How to Avoid Burnout

September 29th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Being an entrepreneur is an exciting and exhilarating life choice. We are creating a business where one did not exist, and we’re motivated by the limitless potential we see each day. We set our own schedules, create our own opportunities and choose the work we love to do. But, running your own business takes tremendous time and energy. We can easily become susceptible to burnout unless we establish safeguards to protect ourselves

We usually think of burnout when we have more work than we can handle and are working extra hours. However, it can also happen when business is slow and we’re stressed out about finding new clients. Burnout is defined as fatigue and apathy resulting from prolonged stress or overwork. It can totally change our outlook on ourselves, our work and our health. Here are some preventive measures you can take to avoid burnout.

  • Weigh the payoff of every task. Make sure you’re working on things that align with your business goals. Finishing a customer proposal is more important than cleaning out your inbox.
  • Make progress with small steps. We all have visions of what our businesses can attain, and that’s a good thing. It can also be overwhelming. Keep in mind that the way to reach your goals is by taking small, persistent steps. Remember Nemo’s mantra, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”You will get where you want to go.
  • Use your support team. Never underestimate the power of the people in your network. There is a tremendous amount of experience, support and knowledge within our local NAPO chapter as well as from other sources. Take advantage of it.
  • Set strong boundaries. It’s hard to turn work “off”, but it’s essential for long term growth and health. Establish your working hours and stick to them. Don’t return phone calls and emails after hours. Set a consistent day off where you are completely engaged in something besides work.
  • Do something different. Life is more than our work. Being involved in other activities enriches our lives and makes us more productive. Read a book that isn’t about business. Take a ride somewhere you’ve never been. Even traveling to a client by a different route is good for your brain. Think of ways to shake up your routine.

What Are Your Prized Possessions Worth?

September 22nd, 2014

Simple questions do not always have simple answers, but knowing the market value of your antiques, fine art and jewelry is important for many reasons. Are you interested in selling your treasures or do you plan to keep them? If selling, you want to get the highest possible price. If you are keeping them, you want to insure the items to cover the full cost of replacement should they be lost, stolen or damaged.

Every item in your home actually has two values — wholesale and retail. Wholesale value is what you could expect to get for an item should you want to sell it and retail value is what you would insure it for and what you would likely pay in a retail or antique store if you had to replace it. Retail value is typically about 3 times wholesale value, so keep that in mind when you visit a dealer or auction house with an insurance appraisal in hand.

Whether you are keeping or selling your items, their value is always dependent on the market and the collectors who drive it. This often fluctuates with the economy. Generally, value is determined by three attributes:

  1. Beauty (this is, of course, in the eye of the beholder!)
  2. Rarity
  3. Demand

In most cases, an item must have all three attributes to be valuable. A great example is Sterling silver flatware. Many, if not most, sets have beauty and there are a number of rare patterns on the market. But because lifestyles have changed and people don’t entertain like they used to, there is little demand for any of these sets. Most are worth only the value of the silver itself. One caveat is that quality trumps all. Even an item that is in low demand might have great value if it is in pristine condition.

What are some items that are valuable in today’s market?

  • Chinese Items—As the Chinese economy has strengthened in recent years, the Chinese have been buying back many of their native treasures.
  • Japanese Items—This market has been very weak for the past 20 years but is just starting to come back. Hang on for a year or two and it should improve greatly.
  • Old Miner’s Cut Diamonds—These are diamonds that were cut by hand inside the mines in the 1800s…very rudimentary. They were out of favor for many years because technological advances made modern round cut diamonds much more brilliant. Now old miner’s cuts are wildly popular because they are “recycled.”

Bottom line

Before making decisions about keeping, giving away, or selling items in your home, do yourself a favor and bring in an expert to tell you what they are worth. If you have jewelry, silver, coins or watches, you can get a free evaluation from NovaGold, LLC. For any other items, Peenstra Antiques Appraisals will appraise for a reasonable fee after a free phone consultation.

Steve Gouterman is a gemologist who has been buying and selling diamonds, precious metals, coins and timepieces since 1980. His experiences include import/export, wholesale and retail.  He is the co-founder of NovaGold, LLC, which specializes in working privately with clients and their families on strategic sales of their estate and antique jewelry, gems, and coins–specifically determining how to maximize value.  www.novagoldllc.com

Through the years, Todd Peenstra has worked with both world-renowned collectors and first-time art and antiques buyers. To each he brings knowledge, perspective and insight, tailoring his advice to meet specific needs and wishes. Todd is also a candidate member of the International Society of Appraisers. From single acquisitions to furnishing entire estates, Todd’s professional expertise, attention to detail, excellent customer service and refreshing enthusiasm are valuable assets to his clients.

September 2014 Meeting Summary

September 19th, 2014

The September NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, September 8, 2014 in Bethesda, MD. There were 40 members and 6 guests in attendance.

The meeting started with active networking. Members visited with Corporate Partners and the Ask the Experts table.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.  

Linda Pray introduced our two new members Katherine Harrison and Jane Campbell, and six guests.

Lori Krause introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:

Representative

Company

Lori Krause

Keller Williams Realty

Alonso Zamora

B-Thrifty & B-Green

Dr. Dale Keeton

B-Thrifty & B-Green

Juli Monroe

1 to 1 Discovery

 Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: Jodi Sleeper-Triplett: Managing the Stress of Life Transitions

Transitions are stressful for the following reasons:

  • Chartering the unknown – dealing with changes planned and unplanned
  • Lack of executive functioning skills – hide the clutter; hide the mess
  • Lack of focus – hard to transition/adapt/cope without ability to focus
  • Difficulty letting go – so hard to let go of stuff i.e. home, belongings, life style, etc.
  • Inability to see the future/big picture       

How to help your clients:

Shift your questions

  • Look at what is needed to start moving forward – change questions to more open-ended ones to allow the client to talk about their situation. Let them express frustrations, anxiety, and stress so you can help them move forward and adjust to the changes. Listen and shift questions to encompass their desire to transition. There are no right or wrong answers.

Use noticing

  • Notice the level of stress and how it is shifting –is it better or worse?  Compliment the better and comment on the worse from a place of concern; i.e. a newly clutter-free area brings smiles/relaxation/happiness or continuous depressed or sour mood despite all efforts.

Practice mindfulness         

  • Breathe! Take a breath and shift the conversation or refocus.  This gives the energy to do what needs to be done for both you and the client.  Visualize a special location that is peaceful and serene, use that visual and breathe – 30-120 seconds can reduce the stress level measurably.

Identify issues that are impacting client progress

  • No judgment zone – do not negate client feelings/concerns; find out what is getting in the way; discover what their learning style is – visual, auditory, written, etc.; their fear of not doing it right will impact their ability to learn.

Increase structure

  • Be sure what you set up is good for them. Those who have not had routine or structure do not understand how to live with it. Take baby steps – go a little at a time vs. all-encompassing structure/routine. Do what is needed to create focus that will allow the increase of structure/routine. Suggest – do not impose new ideas!

 Tap into core values

  •  What’s important to you – family, honesty, truth, friends, etc.; ask how do you commit to honor your values i.e. dinner at the table (clutter-free zone)?

 Create a picture for the future

  •  What do you want? Can you visualize either by drawing, cut out pictures or write about it?

 Deflecting client stress away from yourself

  • Move the stress of working with client away form yourself by focusing on something pleasant or different. Take a break and talk about something else with client.

Chapter Business Meeting

Stephen Bok, Director of Marketing and Max Levitt of Leveling the Playing Field (LPF) presented on the upcoming GO Month/Community Partner initiative.  The mission of LPF is to improve the opportunity for underprivileged kids to play sports by collecting sporting equipment donations for youth programs, title 1 schools, etc. Almost 75% of donations come from families.  Organizers can help by letting their clients know of the program. LPF will be moving into a new warehouse in October and will need organization in that warehouse for current and future donations. They also need suggestions for storing equipment – bins for balls; tennis rackets; helmets; etc.  LPF does not take football helmets, tennis shoes or clothing unless it is a full team’s worth.  A chairperson for GO Month is needed – contact Stephen Bok if interested.

MARCPO update was given by Suzette Smith.  September 15 is now the last day for early bird price for registering for MARCPO.

Linda Pray, Director of Membership, announced that the membership renewal for current members is deadline is September 30. An additional $25 fee is added to renewals beginning October 1

Janet Schiesl announced that a new NAPO-WDC Neighborhood Group (Route 66) will be starting this month.  The first meeting is September 18th at 7 pm at the Whole Foods in Vienna.

The next meeting will take place on October 6, 2014 in Fairfax, VA.

Ready For Another Great Year?

September 1st, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

 Welcome back to NAPO-WDC! September is here – again!! Did the summer fly by at unusual speed or was it just me?! Hopefully you had your share of sun, fun and relaxation and are ready to tackle a new year.

 At NAPO-WDC, we have been busy! The board of directors met for two days over the summer to plan our strategy for a great year. A group of volunteers is working on revising our Bylaws and Operations manual. MARCPO registration is in full swing and volunteers have been working hard to ensure a successful conference. And we have a new community partner and GO month project for next January, with details coming soon.

 I encourage all of you to participate in our upcoming and ongoing activities. The benefits of being an involved member are many – you’ll meet new people (enriching not only your personal life but your business life too), generate more ideas to grow your business, learn new skills, help the chapter stay healthy – and have fun! What’s not to love about that?!

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our next chapter meeting on September 8th in Bethesda. Remember my email (president@dcorganizers.org) is always open for suggestions and constructive opinions.

June 2014 Meeting Summary

June 30th, 2014

The June NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, June 2, 2014 in Fairfax, VA. There were 26 members and 2 guests in attendance.

The meeting started with active networking. Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet tables hosted by Friends on Call and the Ask the Experts table.

 Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.  

Director of Membership Linda Pray introduced our 2 guests.

Director of Corporate Partners Lori Krause introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:

Representative

Company

Debbie Brashears

Friends on Call

Andy Reiman

Modern Image

Joe Johnson

Shelf Genie

Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Alonso Zamora

B-Thrifty

Sharon Bliss

Book Bliss Online

Dr. Dale Keeton

B-Thrifty

Guests: Harriet Church & Stephanie Zimmerman – Lend A Box

 Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: “Contents Inventory and Valuation”

Panel of experts:

Insurance (Rick Mikszan of State Farm) – mediation, protection

Financial Advisor (Brock Jolly of Capitol Financial Partners) – organize/integrate/coordinate all financial info

Law (Law Office of Craig Anderson) – organize all documents/wills/legal edicts

Home Inventory – (Errol Unikel of Home Contents Videos) – Videos/photos of home possessions

All supported the following:

  • Recognizing and managing risk through preparedness
  • Protecting and distributing assets through documentation
  • Getting your fair share upon settlement after disaster

 To recover from disaster faster: video/photograph inventory of ALL items in the home; document bills, receipts and related documents. Home Contents Video will become a Corporate Partner with NAPO-WDC.

Chapter Business Meeting

MARCPO Update – Suzette Smith announced that MARCPO will take place on October 25, 2014.  Registration begins first week of July. This year’s theme is “Powerful + Proficient = Profitable”. The keynote speaker will be Jan Fox. Volunteers will be needed for the day of the event. Look for opportunities to sign up to volunteer in the coming months.

The Treasurer report was give by Keri Myers.  We are a healthy, happy chapter financially.  MARCPO and membership are the main money raising efforts. Keri will be resigning – Eileen asked for anyone interested  in the Treasurer position to contact her.

Outgoing Secretary Tiffany Mensing announced that the Yahoo Group information documentation has been updated and can be found on the NAPO-WDC members only website.  It states that warnings about potentially harmful clients cannot be made through the Yahoo Group as per NAPO.

Eileen LaGreca asked for volunteers to help with the update process of the Bylaws and Operations.

Linda Pray asked for volunteers for greeters for the membership tables each month.

Volunteer Awards – Janice Rasmussen

Volunteer awards all went to Nealey Stapleton, Maria White, Alisa Levy, Terri Fischer, Cindy Szparagha, Xan Koneff, Jody Al-Saigh, Lauri Mennel, Cecilia Anderson, Leslie Nathan, Vanessa Seifert, Leslie Gifford, and Amy Mykityshyn,

Volunteer of the Year was Linda Pray.

Corporate Partner of the Year was B-Thrifty.

Professional Organizer of the Year was Andrea Hancock.

Andrea Hancock was the winner of the one-year membership Door Prize drawing.

 The next meeting will take place on September 8, 2014 in Bethesda, MD.

7 Secrets To Help A Client With “Hoarding Behaviors”

May 19th, 2014

We were so honored to speak before an audience of 60+ professional organizers at the NAPO DC Chapter meeting. As clinic therapists who specialize in hoarding behaviors, we’ve guided hundreds of clients to shift their life of shame and isolation to a life of freedom and fulfillment. With the tips below, you can be a HUGE part of helping them create a clutter-free mindset, home and life.

Understand The “Top 2” Underlying Mental Health Issues That Trigger Hoarding

1. Trauma - Most people who hoard have been through a traumatic event in their life (commonly a death in the family or divorce), and this triggers them to hold onto items like a security blanket due to their uncertainty in life. The key is to team up with a clinical therapist who can shift their perspective and the meaning they gave the event through strategies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), so it doesn’t keep them stuck in life emotionally.

2. Depression - 95% of people who have the hoarding behavior feel depressed and unmotivated. Lack of purpose, isolation due to feelings of shame and guilt, low self-worth or self-esteem, and poor eating and lack of exercise are all major contributors to them “Doing Depression.” The key is to assist them in changing these lifestyle behaviors and guiding them to shift their focus from the past and/or future to having them focus and live in the present moment. In addition, show them how to focus on the positive things in their life and guide them to give empowering meanings to events and circumstances which then will produce energy and motivation to live a higher quality of life.

Warning!!! Understand The Hoarder’s Mindset

Recognize that their hoard has become their safety blanket. They might have conflicted feelings about you in their home (to help them or hurt them) and wanting to take their safety and certainty away. Having you in their home produces EXTREME anxiety and fear, so follow the tips below.

What to Say When First Encountering A Hoarder’s Home

Always elevate and compliment them (admire their collection of items as an expression of their hobbies/interests and discuss that) and discuss clearing out a special room for their unique hobby, such as a sewing or crafts room. Admit and talk about some of your failures in life so they will relate to you and want to work with you. Be empathetic since they’ve experienced trauma and feel shame and embarrassed about their collection of items.

What “NOT TO SAY” To A Hoarder

Do not call them a “hoarder” because it is a derogatory (negative) word to most of them. No matter how bad the condition of the home, do not look shocked or gasp because they will feel judged and not want your help. Their possessions are emotionally part of them, so do not call their things junk, trash or worthless (even if it is trash) because you don’t know their perspective. Use conversation that will develop trust. The best way to create trust is to allow them to talk. They will trust you because you will truly HEAR them, and they usually don’t have many people to talk to due to their habitual isolation.

Another Warning!

Studies have found that there is a 97% recidivism rate if you just clean up the items without THEM processing and addressing the underlying psychological issues. Without therapy, after you clean and organize the house, we find that within months the hoard will be back. Sometimes it’s worse than before through “hyper-hoarding” because they want to feel certain and safe again. It will make your job a lot easier if they work with a therapist to release the emotional tie to their items before you start cleaning up and organizing with them. It is critically important to have them work with a therapist who specializes in hoarding, because general psychologists/therapists have been found to be very ineffective since hoarding is a backwards thinking disorder that most general therapists are not trained in addressing.

Get Educated and Empowered

We recommend you learn the strategies of how to plow through mental or emotional blockages when guiding a hoarder through the cleanup. We’ve only scratched the surface in this article about how to help a hoarder, so we highly recommend you educate yourself and empower your clients with a gift by ordering our Hoard No More Rescue Kit at www.HoardNoMore.org. In creating this kit, we partnered with Cory Chalmers, the Hoarding Expert directing the cleanups on the Emmy-Nominated TV Show “Hoarders”.  Below is an excerpt from our Hoard No More Rescue Kit on how to help a hoarder.

Five Secrets To Prevent Backsliding and Becoming Part of the 97% Recidivism Rate

(1) Support System; (2) Specialized Coaching or Therapy; (3) Specialized Organizers/Professional Cleaners; (4) Aftercare Maintenance with a Coach or Therapist; (5) Scheduled Cleaning Appointments

Trash Permission List

If any of the below applies to any item in the home, it is considered trash and needs to be removed from the home. The person who hoards must give himself/herself permission to discard items that fit these criteria without another thought: Ooze, Crawl, Smells, Leaks, Broken, Mildew, Contaminated, Burned, Torn, Infested, Soiled, and Moldy.

Excerpt from Hoard No More Rescue Kit. Copyright 2014 MoJo Life Coaches, LLC

Share the Knowledge

The hoarding disorder is a misunderstood mental health issue and our mission is to educate and empower professionals, family members and friends who have a loved one who struggles with hoarding behaviors. We produced a short video which supplements this article. Watch “7 Rules To Stop Hoarding Behavior TODAY” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpGmcot6dTs and feel free to share this article and video with others to educate and empower them on their journey toward a clutter-free life!

Steve Conlan Elaine Stephanos

Steve Conlan and Elaine Stephanos are Clinical Therapists who co-authored the “Hoard No More Rescue Kit” and co-founded MoJo Life Coaches, LLC based in Ashburn, VA.  They are certified in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and specialize in managing and overcoming the Hoarding Disorder and Depression.

Nationally recognized as the “MoJo Duo” they are experts in behavior dynamics and facilitate rapid transformation in people who struggle with hoarding and the underlying mental health issues.  Drawing upon 20+ years of self-development education, they provide group/private coaching leveraging their mental health training, clinical case work, life experiences, and an on-fire desire to empower others to live the highest quality life they desire!  www.HoardNoMore.org and www.MoJoLifeCoaches.com; 703-723-MOJO (6656); elaine@mojolifecoaches.com

May 2014 Meeting Summary

May 13th, 2014

The May NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, May 5, 2014 in Bethesda, MD. There were 40 members and 8 guests in attendance.

The meeting started with active networking. Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet table hosted by Linden Coyne from Junk in the Trunk and Andy Reiman from Modern Image.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.

Kimberly Gleason introduced our 8 guests.

Mary Malmberg introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:

Representative Company
Lori Krause Building Bridges Partners
Alonso Zamora B-Thrifty
Dr. Dale Keeton B-Thrifty
Linden Coyne Junk In The Trunk
Sharon Bliss Book Bliss Online
Andy Reiman Modern Image
Guests: Errol Unikel with Home Contents Video, Ben Knowlton with Olympia Moving

Alonso Zamora spoke about B-Thrifty. Along with being a thrift store, they also pick up donations from clients’ homes. The thrift store helps the community get affordable clothing and they offer free food to the community on Thursdays. B-Thrifty works to find good homes for the items clients donate.

Educational Program

Cara Bretl introduced the educational program: “Ask the Appraisers” with Steve Gouterman from NovaGold, LLC and Todd Peenstra from Peenstra Antiques Appraisals.

Steve and Todd gave members information they can use to help clients decide if it is worthwhile to have items appraised, to sell it at an auction house, to keep it, or to sell it on E-Bay or Craigslist.

The value of an item depends on if you want to sell it or keep it and have it insured. The insured value of an item is typically three times the value than if you want to sell it.

Steve and Todd discussed that what affects an item’s value is if it can be connected to a specific time period. The rarity, beauty (in the eye of the beholder!), and demand of an item can increase its value. Quality can trump all three of those attributes though – a quality piece in a low-demand category can still have a high value.

Chapter members brought items to have Steve and Todd appraise. They looked at several items including a framed map, a diamond brooch, a sword from WWII, a gold coin, a clock, a typewriter, and a carnival glass pitcher. Quick appraisal values ranged from $25 to $5,000!

Chapter Business Meeting

The planning for MARCPO 2014 is underway – contact Suzette Smith or Andrea Hancock to volunteer!

The next meeting will be on Monday, June 2nd, in Fairfax, VA.

Change in Leadership

April 28th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

The NAPO-WDC Board of Director terms end on May 15, and I would like to offer the current board my thanks for a job well done. It has been my complete pleasure to serve as chapter president this year, and to work with such professional and encouraging colleagues. I have learned so much from this experience, and am looking forward to putting my gained knowledge into practice in the coming year.

To our outgoing board members: Tiffany Mensing, Kimberly Gleason and Mary Malmberg – thank you for giving your time, effort and expertise to the chapter. We have all benefitted from your unique talents (and general awesomeness!).

To our incoming board members: Vanessa Seifert, Linda Pray and Lori Krause – welcome!! I’m sure I speak for the entire chapter in thanking you for stepping up to serve. We look forward to the new ideas and enthusiasm you will bring to the table.

Finally, to the board members who will continue to serve for the coming year: Janet Schiesl, Cara Bretl, Janice Rasmussen, Keri Myers, Penny Catterall and Stephen Bok – thank you for your continued support and commitment to maintain a thriving chapter. I am looking forward to another year of working with all of you!

April 2014 Meeting Summary

April 22nd, 2014

The April NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, April 7, 2014 in Fairfax, VA.  There were 32 members and 9 guests in attendance. 

The meeting started with active networking.  Members visited the Ask the Experts table and the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet tables hosted by B-Thrifty and Shelf Genie.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.  

Kimberly Gleason introduced our nine guests. 

Mary Malmberg introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:

Representative

Company

Joe Johnson

Shelf Genie

Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Kate Crawley

Building Bridges Partners

Alonso Zamora

B-Thrifty

Dr. Dale Keeton

B-Thrifty

Peter Belman

GarageTek

Linden Coyne

Junk In The Trunk

Sharon Bliss

Book Bliss Online

Guests: Errol Vinikel (Home Content Videos), Bryan Justice (JK Moving), Stephanie Zimmerman (Lend a Box), John Alzubi (Smart Choice)

Peter Belman spoke about Garage Tek.  GarageTek offers flexible and modular storage solutions and loves to work with clients to solve their storage problems.  They can help store sports gear, lawn and garden supplies, and tools – all off the floor!  GarageTek helps create a great looking garage that clients can use to its full advantage.

Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: “Hoard No More – 7 Strategies to Better Serve Your Hoarding/Chronically Disorganized Clients” by Elaine Stephanos and Steve Conlan.

10-15 million people in the US are hoarders, so there is a great chance a professional organizer will encounter clients with hoarding behaviors. 

Hoarders have a tendency to live in the past and think about what they could have done differently, which leads to depression.  They also often think of bad things that could happen in the future, which turns into fear.  Either way, they are not living in the present. 

Many hoarders are very creative, so helping them make changes in their home that allow them to use their creative talents, such as creating a craft room, can help them get motivated.  It is also very important to coordinate any organizing work with a cleaning service and a therapist that specialize in hoarding.

Chapter Business Meeting

Janet Schiesl spoke about Golden Circle – if you have been in business for more than five years, you are eligible.

Penny Catterall is looking for volunteers for the Communications and Technology Committee – you don’t have to be a techie to join!

The next meeting will be May 5, 2014 in Bethesda, MD.

 

How To Clear Clutter & Organize A Wardrobe The Personal Stylist Way

April 21st, 2014

By Lani Inlander, Owner and Chief Stylist of Real Life Style

Clearing closet clutter is not just about changing hangers and color coding the wardrobe. True, lasting change and real clutter clearing only happen when you ask your client the right questions. Instead of asking “When was the last time you wore that dress?” find out how it makes them feel. Like a frump? Put it in the giveaway pile! Fantastic, but they haven’t worn it lately because they aren’t sure which shoes to wear with it? Keep it!

Tact and trust are your best friends when going through the closet, which is an emotionally charged space for most.

My three most important communication tips for the closet process are:

1. Ask, Don’t Tell- Let them tell you about each item before you throw in your 2 cents.

2. Keep Smiling- Keep the mood happy and light with a good attitude and some good music!

3. Always fault the clothes, not the client- the garment’s cut is at fault when it doesn’t fit well, not the client’s body shape.

Here are my 3 Top Organizational Tools to Tidy up a Closet like a Personal Stylist:

1. Real Simple Slimline Flocked Suit Hangers – $29.99 for 50 from Bed Bath & Beyond Real-Simple-Slimline-Hangers

This set of 50 hangers is a steal at only $30. I consider these to be the best hangers on the market because of how much space they save, especially compared to their bulky competitors, the wooden hanger and the plastic tubular hanger. Plus, these actually keep the clothes from falling onto the ground and maintain a garment’s shape. Once your client’s closet is rid of mismatched and dry cleaner hangers and full of flocked hangers, they’ll be amazed at how clearly they can see all of their beautiful clothes.

2. Small Stacking Acrylic Trays – $8.99 each from The Container Store Small-Stacking-Acrylic-Trays

 Out of sight, out of mind! One of the easiest ways to look polished and put together is to add accessories to your outfit. However, when clients use closed jewelry boxes they tend to forget to put jewelry on, especially when running to work in the morning. These trays clearly lay out all of your jewelry for easy access when getting ready. They also come in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can always pick out the trays that best fit your client’s needs.

3. Clear Shoe Boxes – Start at $6.99 from The Container Store Clear-Shoe-Boxes

Nothing clutters a closet like a million empty shoeboxes. I advise all of my clients to toss their shoeboxes as soon as they bring their new purchase home. For the easiest and most rewarding shoe storage system, these boxes can be stacked along the bottom or top of the closet, allowing for shoes to be easily seen but stay free of dust and dirt. These also come in different heights for flats and heels.

3 Bonus Tools I Also Love:
Double-Hang-Closet-Rod

1. Double Hang Closet Rod – $9.99 from The Container Store

 This hanging bar is perfect for those tiny city apartments with tiny closets to match. These really come in handy for couples who have to share a closet. Hang blouses and tops on the existing bar and trousers on the bottom bar. Voila! Instantly doubled closet space.

Folding-Garment-Rack

2. Commercial Folding Garment Rack – $69 from The Container Store

This rack is a great tool to purchase for your business. Bring these to your closet  appointments  and save time and energy organizing and moving around the clothes. Plus your clients will think that you are such a professional when they see you walk in with this rack!

 

3. Baroque Taupe Fabric Storage Boxes – $15.99 from The Container Store Fabric-Storage-Boxes

 I always stress the importance of switching out seasonal clothing to my clients. There is just no reason for sundresses to be in your closet in December! I like to use these fabric boxes to store shorts and tank tops in the winter and corduroys and coats in the summer. You can easily write on each side of the label outside of the box, and when the seasons change just flip the label!

Lani Inlander has been helping clients look and feel their best for 15 years. Her fashion expertise has been featured in In Style, New York Magazine, The Washington Post and Washingtonian, among other publications. She has also styled segments for television programs including Oprah Winfrey and The View.

Lani is deeply passionate about what she does: empowering clients through fashion and helping them find clothing and accessories that fit their figures, suit their style, and boost their confidence. Over the course of her career, she has styled a wide range of clients from moms to those in entertainment, media and politics. For more check out www.real-life-style.com.