Are you part of NAPO’s Golden Circle?

November 3rd, 2015

logo-golden-circleIf you have been a NAPO member and in business for 5 years, then be sure to attend the next Golden Circle gathering in January 2016. If you haven’t been in business for 5 years yet, you have this to look forward to because it is so valuable!

Here are a few highlights of things we discussed at the last meeting. The conversation was SO useful both as a professional organizer and as a business owner. Plus, it’s just plain fun networking with each other.


Le Tote

One of the discussions we had was about clients who love to shop, and this website was suggested as a possible solution. This service allows you to “rent” clothing, so it satisfies the need for getting new stuff on a regular basis and also keeps the closet from overflowing. At least, that’s the idea. :)

This is from the Le Tote website: “Always have something new to wear. Get 3 garments and 2 accessories delivered to your door – unlimited times each month. Wear everything. Send it back. Receive your next set of options days later!”

Get more information from

The Confidence Code

Have you read this book yet? It is a fantastic in-depth look at the confidence gap between men and women. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman bring you the scientific research, interviews with high ranking, successful women and specific actionable steps for becoming more confident. This is a great resource for women, especially entrepreneurs!

Get more information from

PicMonkey & Canva

Do you have a Facebook page but don’t know how to create the cover image at the top? Do you have a blog but don’t know how to design infographics? Do you need to create something visual but don’t have the design or tech skills necessary?

There are 2 online services that you can use for free that take all of the guesswork out of it. Check out PicMonkey and Canva!

If you have any questions about Golden Circle, please feel free to contact our Golden Circle liaison Lauri Mennel at

President’s Message

October 28th, 2015

Could you? Could you put together an event that would be entertaining and educational? Could you use your skills to bring together new ideas to your colleagues?

Would you? Would you like to do something that would be of value to your fellow organizers? Would you enjoy creating events that would also provide information that can help you grow your own business?

Can you? Can you see yourself as a valuable member of the NAPO WDC leadership team? Can you raise your hand and say yes?

Last spring many of us got the call from Janet asking us to help out and join the NAPO WDC Board of Directors. Ten of us answered yes to her request.  Unfortunately, one board member has to drop out and we are in search of a new Director of Programs and Professional Development.  I am asking you to please consider taking this position.  The program for 2015-16 is nearly complete so it’s a great opportunity to get involved without starting from the beginning.  You won’t be alone and you won’t have to do it by yourself – we are a team!

The Education portion is one of the key components of our monthly meetings and without it, we will struggle. This is an opportunity to learn new things, refresh our memories of prior things learned and to share our community of knowledge. We cannot lose this learning opportunity but without someone to take the reins, we very well may falter.

Whether you have never been on the board before or if you served in the past, please consider stepping up!  NAPO-WDC needs you!

Managing Your Home Data Digitally

October 19th, 2015

Homeowners often struggle with managing the details about their home because they are generally disorganized or do not have a central system to track the data. It makes sense why this happens. We have real estate documents in one file cabinet, contacts of service providers in address books or on our phones, full drawers of receipts for items we purchased, photos of our homes in boxes, sticky notes on what task is next and who is going to tackle this task, and some homeowners do not have any of this information because they might be new at homeownership.

Managing your home digitally and in one place can solve many of these issues. If you had a digital account of your home and storage of all home related documents at your fingertips, you could actually remove a lot of the paper you have in your home to become more organized both digitally and physically. Additionally, understanding the details of one of your largest assets, can help make you, as homeowner, more aware and more informed about your home. Understanding what you own, how to take care of it and how to enhance it can help you maintain the value of your home.

Organizers can now help their clients become more digitally organized by using the most innovative tools to help them understand the contents within their home, the paper associated with their home and how to take action to maintain the value of their home. These services are opportunities to continue to support clients while also building out an organizers business to help continue with the overall business growth strategy.

Elizabeth Dodson is the co-founder of HomeZada, a cloud-based home improvement and organizational software tool. HomeZada strives to educate and provide resources for homeowners in all areas of home management, including home improvement projects, maintenance, inventory, and property information.

President’s Message, October 2015

September 28th, 2015

Vanessa Seifert, President

Vanessa Seifert, President

I was looking for ideas and doing research for this blog so I did what everyone does…I Googled “blog for organizers”! It has been awhile since I did this and the sheer volume of information was overwhelming. English (American, Australian and British), Spanish, German, French articles flooded my computer screen. This started me thinking, if I was having issues finding something specific with organizing how complex must this be for people who are looking for advice for their homes and business? So, I Googled some more – organizing tips, organizing marketing, organizing for dummies – YIKES!

Now add to that extensive list the multitude of electronic options for marketing: mobile, Evernote, Constant Contact, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and so on. Where do we begin? How do we possibly manage it all? To that end, NAPO WDC has been making an effort to enlighten and educate its members on some of the vast options available to us. Last year we had presentations from Google and Virtuallinda. This year we will continue our education with Constant Contacts, Home Zada and virtual organizing.

We will host our first live webinar meeting October 5th with Elizabeth Dodson of Home Zada. She will be discussing how to go digital in our clients homes and help them organize & manage their documents & possession. This is a closed webinar and you can only view it at the meeting so please join us.

Harnessing the Power of Mobile Marketing

September 23rd, 2015

Mobile MarketingMobile marketing presents a huge opportunity for small business marketing but before you dive into adding some of the tactics to your business, do the research and make sure that you’ll be attracting the clients you want with the methods you implement.

Think about your own patterns today….how often do you pick up your mobile device and read an email or log onto the internet from your smart phone and look up an address or phone number? When making a purchase, how many reviews are you reading before making a purchase? Your customers are doing the same thing, so it’s important that your marketing reflect these buying patterns.

Three simple tactics you can implement as a basis for building your mobile marketing include:

  • Google my business – this is a tool provided by Google that allows you to put significant information online and get reviews from clients. There is a verification process, so you can’t complete everything in one day, but once you do, it will help prospects find you
  • Mobile responsive emails – if you are sending email campaigns to your prospects, clients and strategic partners, make sure the template looks good on a mobile device. Look at the font size that you are using and consider using on column rather than two.
  • Online Reviews – get in the habit of asking your clients to go online and write reviews. The best place to start is on your google my business link, but directory sites like Yelp, Angie’s list and Houzz are also worth consideration.

Develop a strategy for your marketing and you’ll see greater results.

Debbie DeChambeau is a marketing strategist and business consultant. She frequently speaks for Constant Contact on marketing best practices and is part of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultants Network. If you need help building your marketing plan, implementing your marketing tactics or just have questions about building your business, contact her and schedule a meeting.

June 2015 Chapter Meeting Summary

June 12th, 2015

NAPO WDC Chapter Meeting Summary

Monday, June 1, 2015

6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The June NAPO WDC chapter meeting was held in Fairfax, VA.  There were 25 members and 3 guests in attendance.  

The meeting started with active networking. Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet tables hosted by Helen Long of Partners Estate Sales and Daniel Sanders, of Four Sales, Ltd.

Vanessa Seifert welcomed everyone.   

Lori Krause introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:



Sharon Bliss

Bliss Books Online

Dale Keaton

B-Thrifty and B-Green

Daniel Sanders

Four Sales

Helen Long

Partners Estate Sales

Errol Unikel

Rain Maker Video

Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners



Lori Krause again introduced Daniel Sanders, of Four Sales, Ltd, this month’s corporate partner spotlight presenter.


Corporate Partner Spotlight

Daniel Sanders, Four Sales, Ltd., described how professional organizers can get billable hours by working with Four Sales in a mutually beneficial partnership. The example given was when people have a storage unit to be emptied Four Sales can refer to a professional organizer who will then organize the items on location within the unit or taking photos of the items that can’t be displayed. Four Sales will then come in, value the items and move saleable items to auction, charity, recycling or trash. In other cases Four Sales will refer renters of storage units to professional organizers so the relationship is mutually advantageous.


Educational Program

Vanessa Seifert introduced Steve Gouterman, of Paradigm Experts, and Todd Peenstra, of Peenstra Appraisals, presenters of The Appraisal Roadshow.

Varied items brought in by NAPO WDC members were appraised by both men. In addition, both men provided information on the technicalities of valuing various antiques and estate pieces.

Chapter Business Meeting

Vanessa Seifert noted that there is still time to register for Lisa Montenaro’s Kick-Butt Bootcamp. Interested members should look at Constant Contact or email Vanessa for details.

Suzette Smith gave MARCPO 2015 update. MARCPO is scheduled for Saturday 10/24 in Bethesda, MD. Two half day workshops will be held in addition to morning and afternoon speakers this year. Speakers are still needed; a deadline of June 8 for speaker suggestions was announced. MARCPO registration will open on July 13. The cost of registration for NAPO WDC members from July 13 – August 1 will be $199. During early bird registration, August 2 – September 21, registration will cost $229. The MARCPO registration fee increases to $299 on September 22.

Suzette will not be MARCPO director next year. A call for new director was made, with the suggestion being that the new volunteer could shadow the 2015 MARCPO team this year as preparation for next year.

Errol Unikel asked if corporate sponsors are on the email distribution list for MARCPO. The consensus among the board was yes, but Cara will confirm that the list is correct.



June 5        Kick-Butt Bootcamp
June 16      Virginia Book Club Meeting

June 18 Rt. 66 Neighborhood Group Meeting

June 22 Rockville Pike Neighborhood Group Meeting
July 21 Maryland Book Club Meeting

July 26 Golden Circle Meeting
Sept 9  NAPO WDC Chapter Meeting in Bethesda, MD
Sept. 24 Arlington /Alexandria Neighborhood Group Meeting


A drawing for a free 2016 membership was performed and won by Nicole Athas.


8:45 pm – 9:00 pm

Closing and Networking


The next meeting will be September 9 in Bethesda, MD.

How to print smarter!

May 18th, 2015

3d image of home printer and documentsOne issue I tend to see with many of my organizing clients is pages and pages of unnecessary printed paper cluttering up their home office.  As far as I see it, extra printed paper has three main drawbacks.  First, it is harmful to the environment (unless you make the effort to print with recycled paper); second, it is expensive, as printer ink does not come cheaply under any circumstances; and third and probably most importantly, it creates unnecessary clutter and covers up the important papers and bills on your desk and in your home office.

Before printing out anything, ask yourself if you really need to print it in the first place.  Could you save a document as a PDF in an electronic file folder instead?  Or could you save an email in a specially designated folder in your inbox? If you still feel you need to print, take these steps to reduce paper and ink usage:

1) Preview the document before you print if possible and only print the pages that you really need
2) Set your printer settings to their lowest quality or draft printing if it is just for home use
3) Set your printer to print double sided if possible
4) Most importantly, have a recycling bin nearby to get rid of the paper when you are done with it!

Penny Catterall is the Owner and Founder of Order Your Life, LLC , which has helped clients in the Washington DC metro area control clutter, improve workflow and make life simpler since 2009. Penny specializes in home, home office and small business organization services and is also available to help you organize ‘virtually’ anywhere in the world.

May 2015 Chapter Meeting Summary

May 12th, 2015

The May NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held in Bethesda, MD. There were 29 members and 2 guests in attendance.

The meeting started with active networking.  Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet table hosted by Errol Unikel of RainMaker Video.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.  

Linda Pray introduced the guests.

Lori Krause introduced the Corporate Partners in attendance:



Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Alonso Zamora


Daniel Sanders

Four Sales Estate Sales

Sharon Bliss

Book Bliss Online

Errol Unikel

Rain Maker Video

Juli Monroe

1 to 1 Discovery

Guests: Ben Knowlton, Olympia Moving

Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: “DisordR, The Play” – Hilary Kacser

Chapter members were entertained and enlightened by an original solo-stage play written and performed by Hilary Kacser, based on true stories from her life as a person living with hoarding disorder. Using humor and sensitivity,  DisordR, The Play, tells the story of a fictional character based on her own lived experience. Packrat Patty’s struggle and progress managing her hoarding inspires understanding, advocates against stigma, and helps viewers experiencing various mental health issues to move forward and to facilitate recovery. A discussion of the topic with the actor followed the performance. 

A long time actor regionally and internationally, on stage and screen, Hilary Kacser (Playwright and Performer) produced and performed in every Capital Fringe for seven years since the DC Festival’s 2006 inauguration, afterward restaging all those productions elsewhere. The Capital Fringe debut of “DisordR, the Play,” won critical praise. “First-rate,” declared Washington City Paper Fringe & Purge. DC Theatre Scene called Hilary “stellar, gifted, hilarious,” the show “a healing and cathartic experience…not only funny and entertaining, but can actually change our approach to our own ‘disorder,’ one bag at a time.”

Chapter Business Meeting

The following 2014-15 Chapter Awards were given out:

Volunteer of the Year – Terri Fischer

Professional Organizer of the Year – Suzette Smith

President’s Award – Janet Schiesl

Corporate Partner of the Year – Sharon Bliss, Book Bliss Online

Other members were acknowledged with General Volunteer Awards for their helpful roles in supporting NAPO-WDC over the past year.

“Micro-volunteer” wanted – A NAPO-WDC member is needed to pick up mail at our PO Box in Arlington. This can be done on a monthly basis and you will forward any pertinent mail to a member of the Board of Directors. Many thanks to Heather Cocozza for taking on this job for the past 6 years!

The 2015-16 Board of Directors were sworn in by Eileen LaGreca. The new board members officially take on their roles on May 15.

Back by popular demand – The Appraisal Roadshow will take place on June 1! If you have an item that you would like to be considered for a fun informative review, contact Janice Rasmussen at Be sure to include a description of your item. Only 20 items will be taken for this event, so contact Janice before May 20. Please sign up in advance to bring your item!


MAY 14           Arlington /Alexandria Neighborhood Group Meeting 

MAY 18           Rockville Pike Neighborhood Group Meeting 

MAY 19           Maryland Book Club Meeting

MAY 21           Rt. 66 Neighborhood Group Meeting

JUNE 1           NAPO-WDC Chapter Meeting in Fairfax, VA              

JUNE 5          Kick-Butt Bootcamp

JUNE 16        Virginia Book Club Meeting

The next meeting will be June 1, 2015 in Fairfax, VA.

Change of Leadership

April 29th, 2015
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

On May 15, the new Board of Directors takes office, and my role as NAPO-WDC President will come to an end. It’s been a terrific two years in many ways and I’d like to share a few thoughts with all of you.

We have a very strong chapter. There are members who come to every meeting to soak up the knowledge that is presented. Some members get what they need at neighborhood meetings and book clubs. Our chapter is full of enterprising and diverse organizers who have different ideas, challenges and expectations. And that’s a very good thing.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have served as president. I learned so much! I’m a better listener and a better communicator. I don’t dread getting up in front of an audience anymore! I’m tougher. All because I took a chance and stepped up to a new challenge.

Thank you to my fellow board members who have served over the last two years. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside a group of dedicated, smart, funny people who made my job easy. You’re all spectacular, and I’m looking forward to being on the board next year with some of you.

Let’s all pitch in and make the next year of NAPO-WDC the best ever. I’m looking forward to it!

Google Your Small Business

April 21st, 2015

Google your Small Business.” Most business owners know what I mean when I say that to my workshop and seminar audiences. It’s important to Google yourself, right? You know there’s information out there about you and your business that’s good for you to be aware of, or even correct or keep up-to-date (like social media profiles, business directory listings and review websites). You can easily search to find all this relevant business and personal information. However, there’s a whole other meaning when I say you should “Google your Small Business.” Google is one of the largest providers of software for business, organizations, education, and even enterprise and government today. With over 500 products and countless integrated services tailored for publishing, working and interacting externally and internally, Google is a natural fit for handling almost every aspect of a business’ infrastructure. While I don’t expect you to learn and implement all Google products to manage and market your business, there are many that can satisfy your current and future needs. All you need to do is look around at software or systems that aren’t working or are missing something; Google can likely fill that business need. In this post, I’ll highlight the basics and provide resources to many others so you can learn more about the power available to you as an organizing professional to truly Google your Small Business, or your client’s.

Business, meet Google Apps for Work

Google began as a Search Engine Provider (SEP) in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, PhD students at Stanford University. I can only imagine that never believed their originally nicknamed “BackRub” search engine/research project would turn into the global, multibillion-dollar enterprise it has today. On the other hand, Brin, Page and the executive team at Google did have the foresight to start amassing products within the company to help Google Search users with their productivity. The two reasons were to understand their audiences better and the other to build a stronger relationship with those users. For example, if I used Gmail (Google’s email product), Google Calendar and other Google tools, I was likelier to use Google Search as well. It was the value-added benefit of being a Google user, and that naturally blended into others’ business and professional lives.

These services, which I’ll speak about momentarily, combined became a strong business feature set. Google took notice and built a real edge in the market when they launched Google Apps for Business in 2007, renamed last year to Google Apps for Work. This software suite on its surface includes 12 base products, including productivity software for communications, collaboration, online storage and sharing, and administration of files and access. The productivity software includes Google Drive, Documents, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Drawing (which would equate generally to their well-known competitors Dropbox, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, SurveyMonkey and Microsoft Publisher/Visio, respectively). This technology comes with more powerful functionality than the native desktop applications since you’re able to collaboratively live-edit, share and control access and comment on the files within Google Apps for Work. Below, I’ve provided a chart of the 12 base products and their general capabilities; I’m scratching the surface here on their feature set, but it should give you an idea of where you can start with Google Apps for Work and how it can become such a strong foundation for any business or organization.

In fact, this reduces most Small Business IT infrastructure needs down to a smartphone, any computer with a Web browser connected to the Internet, and Google! In all reality, I could run my entire business from either my laptop, smartphone or a mobile tablet device running Google’s Android or ChromeOS operating system from almost anywhere for $500 or less. In comparison, what used to cost a Small Business on average about $10,000 in startup technology infrastructure (plus maintenance, IT labor and other incidental expenditures over the course of the lifetime of a business), Google has wrapped this all up into $5 (or $10 which includes unlimited storage, Admin Console and Vault) per user per month.

Quick Overview of Google Apps for Work Base Products


Email communications in highly customizable, threaded (or non-threaded) conversation views with IMAP.

Google Hangouts

Instant messaging (text and photo/video sharing), video and voice calls from your desktop or laptop and your mobile device.

Google Calendar

Schedule events, allocate resources (like conference rooms or equipment’s), and set staff schedules.


Google’s seamless, advertising-free Social Network and Identity Service for business.

Google Drive

Download and install Google Drive to have the ability to drag any file on your computer and synchronize it across all your computers so you always have them available.

  • Documents

Write and edit privately or collaborate with others live in your Web browser.

  • Sheets

Enter data and process, format and synthesize that data however you would like, plus share/collaborate with others. You can build full business applications (like accounting, financial reporting and document automation software) within Sheets.

  •  Slides

Create that next presentation for your sales meeting, outline your Human Resources to securely share with your new staff, or create slides for sharing on your website to demonstrate your new product.

  • Forms

Develop and publish online forms and surveys privately or publicly for different audiences to collect and analyze data.

  •  Drawing

Draw a graphic or design other marketing visuals for your Google Document, Slide or Sheet, website, or print or digital marketing collateral.

Google Sites

Launch a website, intranet or extranet in a matter of minutes. No programming skills needed.


Manage all your users and Google products from one dashboard from your computer, smartphone or tablet.


Manage all your document organization and retention policies in a streamlined interface.

Click the above image to access the archived Webinars. Scroll down to see the videos that have been archived.

 Over the past several years, I have delivered over 50 Web-based seminars on Google products and other Web management and marketing topics through the Virginia Small Business Development Center (Virginia SBDC). Virginia SBDC is a non-profit organization with regional offices throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia providing no-cost marketing and management counseling and education to Small Business owners. (If you’re outside of Virginia, there’s an SBDC near you as well.) So, whatever Google Apps for Work product you’re looking to get started with, there’s likely a Webinar in the archives, or one upcoming soon. I wish you good luck with your and your clients’ business journeys, and I hope Google is the backbone of your businesses help

Ray Sidney-Smith is a Web & Mobile Strategist, the President of W3 Consulting (providing training, seminars and a variety of domain, WordPress hosting and development services), and the author of SoLoMo Success. When he’s not teaching business management and technology, he’s teaching and training businesses and professionals about productivity and technology.