The Resolution Snag


Ah, the best laid plans.  Well, you wonder why the title of my blog is The Organizer’s Lament?  I am lamenting today. It is almost three weeks into the first month of 2019 and I have royally blown my resolutions!  Now to be fair, I have had pneumonia since January 7th, after returning from a lovely, albeit quick visit to Chicago, and I have been sick as a dog( Why are dogs used for that example, I wonder?) ever since.

Today was the first day that I actually took a shower by myself, left my house, and drove in my car, and went to clients, and functioned(while intermittently hacking and being exhausted, although I am no longer contagious) and ate food that wasn’t broth or tea.  I watched a lot of Netflix over the past 11 days, because frankly, I couldn’t focus my eyes well enough to read a book, a magazine, or my emails, and I really didn’t care. I didn’t work out so that resolution was put on hold. I didn’t Marie Kondo my own closets, so I didn’t get bags ready to give to the charities I had in mind for the beginning of the year.  I didn’t go into my office so I didn’t look at my mail, so I didn’t do any end of year filing until yesterday when I felt like I had enough energy to spend a little bit of time and then again today but I can’t make myself insane because I still get tired after about two hours so it’s going to be a few more days before I have to sit down and work on expenses for taxes.

My hair looks like a mop, my nails are all different shapes and lengths, my skin and lips are chapped and broken out, I haven’t made my appointments for the eye doctor, the gyno, the dentist, or set up my glassblowing classes yet, and in fact because I have been sick all of the intro classes are full so I just have to sign up for the beginners classes and take a leap of faith.  I have only two weeks to read my book group book( and I am a slow reader), and I have a small pile of paper on my office floor that I have to clean up and deal with over the next few days, and I hope that there are no bills that are overdue. But, on the positive side…

I lost seven pounds because I couldn’t eat.  I wouldn’t recommend this as a diet but I lost my taste for carbs and sweets and most red meat.  Go figure. I didn’t spend money, except for a few small things, including a new car battery, which I discovered I needed this morning when I tried to start my car to no avail.  I signed myself up for one flower arranging class for next week, because my glass blowing intro class wasn’t available and I thought, why not? I set up more advertising updates for my business this afternoon when I returned from a client so that I was up to date for the next six months, because that was the only productive thing I could still do at the end of the first workday.  I updated both my desk calendar( which I have mentioned before, which is the size of a wall, but which serves me very well because I can see everything that takes place both professionally and personally) and my filofax( yes I am an old school kinda gal, and there is no right or wrong kind of calendar….just keep one!) and I paid any and all bills both online and paper. And finally, after getting my 2018 tax folder started, I started laundry, and stripped my daughter’s bed, since she just went back to school this morning.  I am obviously feeling better. Not perfect, but better.

So I’m getting a bit of a late start on the resolutions, and I revised the list somewhat.  But I refuse to beat myself up. I fell off the horse, the wagon, the block, whatever. I’m just going to get back on.  And that is my point. My January looked so promising. I had a list of resolutions that weren’t ridiculous but were doable and I couldn’t keep on them, for no fault but the stars.  I wasn’t happy about it but what was I supposed to do? There are a myriad of reasons why we get sidetracked, and yes it can be our fault, or it can be because of something or things beyond our control.  So be it. That saying “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” may make you want to gag or punch me, but IT IS TRUE. Call or text or email me if you need to commiserate or need any kind of help with those resolutions, to define or refine them in any way.  We still have 11 months and 14 days. Stay warm.

The Organizer offers digital and in-person coaching to help you declutter, organize, prioritize, and spend more time doing what you love. Contact me at (202)253-9619 or


Making and Keeping Resolutions in 2019


I resolve to sit on my bum and watch movies all day long.  I resolve to eat chocolate and not get fat. I resolve to let the laundry sit in the hamper until it overflows.  I resolve to…..not resolve to do any of the above silliness, although eating chocolate and not getting fat is really appealing.  Oh well, let’s get back to reality.

Resolutions are the essence of the new year beginnings.  We all sit down and pledge to exercise more, and read more, and learn a new skill, and make our beds every day, and save more and spend less, and not lose our cool as often, and on and on and on. The intentions are real, but the goals are often difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve. This leads to disappointment in ourselves, in others, backsliding, blaming and a host of other unnecessary issues:  we have once again failed. But what if we could avoid all of those disappointing feelings and set ourselves up for success?

Well, let’s start with simpler resolutions.  Easier goals. A smaller TO-DO list. I often tell clients that a list comprised of only two or three things will provide more success in terms of goal completion and resolution achievement.  I think if you create a current week to-do list (consisting of two or three items which will rotate out when completed), a future month to-do list (a few of these items can be added slowly to the current list), and a long term (yearly) goal list, those big, scary resolutions and goals become easier to tackle and actualize and less likely to be ditched by January’s end.  

A well known time management expert, Dave Crenshaw, says that actually you should throw out the TO DO list all-together, and use a Calendar List.  After thinking about this a bit, I think it makes a lot of sense. If you have a list that has start and finish dates, you know exactly how much time you have to get a specific chore completed.  That doesn’t mean you have to throw away your long-term goal list that I mentioned above, but time-blocking your tasks in your calendar allows you to break those big goals down into smaller chunks and gives you concrete deadlines to complete or achieve them by.  

If you go get a calendar today before the new year, whether it be a large desk calendar, a journal calendar, or even an online Google or iCalendar, you can start putting in important events in advance (i.e. doctors’ and dentists’ appointments, birthdates, dinner, lunch or playdates (both adult and kid), haircut appointments, school assignment due dates). You can see where I am going with this. With these items on the calendar now, before the new year, you can start off the new year without the stress and overwhelming feelings often realized around forgotten (important!) events.

Now getting back to how to be realistic in prioritizing what should be on this list!  I don’t think climbing Mt. Everest should come before getting all of the bathrooms cleaned and the laundry done. Just sayin’. But that is not to say that you shouldn’t pick a few BIG yearly goals like traveling to somewhere new or trying a sport that has always seemed beyond your ability.  These are the areas that, in the long term, help us grow and mold into the people we want to be and often, get ditched in favor of the daily grind tasks that keep life moving. To make sure I stick to these, I break them down by the quarter. Ninety day chunks of time are a lot easier to manage than one, big 365-day chunk. Ask yourself what benchmarks you want to hit for your goal within the next 90 days and make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely)! Once you have those benchmarks you can then start tasking out the things you’ll need to do on a daily and weekly basis to make sure you hit them. 

After you’ve broken down and planned out your BIG goals for the year, it’s time to fill the calendar with those daily, necessary chores that keep us and our lives moving forward. When filling in these time blocks ask yourself: What are the things that need to get done this week? What are the things that need to get done today? House care? Finances? Exercise? Groceries? There will be some things on the daily to-do list that must happen each day or are time sensitive, so they start the list. Chores that don’t have time restrictions but should get done in a timely fashion can be added in after.

After all of this, you might be sitting here wondering whether or not this woman (me!) does anything fun at all.  And I will let you in on a little secret: because I keep a calendar, and a LONG TERM journal, I resolved this year to start taking Glass Blowing classes which start in January, and take up French lessons again.  I also went back to Pilates and am working online with a trainer. I also promised myself that even though I see clients four days a week, I would make sure that I exercised each of those days before I saw clients, and on the days I wasn’t with clients I would see friends, and indulge in one of my favorite things, going to movies.  Today is a day off from clients, so the short list comes out: laundry, bills, cleaners, return to Pottery Barn, update my TO DO monthly file in my office, and starting to tackle my closet. And yes, I was at Pilates bright an early this morning and it was on the calendar.

Happy organized 2019! 

And remember, if you can’t do it on your own, don’t be afraid to hire someone to help you. The Organizer offers digital and in-person coaching to help you declutter, organize, prioritize, and spend more time doing what you love. Contact me at (202)253-9619 or


Fa La La La…Last Minute Gifts


On the ninth day of Christmas….Oh hello there!  You aren’t singing Christmas carols? Could it be because you are pulling your hair out or falling down on the slippery sidewalk running from your car to a bunch of shopping malls, wishing you were anywhere else in the world?  Having one of those hot toddies people always talk about? Last minute Christmas shopping is absolutely the WORST!!!!!

There are ways to conquer the last minute holiday shopping and gift giving, stay off the roads and out of the malls, get gifts for everyone on your list, not break the bank, and actually make yourself as well as your loved ones really happy.

Let’s start with the obvious:  it is late in the game. So if you are willing to spend a bit of extra money, you can buy many wonderful gifts online from many wonderful sources, and have them shipped in time for an arranged docking time with Santa and his elves.  I am a big fan of small independent companies like The Grommet for interesting inventive gadgets, Uncommon Goods for an array of gifts from art to food to toys to jewelry, Food 52 for kitchen and food items, Mouth for food stuffs, Huckberry for cool outdoor and knickknack gear, Guideboat, and Olive and Cocoa for beautiful things for the home, men, women, babies, florals.  There are also the large online catalogue companies that can accommodate pretty much any gift whim you have if you are willing to spend the money: LL Bean, Land’s End, Orvis, William Sonoma, Sharper Image, Hammacher Schlemmer, and many more.

I also love the idea of giving the gift of a subscription service to something:  a floral subscription for 3 or 6 or 12 months, a food subscription, a music or movie subscription.  These can get to be expensive, so find one that will work within your budget, but will give your friend or loved one an ongoing gift, that he or she will remember and enjoy for the entire year.  I really like Farmgirl Flowers and Enjoy Flowers because they are locally sourced, and are women owned. I also covet the floral subscriptions from Olive and Cocoa (hint hint). Mouth has reasonably priced food subscriptions and I have actually given gifts to people from their collections before and have gotten great feedback, but I know there are many other great food companies online that do subscriptions. There are also App subscriptions in all shapes and sizes depending on interests.  For example, if you are a yoga practitioner, there are a number of yoga app subscriptions, like Asana Rebel, you can buy for a friend or loved one that he or she might have wanted but have put on the back burner. The same idea for a reader, with an online book app like Audible.  

In that same vein, giving lessons or life experiences for gifts is to me so much more personal than a sweater, or a purse, or makeup.  Cooking lessons, music lessons, art lessons, sailing lessons, horseback riding, knitting lessons, you name it. Anything you can learn, can be taught, and therefore can be given as a gift. This year I know a little one who is getting swimming lessons because she already loves the water, and since she already has so many books and toys and clothes, her parents requested this as a gift, and her grandparents jumped at the idea.

Giving yourself as a gift is a fabulous way to show your thoughtfulness to family and friends, and it costs much less than a traditional gift.  What I mean is offering yourself as a helper, an assistant: “My Christmas gift to you this year is dinner and clean up one night a month for three months, of your choosing.”, “My Christmas gift to you is babysitting for you and your spouse one weekend afternoon or evening, every month for the next six months.” “My Christmas gift to you is to give you three hours of organization anywhere in your home.”  There are so many options that you can come up with, and believe me when I say that this can be one of the best gifts a friend or relative will ever receive.

Another wonderful idea in terms of gifting for the person who has everything and wants to have less in his or her life is the gift of a donation to a charitable cause in his or her name.  It should be a charity he or she aligns with, something that matters. The InLieu App makes it super easy to do this and, even better, provides anyone on the app to match your donation if they feel inclined! I personally don’t think you can give a nicer gift than that.

If you want to buy clothing or accessories for women and men I encourage buying from small ethical, sustainable companies like Amour Vert, Cuyana, and Everlane.  They care about the environment and they give back to countries they source from.

Finally, if you just can’t think of anything, and I know that you can always fall back on the gift card.  But just remember, put it in something really, really festive so your recipient won’t forget about it or misplace it, and don’t buy the kind that expire. Check out some fresh, eco-friendly ideas for wrapping here!

And before I go, I wanted to remind you that you can always give the gift of organizing! As a special gift to all of you I am offering my services:

  • 3 hours of in-person organizing for the price of 2 hours (for those that live in the DC Metro Area)
  • 2 hours of online organizing coaching + $75 giftcard to the Container Store

Now, how about that hot toddy? What is a toddy anyway?

Merry merry and happy happy from The Organizer!

Bah Humbug! A Personal Note on the Holidays (Part II)


When the girls started receiving Chanukah gelt (money/coins in various denominations) we asked them to pick a day that they wanted to give that gelt back to a charity of their choice (with no influence from us) — it could be a food bank, a homeless shelter, a shelter for animals — they got to choose.  It made them feel great. When it came to their gifts, we also tried the approach of: one gift that was something really wanted or needed and then a few little gifts or small stacks of coins that were then donated. This way, they got something they really treasured, but also gave something back that they knew someone else would cherish.

I found that for me, this newly framed approach to gifting really changed the way I felt about the whole buying and giving experience because, I was honestly in a place that going to shopping malls was making me miserable and catalogue shopping was becoming an addictive habit.  I always felt like I was missing something or that I had to compete for the next best thing.  I was always spending way more than I should or needed to and the pre-holiday mail was adding up to 200+ catalogues cluttering our house which was, as an organizer, added a whole other level of stress to the entire experience. 

So with a few little adjustments, my family was able to reframe the entire gifting experience.  Here are a few tips from what I’ve learned:

  1. Make a shopping listThere is nothing more dangerous than going into the holiday gift buying experience without a plan.  It often leads to thoughtless gifts and overspending. Making a list — and better yet, asking your family for their list — will help you make sure that you’re mindfully purchasing and gifting things that you know each person will love and treasure.
  2. Make a budget:  This is a crucial step. No one should ever put themselves into debt trying to show their love to their friends and family…it’s not worth it. When I make my holiday gift budget I break it into three parts: 1) money allocated for gifts, 2) money allocated for donations, 3) money allocated for the service men and women that provide for us throughout the year.  To me, it is important to acknowledge the gentleman who delivers our newspaper every morning at 5 am, and our mail carrier, who we know by name, and the garbage and recycling guys, and the lady who has been cutting my hair for forever, because these folks give 100% and I think it is important to say “Thank You”, if not with a cash gift, then something thoughtful, like cookies, or another homemade treat.
  3. Shop: I like to first go through the catalogues and pull out the few items that I think or know that family or friends might like, order, and then recycle them. If I find there are catalogues that I’m not interested in, I will also contact the catalogue companies and request them to stop circulation so that the amount of paper that comes into my home decreases throughout the year. If there are some gaps that have to be filled by shopping in a store I try to go as early on a weekend as possible to avoid the rush, and therefore avoid the stress.
  4. Wrap: Once I am home with my purchases and my lists I try to wrap with eco- friendly paper and tags (I’m getting better at this and have been using this guide by one of my favorite zero waste bloggers to help me) and put each gift to the side either in my office or in a closet with the list so things are ready to go but not cluttering up my space.

I also want to say that as each year passes, I find myself shopping from companies that encourage eco-friendly sourcing or small batching of their products so that I am helping the environment and helping small businesses, and now that my children are adults, and I have my first grandchild, buying experiences as gifts seems to have a lot more meaning and go a lot further.

Remember the adage:  It’s the thought that counts.  And at this time of year, it really is the thought that counts.  Happy Stress Less Holidays! 

Bah Humbug! A Personal Note on the Holidays (Part I)


I really don’t hate the holidays. I really don’t! I just hate the shopping, and the spending, and the worrying, and the waste, and the debt, and the competition, and the greed, and the commercialism, and the….did I say I don’t hate the holidays?

I grew up in a household that celebrated a non-religious Christmas with all the fixings and very little of the true meaning. So I had an enormous tree, elegant decorations, hundreds of presents, including a real life dog every few years or so, and of course a very festive and fancy blow out holiday party.  We got dressed up in our best velvet clothing brought down from my grandparents in New York City. My brothers didn’t beat each other up for exactly 15 minutes and stayed cleaned for that same amount of time. My mother looked gorgeous and my father was dressed in a tux. Lots of people showed up and lots of people ate catered foods and drank a lot of alcohol.  There were songs inside and out and I thought this was absolutely normal. Did I mention that we were Jewish? Which was never discussed. Well, my favorite part of this time of year was not the presents, although there would be one or two special gifts that I would treasure — and of course I took great care with wrapping paper and ribbon and cards ( let’s face it:  I was an organizer with OCD tendencies even then )– but there were wonderful holiday movies on the television, like It’s a Wonderful Life, and multiple versions of A Christmas Carol (including Mr. Magoo’s). Those were my favorite. They encouraged kindness, and family support, and helping others. Those ideas stuck with me.

Then the crash came.  Not the financial, but the familial.  My parents had a very ugly divorce right at Thanksgiving and Christmas became horrible for so many reasons.  I actually wanted to climb into bed until it and the new year revelries were over. People sharing time with their families from the end of November until January 2nd made me depressed and all I wanted was to get on with life and be constructive somehow.  

That began to change when I met my husband, and now my partner of 35 years, Paul. He wanted to bring the holidays back into my life with a sense of joy and cheer and also treats.  And he did that. He is generous, sometimes to a fault. His family was also so incredibly generous to me, and each and every gift was given with such love and joy and I opened each gift with eyes gleaming and a true sense of wonder.  I continued to do this with our three marvelous, darling little girls.

As time went on, we were celebrating both Christmas and Chanukah and I could feel that it was beginning to be a bit overwhelming, for the children (kids lose interest in toys after a while when there are so many) and definitely for me.  I was always planning and focusing on what would be perfect gifts for each one of my girls, for my husband, for my family members, for friends, for everyone else, and my head was spinning. It was too much. Too much spending, too much wrapping, too much entertaining, too many holiday cards.  As the girls got older, we started to encourage homemade gifts and giving back. So instead of getting gifts all eight nights of Chanukah, we taught the girls about giving to causes of their choosing as a gift to the causes and therefore a gift to themselves. They also did this with toys they received for Christmas.  When we no longer had an au pair living with us, we decided that since no one in our house was Christian we would only celebrate Chanukah and continue the tradition of giving some of what we got back to those less fortunate.  It gave my girls and us a real sense of happiness, pride and calm.

Stay tuned for Part II of my personal note on the holidays.



Why would anyone hire a professional organizer?

alisa-anton-692066-unsplashPhoto by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

It’s GO Month (Get Organized) according to the National Association of Professional Organizers, so it’s a great time to answer the question:  why would anyone hire an organizer? Well, I have been doing this for over 23 years now and the answers are pretty much the same; they fit into three categories.

  1. “I am so overwhelmed by all of the stuff that I have that I am actually losing things, like the bills and invitations, and clothing.  Each time I try to get a handle on all the paper and my clothing, more paper and more clothing seem to come in.”
  2. “I just don’t have the time and/or the patience to deal with all my stuff.  And frankly, I hate organizing it. Why not hire a professional who can take that burden off my shoulders?”
  3. ‘I really like being organized but I have no clue where to begin.”

Other reasons come into play as well, but these three are what I hear most of the time. People often call me because a loved one needs downsizing, or is a hoarder living in a dangerous situation.  Yes, I specialize in helping hoarders. Clients with hoarding issues can be tough, but helping them is so fulfilling during and at the end of a project. Hoarders need tremendous compassion, patience and tough love. A tricky combination.

I also love when a client calls and asks me to create systems for him/her.  Whether it be paper filing, computer filing or home items, i.e., kitchens, closets, bathrooms, storage.  I am a believer that you must break down the clutter before you can set up the systems and I am one of those organizers who tells clients DO NOT BUY ANYTHING at the Container Store or Target or anywhere else until we see what kind of space we have to play with.  Don’t get me wrong. The Container Store and upscale organizing products are my crack! I love boxes, and shelving, and hangers, and matching bathroom and desk accessories and oh my God! I adore linens! But I have seen too many new clients who have gone out and spent a great deal of money on items they will never use and then it’s a question of whether they get it together to take these things back to the store and get their money back.  Nine times out of 10 it becomes more clutter.

Paper clients have discovered that I am able to not only sort out what is a necessary keep, but what items may actually allow them to reclaim money.   We go through all paper and throw out those items that are not needed for finances, taxes, calendar events, and important memorabilia. To be able to get taxes in on time, use coupons successfully, and carry out appointments because they are actually found on the calendar, makes life so much easier to navigate.  The discovery of new found money or an old stock certificate that is now worth something is such a wonderful and welcome surprise.

I have many years of experience in assessing quickly and efficiently what a client needs by way of organization. I’ve seen everything. Systems for paper, memorabilia, art, closets, clothing, books, hobbies, tools, kitchens, garages and attics – I’ve done them all. There is an extraordinary sense of relief and lightness that my clients feel after their overwhelming clutter is addressed. For many, their houses are now open and clear and organized, and they can invite friends over for the first time in many years. Such a gift!

Organizers come in all shapes and sizes.  There are those of us who are just starting out, having been stay-at-home parents.  There are those of us who come to organizing from different professions but have a knack, an ability to see clear uncluttered space.  There are those of us who absolutely can’t stand dealing with paper, and those who love just organizing pantries and closets. Hoarding is tough for all organizers, but with some seasoning an organizer can find incredible satisfaction with those clients.  But one of the things I think a really good organizer must have is a willingness to get down and dirty. Telling a client what to do, homework as it were, doesn’t always work. Clients need you to do the work with them, and they appreciate it. And I personally believe you have to connect with your clients, have an emotional understanding of them and their needs and issues.  I want my clients to know who I am, so that they feel we are on fair and equal footing. I am not superior, but I am there with the skill set to tackle something that they have difficulty doing, and to always tackle it with a smile and flexibility. 

If you find yourself in need of extra guidance, please contact me at or (202)253-9619.

A 4-Step Assessment to De-Cluttering Your Home


Stuff.  We all have it, some more than others. Stuff is the things that we have bought, found, inherited, collected and happened upon.  Some of the stuff might be valuable, some might just be worthless but we liked it at the time and westill have it.  To me, stuff is like stuffing; it fills up the space but doesn’t always have a real significance, to my life, to my needs and to my existence.  So why do we have all of this stuff?

It makes us feel full, warm, safe.  But it also causes us to be sluggish, and worn down because we are always worrying about the stuff and where it belongs, and how to take care of it, until we stop and it consumes us, and takes up too much space and way too much effort.  We spend lots of money on storage units to keep the stuff that has no room in our homes, and we forget about it anyway.

I wouldn’t say I am a minimalist.  Far from it. But I think collecting and keeping things has to have significance.  There is the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and that is true, but things that have an expiration date, such as newspapers, magazines, old bills, and even clothing that hasn’t been worn in a very long time, take up space, create dirt and dust, and really clutter the environment.  And old expired food, cosmetics, medicines and prescriptions, go one step further; they can become a health hazard.

We need to really think about what we save, and why we save it.  Does this stuff really give us joy? Wouldn’t the freedom from stuff give us clearer direction and an opportunity to explore and pursue a more fulfilling life?  If everything you keep has an active purpose, I say keep it. If you are keeping things because you think you might use them someday, do a real assessment of those things.

So, how can you do a real assessment?  Actually, it’s relatively simple.

  1. Tackle one space at a time 

When you look at everything all at once it can be overwhelming (and you might just want to quite before you even get started). By choosing a single space – the smaller the better – the task will feel less daunting and you’ll have the stamina to finish the entire assessment process. 

2. Touch each item and ask yourself, “Does this have real sentimental value?”

Does this item “spark joy”?  Is it functional in your life? If answering yes to these questions, keep it. It brings you joy, makes you happy, and has a useful function in your day-to-day. If not, however, it’s time to say thank and goodbye. If the item will never be used by you, you do not have to feel guilty about releasing it.

3. Make a quick list of where you would like items to go 

Is this an item that can be donated? Can it be sold? Is it recyclable? Making a list of where items can be disposed will be useful when it comes time to send them off on their next journey. Unopened makeup and toiletries can go to a shelter. Unopened and unexpired foods, also to a shelter or Food Bank. Personal papers to a local municipal facility that has shredding days, a shredding company, or to a company like UPS which does the shredding for a fee as well.  Lightly worn clothes and homeware can be donated or sold. And of course, recycle items based on what’s acceptable in your city’s recycling program. 

4. Sort and dispose

Once you’ve decided which items have sentimental value, which do not, and where you’d like to send the items you’re getting rid of, sort them into piles and use big heavy duty garbage bags or cardboard boxes to collect in each disposal category. Once the items have been sorted, send them to the shelter, donate them to the thrift store, sell them, or take them to the curb on your next recycling day. 

When you’re finished tackling each area, you’ll see that you have more space to work with, whether it be to use as a staging ground for the next stuff or simply to admire. And, don’t be discouraged. It took time to collect the stuff, and it will take time to get rid of it. Just know that when you donate and give away, you are giving something of yourself to share with others who will really appreciate your generosity.

And, if you can’t do that on your own, don’t be afraid to hire someone to help you. The Organizer offers digital and in-person coaching to help you declutter, organize, prioritize, and spend more time doing what you love. Contact us at (202)253-9619 or