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Now that you have taken the time to go through your closet and made your four piles of clothes, (stays, goes, needs alterations, and maybe), it’s time for the real fun to begin. Having an organized closet is going to save you stress, time, and money.
Before putting things back in the closet, decide where you are going to donate the clothes, and go ahead and put them in your car. There is a new Goodwill store near Lake Monticello that makes donating quick and easy. They literally have a drive thru where a staff member meets you at your vehicle, and helps you bring it in. Don’t forget your receipt for tax purposes. I also encourage you to go ahead and put the bag of clothes that need alterations in your car too. You’re more likely to take action if you see the reminder in the back seat.
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Did you clean up your garden last fall; beds all cut back and mulched, leaves shredded and decomposing in a compost pile? Or have you left the perennial debris and leaves, all crushed down now into a pile of mush lying on the beds? Either way, you can see what is left standing and it is time to do some pruning.
With a more open view and no distracting bloom all around, it is easy to see where removal is needed. Crossed branches on the Japanese maples, broken limbs dangling up in the beech and oak trees, water sprouts and suckers on the shasta viburnums and the crabapples; all are more obvious now.

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Closet Audit... Chances are your closet is bursting at the seams with clothes, shoes and bags that you don’t wear or use. Photo courtesy of Annette DalyThe New Year has begun and many of us resolved to clean up our act in one way or another. Maybe you’re interested in a new look or style – the first step should be to organize a closet detox. Chances are your closet is bursting at the seams with clothes, shoes and bags that you don’t wear or use. Where are you going to put those new clothes and accessories you received as presents recently? Here are a few tips to help you make room for stepping out in 2014 with a new style.

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Photo by Christina Dimeo Guseman

Where do you live?
Lake Monticello
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
I’ve lived in Fluvanna for 15 years. What brought me here was an ad in the New York Post titled “Retire in Virginia lake country.” The ad offered a free weekend, tickets to Monticello, and a dinner, in the hopes that people would purchase property at Lake Monticello. My husband still has the ad! He’s a history buff and wanted to go to Monticello. So we came, in 1986, and took a look. We weren’t buying anything – it was one of those freebie weekends.
A few years later we started thinking about retirement. Though we owned a house in New York City, our lifestyle cost more than we could afford in retirement. We started researching places and remembered Lake Monticello, and decided to take another look. We liked that the density was so much less than NYC, and we were drawn to the woods. We bought property in 1991 and moved down here in 1999.
Yeah, they really marketed to the tri-state area. It was a huge marketing effort. Of the people who bought property here after 1986, most of them probably responded to those ads.
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I like to visit topiary gardens in winter. Undistracted by parterres of roses or patterns of bedding plants, the fanciful forms of topiary glisten with dark evergreen distinction.
Topiary is a living sculpture where pruning is done to sharply define a shape with dense foliage. Geometric shapes are the standard, cones or hedges, balls on top of balls, spirals, etc. Some are very intricate, depicting horses galloping after hounds or swans sailing on the top of an ocean of hedge.

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