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:



Joe Johnson

Shelf Genie

Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Kate Crawley

Building Bridges Partners

Alonso Zamora


Dr. Dale Keeton


Peter Belman


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:

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.


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

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 .”