Archive for July, 2018

Why It’s Important to Talk About Money Matters Now

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
Money matters

Money matters matter, a lot. Talk about them with your kids now and prevent the sadness of family discord after you’re gone.

You’re dead and buried. Your adult children are gathered around a table in your lawyer’s office. Fights among your children ensue … Your heart breaks thinking about the possibility of your family being torn apart. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Or is there? What can you do now to prevent bitter arguments over who gets what when “that” time comes? There is something you can do about it, and the solution is simple. Talk about money matters now.

When It’s Most Necessary to Talk about Money Matters

Do you struggle with talking about money matters with your children? Most parents and even grandparents do. But if you want to keep your children from making a scene at your estate attorney’s office, you really must overcome your feelings of discomfort now, while you are “of sound mind and body.” Here are three occasions when it’s important to start the money matters conversations:

  1. At retirement
  2. During health care planning
  3. And during estate planning

How to Prevent Family Feuds Over Money Matters

Michigan estate attorney P. Mark Accettura and Lori Sackler, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New Jersey offer this advice:

  • Draw up an estate plan, and tell your children the basics.

Call a family meeting to discuss any plans that might impact adult children, such as money allotted for grandchildren’s education. It’s time to set children straight. “Sometimes they have a grandiose vision of an inheritance,” Sackler says. But there’s no need to go into detail. “Estate planning is not a democratic process. You don’t need children buying into it, and you don’t want to open a can of worms while you’re alive,” Accettura says.

  • Divide the estate equally.

Resist the temptation to give more to the neediest among your children; it often leaves the more successful kids feeling penalized and causes resentment among siblings, Sackler says. “The will that provides equal distribution is the will that probably provides the least conflict,” she adds. Accettura also is adamant that an estate should be divided equally. “Even getting a dollar less than another sibling can be a psychological blow,” he says.

  • Name an executor.

Try to have some reason for choosing one child over another. Perhaps it’s the oldest child (unless he or she lives too far away) or another child with specific legal or financial skills. Also, think about including a fee for the executor. “Handling an estate can be a lot of work, and if the executor is going to charge a fee, he probably deserves it,” Sackler says. Accettura suggests that parents include everyone in some capacity in the will. “Get people’s names on the pages either as executor or helping in another way.”

  • Specify gifts and loans.

If parents have given adult children money, they should make it clear in the will whether it’s a gift or a loan. If a loan, is it to be forgiven or repaid to the estate? When parents aren’t clear, it can cause conflict, Sackler says.

  • Make a plan for family jewels.

Even if it’s not expensive, Grandma’s engagement ring can cause fights because of the sentimental value attached. “Have a family conversation, and come up with a plan for people choosing and getting on board with the selection process,” Sackler says.

Mark Accettura wrote a book, Blood & Money on how to avoid family feuds. Lori Sackler is the author of The M Word. It is a guide to family financial matters that helps families overcome the difficulty felt when discussing money matters.

Take Care of Your Family Before You Die

Protect your family relationships after you’re gone. Get prepared now. You can prevent feuds over your inheritance by talking through your wishes with your children before you die. But getting prepared now goes beyond overcoming the difficulty of talking to your children and making sure your wishes are known to them. It also means taking care of them after you’re gone by getting your legal documents in order now.

Secure and protect your family assets and your family’s relationships long after you’re gone. Put the uncomfortable feelings you have in regards to talking about money matters with your children and get your legal documents in order today. Doing so will go a long way in keeping the peace tomorrow.

Charles D’Alessandro cares about all of us who live in the Brooklyn area. Do you have questions about getting your affairs in order or how to address money matters with your family before you die? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email charl[email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]

Do You Think Being Organized is a Challenge?

Sunday, July 15th, 2018
Organized bathroom shelf

Finish this 30-day challenge to get organized and bask in the warmth of a great accomplishment.

In the previous blog post, I challenged you to organize your space in the next 30 days. I also introduced the possibility of being completely organized in one month. How? By spending less than 60 minutes a day organizing your stuff for 30 days. Did you take on the challenge? How organized are you after the first 14 days? Do tell (in the comments below). Organizing your space yields great personal satisfaction. So keep going. Work through the next 16 days listed below to reach that personally satisfying state of accomplishment called “organized.” It will be worth it!

Organized in Less Than an Hour a Day: the Last 16 Days

Take the time to put your plan to get organized into action every day for another 16 days, and you’ll be organized by month’s end. Here are the next 16 steps, one step per day, for less than an hour a day, to reach a personally-satisfying goal.

Organized in the Living Room

Day 15. Gift or Donate Stuff on Your Shelves

Knickknacks, books, and stuff you’ve compiled over the years are probably taking up valuable space on shelves in your home. Donate those books you’ll never read to the library. Get rid of what doesn’t absolutely delight you. Now arrange the few items that do bring joy in ways you’ll love to look at every day.

Day 16. Control Your Cables

Tame the maze of cables behind your entertainment center. It’s easy to do. First, create ID tags made from bread wrapper tags or cable ties for each plug. Then, bundle the mayhem with Velcro strips or run them inside a heavy-duty paper roll center from newspaper end rolls. You could even paint it black to match the cables. Corrugated wire looms are a great idea, too.

Day 17. Switch Your Hangers

Slim hangers that grab your clothes well use less space and keep your clothes on the hangers. It’s worth switching all those bulky hangers to skinnier ones. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pitch or donate the clothes you haven’t worn in a year.

Organize your space where accessories are stored

Day 18. Give Your Accessories a Place

Belts, scarves, purses, and hats organize well in bins or clear, stackable boxes with lids. If your belts and scarves have a home in a drawer, you can roll them up and organize them in a drawer lined with dividers. A simple series of hooks will work well, too.

Day 19. Claim the Space Under Your Bed

Storing out-of-season clothing under your bed is ideal. But when you’re not wearing those clothes when they are in season, it’s time to donate them. How much storage space can you claim by booting those old clothes out from under the bed?

Organized in Your Office

Day 20. Declutter Your Workspace

When my workspace has too many things in addition to my to-do list, my thinking gets cluttered. A workspace with minimal items on it helps me gain clarity and allows me to focus on the task at hand.

Day 21. Feed the Shredder

Make sure you’re not wasting space with years of old paperwork. Shred all that is over seven years old. Consider digitizing paperwork to create more space. And don’t just throw your old paperwork in the trash. Shred them to ward off would-be identity thieves.

Organize your space in the office

Day 22. Organize Your Files

Once you’ve shredded all your old paperwork, tidy up your files. It’s the perfect time to do so. Organize and label them clearly. Use colorful folders to help you organize them by theme.

Day 23. Free Up the Drawer Full of Electronic Stuff

Do you own a drawer full of black cords you have no idea what they are for? Does it contain chargers and oddball electronic things, too? Take the mystery out of it and pair the items with what they work with IF you still have what they work with. Otherwise, throw them away. Why let dead and useless stuff take up valuable space?

Organized in Your Bathroom

Day 24. Throw Out Expired Personal Care Stuff

Check for expiration dates on cosmetics, skin care products, medicines, and even hair care products. If they’ve expired, throw them out.

Day 25. Claim Space Under the Sink

Because most of the items that end up under the sink are out of sight, they go out of mind. Pull out everything. Discover cleaners, tools, and gadgets that are still useful and use them. If they’re not useful or you can’t figure out why they were saved, discard them. And when you put what is still useful back under the sink, put it all into bins. It will be easier to take out and put away your under-the-sink stuff.

Day 26. Hang a Shelf

Mom always told me, “Get it off the counter and onto the wall.” There is lots of storage space on a wall that is often overlooked. If there is space for a shelf, and a shelf would solve a storage problem, by all means, hang a shelf there. I like the idea of hanging a ladder with wire baskets hooked on the rungs over the toilet for storing toilet paper, guest items, towels, washrags, and such.

Day 27. Reduce the Number of Towels and Linens

There are the towels you use every day and the towels you use for soaking up spills and cleaning the car. But how many of those old towels and rags do you really need? Donate most, if not all, to a local animal shelter and throw the really bad ones away. Same goes for pillowcases, napkins, dishtowels, pot holders, and such.

Organized in a Closet

Day 28. Install a Shoe Organizer

Hanging shoe organizers solve more than just shoe storage problems in a closet. Scarves, mittens, cleaning supplies, craft supplies are just a few of the things a shoe organizer can be good for. You can even cut them to custom-fit inside a cabinet door.

Organized in Your Garage (if you have one)

Organize your space in the garage

Day 29. Organize Your Tools

Finding the right tool for the right job should be a “piece of cake.” Wasting time looking for a hammer or the right screwdriver is frustrating. Arrange your tools on a pegboard and always put them back in their original spot.

Day 30. Enjoy Your Organized Space!

Now, sit down with your favorite beverage and ponder on what you have accomplished to get and be organized! As you put everything you use back in their places after each use, you’ll find that cleaning is actually easier to do. You’ll also find more time to plan and paint your bedroom or sew curtains for the kitchen window and door or do a bit of landscaping or ….

Space in your brownstone or studio apartment is a precious commodity. Make the most of it. Purge, sort, organize your space and keep it that way.

Organized space helps potential buyers fall in love with your place when selling. If you’re ready to enter the real estate market and list your home, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]

How to Take Action and Organize Your Space in No Time at All

Sunday, July 15th, 2018
Organize your space

Organizing the place you call home is an action-packed self-improvement project that yields great personal satisfaction.

I challenge you to organize your space in the next 30 days! Organizing the place you call home is an action-packed self-improvement project that yields great personal satisfaction. But how do you move past the feeling of overwhelm and what feels like an insurmountable undertaking? In order to organize your space, you actually need to first organize a plan. For without a plan, you won’t reach that personally satisfying state of accomplishment called “organized.”

Organize Your Space in Less Than an Hour a Day

Say what? Organize your space in less than 60 minutes a day? Uh huh. And when you take the time to put your plan into action every day for less than 60 minutes every day, you’ll be organized in less than a month, too. “How,” you ask? With this 30-day or 30-step plan.

Organize Your Space in 30 Days: the First 14 Days

Day 1. Just Begin

Eat the frog first. Start with whatever it is that annoys or stresses you most. Tackle that paper pile in your office, no matter where it landed. Get rid of or put away the pile of clothes on your bedroom floor. And all that “stuff” on your counter in the kitchen? Pick up just one item, and put it in its place. Then, move to the next item. It’s amazing how simply starting on what feels so overwhelming will set you in motion on a path to completion.

Day 2. Create a Give Away Box

Put everything you want to move out of the house in a “give away” box. And set it by the door. As you come across items you wouldn’t miss “if you lost it in a fire,” put them in that box. Once it’s full, donate everything in that box to a friend or places like Goodwill and Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center here in Brooklyn.

Day 3. Make Holidays Happy

You might have decorations for every holiday. After you decorate for the next holiday, donate anything you didn’t decorate with, and separate the rest of your decorations by holiday. Then, sort the decorations for each holiday in their own clear, stackable box. When it’s time to decorate for the next holiday, you won’t waste time or energy digging through your 4th of July decorations to find your Halloween decorations. Plus, your decorations won’t get tattered, dinked, crumpled, or worn as quickly either.

Day 4. Take Command of Your Entryway

Set up a “command center” at the door your family uses to come and go. Add hooks for coats, bins for shoes, and a mail sorter. Without hooks, bins, or a place to sort everyone’s mail, everything will “land” on the nearest flat spot available. Oh, and don’t forget to save a spot for your give away box.

Day 5. Put Your Pet’s Things in Convenient Places

It makes sense to put leashes, sweaters, water bottle/bowl, doggie waste bags, and other outside activity items in a bin conveniently near the front door. It also makes sense to put your pet’s dishes, treats, and food in their own convenient spot in the room where you feed them.

Organize Your Space in the Kitchen

Organize your space in the kitchen

Day 6. Organize the Spice Rack

Choose to arrange your herbs and spices in one of three ways: alphabetically, by cuisine, or by brand. Whatever works best for you or makes the best sense to you while you’re baking or cooking determines the arranging.

Day 7. Eliminate Unused or Unnecessary Utensils

The longer you’re married or on your own, the more utensils a body seems to acquire. Some are god-sends, and you use them all a lot But do you really need to create space for four of them?! I can’t imagine using fewer than two spatulas or sets of measuring spoons, but four can openers? If you can pare down your kitchen utensils to one or two of each, do. Then organize what’s left with drawer dividers.

Day 8. Organize Your Pots, Pans, and Lids

I speak from experience on this one. Digging around in a pile for the right lid is annoying, inefficient, and very noisy, especially when they fall. If you have pots or pans that you hardly ever or almost never use, donate them. Purchase and install cupboard organizers, like these for lids, to manage the rest.

Day 9. Check Expiration Dates

How often do you use figs or dates? Once a year? What about anchovy paste? Check the expiration dates on whatever is sitting in your refrigerator, freezer, or in your pantry. If it’s expired, pitch it. And when you need it for that annual dish you prepare, buy just enough to use for the recipe and throw the rest away.

Day 10. Sort and Stack Your Staples

Your pantry would be put to better use with airtight, stackable containers. Sort your flour, sugar, pasta, oatmeal, dry beans, rice, noodles, and other staple dry goods. Then put them in containers that are stackable. They’ll be much easier to retrieve when needed, and you’ll be pleased with the added space you now have.

Day 11. Get Rid of Unnecessary Kitchen Gadgets

Yes, that spiralizer. I have one, and I never use it. Maybe if I enjoyed eating zucchini noodles … I’m going to give mine to someone else who needs to discover why they don’t need one either.

Organize your space in the coffee mug cupboardDay 12. Just Say No to Another Coffee Mug

I have a coffee mug fetish. I collect them, on purpose. You can only use so many mugs at a time, right? Like how many times do you entertain coffee or tea drinkers 30 at a time? Keep one or two mugs per coffee or tea drinker in your family, and either donate or pack the rest. I like to change them out once a year.

Day 13. Pair Food Storage Containers with Lids

If you’ve got a container that has no lid, toss it. And if you have any lids that have no container to use with them, toss them, too.

Day 14. Organize Your Junk Drawer

Junk drawers are a necessary evil, and they exist in more than the kitchen. But wherever it is, why not organize it? How? Dump all of its contents onto a sheet in the floor. Then sort everything into piles. Add some drawer dividers to the drawer and place each pile in its own spot in the drawer.

Now that you’ve reached day 14, take time to think on what you accomplished. Wow! And there are only 16 days left to completely organize your space! Don’t let what you’ve done “go to pot,” as some say. If you use it, put it away. You are creating a place for everything, so put whatever you use back in its place. Space in your brownstone or studio apartment is a precious commodity. Make the most of it. Purge, sort, organize your space and keep it that way.

Organize your space and help potential buyers fall in love with your place. If you’re ready to enter the real estate market and list your home, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]