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. In 2020, Jen  transitioned from managing hundreds of projects as a Downsizing Manager to now, leading our Business and Operations Management for The Downsizers. 

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, two adult children and Sunny (her energetic Labrador retriever). Jen believes that “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!

KELLIE CROSS, DOWNSIZING MANAGER

After 26 years in elementary education and raising two children, Kellie is now following her passion in move management, staging, interior design and professional home organizing. Kellie is no stranger to helping people organize their belongings and prepare for major relocations. She has helped her own parents relocate from Vermont to Florida just last year and assisted her two adult children several times as well. 
 
As a former educator, Kellie is a natural planner. She thrives on creating systems to help things move along effectively and efficiently. Kellie loves working with people. She is committed to providing services that help others, especially during 
challenging times. Kellie also has quite the eye for design. Frequently her friends and family have requested her help in setting up and designing their houses so that they truly feel like home. 

During her free time, Kellie enjoys outdoor adventures, reading, yoga, cooking and  community volunteering. Most of all, Kellie enjoys spending time with her family which includes – her husband, her son, her daughter, and her sweet pug puppy named Skye.  


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!

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.

ANGELA MCGINN, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST 

Angela joins The Downsizers team after 16+ years of managing the home based alternative education of her three children while simultaneously sourcing and reselling vintage goods and collectibles online. During those years she came to understand the value of practical home organization skills, developed an appreciation for schedule management, satisfied her boundless curiosity while perfecting her online researching skills, and enjoyed helping others make valuable connections with local resources. She also learned to determine the monetary value of vintage items and how to pack them to ship around the world for safe arrival, resulting in repetitive final customer approval. 


Angela also has experience working for an estate sale company and a vintage clothing store.  She has always had a passion for home décor and enjoys creating comfortable areas in her home that tell stories about the people in it. She likes playing with both color and shape and, in recent years, took this interest to the digital landscape by learning the art of surface pattern design to create seamless repeating digital patterns that can be used for manufacturing products like wallpaper, fabric, or wrapping paper.


Her goals are to efficiently assist clients in all aspects of their transition and create positive moments throughout the process.  Angela loves to spend time outdoors with her family and can often be found on long hikes with their pit bull mix, Finley.


CATHY MEERBERGEN, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST 

A lifelong series of moves, both international and domestic, has landed Cathy in the Triangle. This, with professional 
experience in sales and social work and leadership experience in a variety of volunteer capacities have made a perfect 
match for The Downsizers. She is gratified to work with a team of caring people helping clients clear beautiful paths for 
new experiences ahead. 

When not on the job, she enjoys gardening, good food, interior design and the performing arts. Wife and mother of two 
adult children, she is proud of her dual Belgo- American nationality and will happily discuss her second home with 
anyone who asks. 

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.  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 she contributed to  the maintenance of her parents' farm. Theresa  works with The Downsizers throughout the summer, and part-time during the school year. 

ASHLYN HIRSH, DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER


After studying digital marketing at North Carolina State University and being a Downsizing Specialist for several years, Ashlyn has developed a holistic view of The Downsizers brand and is confident in forming beautiful content for the business and creating a greater online presence. She looks forward to highlighting the many amazing client and project stories that The Downsizers are so excited to share! 

Ashlyn is in her junior year at NC State and is pursuing a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Ashlyn is a huge history-buff and loves learning about the history of people's treasures and their stories about the past, which is a common occurrence on projects. Ashlyn also loves fashion, folk music, and spending time with her family and friends. 

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