March 2014 Meeting Summary

April 8th, 2014

The NAPO-WDC March meeting was held on the 24th due to the due to the snowstorm on March 3rd.

Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet table hosted by Garage Tek, and the Ask the Experts table.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone. Kimberly Gleason introduced our 4 new members and 4 guests. We now have 96 members in the chapter. There were 34 members in attendance.

Mary Malmberg introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:



Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Andy Reiman

Modern Image

Juli Monroe

1 to 1 Discovery

Peter Belman

Garage Tek

Linden Coyne

Junk in the Trunk

Candy Speight


Our Corporate Partner speaker, Andy Reiman, spoke about his company, Modern Image.  They offer portable scanning services and offer a referral fee to organizers.  They can do various photo sizes, slides, negatives, albums, scrapbooks, restoration, and photo montages.  They have a new division for 3D projects coming soon – check out their website for more information!

Educational Program

Janice introduced Lani Inlander from Real Life Style – Style/Closet organizer. The best tool she has to assist clients is her tact!  Clients report they like her because she is nice and non-judgmental and she listens to the client before she begins.

 She asks two types of questions:

  1. Coffee questions – more personal about how the client feels about their closets
  2. Closet questions – more specific about the clothes in the closet.  Does the client want to keep it, toss it, donate it, or fix it?

Lani offered three important communication points when discussing clothing with clients:

  1. Ask, don’t tell – ask if they feel good in that item; not “how do you look?”
  2. Keep smiling – keep the client relaxed and not feeling judged 
  3. Always fault the clothes, not the client

 She also gave her top three closet organizing tools:

  1. Huggable Hangers (offered at several retailers) – Changing the hangers makes the closet look more organized.  Lani recommends purchasing black hangers because they can be ‘matched’ readily vs. getting colors. Always need about 100 hangers per closet.
  2. Acrylic accessory boxes from The Container Store – great for jewelry, hair care items, make up, etc.  They are stackable in drawers or on closet shelves;
  3. Clear shoeboxes from The Container Store – they are stackable; clear, and have pull out drawer options.

 Lani also recommends:

  • A double-hang closet rod to double closet storage space.
  • A folding garment rack to bring to client sites when sorting closets.  It also folds up when not in use.
  • Off-season boxes to store sweaters, bathing suits, sandals, boots, etc.  Only keeping one season in the closet keeps mental clutter to a minimum.
  • Removing dry cleaner bags because they can damage clothes and over time can cause discoloration.
  • Archival boxes for those few treasured memories – out of sight, out of mind, but not gone.
  • Keeping a trash can in the closet to encourage orderliness.

Chapter Business Meeting

Janet Schiesl announced the new Board members.

At the May chapter meeting we will have “Ask the Appraiser” and need 20 people to bring objects to be appraised; antiques, estate jewelry, diamonds, toys, documents. Email Janice Rasmussen ( to sign up.

Terri Fisher discussed the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) as a complement to NAPO.  ICD offers one-hour teleclasses and educational tools.  They are offering a special if you sign up for a course before March 31st.

 We are looking for MARCPO volunteers!  Contact Suzette Smith ( or Andrea Hancock ( if interested.

 The next meeting will be April 7, 2014 in Fairfax, VA.


Who’s In Your Network?

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

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Networking. For some of us, the word conjures images of slick haired sales people pressing business cards into our sweaty palm. It’s about going to “Events”. Listening to elevator speeches. Making yourself stand out. Stale cheese plates. Ugh.

The truth is that networking is something that happens every day if we choose to take advantage of a more natural, relationship-based point of view. Think about these four categories of people with whom you can establish relationships.

Clients are a natural part of our network. They have paid us well for performing a service, and it’s smart to keep in touch. They may need services down the road, or be able to refer to you people they know. We’ve heard it a thousand times – it’s easier to provide services to existing clients than it is to find a new ones.

Peers and colleagues are another good source of networking partners. Attending NAPO-WDC chapter meetings and neighborhood groups allow us to develop deep professional relationships that grow over time. Colleagues are also good referral sources – many of us consistently use each other for overflow projects or subcontracting.

Mentors and more experienced organizers are a valuable resource for all of us. Whether you’re a newbie or have been in business for years, we all learn from one another. Let’s use our collective experience to help each other be more successful.

Traditional networking groups are also valuable places to gain trusted, like-minded business referrals. Find a group that is a good fit for you, and work at establishing relationships that grow both your business and the businesses of others. People generally love to help someone who is willing to extend themselves for the benefit of another.

Real networking is about cultivating relationships that have mutual value. Find the people in your life who make that happen, and focus on helping each other.

How Our Money Mindset Drives Results

March 24th, 2014

MorganJaffeHeadShotThanks to a good friend and professional organizer, I was able to speak recently to over 50 of her colleagues at a NAPO chapter meeting. The topic for the evening — how our money mindset drives results – was intriguing to the group because our relationship to money has parallels to our relationship with material things.

To begin the meeting, I challenged the group to organize themselves by hair color. This was fun and easy. Then I asked them to organize into the following groups according to their relationship with money:

  • Not earning as much as you want or tend to avoid money,
  • Doing fine financially but have a hard time spending or letting go of money,
  • Overspending or,
  • Feel comfortable with money.

A 2010 survey by the American Psychological Association showed that 73% named money as the number one cause of stress in their lives. We want to earn more, spend less, reduce conflict around money in our families, and feel less anxious about the future – no matter our profession.

Our mindset has a lot to do with it.

Dr. Carol S. Dweck, author of “Mindset, the New Psychology of Success” talks about fixed versus growth mindsets where the view we adopt for ourselves profoundly affects the way we lead our life. (Read more about this in my blog, The Money Project).

An abundant versus scarcity mindset is another lens through which to view our behaviors. The terms, first introduced by Steven Covey in his 1989 edition of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” help explain why some of us are more comfortable with money than others. In most cases, how we feel and think about money has far more impact on outcomes than our factual knowledge – regardless of how much we have.

Feelings can include guilt, fear, and shame while beliefs might be that making money is hard or I don’t deserve it or someone else will take care of me or money is bad. Resulting behaviors can be that we don’t ask for what we’re worth, let go of money needlessly, hold onto it out of fear or avoid it altogether.

As professional organizers, the more we dig into our own relationship to money, the better we can understand our client’s behaviors and how we can guide them effectively.

Cindy Morgan-Jaffe is a career and money coach who works with individuals and groups to identify what stands in their way of living a prosperous and abundant life. She brings over 30 years of professional and personal experience and training to the table. Cindy shares her own journey through her blog, The Money Project, as well as offers courses and workshops for individuals and organizations who want to actively shift their money mindset in ways that open doors to prosperity and abundance in all aspects of their lives.

For more on money mindsets and to download her free ebook, How To Shift Your Money Mindset in 21 Days and 3 Big Steps, check out

Selling More “You”

February 25th, 2014
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

This month I’m reposting an article by Janet Schiesl, NAPO-WDC’s Immediate Past President. It was originally posted last year, but I love the timeless message. Enjoy!

 Selling More “You”

by Janet Schiesl

As a small business owner, “You” are your company. When you meet a prospective client, you need to sell “You” – your skills, your ability, your personality. Being successful at selling yourself is a requisite to building a meaningful organizing business.

It is a basic business principle that people buy from people they like. Having the ability to connect with others will help you build relationships in the beginning and build your business in the end. Sell more “You” and the rest will happen on its own.

Do you look the part? Your appearance should say you are capable, confident and professional. A smile goes a long way. It sends a clear message that you are able to do the job.

Having the ability to really listen and understand someone else shows empathy. People love to talk about themselves and when you reflect genuine interest, it is much more likely they will like you.

Clients are looking for someone who is knowledgeable. Informing them of your experience and education will add to your credibility.

Sharing your unique stories and ideas makes you interesting. Engaging a prospective client will help them picture what working with you will be like.

People like those they can count on. Are you diligent? Be a person who is known to always get things done and keep promises.

You won’t sell much “You” without honesty. It starts here. Be honest, make it count and proceed to win trust. Violating trust with a client is risky and the fastest way to the bottom of the business ladder.

A bit of laughter goes a long way in building a relationship. Our clients can be stressed, anxious and overwhelmed with their situations. Inject a bit of humor. Making them laugh will help them to relax and they will love you for it.

Always show your best “You”!

4 Tech Tools to Simplify Your Online Marketing

February 19th, 2014

Lady-Covered-Post-ItsAre you feeling overwhelmed with your long list of online marketing TO-DOs? How will you ever find the time to get them all done?

I know how you feel. I’ve been able to greatly reduce my stress level by setting up business systems with various tech tools. Even if you only get 10-20% more efficient in your marketing, this can lead to a HUGE reduction in your overwhelm.

Here are my favorite picks to set your business up for success:

Keep Track Of Everything With is my magic solution to make sure things get out of my head and onto a TO-DO list. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to see what I want to do – then easily sort it into what I actually have time for. Many things that I used to stress over are simply taken off my priority list!

I love this system because it is very flexible. You can color code tasks, add files or checklists and change the priority at any time. You can access your lists from mobile devices or your desktop, and also share it with other people. It’s a system that will grow with your business. Learn more about here.

“Make Room” For Your Important Marketing Tasks
Need to plan around important business & life obligations? Create multiple Google calendars that can be viewed together to easily find time for your priorities (and help you say NO to over-booking!).

Once you can see your schedule, it’s easy to “find time” to do your marketing. Set aside small chunks of time to connect on social networks or do other marketing. Refer back to your lists and get your marketing priorities done. Learn more about using multiple Google calendars here.

Use Buffer to Schedule Posts on Social Networks
One of the biggest hurdles to posting regularly on social networks is being online to post during the peak times your target audience is also online. Fortunately, you don’t have to be online all of the time! Take one of the small chunks of time that you now have available, and use it to schedule posts on your social networks that will go live online at the times you select.

You can share news stories, blog posts & pictures to your Facebook profile & Page, Twitter, LinkedIn Profiles & Company Page and Google+ Pages. Learn more about using Buffer here.

Use TimeTrade To Easily Schedule Appointments Online
The purpose of all networking and marketing is to eventually have sales conversations. Meetings with prospective customers are the fuel that makes your marketing machine run.

TimeTrade is my favorite scheduling tool. It stops the endless emails and voice mails trying to arrange meetings. It lets your prospects and clients easily select a time with online appointment scheduling. It also syncs up with your Google calendar to create a system that works for you, 24/7! Learn more about TimeTrade here.

Try these tools out to start reducing your marketing overwhelm!
I’ve used these tools to go from scattered to focused. They have allowed me to clear many of my tasks from my plate and focus my marketing efforts = better results with less effort. You can do it, too! If you have any questions about these tools, just ask!

Linda Schenk, founder of The Brand Builder System with Virtuallinda (, is a web designer and online business strategist. With 20+ years of experience, Virtuallinda can guide you through the confusion of developing your online marketing. Her expertise in branding, strategy, graphic design, technology and creativity will quickly transform your scattered ideas into profits.

February 2014 Meeting Summary

February 17th, 2014

The February NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, February 3, 2014 in Fairfax, VA.  There were 31 members and 7 guests in attendance. 

The meeting started with active networking….  Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet table hosted by Book Bliss Online and the Ask the Experts table.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone. Kimberly Gleason introduced our guests. 

Mary Malmberg introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:



Helen Long

Partners Estate Sales

Joe Johnson

Shelf Genie

Kate Crawley

Building Bridges Partners

Alonso Zamora


Dr. Dale Keeton


Sharon Bliss

Book Bliss Online

Debrah McCallen

123 Junk

Guests: Brian Justice – JK Moving, Delante Clark – Green Vista Junk Removal

Joe Johnson spoke about ShelfGenie.  ShelfGenie serves the entire DC Metro area. They design custom made shelf-pullouts so clients get the most out of every each of their cabinets.  Their cabinets are made in the USA. 

Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: Money Work – How Our Money Mindset Drives Results with Cindy Morgan-Jaffe.

Cindy discussed that having a good relationship with your money can affect all areas of your life. She had members think about some of their common beliefs about money and why they have those beliefs. Members participated in several activities, including listing when they feel good and bad about money, looking at how they organize their wallet, and determining their money personality type. There are many money personality types, including Money Avoider, Money Monk, and Risk-Avoider. Most people are a combination.  Each type has positive and negative qualities, as well as different investment tendencies.

Chapter Business Meeting

Board nominations are open until February 21st!  If you are interested, contact Janet Schiesl.

The next meeting will be held on March 3rd in Bethesda, MD.

GO Month 2014 NAPO-WDC Style

February 15th, 2014

NAPO-WDC started the New Year off right by jumping in with a huge GO Month project. Our chapter members don’t shy away from an organizing challenge and this one fit the bill. On Saturday, January 4th over 30 members of NAPO-WDC and 4 chapter Corporate Partners reorganized the warehouse of Women Giving Back. WGB is a non-profit group from the building industry that supports homeless women and their children with clothing to help them enter the workplace. Women Giving Back is an all volunteer group that services 100 shelters and programs each month, distributing over 50,000 items of clothing.

GOMonth1Altogether, including NAPO-WDC members, friends and family, more than 50 people participated in the event. And who knew? Virginia’s Governor-Elect, Terry McAulliffe stopped by to see what we were up to. NAPO-WDC chapter President Eileen LaGreca and GO Month Chairperson Maria White had a chance to speak with Governor McAulliffe about NAPO and our Get Organized project.


The day was filled with sorting donations, purging off-season clothing, setting up a more efficient work flow within the warehouse and of course labeling bins, tables and work zones so the Women Giving Back volunteers can more effectively service their clients. We worked tirelessly to great reviews, “WGB is looking fantastic! I feel like I can think and process so much better in there now! Yay!!! Thank you (NAPO-WDC) for bringing in the professionals .”



Five Organizers Dish on Professional Boundaries

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

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

As Professional Organizers, we each have to define the amount of personal information we share with our clients.

Each situation is different.  Some of us are extroverts and some are introverts, and the same goes for the people we work with. While there are no hard and fast rules, most of us agree we each need to create personal boundaries – boundaries that keep us within the NAPO Code of Ethics as well as within our comfort zones. But how? 

I recently asked four organizers for their insights on sharing personal information.  While some of their viewpoints differed in small ways, I’d like to share the main points we agreed on. Thank you Tiffany Mensing, Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton, Janet Schiesl and Susan Unger for your input!

First, we all agreed that many new clients want to know how we got started in the professional organizing business. It’s a logical question we’re all willing to answer. Often clients ask about our families, and we’re all willing to share basic information such as the city we live in, number of children, marital status and our age.

We view our answers as information that helps establish a personal connection. After all, we’re in the client’s personal space – going through financial information and/or personal belongings. They’re in a vulnerable position, and part of our job is to help them feel comfortable with us and the services we offer.

When working with long-term clients, we all tend to share more information about our lives – but we keep the conversation client-focused. For instance, we’ll share a personal story that relates to a specific task we’re working on together. Our clients like to know that our homes aren’t always perfect, and that we have organizing struggles too. That said, we all agreed the focus needs to remain on ways the client can use our information to make progress on his or her project.

Like you, we’ve all been asked inappropriate questions. One client asked how much money an organizer had in the bank! Another asked how much an organizer paid her employees. I have a client who consistently asks me for advice on the stock market. We all agreed these questions need to be redirected in a friendly, professional manner.

Finally, I asked each organizer if she spends social time with her clients.  The unanimous answer?  No. In a few instances, organizers took a client out to dinner or coffee after the completion of a difficult job, but kept those meetings on a professional level. Each organizer felt it important to keep the boundaries of client relationships business-centric to protect both the client and the organizer.

How do these viewpoints compare with yours?  Are you more relaxed about sharing personal information?  Less relaxed?  No matter what our individual style, it’s important to identify our boundaries and respect them.  This frees us up to focus on our clients’ needs while building a comfortable, professional relationship.

Sometimes “Getting Organized” is Not Enough

January 22nd, 2014

If your New Year’s Resolution is to “get organized,” I applaud you and support you!

Getting organized is a fantastic goal for so many reasons, but let’s look beyond the surface for a moment. Think of the 3-year old always asking WHY? WHY do you want to get organized? WHAT’S the payoff? WHAT’S the driver? 

For example, is the reason:

  • To Make More Money? – Do you want to be more efficient at work? Do you want to spend less time looking for things and less time on administrative tasks, so you can focus on the core revenue stream of your business and make more money?
  • To Be in Control? – Do you sometimes feel a loss of control over your office environment where you are in a reactive mode instead of a proactive mode? Do you yearn for a greater sense of control where you know where everything is when you need it? Do you crave order, but you’re working in chaos?
  • To Save Money? – How much did you rack up in finance charges and late fees this year? Are you trying to tighten your budget? Do you find yourself buying duplicate items because you can’t find the original one?

Understanding the driver behind your goal will help you get through the tough spots and provide that extra boost of motivation to see the aim through to the end. Happy New Year and here’s to getting organized!

Heather Cocozza PMP, CPO®, is a professional organizer from Arlington, VA, who has been in the business for 8 years, helping people organize their lives, time management skills, and space. Cocozza previously worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Managing Consultant for 10 years and then worked for IBM as a Project Manager for 3 before using her skills towards professional organizing.  She graduated from American University—Kogod School of Business in 1992. For more, check out

Coryn Cocozza is a junior at James Madison University majoring in Media Arts and Design and working toward her minor in Political Science. She is a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity and has goals to work in Journalism after graduation.

January 2014 Meeting Summary

January 20th, 2014

The January NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held on Monday, January 6, 2014 in Bethesda, MD. There were 30 members and 5 guests in attendance.

The meeting started with active networking while members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet tables hosted by Lori Krause of Building Bridges Partners and Juli Monroe of 1 to 1 Discovery and the Ask the Experts table.

Mary Malmberg introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:



Helen Long

Partners Estate Sales

Candy Speight

Shelf Genie

Eduardo Maal

PC Mango

Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Alonso Zamora


Andy Reiman

 Modern Image

Juli Monroe

1 to 1 Discovery

Max Rhodes

123 Junk

Guests: Errol Unikel from Home Contents Videos

Eduardo Maal spoke about PC Mango. PC Mango works with businesses to align their e-mail, contacts, and calendar to save time and money. They also provide ways to back-up and keep data secure. To help clients that want to go paperless, they will set-up work processes to digitize client’s documents. They offer free complimentary consultations.

Educational Program

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program: Simplifying Online Marketing: Getting from Overwhelm to Action by Linda Schenk.

Linda spoke about how to implement a marketing plan without feeling overwhelmed.  When developing your marketing plan, it is important to have a good foundation.  This involves developing one marketing tool at a time to reduce feeling overwhelmed by all the available options.  To determine the best option for you and your business, focus on how you can get to your fastest route to income.  Once you’ve established your business on one marketing tool, add another one.

Linda also noted that having an on-line presence can make referrals easier because it backs up what your referral source is saying; if you have an outdated social media profile it can mean less referrals.

Chapter Business

Janet Schiesl and Maria White thanked our wonderful GO Month volunteers!

The next meeting will be February 3, 2014 in Fairfax, VA.