Posts Tagged ‘2015’

Knowledge and Information

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Knowledge is often seen as a rich form of information. A more useful definition of knowledge is that it is about know-how and know-why. It is important to note that to make knowledge productive you need information. Knowing how to make a cake is not sufficient – you need the list of ingredients. And to decide what cake to make – you need information – the tastes of the consumers of the cake.

Know-why is also important. If an ingredient of the cake was unavailable – knowing the purpose of that ingredient might help a knowledgeable cook substitute an alternative. In fact know-why is often more important than know-how as it allows you to be creative – to fall back on principles – to re-invent your know-how.

Today, the creation and application of new knowledge is essential to the survival of almost all businesses. They include:

  • Intangible products – ideas, processes, information are taking a growing share of global trade from the traditional, tangible goods of the manufacturing economy.
  • Increasingly the only sustainable competitive advantage is continuous innovation. In other words the application of new knowledge.
  • Increasing turnover of staff. People don’t take a job for life any more. When someone leaves an organization their knowledge walks out of the door with them.
  • As small and often solo businesses, our problem is that we don’t know what we know.
  • We are talking about sharing knowledge and information – not just information.
  • The purpose of knowledge sharing is to help each of us to meet our business objectives.
  • Learning to make knowledge productive is as important if not more important than sharing knowledge.

Knowledge is a perishable and can be increasingly short-lived. If you do not make use of your knowledge then it rapidly loses its value. Sharing knowledge is a synergistic process – you get more out than you put in. If you share a product idea or a way of doing things with another person – then just the act of putting your idea into words or writing will help shape and improve that idea. If you get into dialogue with another person then you will benefit from their knowledge, from their unique insights and improve your ideas further.

NAPO WDC is fortunate to have a very experienced group of Golden Circle members who want to share their knowledge with us. Please join the meeting on Dec. 7 and learn more know-how and know- why.

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” ~ Dau Voire


President’s Message

Wednesday, 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!

President’s Message, October 2015

Monday, 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.

June 2015 Chapter Meeting Summary

Friday, 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.

May 2015 Chapter Meeting Summary

Tuesday, 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

Wednesday, 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!

April 2015 Meeting Summary

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

The April 2015 NAPO-WDC chapter meeting was held in Fairfax, VA.  There were 26 members and 4 guests in attendance. 

The meeting started with active networking.  Members visited the Corporate Partner Meet and Greet tables hosted by 1 to 1 Discovery – Juli Monroe and B-Thrifty – Alonso Zamora.

Eileen LaGreca welcomed everyone.  

Linda Pray introduced our guests. 

Lori Krause introduced our Corporate Partners in attendance:




Lori Krause

Building Bridges Partners

Errol and Betsy Unikel

Rainmaker Video

Dr. Dale Keeton/Alonso Zamora


Linden Coyne

Junk in the Trunk

Juli Monroe

1 to 1 Discovery


Educational Program

This session was videotaped and will be available on the NAPO-WDC member’s only website approximately 1 week after the meeting and remain available for 30 days.

Janice Rasmussen introduced the educational program:  

Google Your Small Business – Ray Sidney-Smith of W3 Consulting

1.   Why use Google for your business? Google allows your business platform to be on one server – computer, phone, apps, and backup. One or two (laptop/phone) devices that are connected to Google allow the business to run without being tethered to a location.  

Google Apps for work includes Mail, Calendar, Docs, Hangouts, Sites, and Vault using Google as the infrastructure. Allows multiple users for accounts for associates and Google Take Down allows removal of info when associate is no longer with the business.

Google Vault allows secure storage of information with access rights, time frames and limits.  Controlled access can be granted to other users as needed.

2.  How not to use Google – don’t use to become Google stupid (don’t Google everything). Use it for business support:

  • Marketing – majority of Americans are connected to the internet – Be found; Be heard; Be connected.
  • Google My Business – get your business on the web 
    • Photos, videos, information posted for free.
  • You Tube allows you to put a face with your brand/business.
  • Google+ Hangouts – live product demos that then pass along to YouTube.
  • Host paid classes, workshops and tutorials with Hang Outs and Webinars on Air or other webinar formats.  
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Project, time, document & task management through Calendar, Tasks and Gannter
  • Google Docs
  • Google Slides
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Forms
  • Google Draw

Chapter Business Meeting

MARCPO update – Suzette Smith

MARCPO will take place on Saturday October  24, 2015

A call for speakers is being sent out – please submit any names you have and forward to those you know who might be interested in speaking.

Lisa Montanaro will be holding a Kick Business Boot Camp on June 5, 2015 with NAPO-WDC. A Constant Contact will be sent out in the next few days with more information.  


April 15-18 – NAPO 2015 – Los Angeles, CA

April 9 – Virginia Book Club Meeting

April 27 – Rockville Pike Neighborhood Group Meeting

May 4 – NAPO-WDC Chapter Meeting in Bethesda, MD

May 14 – Arlington /Alexandria Neighborhood Group Meeting

May 19 – Maryland Book Club Meeting

May 21 – Rt. 66 Neighborhood Group Meeting

The next chapter meeting will be held on May 4, 2015 in Bethesda, MD.

Four Organizers Dish on Professional Boundaries

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

Eileen LaGreca, NAPO-WDC Board President

This blog was first published last year, but it has relevance today. Enjoy!

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.

A Team Approach To Selling A Home

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

A Team Approach to Selling a Home
Getting Referred Business from Stagers and REALTORS®

The ReadyStageMove™ team, — Jean Marie Herron, Professional Organizer, Maria Rini, REALTOR® and Bernadette Flaim, Accredited Home Stager, were guest speakers at the recent NAPO-WDC chapter meeting.

Whether you are new to organizing or would like to take your business to the next level, this workshop covers what it takes to work with real estate agents and stagers. It also explains how to formulate strategic partnerships and the basics of working by referral.

Below are some of the tips and recommendations they shared to help you find the “perfect” strategic partners.

How do I find a REALTOR®?

When searching for a real estate agent to join your partnership, we encourage you to interview and vet those agents who are open or understand the concept of a team approach to selling a home. Some ways to identify potential REALTOR® partners include:

  • Do I know someone who recently sold a home who can recommend their REALTOR®?
  • Go on the Internet and see who is selling houses in your geographical area.
  • Visit open houses.
  • Network, network, network.

Offer to do a presentation at a local real estate office or at a local Board of REALTORS®. Stay in touch with your database by asking for their referral to a REALTOR®. Do you see how networking might help your business in more ways than one?

How do I find a stager?

Teaming up with a stager will offer your clients the expertise necessary to properly package and present the home after the organizing is complete. Here are some ways to find a stager that is the perfect fit for your triad:

  • Research association websites like the Real Estate Staging Association or any of the staging designation websites
  • Call your local real estate offices and ask for a stager referral
  • Look at real estate listings online and contact the listing agent of a “staged” home
  • Use Google

How do you take it to the next level?  

Once you have identified your strategic partners, here are some things you can do to take your “team approach” to the next level.

  • Collaborate on projects together (before/after book; resource list; co-sponsor an event, etc.)
  • Cross-endorsement for each other
  • Start a mastermind
  • Pay it Forward – do nice things for your resource and referral relationships

Key Ingredients To Develop Strategic Partnerships

In order to develop effective strategic partnerships, you will need to “decide to decide.” Make a decision to be part of a team and then to be a good team partner. Some key ingredients that work best are:

  • Develop an effective strategy to work by referral (high-quality leads with less effort)
  • Build, sort and qualify your database (sphere of influence, friends/family, social circles, business relationships, online networks)
  • Decide to be “relational” (trust, value, top-of-mind)
  • Surround yourself with a team of productive people

The ReadyStageMove™ team brings 40 years of experience to the real estate, organizing and staging industries. They have mastered a systematic way to de-stress clients who want to sell their homes with the most profit and a quick turnaround time. The efficient methods employed in selling, organizing and staging is a packaged product the three of them have learned as a skill set and utilize in each and every sale they work together on.

Maria Rini is a Broker-Associate with RE/MAX Real Estate Ltd. in Oradell, New Jersey. She has been helping people sell homes since 1994 and works with her husband and partner, Richard Gneiding. She specializes in residential properties and has been collaborating with home stagers and professional organizers since 2005. Maria is a Graduate Realtor Institute, Certified Residential Specialist, Member of the New Jersey Association of Realtors Distinguished Sales Club and the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.

Jean Marie Herron is a professional organizer and the owner of POSSE Partners, LLC. Since 2005 POSSE has been specializing in residential organizing with private clients. Additionally, she publicly and privately presents “Clutter Corrals™”, workshops and classes on many domestic organizing topics. She is a Golden Circle Member of NAPO and the Director of Professional Development and Programming for NAPO-Northern New Jersey.

Bernadette Flaim is founder and Principal Designer of The Flaim Group LLC. She has  been in the home staging and interior redesign industry since 2004 and is an accredited and certified home staging professional and RESA-PRO, specializing in vacant properties and luxury homes. She also provides interior redesign services to her clients, including one-day room makeovers and color consultations. Bernadette is President of the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) – NJ Chapter.


Election Results for NAPO-WDC’s 2015–2016 Board of Directors

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Congratulations go out to the new NAPO-WDC Board of Directors.

  • President – Vanessa Seifert, Squared Away Living, LLC 
  • Vice President – Mary Malmberg, Mary Pops in Organizing, LLC
  • Secretary – Janet Bloom, The Wise Organizer
  • Treasurer – Christine Fopma, Clutter to Clarity
  • Director of Administration – Cara Bretl, Re:Solutions by Cara, LLC
  • Director of Communication and Technology – Cecilia Anderson, Splendidly Organized
  • Director of Membership – Linda Pray, Organization Rehab
  • Director of Marketing – Suzette Smith, White Space 
  • Director of Corporate Partners – Lori Krause, Building Bridges Partners

The incoming board will take office on May 15th, 2015, but are already training for their new positions and planning future chapter meetings and events. Please volunteer your time and talents to a board member, join a committee and learn more about chapter leadership.