November 2014 Meeting Summary

November 6th, 2014

The November NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, November 3, 2014 in Bethesda, MD.  There were 34 members and no guests in attendance.  

The meeting started with active networking….Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet tables hosted by Andy Reiman and Four Sales and the Ask the Experts table.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.   

Linda Pray introduced our new member.  

Juli Monroe introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:



Alonso Zamora


Dan Sanders

Four Sales LTD.

Linden Coyne

Junk In The Trunk

Andy Reiman

Modern Image

Juli Monroe

1 to 1 Discovery

Rob Myers

More Space Place

Erol Unikel

Home Contents Video & Video Your Brand

Guests: N/A


Rob Myers spoke about More Space Place. Showroom in Chantilly; website is and In home consultation is available. Will work with organizer and their client to achieve the space desired. Along with storage components they also do room dividers and sliding doors.

Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: Chuck Douglas – Business Building & Revenue: Acceleration Techniques

Three ways to increase Revenue

Acquire more qualified prospects

Add value to existing clientele

Increase closing rates

  1. Dramatically improve lead generation through social media monetization: mobilization including LinkedIn and Facebook strategies, as well as video testimonials.
  2. Hold your-self personally accountable and not make excuses which remove comfort zone behavior and facilitates drive and urgency for action taking.
  3. Maximize referrals in a conversational and elegant manner through Incentives, a professional and compelling preface, and elicitation of referrals with appropriate questions.
  4. Connect quickly to gain clients for life through rapport and connection enhancement as well as confidence building skill sets.
  5. Master your time with positive habits so that you “do what you know” right now to gain 2-extra hours each day.

Chapter Business Meeting

GO Month/Community Partner – Stephen Bok introduced Max Levitt from Leveling the Playing Field and he updated the group on his new warehouse location. New 4,000 square foot warehouse at 9370 Brookfield Rd. Silver Spring, MD that is in need of organizing assistance and all assistance is welcome! Alonzo will pick up at meetings; can also be pre-arranged for pick up by LPF.

December Party and activities – Janice Rasmussen

NAPO WDC 20th Anniversary celebration! Dinner will be provided – volunteers will be needed to help with set up, contact Janice if you are interested in helping.  Terri Fischer will be coordinating My Favorite Things.


NOV. 11 Arlington /Alexandria Neighborhood Group Meeting

NOV. 18 Maryland Book Club Meeting

NOV. 20 Rt. 66 Neighborhood Group Meeting

NOV. 24 Rockville Pike Neighborhood Group Meeting

DEC.1    NAPO-WDC Chapter Meeting in Fairfax, VA

DEC. 4 Virginia Book Club Meeting

Our door prize winner was Eileen LaGreca. 

The next meeting will be December 1, 2014 in Fairfax, VA.

What Should I Do Next?

October 27th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

This month I’m sharing a blog post written Janet Schiesl, our Immediate Past President. It seems particularly relevant in light of everything we learned at our excellent MARCPO conference. Enjoy!

What should I do next? This question was asked recently in a blog post by Seth Godin, “America’s Greatest Marketer”. I often ask myself this same question. Since I have become an entrepreneur, I have found myself always looking for ways to improve and evolve my business. I look into the future and ask myself how will I get there? Do you do this too, or am I the only one?

It is important to ask yourself what you will do next. What is next for your business, your day or your life? Maybe, this question used to be answered for you by a boss. Then you decided to make the move to become a business owner. Now, you have to answer that question for yourself. It’s a little scary at first – but also empowering! You have total control over your future and you can make a difference! Even though you may not look at it in the same way, this question is asked of you by your clients every day. You need to be confident that your answer is something they and you can achieve.

With so many business opportunities and directions you can take, picking what to do next deserves a great deal of attention. As Seth said, “dance with the opportunity”. Do a little daydreaming. What will your business look like in one year from now? How about five years? What you will do next deserves some consideration. Think about it!

Where are the Boundaries for the Professional Organizer?

October 20th, 2014

Professional organizers often help clients organize and manage personal and financial documentation. Many times the documentation is old, outdated, and no longer needed. The ideal solution would be that the client wants to dispose of these documents. Unfortunately, the reality is, clients will turn to the organizer for guidance and direction.

What are the rules for getting rid of paperwork? Is the organizer putting herself/himself in jeopardy for suggesting what can go and what should stay? What are the legal ramifications and how does an organizer handle purging documents?

In our litigious culture, an organizer is wise to know these answers. I work with professional organizers every day to help determine the answers to these and other questions they have about helping clients purge documents.

So, what are the rules when it comes to purging documents? Well, unfortunately there is no simple answer to that question. I frequently tell organizers that they need to answer that question with “it depends.” It really does depend on what type of document you are looking at.

Some documents you never purge. These documents are considered “official” documents and to replace them takes lots of additional paperwork, contacting government agencies, usually a fee, and a wait time of up to a year in some cases. Examples would be birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, immigration papers, military papers, and the like.

This category will also include documents that need to be updated on a regular basis, but the old documents can be purged out of the current system. This would include financial plans, household inventory, certification paperwork, warranty documents, wills, advanced directives, living wills, and other non-financial documents.

All other paperwork will fall into one of three categories. The first will usually document some sort of asset they own (like checking accounts, boats and cars, or investments). The second will document some sort of liability they owe (like car loans, mortgages, and taxes), and the third type will be insurance documents.

Professional organizers need to be very careful with helping a client purge documents. You never want to be held responsible for actually disposing of the files to be purged. Once your client makes the decision to get rid of old paperwork, involve her/him in the process. Have them sit with you and shred the documents together. Make sure they are aware of what is being shredded.

If the amount is too great to sit and shred by hand, then put it in black plastic bags and take it to someone who will shred it for them. You should not be responsible for transporting the bags to be shredded. Don’t put yourself in the position of having the client come back to you claiming you destroyed something they wanted to keep.

To protect yourself and your business, always consider carrying E&O insurance (errors and omission). Make sure the client knows, via your agreement, what you will, and what you will not do for them.

Linda Donegan began her career as a CPA with Price Waterhouse Coopers and worked on some of the firm’s highly visible clients providing audit and problem solving services. After several life altering events she realized how important personal and financial documentation is, not only for ourselves, but for those that we love. For the past 22 years, Linda has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge regarding personal and financial paperwork. She has worked with individuals and companies to educate and provide resources for managing this critical part of our lives. Linda created The Family DocuMap as a guide to organize, manage and maintain personal paperwork. She resides in Oldsmar, Florida with her husband of 30 years, Dennis.

October 2014 Meeting Summary

October 17th, 2014

The October NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, October 6, 2014 in Fairfax, VA. There were 35 members and 4 guests in attendance.

The meeting started with active networking. Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet tables hosted by Juli Monroe from 1 to 1 and Sharon Bliss from Bliss Book and the Ask the Experts table.

 Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.  

 Linda Pray introduced our 4 guests.

 Lori Krause introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:



*Errol Unikel

Home Contents Videos

*Joe Johnson

Shelf Genie

*Alonso Zamora


*Dr. Dale Keeton


*Sharon Bliss

Book Bliss Online

*Andy Reiman

Modern Image

*Juli Monroe

1 to 1 Discovery

Guests: Everitt Clark Photography; Barbara Quast of Quast Interiors

Errol Unikel of Home Contents Videos, LLC spoke about Video for Home and Business Content & Show and Tell Your Brand.

Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: “Purging Personal and Financial Documentation: What are the Boundaries for Professional Organizers?” by Linda Donegan, CPA.

Linda Donegan has created Family DocuMap to help create a list of all your vital documents so you and your family members know exactly where to find them.

Most people keep paperwork because they are afraid to throw it out and do not understand their options. They need the organizer to support and offer guidance to purge. DO NOT make the decision for them – set aside a pile for them to review if they are uncertain. Once the client has decided to purge, set all documents to be purged in a separate box/area.  For those documents that are to be kept, consider scanning them vs. keeping all of the physical paperwork.

For a complete Personal Record Retention Guide from Linda Donegan, click HERE.

Chapter Business Meeting

GO Month/Community Partner – Stephen Bok/Leveling the Playing Field

One in five households do not have the funds to get their children involved in athletics. Leveling the Playing Field has collected and donated 15,000 pieces of sporting equipment to children Wards 7 & * in Washington DC . They have a new warehouse in Silver Springs that will need organizing! B-Thrifty will pick up sporting equipment from chapter meetings and at MARCPO.

An organizer with warehouse background is needed to get the new warehouse set-up started. Contact Stephen if you would like to help in advance of GO month.

There are a few “Hire a Professional Organizer” license plate holders left! They will be available at MARCPO or you can contact Stephen to reserve yours!

MARCPO update – Suzette Smith                                    

MARCPO is set for October 25th in at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bethesda, MD.

Three things to think about before you go -

  • What do you want to learn about your clients?
  • Think about your business. Learn how to grow and improve your business!
  • Who do you want to meet? There will be lots of networking and teaming opportunities!

 Monthly Meeting News – Eileen LaGreca

The December 1st meeting in Fairfax will be a celebration of NAPO-WDC’s 20th Anniversary! To celebrate there will be a White Elephant Sale and My Favorite Things. Details coming soon. Dinner will be provided.

Oct. 16         Rt. 66 Neighborhood Group Meeting

Oct. 25         MARCPO                              

Oct. 27         Rockville Pike Neighborhood Group Meeting

Nov. 3           NAPO-WDC Chapter Meeting in Bethesda, MD

Nov. 11         Arlington /Alexandria Neighborhood Group Meeting

Nov. 18         Maryland Book Club Meeting

Dec. 4           Virginia Book Club Meeting

The next Chapter meeting will be November 3, 2014 in Bethesda, MD.

Multi-generational Living: The New Trend in Home Building

October 7th, 2014

MultiGenerationalFamilyMulti-generational living is becoming more common as Baby Boomers age and move through retirement.

Data from the 2009 – 2011 American Community Survey (ACS) reported that 4.3 million households were multi-generational. That’s 5.6% of the total of 76.4 million family households with more than one person. While this is a small percentage, it represents a significant increase in the share of multi-generational households. The increase is from 3.7% of total family households in 2000 and 4.0% of total family households in 2010. So not only is the percentage higher, the rate of increase is also growing.

A few new home builders have recognized this trend and are starting to build homes to accommodate multi-generational living. Lennar has the NEXT GEN line of homes while Richmond America and Toll Brothers have optional designs that can be added to existing lines.

 These homes have some common characteristics. Most of them feature a private entry, often covered for the convenience of the added generation. While all of them feature an additional bedroom and living area, most often with a separate bathroom, some of them go so far as to have a full second master bedroom suite and bath. A few even have small kitchen areas for private food preparation and dining.

This style of home makes lots of sense for both adult children and their parents. It avoids the need and expense of assisted living. With the private entrance, hired care givers can visit their clients without disturbing the rest of the family. Grandparents and grandchildren can live close together and interact, creating memories for all the generations in the home.

According to this article, multi-generational homes make financial sense.

“With respect to mortgages … these are single-family homes with one person on the mortgage. In most cases, a senior parent moves into the 2Gen suite. His adult children who need more space occupy the main residence. The senior parent is usually the source of the down payment, and the adult children are responsible for the loan. It’s far more economical than seniors living in nursing homes.”

As we continue to serve the senior population, we’re certain we’re going to be assisting more clients with finding multi-generational homes. What about you? Do you have a parent who might like to live with you? With these floorplans and the Builder Trade In program, we can help!

Floorplan credit: Richmond American Homes

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.

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:



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 ( 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:



Debbie Brashears

Friends on Call

Andy Reiman

Modern Image

Joe Johnson

Shelf Genie

Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Alonso Zamora


Sharon Bliss

Book Bliss Online

Dr. Dale Keeton


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.