Banner LA Organizer
January/February 2009                                                                                    Volume 16, Issue 2
In This Issue
President's Message
NAPO-LA Chapter Meeting Information
Volunteer of the Month
Golden Circle
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NAPO Los Angeles 
Mission Statement: NAPO-LA is an organization dedicated to bringing Southern California area organizers together through networking, education, professional growth, industry updates, support and public awareness.
NAPO-Los Angeles
PMB 134, 10573 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone 213-486-4477

Who's Who

Board of Directors
John Trosko

Vice President
Jodie Watson

Josef Csongei

Rosalind Lakomy

KathrynMasciDirector of Administration
Kathryn Masci

Director of Communications & Technology
Susan Culligan

Director of Membership
Chantale Bordonaro

HeatherFurlong Director of Marketing
Heather Furlong

Leslie Haber1Director of Professional Development
Leslie Haber

Immediate Past President
Chris McKenry


Mini Board Minutes

  • Debbie Gilster to moderate the  NAPO-LA Leadership Forum, Monday January 19th.
  • NAPO-LA membership currently 132 members and 13 Associate members.
  • Updated and completed Policy & Procedure Manual has been sent out to NAPO National.
Coordinators &
Committee Chairs
Heidi Chianta
Educational Development Committee
Jean Furuya
Golden Circle   
Ann Gambrell
Greeter Coordinator
Christie Gelsomino
Jennifer Birner
Carol Hogg
Donna Rosman
Sasha Escandon
Marisa Nakhi
Christie Gelsomino
Cindy Duffy
Meeting Assistant
Toni Scharff
NAPO in the Schools
Deborah Kawashima

New Member Orientation
Jean Furuya, Ann Gambrell

Online Ambassador
Beth Flarida 
Sara Getzkin

Volunteer Coordinator 
Abbey Keusch

Website Coordinator
Susan Culligan
Heidi Chianta, Claire Flannery, Carol Hogg, Katherine Macey, Kathryn Masci

Volunteers of the Month

February: Fay Wolf

March: Sara Getzkin

April: Abbey Keusch

July - Committee of the Month: Neighborhood Groups

August: Heidi Chianta
September: Gus Gougas

November: Carol Hogg
Volunteers of the Year

2007 Volunteer:
Cary Brazeman
2006 Co-Volunteers:
Kristine Oller and Claire Flannery
2005 Volunteer:
Deborah Kawashima
2004 Co-Volunteers:
Dee Saar and Laurie Clark


Chapter Meeting Attendance

 Members: 58
 Visitors: 5
 Total: 63 
NAPO National Membership

Annual Dues
$200 - Active Member*
$150 - Associate-Branch
$250 - Associate-Local
$550 - Associate-Corporate
$20 - New Member One-Time Processing Fee

*Provisional member dues are $180 plus a one-time $20 processing fee. You are an active member* if you have completed your provisional membership year, or are a new NAPO member with more than one year of professional organizing experiece.

NAPO National dues can be paid online.
Proof of paid dues is required at time of joining NAPO-LA. NAPO National submits its renewal notices directly to members on their anniversary dates. NAPO-LA annual membership dues are renewed each September. You can also join NAPO-LA online.

NAPO-LA Chapter Membership

Regular Members:
Dues are prorated quarterly by 25%.

$100 - Level 1
Yearly dues and Website Listing in the "Find an Organizer" section of our website.

$165 - Level 2
Yearly dues, all meeting fees (with discount) and Website Listing in the "Find an Organizer" section of our website.
(This Membership option is only available from October 1 through December 31.)

$80 - Level 3
Same as Level 1, but for members who live 50 miles from the West Side or from ZIP Code 90064.

$25 - One-Time New Member Processing Fee
$25 - Lapsed Member Processing Fee

Associate Members:
Dues are prorated quarterly and are reduced by 25% each quarter.
$175 - Branch Associate Member - operates as a local branch or regional office of a Corporate Associate Member
$300 - Local Associate Member - a locally-based, self-operating retailer, supplier, designer, or independent sales representative engaged primarily in the manufacture, distribution, and/or sales of organizational equipment, supplies, or organizing-industry related services.

NOTE: All members are required to sign a Code of Ethics as part of their membership.

Associate Members
Custom Closets 310-516-7000 x224
Office Organization Products
Email Barb Schmit

Versatile Storage Products
Email May Lee
Custom Garage Systems
Email Jaime Dietenhofer

Mas Moving Services

 Mold Remediation & Products

Moving & Storage

Custom Garage Systems
Email Gus Gougas

Creative Storage Solutions
Email Bryan Wataru

Photo Scanning Services
Email Anderson Schoenrock

Onsite or Offsite Storage
Email Peter Given


South Bay Closet Lady
Custom Closet Design

Extreme Cleaning Services
Division of Crime Scene
Ster-Clean LLC
Email Tammy Chalmers


The Los Angeles Organizer

The Los Angeles Organizer

Newsletter Staff

Editor: Jennifer Birner

Assistant Editor: Beth Zeigler

Michelle Cloney
Publisher: Michelle Cloney

Claire Flannery
Sheila McCurdy
Toni Scharff
The Los Angeles Organizer is published bi-monthly (January, March, May, July, September, November). The newsletter is e-mailed to NAPO-LA members, NAPO national board members, NAPO chapter presidents, and is available to the public on our website.  All contents are copyrighted. All rights reserved.

Submission Guidelines

NAPO-LA members are encouraged to contribute to this newsletter.  Articles are not to exceed 500 words in length.  Submissions must be received by our editor no later than the 15th of the month preceding the month of publication.  You may send your article as a Microsoft Word file attachment or directly in the body of the e-mail.  If you would like to include a photo, this may be sent as a .jpg attachment, 72 dpi, with your article.  All article topics and content must be approved by our editor. 

Editor: Jennifer Birner -

Advertising: If you are interested in advertising with The Los Angeles Organizer, please contact our assistant editor.  All ads must be received by the 20th of the month preceding the month of publication.  There are two types of ads available.

  • Web site Link: This is a small ad, located in the left side column of the newsletter.  The ad can be your logo, a photo, or a small message.  The ad contains a link to your web site.  (When someone clicks on it, they will be taken to your site.)  Please submit in .jpg format, 72 dpi, 125 pixels w x 100 h.
Price: $25 NAPO-LA Members, $35 Non NAPO-LA Members

  • Full Ad:  This is a large block located at the end of our newsletter.  This ad can provide details about your company or service, along with a logo and/or photo.  See current newsletter for examples.  Please submit ad copy (100 words max) in a Word document or body of an email, and no more than one logo and one photo in
    .jpg format, 72 dpi.
Price: $35 NAPO-LA Members, $45 Non NAPO-LA Members

Assistant Editor: Beth Zeigler -

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19 Board Meeting, 2:45pm
19 New Member Orientation
19 Chapter Meeting - Leadership Forum
30 Los Angeles Organizing Awards
31 Los Angeles Organizing Oceanside Brunch

  2 Inland Empire, Neighborhood Group
23 Board Meeting, 2:45pm
23 Chapter Meeting, 6:15pm
28 EDC Workshop: "Organizers Toolbox"

  8 Ventura County, Neighborhood Group
  9 San Diego Organizing Expo
10 CD Support Group, 6pm
14 South Bay, Neighborhood Group
Los Angeles Organizing Awards

 The Event of the Season!
Friday, January 30th 2009!   

Sherri Group

Our chapter's Special Events Task Force Team is hard at work finishing up last minute details for the 2009 Los Angeles Organizing Awards. This exciting event is our chapter's contribution to "Get Organized Month."
The Los Angeles Organizing Awards recognize the best in the professional organizing industry: professional organizers who set the standard for home and business productivity, and those products and services that help consumers and businesses organize anything and everything.
Don't miss this electrifying red carpet event. The night will begin with a gala reception, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. All will take place at the sleek and sophisticated Luxe Hotel in Bel Air. 

For all the details visit the Los Angeles Organizing Awards home page at the link below.

Organizing Awards

 The Fun Doesn't Stop Friday Night!
Join us for An Oceanside Brunch on Saturday
The 2009 Los Angeles Organizing Awards gala weekend will continue on Saturday, January 31, with a special Oceanside Brunch to be held at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on the world-famous Santa Monica Pier from 12pm - 2pm. Co-presented by Golden Circle of NAPO-Los Angeles, the Brunch will be a celebration for 80-100 friends. Everyone is invited to attend. Bring a guest, bring your spouse, but be sure to bring yourself as we conclude the festivities surrounding the 2009 Organizing Awards. NAPO-National's "Get Organized Month" will get a nod as well!

All the details are again on the Awards home page, just click on the link above.
NAPO-LA Chapter Meetings

Leslie Haber1
By: Leslie Haber
Director of Professional Development
Upcoming Chapter Meetings
January 19th (note the change in meeting date!)
It's time for our NAPO-LA Annual Leadership Forum. The topic this year will be Leadership Qualities, Become the Person Others Want to Follow, which will be taught by Debbie Gilster of the Center for Growth & Productivity. Debbie asks,  "Would you follow you? An interesting question that many of us have never asked ourselves. All great leaders have character qualities that activate and empower their leadership ability, in any situation. The key to transforming yourself from someone who understands leadership to a person who successfully leads in the real world, is having these indispensable character qualities from the inside out." This special workshop, a benefit of membership and available to the public for a fee, will teach you to be a more effective
Click here for details and to register
February 23
Mark your calendars for February's chapter meeting, where we will explore the psychology surrounding the compulsive shopper. Our own Lynne Gilberg will offer us insights and answers concerning this very prevalent phenomenon shared by so many of our clients - and many of us as well!  

"Kudos" to our November Speaker 
I extend warm thanks to our November speaker, Cynthia Lester, who shared her film, "My Mother's Garden," and followed up with a candid question and answer period. We were enlightened and touched by this award winning film, and are so grateful to Cynthia for joining us and providing insight from her perspective as the adult child of a hoarder. We wish Cynthia continued success in bringing us moving and honest stories such as this.

Annual Conference 2009!

Mark your calendars for the 2009 NAPO
National Annual Conference and
Organizing Expo
 April 29th-May 2nd, 2009
Online registration for the 2009 NAPO National Annual Conference is now available. To register online, simply click the words "Register Now" on the conference section of the website. Or, if you prefer to register by fax or mail, please click the words "Annual Conference Brochure" to download the brochure. 

To learn more about the Annual Conference, please visit the conference section of NAPO's Web site, where you will find a copy of the conference brochure and relevant hotel information. 
NAPO National Talent Show in Orlando! 
The NAPO National Talent Show Committee is hard at work planning for the 2nd annual show at conference in Orlando Florida on April 29th. This year's show should be bigger and better, with attendance expected at 400, featuring the talents of your colleagues from across the nation. Tickets are $50 and include a wide variety of dessert items, coffee, teas and one drink ticket.
Dr. Cal Caswell
Important Dates -    
  • January - Conference registration and Talent Show ticket sales begin
  • March 1st - Application deadline for acts
  • March 20th - Notification if your act is accepted
  • April 2nd - Entry fee deadline
  • April 29th - Dress rehearsal: 5 PM
  • April 29th -  The Talent Show: 8 - 11 PM
In addition to acts, the Talent Show committee is accepting volunteers to be stagehands, ushers, judge attendant, and sound coordinator. You'll be required to attend dress rehearsal and volunteer orientation as well as arrive early before the theater doors open. The committee is preparing a web page with application details and job descriptions. For more information!
Pictured above is Emcee Shawn Kershaw rehearsing at the 2008 Talent Show.
Volunteer Of The Month

Dr. Cal Caswell
September 2008
Name: Gus Gougas

Business Name: OrganizeIT!

Where do you do business?
Greater Los Angeles area

How did you get into organizing as a profession? 
I have always been a very organized person: My wife says "anal retentive." I have also always been a very handy person in the home, fixing various things around the house. After I spent 23 years in corporate America I decided to retire from that world and start anew. I researched many different companies and industries. A former business colleague of mine bought a garage organization franchise and asked me to come out and see his business. After I saw his operation, I was hooked. However, instead of buying a franchise, I decided to start my own company from scratch. And OrganizIT! was formed shortly there after.

When did you start your business?
May of 2006 

How did you come to join NAPO and/or NAPO-LA? 
A business colleague recommended it.

What has been your experience volunteering in NAPO-LA, the benefits of volunteering?
NAPO is a great organization with a good group of people. I participate in a number of networking groups for business; however, nothing compares to NAPO. There is a great synergy with my company and organizers; my company builds the organization infrastructure and an organizer can then come in and assist the clients organize their garages and leverage all the organizational products we installed in the garage. It's a perfect marriage. 
What are your main organizing interests?
Primarily Garage Organization, but we also do closets, pantries, laundry rooms, utility rooms, etc. 
Anything else we should know about you?
I am married to Jennifer and have two kids, Anastasia and Nicholas. And, no I am not a decedent of the Russian czar family. I am presently active in my community and on the Board of North Valley YMCA, the Board of Castlebay Elementary School, P.A.T.H., a member of the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Santa Clarity Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Porter Valley Country Club Business Alliance. I am also active in the AYSO youth soccer program as a volunteer and was recently awarded coach of the year. I also hold a Real Estate Sales Agent license in the state of California.
November 2008

Carol Hogg

Business Name: Organize Now
Where do you do business?  
I am based in Agoura Hills and do business between Encino and Oxnard. 
How did you get into organizing as a
I began organizing as a profession when I  realized what I had been doing and was passionate for all my life was actually a profession. My background includes 25 years
of office management for Financial Advisors, Real Estate Executives, Business Managers  and CPA's. I organize friends and family for fun and run my own household efficiently as a full time working mom. I have a strong bookkeeping background as well.
When did you start your business?
I started my business in 2005 and joined NAPO and NAPO LA at that time.          
What has been your experience volunteering in NAPO-LA, the benefits of volunteering? 
Immediately after joining NAPO-LA, the secretary position became open and I volunteered. I was able to meet fellow organizers in a more intimate setting and learn more from them. Once the term was up, I decided to do behind the scenes volunteering due to my growing workload. I produced labels for mailings for the Organizing Expo along with greeting at the monthly meetings and served as secretary for our NAPO Ventura Neighborhood group. I headed up a service project for a local family with hoarding issues for our group as well.
What are your main organizing interests, areas of organizing?
My main organizing interests are organizing home offices, families, time management, and organizing events. In 2009 I am launching a new part of my business which I feel will really tap into my strengths, which is Estate Administration. I am looking to network with Estate and Trust Attorneys and individuals that have lost a loved one and are left responsible for handling the estate. I have extensive knowledge and experience to gather the necessary documents and create a schedule of assets, maintain the necessary records for tax purposes, inventory and organize the contents of the home, obtain values of assets, assist with the distribution of & coordinate the sale of assets, manage incoming mail & coordinate bill payments and work closely with and assist legal counsel and other professionals with the administrative duties required. I pride myself on being a great listener; calming and very understanding, which will provide a peace of mind to the loved one left to carry out these responsibilities.

Have you volunteered yet to help out NAPO-LA in some way? Then you, too, could be voted "Volunteer of the Month" or even "Volunteer of the Year."
And when you are, it will be your turn to share your story, so that all of us in NAPO-LA will get to know you just a little bit better.
To find out about volunteer opportunities, contact Abbey Keusch.

NAPO LA Members

Members in the News 
Sheila McCurdy's book The Floor is Not an Option has won another award, this time in the "How To" category with the DIY Convention for the New England Book Festival. She was also interviewed for the Daily Bulletin Newspaper in the Inland Empire and was featured in the Inland Living section on November 1st and November 12th, and in the City News section on November 14th. Woman's Day Magazine also interviewed her in October for a feature to run in January on how to stop clutter before it starts.

Welcome Our Newest Member

presidents message nov/dec 2008JennyYang
Organized by Jenny
Los Angeles, CA 90012

San Diego Organizing Expo

NAPO San Diego is pleased to invite you to the 2009 San Diego Organizing Expo!

Chris, Diana, John 2007 Expo

Chris McKenry, Diana Jillie, and John Trosko at the 2007 Expo.

Date: Monday, March 9, 2009
Time: 6:00 - 8:30pm
Place: The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla CA
Invitations have gone out to over 100 companies representing the best organizing products and services, including Esselte, Stacks and Stacks, Organized Greetings, Clutter No More, and 1-800-Got-Junk. Join us for fun and valuable information. There will be tips and demos on organizing the home and office, raffle prizes and refreshments. This event is open to the public. Admission is $5.00.

For more information, visit 
Golden Circle

Letting Go Primer
By Dolores Kaytes
"Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every
day." Zen Proverb

In one of her presentations, Julie Morgenstern tells the audience that what led her to becoming an organizer was her frustration that her own lack of organization was negatively impacting her life. She made a decision to change and set about letting go of old habits and creating new ways to have more order in her life and ended up with a new career.
Letting go became a theme for me even before I became an organizer. A close relative was diagnosed with an addiction to prescription medication. The family was told that in order to help him, we had to let go of him and change our destructive enabling behavior.
Whether it is letting go of ideas, things or people, the process can be emotionally charged, and filled with uncertainty..."But I might need it, someday!" Most of us have met and overcome life challenges and have probably experienced the disturbing feelings letting go elicits. The fact that we have "walked in their shoes" augments our value to clients as their organizing partners. The experience gained from a similar journey married with the innate skills and talents of being able to bring order to chaos is a winning combination.
How can we help?

1. Accommodate individual differences. Ease into it, weeding out the obvious items to be discarded so the client can experience the satisfaction of seeing an empty shelf, drawer, desktop. If the client shows the tolerance for more aggressive purging, follow his or her lead.
2. Empathize with how stressful and anxiety filled the action of discarding an item can be, yet be firm and move the process along. It is critical not to judge or condemn the inability to break the emotional attachment to possessions.
3. Set Boundaries. Encourage these clients to: end the indiscriminate collecting of things; avoid mindlessly taking every handout at the mall, an event, a business function; put limits on non-essential purchases and subscriptions to periodicals; resist the bargains. Two for $5 (really $2.50 each) is a marketing ploy.
4. Revisit. Pack up objects and set them out of the way in a closet, garage, storage area. After six months, revisit them and you will find the emotional attachment has been removed or diminished substantially and they can be discarded.
5. Assess readiness and willingness. If after trying many alternative practices, your efforts are continually met with objections and resistance, be willing to accept the things you cannot change and let go of the client. He or she may need help beyond the scope of a professional organizer.
"Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to LET GO and then DO IT." Ann Landers
Copyright © 2008 Dolores Kaytes


1. Keep a zipper lock bag in the front of your sock drawer for stray sox, with out partners. When the match turns up, you will know where to find it's mate, instead of digging through the entire drawer.
 --Fay Wolf, New Order, 

2. Type a "check off list" of all your grocery items instead of always writing new lists. Once done, they can be printed and edited over and over.
--Robin Valdez, Expert Organizers,

About the TIPS Program:
NAPO-LA's TIPS Program is managed by the chapter's Golden Circle members. Ann Gambrell is the chair and invites all chapter members to submit their organizing tips via email or on index cards that will be available at the monthly chapter meetings for deposit into the "Organizing Tips" box.

TIPS are requested in two categories:
"Tips from Pros" are organizing tips for clients/the public."Tips of the Trade" are tips for organizers to use in their businesses.

When submitting TIPS, you are invited (optional) to include your name, business name and contact information. This will serve to promote you when the client/public TIPS are posted on the NAPO-LA website's home page.

Email your TIPS to:

CD Support Group

Next Meeting:
March 10th
By Jean Furuya
If you are working consistently and on an on-going basis with chronically disorganized clients, you are invited to participate in an informal support group.
Next Meeting
Tuesday, March 10th, from 6-8:30pm. Limited to 12 attendees.
Topic for discussion: Compulsive Shopping
A simple pot luck is planned.
Time will also be spent sharing our individual issues.

We will continue to work on "Resources: How can we help the indigent hoarders?" Please bring resources to share.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Jean Furuya.
Email:   Phone: (310) 316-1753
Educational Development Committee

Tanya W 2 
Organizer's Toolbox - Products, Gadgets, & Resources
February 28, 2009
Speaker: Tanya Whitford, CPO®

It is not enough to just be a good organizer. You must also keep on top of the latest products and resources that will work for your clients. In this workshop, you will learn just which products are unique and will meet your clients' needs and which ones are a waste of time and money.

This  is a fun and interactive three-part workshop.
  • Part 1--25 products that have stood the test of time and passed Tanya's standards for usefulness in her ten years as a Professional Organizer.
  • Part 2-- demonstration of gadgets and software programs that can be the solution to your clients' problems as well as additional revenue streams for you.
  • Part 3--resources for your clients, from donating out-of-the-ordinary items to recycling things you did not even know could be recycled.
This is a must-attend workshop for new and veteran organizers alike. Attendees will take away an increased knowledge of products and resources that will make them even more valuable to their clients. The handouts and the product samples alone will be worth the price of admission. Not only will this workshop be a lot of fun, but it will be one of the most informative and useful ones you could ever hope to attend!

(Bonus Offer: Attendees are also invited to bring in one of their favorite products for the exciting "Show & Tell" portion of the workshop)

Tanya Whitford, CPO® has been a NAPO-LA member for ten years. Her passion for products, gadgets, software and resources has made her a tremendous asset to her clients and resulted in thousands of dollars in extra revenue for her business. She has received rave reviews for her product workshops in the past.

For details on this event, click here!


Award Winning Designs for Organization

Get It Together LA's designs feature custom construction to satisfy your organizing requirements and exceed your discerning taste.

Silver Closets
Butler Pantries

Call 323-525-0678 today.