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!
March 7th, 2014
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.
February 5th, 2014
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.
heart shaped 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)
Benjamin 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
“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 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.
January 28th, 2014
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.
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.
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!!
December 6th, 2013
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.
November 7th, 2013
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.
October 3rd, 2013
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.
August 29th, 2013
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.
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.
May 2nd, 2013
What the heck is redesign? I get asked that often. Redesign is recycling, repurposing or reusing what you already own to create a new look, feel or function. Some designers specialize in “redesign” which means they’ll come in (one day room makeovers) look at your space and create a whole new room by rearranging furniture, art, accessories and shopping (or bringing) pieces in from other rooms. It’s very green. I’m a huge fan and love redesigning for clients. It’s far more challenging to make a space gorgeous with existing pieces than start from scratch.
I was honored to present this subject to my fellow organizers in NOLA at NAPO’s National Conference. For me, design and organizing go hand in hand and I think it’s true for many of my colleague because we had a full house. Today I want to share with you some points about furniture placement from my talk. And if you think this is a field you may be interested in than keep reading because I’m also going to share some valuable resources.
- Determine the main function of the room.
- Clear the space by removing all accessories, art, area rugs, lamps and small pieces of furniture. Then slide the largest pieces to the opposite side of the room.
- Clearing the space helps clear your mind to give you a blank canvas to create. It also helps you see the true shape and size of the space. And it makes finding the focal point a breeze.
- Find focal point or the dramatic element that draws you into the room.
Common Focal Points
- Windows or doors with a view
- Built-in book cases
- TV (NOT my fav)
No focal point? No problem. You can create one with:
- Large pieces of art or art groupings
- A large or unique piece of furniture
- Non built-in bookcase or shelves
- Colorful area rug
- Now that you have a focal point place your main piece of furniture in a way so that it will address the focal point. If it’s a living room then place your sofa or sectional so that it has a view of the focal point. Now bring in your area rug (if you have one), coffee table, loveseat and chairs, side tables, lamps, art and last is accessories. Viola! You’ve got a brand new room!
I promised my NOLA attendees that I would share some resources. Many of them may be helpful for you, too.
Tools of the Redesign Trade
- Furniture sliders – helps save your back when you rearrange furniture
- Picture hanging hooks
- Rolling tool box – perfect for carrying everything you need
- Great tools with a touch of style
ADE – Association of Design Education offers virtual & hands-on classes as well as many benefits for members
Check out their education affiliates to see if there’s a teacher near you
Space Planning Tools – great even for non designers to help put rooms in your home together
Space planning software
Magnetic space planning board
Ultra High End Retailers
The D&D Building in NYC is my go to place with over 120 showrooms
Some of my favs are Holly Hunt New York, Knoll Luxe, Stark & Patterson, Flynn & Martin (P, F, M – one company)
April 9th, 2013
Your closets are bursting at the seams yet you still do not have a thing to wear. These simple tips can help.
1. Define Your Current Style – Really take a step back and think about what style of clothing looks best on your body now. What do you feel good in? It may be time to let go of those ripped jeans from college or boho chic dresses. If you’re struggling to define your personal style and pull from your closet the 5 outfits that you wear the most. What is similar about these pieces? You can build from there.
2. Create “Donate or Giveaway” Piles – I find with my clients that it’s easier for them to let go of things if they have a place to donate to. Many people have emotional connections to clothing so knowing that it will go to a good home and be used again makes all the difference. Do some research on local donation centers before you start purging. There are lots of organizations in need of business clothing, sportswear and formal wear. Goodwill, Salvation Army and local churches are always excellent options.
3. Try Those Clothes On – Sometimes we hang onto things that do not even fit us. I understand that weight can fluctuate and you do not want to get rid of all of your clothes just because you are up a size, but be honest with yourself. Are you holding onto something that hasn’t fit you in years? You may get motivated, lose weight and be able to get back into your skinny jeans – I’m all for that but, how many articles of clothing from a smaller you do you really need to keep? I want you to live in the now and feel great about yourself right in this moment. A closet full of of stuff that doesn’t fit will not help your self esteem. Keep one or two things and let the rest go. Guess what? When you fit back into your skinny jeans, reward yourself by buying new clothes.
4. 2 Year Rule – This is really simple – if you have not worn something in at least the last 2 years let it go. This goes for things only worn once or even the stuff that still has price tags on it. No more saving an outfit for the perfect occasion. This is tough love time – say goodbye.
5. Ripped, Stained, Faded Or Needs Alterations – I use this rule with everything from kids toys to furniture – if it’s broken (ripped), stained or faded let it go. Now you may have a great fitting pair of faded jeans that you love – keep those. Faded wool coat – bye bye. What about that pile of clothes that needs some new buttons, zippers or alterations? How long has it been in that condition? If it’s 2 years then out it goes. If it’s less then try it on to make sure it still fits and you like the way you look & feel in it. Then think about the cost to have everything fixed. If you do not love it or will not wear it then add to donation or clothing recycling pile.
6. Organize By Color or Casual vs. Dressy – There are lots of different ways to organize your closet once the purge and sort are complete. You can group like items together like all capri pants, dress pants, jeans, etc. You can put all casual clothing toward the front of your closet and work/dressy clothing toward the back (or vice verse). I’m a huge fan of organizing by color. In my own closet I begin with my white shirts. I place all camisoles or sleeveless shirts 1st, then short sleeve white shirts and then long sleeve white shirts next. Within each color category I put casual 1st and then dressy next. I work my way through the rainbow.
7. Get Some New Closet Accessories – No more wire hangers! Invest in some nice hangers and other accessories like shelf dividers if you fold jeans or sweaters. Get something to hold your belts. Come up with storage solutions for your purses and scarves. Invest in some closet organization tools after you do the purge and sort so you have a better idea of what you need.
Here’s an eye opening statistic – the average woman only wears 20% of the clothing in her closet on a regular basis. Keep that in mind during the purging process.
February 8th, 2013
Thanks to my friend and now ex-neighbor, Financial Advisor Dan D’Ordine CFP, for supplying the info below.
It’s almost April 15th – do you know where your important financial documents are?
Do you know which of your financial documents are important, and which can be discarded? Are you standing on a pile of your documents as you read this? Then it’s time to get organized, and the only way to accomplish this is to do the following:
1) Know what documents you need to keep – and for how long,
2) Follow a reliable system of filing and organizing your documents,
3) Update and purge regularly (preferably annually).
Why do we need to keep what we keep? One word – TAXES. The IRS can audit your return for good faith errors for up to three years after the filing date. They have six years to challenge you for under reporting gross income by 25% or more. Keep any tax returns and supporting documentation\ for seven
years. After seven years, you can shred the supporting documents, but should keep
the tax return permanently.
Making the pile go away. The first step is to get organized, and file your documents so you can easily find them. I suggest using a filing cabinet, one
Pendaflex hanging file folder for each document category (as space requires).
Save space by NOT using manila file folders. Rather, separate sub-categories of documents using paperclips and binder clips, like multiple life insurance policies in your Life Insurance folder. General categories can include Bank Accounts, Retirement
Accounts, Investment Accounts, Insurance (Life, Disability, Long-?term Care, Health,
Auto, Homeowners), Estate Documents, Credit Cards, etc. Utilities, phone, and cable
documents can be kept in one folder – only keep documents related to the account
opening and closing. There is no need to keep every utility bill!
What about backup copies of documents I need to keep forever? If you’re storing all of your documents in a well-organized filing cabinet, the documents are still vulnerable to fire and water damage. So, for really important items, keep additional copies in a location other than your home filing cabinet.
• With a family member: Storing a copy of important documents (estate documents, passport, real estate documents, and a list of all your accounts) with a family member is an effective method.
• Copy with your professionals: Store all estate documents as follows: Your Last Will and Testament with the Executor of your estate; the health care proxy and durable power of attorney with the person you’ve assigned; trust documents with your attorney and the Trustee; burial instructions with the person who will be managing that process. Copies can be kept with your financial advisor.
• Safe Deposit Box: A good solution, but remember that banks maintain extremely strict security standards, so if you opt to store any important documents here (wills, trusts, etc.), be sure to give another person access to the box as well, such as a spouse or trusted friend or relative. This is not a good place to store burial instructions, as there may not be enough time to access
the instructions from the bank prior to burial.
If you try the off-site, multiple copy backup method, be extremely careful with version control. Remember that the only valid copy of your Will is the original, signed, stapled copy.
Interested in working with Dan of DDO Advisory Services? You can contact him at (212) 836-4732 or dan@DDOadvisory.com