Welcome To Dawn Falcone Lifestyles
The leader in transforming your home into a personal paradise.

 

Are you tired of searching for your misplaced belongings? Feeling overwhelmed by your clutter?

• Clearing clutter will give you room to breathe, not only in your home but in your mind as well.

 

Does the look of your space feel unfinished or incomplete? Are you ready to redecorate but don’t know where to start?

• Your home can be become a true reflection of you, your spirit and all you’re trying to achieve.

 

 

Personal Organization and Interior Design Go Hand In Hand


Dawn Falcone’s knows that a clutter-free and beautiful environment have a huge impact on many different areas of your life and well-being. She has pledged to work with each of her clients to get organized once and for all, clearing clutter while teaching the skills required to maintain this newfound clarity on their own.

Focusing on a home’s aesthetics, and digging deep to find the true spirit and personality you want your home to convey, Dawn can repurpose or reuse much of what you already own, or will start anew based on your preference. Either way, you can be certain the result will be a space that’s not only clear of clutter, but a true reflection of the very best you.

 

 

How do you know if you are in need of Dawn Falcone Lifestyles? Can you relate to any of these home makeover situations?


• You’re busy New Yorker whose laundry list of responsibilities has forced the upkeep of your home to take a back seat. You’re tired of walking into clutter after a long workday, but don’t know where to start. You need a professional organizer to work with you through the process.

 

• Your career is on the rise and you finally have time and finances to think about a home makeover. You have a good idea of what you’d like to accomplish but need an expert’s eye and design advice to make it a reality.

 

• You are rocking! You just purchased a new space or are renovating your current one. You’re ready to immediately get after it. You want organizational systems put into place that are easy to maintain. You also need expert design help to assist in choosing paint colors, art, accessories, furniture and anything else that will make your new place special.

 

 

Now’s the time to get your home & life on track


There’s no time like the present. Contact Dawn and see how she can best help you to achieve the look, feel and function you want in your home and need in your life. Set up an “Organize Your Home, Decorate Your Life” assessment in order to get to the heart of what’s really important to you. Or, check out her blog for regular interior design and professional organization tips and inspiration. At the end of the day, you never know what will motivate you to make the changes you’ve been longing for.

You deserve the best, not only in the future but right now!



Summer Boredom Busters

Have any of you heard this yet?

“Mommy, I’m bored.”

I decided that this year I’m going to come up with a chart to help cure any summer boredom blues that may come our way. We’ve got trips planned, playdates scheduled and a few weeks for Monkey Boy at a fabulous day camp, but we all know that in between the word BORED will rear its ugly head.

               Hi-yay! I’m karate chopping the big B word before it can make an appearance.

I found some free downloadable schedules online and Monkey Boy and I are in the process of filling it in with lots of fun options.

Here’s the thing – this is not just for my readers with kids. The summer flies by for everyone so why not list all the fab things you want to do or explore alone or with friends? It’s a great way to have weekend or evening options right at your fingertips.

 http://mamasmiles.com/blog/media/pages/summer-activity-chart-for-kids.pdf

http://www.fivelittlechefs.com/2013/05/summer-calendar.html

Some of the options require him to occupy himself so I can get work done. We’ve added things like read a book and write a sentence about your favorite part, build a Lego house, make paper airplanes, Rainbow loom, write numbers on chalkboard 1-100, build a sheet fort, PBS.org fun games & create racecar or train out of boxes.

There’s family/group options as well, like movie & picnic in the park, Lincoln Center’s Mid Summer Night Swing, backyard BBQ with friends, nature scavenger hunt, beach day, play baseball, sprinkler party, homemade playdough, write and put on a play, Brooklyn Explore Day, etc.

I’m pretty sure we’ll have enough activities to keep Monkey Boy occupied and create fun family memories too.

Oh yes, mission accomplished!


Cures For Too Much

I’m wrapping up my three-part series today with Too Much.

I will fully admit that I had no idea this was going to turn into a series. I was simply writing about the three things I hear most often from clients; Too Much, Overwhelmed, Not Enough. The words flowed and viola! It’s a blog post with sequels.

I must thank all of my readers who sent me encouraging emails, FB messages and my neighbor for a shout out on the street no less. It really seemed to strike a chord with a lot of you and that’s a good thing.

Before we dive into our third and final installment remember you can review all the tips to help ease Overwhelm here and tackle the Not Enough blues here.

When my clients mention Too Much what exactly are they referring to? I wish it was that old Styx song (Too Much Time On My Hands) but unfortunately it’s all about stuff.

Everywhere we turn it seems we’re bombarded by an over abundance of stuff/things and we feel pressure to accumulate even more of it. I’m not talking about hoarding here. That’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed by a team of specialized organizers and health professionals. I mean the “I had no idea I had so many of these” stuff.

We are consumers here in the USA. It’s true. We can’t turn down bargains or BOGO offers. 99 cent stores are everywhere. Dollar bins are placed at store entryways to entice us the minute we walk in.

We’ve been told to show our patriotism by going shopping. We shop when we’re happy, sad and bored. We revenge shop and practice retail therapy. Shopping is a major hobby for some. There are now TV shows all about shopping and bargain hunting.

And let’s not forget another driving force behind our buying obsession….marketing geniuses. They make us feel ugly, fat, old and unworthy but “If you just buy this one product all of your dreams will come true and men will fall at your feet.”


What does all of this mean for you?
Well for one thing, an accumulation of too much stuff becomes clutter and clutter is draining. It’s draining your bank account and your energy. It’s a time waster and makes it difficult to get things done. It adds to your daily frustrations which raises your stress levels. Then you become frazzled and lose patience with everyone in your household including yourself.

Get off the merry-go-round once and for all!!!


Things You Can Do To Cut The Clutter
  • Ask Yourself These Two Questions:  

1. How do I want this space to look and function? You may want a serene spa-like bedroom so let that be your guide as you work through that room. Post some inspiration pictures to serve as a motivator.

2. What do  I want my life to look/be like? Maybe you long to entertain more in your home but stuff is stacked on the dining table. This would then be the room to start in.

  • Schedule It – Are you serious about getting rid of the clutter? Then mark blocks of time to sort/purge on your calendar. Treat it just like any other important appointment in your life.
  • Baby Steps I say this all the time – start small. You will get overwhelmed if you look at tackling your entire house. Begin with a shelf or a drawer and work your way up from there. Shut off the TV, computer, your phone and focus your energy to avoid distractions. As you move through the process you’ll get in a groove.
  • Dump Duplicates, Anything Missing Pieces or Broken  – This is a simple rule. Let go of broken electronics, toys missing parts, etc. Many of us have good intentions of fixing some of our belongings but never truly get around to it.
  • Keep Moving – It’s important to move through your belongings quickly in the sort/purge stage. If you stop and read cards, notes or look at baby pictures of your kids you’ll get side tracked. Put the sentimental stuff aside for when you have more time to reminisce.
  • Give Everything A Home – I do mean everything. A place for your keys, phone, office supplies & so on. This is the goal you are moving towards. If everything has a specific home, you will not lose stuff again or waste time looking for things. Which means more time for you!

Stop Too Much Stuff From Creeping Back In 

  • One In One Out Rule - Once you’ve tackled an area remember the only way to keep the clutter from coming back to get rid something old whenever you bring in something new. Yup ladies, even shoes.
  • Purge Before Big Gift Giving Holidays - There are a couple of times during the year that an abundance of new gifts come in at one time like birthdays and Christmas. If you and your family do a purge of clothing & toys before, you’ll have space for those things.
  • Say No to Freebies – Sure you can get a free T-shirt or coffee mug for your donation but do you really need it? Say no and do not bring unneeded things into your house from the start.
  • Make Decisions And Take Action Right Away  – This is especially true with mail/paper. Instead of piling immediately toss/recycle all junk mail, old magazines and newspapers. In fact, paper is such an issue for many that it’s a good idea to sign up for paperless billing and put a stop to catalogs and magazine subscriptions.
  • Beware of Hot Spots – Every house has them. They are areas or surfaces that become dumping grounds for stuff. Peter Walsh: flat surfaces are not storage spaces. That means counters, dining tables or beds. Get in the habit of clearing these areas daily. 

How To Make The Overwhelm Stop

Woo Hoo! It’s April! Flowers are blooming, baseball is back and it’s my birthday….well on Sunday. I can’t wait for my BDay breakfast and my tiara. Yup I requested a sparkly tiara for my day so let’s see what my boys come up with. Monkey Boy already informed me that even if I wear a crown, that doesn’t make me a real princess. What a party pooper. Besides, who wants to be a princess when you can be Queen ;)

          Last month I mentioned the three words that I hear the most often from my clients.

                                                                       Overwhelmed, Too Much & Not Enough

I shared tips to conquer the Not Enough Blues. You can check them out here in case you missed it.

This month I want to spend a little time on the one that plagues me most. Overwhelm. This may come as a shock to some of you but I go through really stressful bouts of feeling completely Overwhelmed. It can make me anxious, irritable and sometimes even give me a panic attack.

What causes the feeling in the first place? Everyone is different and the reasons are endless but here’s some possibilities :

  • Never ending to-do-list
  • Juggling work/family
  • Stimulation overload
  • A life changing event like a move, birth or death
  • Financial struggles
  • Derek Jeter retiring from the Yankees (at least for my hubby)

 

I have strategies to stop Overwhelm in its tracks and I want to share them with you because one less stressed out person running around the world is a good thing.

 

1. Embrace the feeling. Sometimes you’ve just got to stop fighting it. Breath it in, acknowledge it and remember that it will pass.

 

2. Change the way you look at it. It’s all in your mind, baby. Instead of thinking, “Crap, this to-do list is impossible. I’ll never get it done.” or ” I’m crazy busy!” stay positive. “Yes, this is a busy time but I can take it step by step.” Focus on what you are getting done instead of what you’re not.

 

3. Take a break from the stuff stressing you out. Seriously…walk away. Do something that you really enjoy. Meet with a friend for a cappuccino. Get some pampering. Breathe.

 

4. Get real and get help. We often have just WAY too much on our plates and unrealistic timelines of what we can actually achieve in a day. Get real about what you can accomplish and ask for help. Hire a VA or college student to help with tasks. Delegate to family members.

 

5. Break it down. Write out every task that you’re stressing about. Take a look at it and cross off things that do not need to be addressed immediately. Break down the rest of your list into small doable steps. Put them on your calendar and work on them a little at a time.

 

6. Just say no. Do not take on more than you can handle. Say no to events, volunteering or any other time consuming activities until the overwhelm eases.

 

I’m not just the president, I’m also a client

(random 80′s commercial reference)

 

I recently (this week) felt like I was drowning in a sea of Overwhelm. I have tons going on right now. I’m rebranding, creating a new website and an 8 week program that launches in September (cat’s out of the bag) all while being fully booked with clients, volunteering at my son’s school, carting him to baseball, helping with homework, spending time with loved ones, cooking, cleaning (aka wifely duties) and trying to practice a little self love.

 

Holy crap that’s a lot on my plate! Instead of breathing into a paper bag to ease anxiety, I practiced some of the above. Today I went for a run, mediated with my boy Deepak for 10 minutes and wrote every task down. I crossed stuff off my list and broke the rest down into small steps. I’m also going to say no to some things that I previously said yes to (sorry to those who will soon be receiving that call).

 

Guess what? I feel SO much better. Calm, at peace and energized.

 


Not Enough

 I get lots of calls around this time of year. People are ready to get help with their new year resolution (get organized) after trying it on their own. While everyone has their own unique story about how or why the clutter accumulated, I hear the same three things over and over from almost every person.

                             Overwhelmed, Too Much & Not Enough

Those words are like the holy trinity of organizing and there’s lots of pain associated with them. They each carry their own meaning and burden.

I could go on for days dissecting, analyzing, giving solutions to each word/phrase in that trio but I tell my clients to tackle one room at a time in the organizing process so I’m going to follow my own advice.

Let’s get into Not Enough.

Not enough…time, money, space, living, peace, rest, laughter, calmness and so on.

Not Enough translates into not Doing Enough..to be a good wife, mother, daughter. They’re not doing enough in their communities to make a real impact. They’re not doing enough for themselves to be healthy and present. They’re not Doing Enough of what they really want to be doing and time is running out.

Want to know the funny thing about all of this?

My clients who feel like they’re not Doing Enough are actually doing Too Much on a daily basis which leads them to be Overwhelmed and in turn they feel like they’re Not Enough!

Oh the tangled webs we weave. They’re all connected which stinks, but it’s also great because if you work on improving one, the others will follow.

Tackling The Not Enough Blues

1. Breathe Baby – Sounds simple but seriously, sit down in a quiet place for 15 minutes a day. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. I do a breathing exercise where I focus on the exhale not the inhale. So I inhale and count slowly (to myself) while exhaling. It calms me down, gets some extra oxygen to my brain and once I’m done I can focus  better. Now you’re ready for the next steps.

2.  Learn to Say NO – If you feel like there’s not enough time in your day, well you’re probably right. Take a look at your schedule. Is it jam packed from the time you rise until you crash into your bed at night? What can be eliminated from your calendar? Do you have to volunteer at every school function? Do you have to go to every birthday party you & your kids are invited to? Nope. You do not. Practice the art of saying no. It can be as simple as, “I’m sorry, I’m not available.” or “I’d love to help out but my schedule doesn’t allow for it at this time.” Keep it simple and move on guilt free (another art form for sure).

3. Stop Multi-Tasking – Women pride themselves on being multi-tasking mavens but in truth it’s  impossible to do well. Trying to do many things at once leads to feeling frazzled and nothing really gets done the way that it should. Focus on one thing at a time. Turn off all distractions like the TV, computer, cellphone, kids ( don’t you wish they had on/off switches sometimes?) set a timer and devote yourself to one thing completely. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll accomplish that way.

4.  Curb The Negative Nelly – We all having less than positive thoughts swimming around in our heads but at some point you have to practice letting them go. If you constantly think you don’t have enough that will lead you to feel anxious and stressed. It makes it difficult to problem solve and take action if that’s the place you’re coming from. Acknowledge your negative thoughts but look at how they are inaccurate or not helpful. Replace it with something that will move you forward and put you in a better place. Remember..you have enough and you are enough.

5.  Make Time For You - I know this is a difficult thing for so many of us working moms to do but the benefits are truly worth it. Go for a walk, take a dance class with a friend, treat yourself to a pedicure, reconnect with people who always make you feel great. Sometimes the Not Enough Blues stems from feeling isolated so reach out to those you love and push through.

6. Follow Your Passion - Many times the not enough feelings creep in when our lives are packed doing the things we have to do. You know the daily errands, the carpool grind, household chores, homework with the kids, etc. Stop and take notice of this. Are you days completely full of things that don’t set your heart on fire? Yes we all have to do things to keep our households and families going. We may sometimes dread these tasks. For me it’s the laundry, but also schedule some time to pursue the things you feel passionate about whether it’s a charity or cause or reading a great novel.


Pick A Color

Happy Love Month!

There’s something about the month of February that I really like.

It’s smack dab in the middle of winter (bummer) but it’s closer to Spring than January (winning). I’m pretty sure the promise of chocolate has something to do with my adoration as does all the talk about love.

self love
couple love
heart shaped love
crafty love
kiddie love
chocolate love (yup, definitely has something to do with it)

What about color love?

What hue do you see when you think about the month of February? Red of course. I also see violet, lavender, hot pink, coral & sparkly silver. It’s a colorful time of the year.

Which got me thinking about – what else? THE COLOR(S) OF THE YEAR.

To be clear, every paint line chooses their own COLOR OF THE YEAR or at the very least a COLOR PALETTE OF THE YEAR. You may be drawn to some or repulsed by others, but these trends will not only be seen in paint and home goods but also fashion and marketing all through 2014.

I thought it would be fun to share them with you today & see which you are drawn to. It may just give you a bit of insight into, well…..YOU! There’s so much psychology connected to color. Don’t believe that? Take a peek.

Benjamin Moore – Breathe of Fresh Air (806)

ben mooreBenjamin Moore reps call this color the “new neutral” but blue has always been one of the most popular colors especially among men. Here’s a bit of Color Psychology on your fav hue blue.

  • Promotes feelings of serenity & calmness.
  • Often described as peaceful, tranquil and orderly.
  • Blue is used lots in offices because it promotes productivity.
  • Blue is one of the least appetizing colors. Paint your dining room or kitchen blue and you’ll eat less in those rooms. A blue plate can have same effect.
  • This hue lowers your heart rate and body temperature.
  • Keep in mind the colors undertone. If you paint your wall a warm blue (red or orange in it) it may not feel as calming or tranquil.

Pantone – Radiant Orchid 18-3224

pantone

“A colour that emanates great joy, love and health.”   says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone. A softer purple with a hint of pink.

  • Purple is the favored color of women over sixty and adolescent girls.
  • Promotes creativity and imagination.
  • Calms the nerves and mind.
  • In stained glass, the color purple or violet is seen as uniting the “wisdom” of blue and the “love” of red and symbolizes justice and royalty.

Pittsburg Paint -Turning Oakleaf  ATC-38

pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH PAINTS describes their color of 2014 as a soft, but energetic buttercream yellow.
  • Yellow is often described as cheery and warm.
  • Creates feelings of frustration and anger. While it is considered a cheerful color, people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms. That explains Monkey Boy’s tears at the doctor’s office.
  • Yellow is also the most tiring to the eye due to the high amount of light that is reflected. Keep that in mind when working on a computer.
  • Yellow can also increase your metabolism.
  • Yellow is the most visible color so it is also the most attention-getting color. Yellow can be used in small amount to draw notice which is why it’s used on traffic signs.

Whooo. Love me some color! What do you think? What is your color? Which speaks to you? Which is a total turnoff? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Word Up

Welcome to 2014!!
   How’s your year going so far? We celebrated three Christmases along the East Coast (in NY, VA & NC), went out for New Year’s Eve for the first time since Monkey Boy was born and headed back home just in time for a huge snowstorm.

I’m back in the swing of my normal routine, which includes among lots of other things,  reading social media. I barely went on FB between Christmas and the New Year. Yes!!

Once online again I started reading everyone’s resolutions. Within two days people were already beating themselves up about overeating, not going to the gym, etc.

How are you doing with your resolutions? 36% of people give up on the New Year Resolutions after just thirty days. That’s a disheartening stat, but keep this in mind – resolutions are life changes and life changing habits take time.
Time to implement. Time to see results. Time to fully feel the benefits.
That’s why I’m a big fan of easing into it. Don’t jump in head first. Make a plan, gather everything you need, schedule it on your calendar and give yourself a big pep talk before you begin. Here’s more tips on the subject..
I’ve started a new tradition this year. It simple, clear AND doesn’t require much prep or a  plan.

I chose a word of 2014

It’s kind of like the Academy Award’s Picture of the Year minus the gold statue. It can be in lieu of a resolution or in addition to.

One little life changing word.
One word to focus on throughout the year.
Powerful.

How To Choose “THE WORD”
 
OK, I was stumped at first.
I mean the word has to be good, right? It’s representing my entire year, afterall. I didn’t want to get bored with it after a few months or stress about picking the wrong one.
The process brought me back to my mid-twenties. I really wanted a tattoo. Something small and meaningful that represented all that I was. I started looking at pictures and sketches then decided a symbol or word would be best. I drew Chinese symbols and words on my hip (THE spot – or so I thought) but in the end I couldn’t find that perfect little thing that I was searching for. Thank goodness since me & my hips are very different now!

I soon chilled out and realized this is not complicated. It’s one word. It does not represent all that I am or want to be or achieve.

I went to bed, woke up the next morning and BAM! There it was. It rolled off my tongue.

LIGHT
IMG_0005
Lighthearted, light on my feet, enlightened, luminous, shining through.
You’ve Got Your Word – Now What?

Write it down and place it somewhere you can see it. Put on pretty paper, make a vision board for your word, paint it, sew it on a pillow. Seriously. You can do anything you want but put it somewhere visible.Throughout your day just remember your word. Give it a thought for a second or two. That’s it. See how your word manifests itself throughout 2014. Fun!! 

 


All I Want..Need For Christmas

This month can we talk a bit about want vs. need?

We ask our family, friends and kids what they want for the holidays and so our shopping list & the frenzy begins.

Asking a child what they want is funny because of course it’s everything they see in the Toys R Us catalog.

I decided to simply change one little word and ask people what they NEEDED. Almost everyone had the same answer. I asked my Monkey Boy what he thought he needed this year for Christmas and it was still almost everything in the Toys R Us catalog, but he’s five so I’ll let it slide.

What did most people say they truly needed? The number one answer was “Nothing” with “A visit from you” a close second. To clarify, the visit from me includes the Monkey Boy so I’m pretty sure he’s the true attraction.

Surprised by the answers? I wasn’t.

I went through my very own Holiday Wishlist and asked myself the same question and guess what? I didn’t really need anything on my list, though my fav Sweet Mojo sugar scrub and Deepak Chopra/Oprah mediation series would do wonders for my skin & soul.

I’m not trying to get you to boycott the holidays and stop buying gifts all together. My hope is that we’ll all start practicing conscious shopping.

Conscious shopping is buying things within our means and budget so we’re not still paying the bills in May. It’s purchasing gifts that will truly be useful to the recipient, that will add to their life or that they’ll love, not just getting a gift because we have to or because it’s a good bargain.

Conscious shopping is realizing that sometimes the best present we can give a loved one is not a thing at all. Give them some of your time, an experience like tickets to a show or something made from the heart. Those are the gifts that will be remembered and cherished.


Tips To Curb The Holiday Madness!!

October was busy, busy, busy for me. Clients, a school fundraiser and of course Halloween had me spinning many plates in the air. I was absolutely psyched when November ushered in. Mmmmm…….now I can relax a bit or so I thought, but then I went into a store to buy paper towels and Christmas decorations were already up?!

Did elves sneak into the establishment on Halloween night? Were they so hopped up on sugar that they decided to spread tinsel everywhere? Did they completely forget about Thanksgiving?

Do we really need to hear Christmas music playing in every store we enter on November 1st? ARGHHHH!!!!!!!!!! The Holidays are here already!! Can’t a girl get a break? STOP.THE.MADNESS!!

Whew….glad I got that out of my system. Since the holidays come at us earlier every year, I thought now would be the perfect time to share my tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season.

Is it too soon? Maybe, but my next newsletter does not come out until the 1st week of December. By then some of you could be in full blown panic mode. I can’t have that. Plus, early is good. That means you’ll have more time to relax and drink eggnog.

Here are some Tips to Curb the Holiday Madness, but first say hello to the Artist Formally Known as Leo, The Kid, His Purple Majesty Himself – Prince.

 

He’s saying, “This is what it sounds like when doves cry.” or “This way to my candy stash.”

 

Tips To Stop The Holiday Madness

1. Create a Vision Statement for Holidays
What is the true meaning of the holidays for you and your family? What do you really want this holiday season to be about for you? Take some time to talk about this so everybody is on the same page.

Write down a detailed statement (just a few sentences) and post it where everyone can see it.

 

* It’s something that you can refer back to when the whirlwind begins to keep you on track/prevent you from over extending yourself.
* Make sure to work this out with your partner & kids. You may be longing for a quieter more intimate holiday and they may want to party like rock stars. Talk it out  and come up with something everyone can agree upon.

 

2.  Get a Holiday Calendar & Share With Family Members
* There’s so much going on in November & December so you’ll need a special calendar to keep track of it all. It can be a simple Google calendar or dry erase board.

* 1st thing to add is some time for yourself. Choose two days in December and pencil in a two hour blocks of time. Sit in a Starbucks & listen to music, go to lunch with friends, get your nails done. This is your time to recharge. We’re so crazed during the holidays that we completely forget about ourselves and wind up sick & tired by the new year. Adding just a couple of days on the calendar to take a break will prevent that.

* Next schedule family time to do fun holiday stuff. Can be an entire day on a weekend or maybe it’s 4 or 5 hours if that’s all you can spare. Do some fun traditions like get & decorate your tree. Watch holiday movies together or bake cookies. The goal is for you & your kids to really enjoy this time and not feel rushed. These special moments are the things your kids will really remember about holidays.

* Pencil in all parties, school functions (with all household members). Add in travel dates, etc. Take a step back. Feeling overwhelmed? Time to decline some of those invites.

* And schedule in this: My Big Fat Giant Prep Day

 

3. My Big Fat Giant Prep Day – It can be just a few hours depending on where you shop. One day where you gather everything you can possibly need as far as;
• Wrapping & tissue paper, tape, bows/ribbons, stamps, holiday cards (if you’re making them then this is the day for it), shipping boxes, etc.
• Do an inventory 1st of what I already have left over from the previous year.
• Everything goes together in one place – a box, bin, organizer or a gift wrap station.
*Why? Average person spend 4 hrs wrapping presents. Lots of that time is wasted looking for stuff you know you bought or running out in the middle of wrapping to buy more tape.

 

4. Gifts/shopping – Time savers
*Average person spends 10hrs shopping for gifts during the holidays.
Instant time shaver – Tuesdays & Wednesdays are quietest during holiday season. Shop during lunch or if must use personal day before end of year take one of those days off. Combine it with some personal pampering.
• Find your stashed gifts and take an inventory.
Make a list and check it twice – how you organize your shopping list is important.
- Start with general list (I do mine by families so I don’t forget anyone) List sizes, max budget and what they want
- Then I organize by store. My goal – shop at as few stores as possible.
- Have book with envelope attached & have store coupons in it or gift cards.
- Same goal even if shopping online – get all toys from same place to save on shipping. Online coupons codes listed.
- Try to do bulk of extended family in a couple of days- so you can spend a bit more time shopping for hubby/kids or other special people in your life.

 

5. Do Less – It’s OK to say no. This is key to help keep you from being frazzled.
Daily chores – How can you make some of these easier for yourself? Cooking -use your crockpot, cook on one day and freeze some meals. Simplify. Trader Joe’s & other stores sell marinated chicken tenders, buy things like frozen veggie burgers or salmon patties which you grab from freezer and can cook quickly on stovetop. Hire someone to clean your place before your big party.

Look at invites. Does this invitation fit within your vision statement if not decline.
Some holiday parties you have to attend for political reasons like you business/work function. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend numerous hours there. If it’s something you dread than put in an hour or so & make plans for after. Book a reservation for a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Buy movie tickets in advance. Let the host know that you have a prior commitment – they don’t need to know that it’s watching George Clooney float in outer space.

 

6. Do Less– Buy less gifts.
Consider giving an experience instead of an actual thing. Take a niece or nephew out for pizza or to a museum. Buy a girlfriend a pedicure. Offer to babysit or dog walk a couple of times for a neighbor. If giving a physical gift is a must then consider the following:

• Large family – just purchase for kids, do a Secret Santa & choose one person or  buy one gift per family.
• Friends – rather than exchanging gifts put $$ towards a group dinner/night out.
• Go in on joint gifts with siblings for your parents. Do the same for your kid’s teachers.

Try to remember the true meaning the holidays. It’s about spending time with those you love. Creating new family traditions or keeping old ones alive. Giving to those less fortunate. The other stuff is simply not as important in the grand scheme of life.

 


Is It Clutter Or Art?

If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard a client (or my husband) say, “I’m messy because I’m creative, ” I’d be a zillionaire.

I know that there are different levels of organization. Being organized does not necessarily mean that you are neat. It simply means that you can find things, without wasting time & getting a stress headache, when you need them.

There recently was an article in the NY Times called “It’s Not ‘Mess’. It’s Creativity”. In it the author tries to prove the point that being messy serves a purpose, especially if you’re a creative type.

Heck, they even did experiments..in a laboratory..with real, live people.

Here’s the scenario:

2 rooms. One very neat & tidy. The other messy, things strewn about.

The test subjects were divided into the different rooms & asked to solve the same thing, new uses for Ping Pong balls. Independent judges rated their answers – think American Idol.

The judges concluded that the answers from the messy room were far more creative. Hmmmm……..this doesn’t sound so scientific afterall. And it brings up another question – can art be judged? OK. Let’s not get into that one today.

I  understand that artists can create beautiful things in what looks like a garbage dump of a mess. I’m married to a creative man. When he’s in the midst of making something magical – a fabulous meal or a painting, his space looks pretty chaotic.

I’m also creative, but I work differently. I tend to line up all of my supplies. I clean as I go; food or craft supplies, it doesn’t matter. Yup, it’s a little OCD but I work better that way.

I wish the Messy Creative Experiment was performed over the long term, in a space where people actually have to live or work on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure that outcome would produce some interesting results.

I’m not a scientist, but I’ve seen firsthand how too much clutter can crush people’s spirit.  And it can be difficult to get your creative juices flowing if you can’t find your art supplies.

It’s an interesting article nonetheless, so check it out & share your thought below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/opinion/sunday/its-not-mess-its-creativity.html?hp&_r=1&

 

 


Help! I’m a Recovering Perfectionist

Hi. I’m Dawn Falcone and I’m a recovering perfectionist. There. I said it.  “Recovering” because honestly, there are times when the urge to do something perfectly creeps back into my life (more on that below). I work hard to fight those urges. I know that some people list being a perfectionist as one of their greatest qualities. Hooray for them. For me, it’s been a hindrance in so many ways. It has even hurt me physically.

Case in point:

I was prepping for my Monkey Boy’s backyard birthday party. I chose a carnival theme. I went a bit crazy hand making games, decorations, popcorn, favors & food. I started the process weeks in advance. The day of the party, my husband and others offered to help set things up, but I had a master plan that only I could accomplish. I was placing one of seventy-two colorful pinwheels in the ground when my back completely gave out. This had never happened to me before. I was in agony. Thank goodness someone was there to help complete my over-the-top/crazy person party vision. I’m pretty sure I would have crawled on the ground with those pinwheels in my teeth to get it done.

While I did make it through the party ( hunched over & in pain), I was completely out of commission the next day.

A neighbor paid me a visit to do some bodywork on my back. She asked me how I injured myself. I went into vivid detail about all the party elements. She listened patiently and then she finally asked, “Who were you trying to impress with this party?”

“Umm, well. I don’t know. People…….it was for my son!” I blurted out

“Dawn,  your son is two. Most of the attendants were two or younger. You spent weeks working on this as if Martha Stewart was coming to photograph it for her magazine. Give yourself a break. You’re the mother of a toddler and you are running your own business. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be lovely and fun.” She said all of this in a completely non-judgmental, matter of fact way.

It took  months for my back to recover and even longer than that for me to get over my need to have everything be perfect. Having a now 5 year old boy has helped with that process. My little boy does not want perfection. He wants love, snuggles, ice cream, dirt and trains. I can look like a rag-a-muffin and he still squeezes me tight & tells me how much he loves me.

I mentioned above that some things can still set off the urge to be perfect. I found this on Facebook this week and POW! It started to creep back in.

fitted sheets

 

I opened my linen closet & pulled out my fitted sheets and was just about to follow the step-by-step guide when I was zapped back into reality.

I’ve seen Martha Stewart do this herself on her show. She rocks it.  And Ms. Kym, the owner of my local laundromat, is a master at it too. I’m not even close. Maybe  my arms are too short. Maybe if I had worked at The Gap I would be able to do it effortlessly.

I was going to post this to my biz FB page but then I realized that most of my clients are super busy working moms. They’ve got enough on their plate and folding  fitted bedsheets perfectly is not one of them.

I do fold my fitted bedsheets in my own way. They fit neatly on the linen shelf, but Martha would not approve.

You could always get a basket for your bed linens. Stick the fitted sheet on the bottom of the basket in any old way. Then you can neatly fold the top sheet and pillowcases. You just may be able to fool Ms. Stewart with this method.

And I’m pretty sure you won’t throw your back out trying to accomplish the task.