecological Engineering with a minor in Biology and will be working with The Downsizers throughout the summer, and part-time during the school year. She has worked as a Research Assistant for the past two years, and understands the value of organizational skills and precision in work. Theresa grew up as the oldest of six siblings in rural Ohio, and is well acquainted with cleaning up clutter and the joys of physical work as contributed to  the maintenance of her parents' farm. 

BRITTANY MANOCCHIO, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

Brittany has deep project management and operations experience with clinical research organizations and start-ups in the Triangle. She strongly believes in mission-driven companies and supports area groups working to improve people's lives across a variety of social justice, women's health and farm-to-table initiatives. With degrees in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of North Carolina, Brittany believes in looking at the whole person as the foundation for exceptional service and she continues to remain fascinated by the relationships between individuals and their communities. After helping her husband relocate his parents from Maine, she personally knows the impact that The Downsizers have across their clientele and is excited to add her professional skills to the team. 

Brittany is an avid traveler, cook and animal-lover and can be regularly seen walking her pit bull Mungo around town. A native of Wilmington, Brittany spends as much time as possible on her family's boat exploring the waterways and beaches around southern NC.

DEBBIE STACKHOUSE, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST

Debbie began working with The Downsizers after retirement from a 34-year career with the US Environmental Protection Agency. She was also instrumental in organizing the move of her mother as well as close friends into retirement communities and understands first hand the priority need to make new living spaces feel like “home”.

Her attention to even the smallest detail and ability to get the task done quickly makes her a huge asset to the success of the team. Debbie's organizational and management skills make even the seemingly most tedious job of the move process manageable for everyone involved.

AMY KLEISSLER, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST 

After raising four sons, downsizing her home, and moving her own family members to assisted living, Amy has earned her stripes as the family organizer and caretaker. With her attention to detail, experience with complex projects and love for organizing, she has excelled in a variety in teaching, management, retail, and construction environments. 

After focusing the last several years as care partner for her husband with Parkinson’s Disease, Amy is excited to share her unique experience with clients. Her goal is to help clients feel supported as they move through challenging transitions and enable them to create a comforting home and community wherever they lay their head. When not reading or updating her planner, Amy loves to spend her time hiking, walking her bulldogs, and laughing with her large extended family on the beach or around the fire.

Amy was accepted into the Hope Renovations 10-Week Women's Trades Training Program and upon completion, we will be happy to announce that we have our very own "Downsizers Handywoman." Her training will include the foundations of  electrical, plumbing, carpentry, painting/finishing, and HVAC.  Amy will be working quite a bit with our clients who are focusing on Aging in Place as they consider the modifications they may need to make to their home or as they prepare for listing. 

And this is how our team describes our culture . . .