Subject: NAPO-LA Sept/Oct 2009 Los Angeles Organizer Newsletter

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September/October 2009                                                                                 Volume 16, Issue 5


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Who's Who


Board of Directors


Gail GrayPresident

Chantale Bordonaro, CPO®, CRTS™



Gail Gray

Vice President

Katherine Macey



Gail Gray

Nicole D. Ballard


Gail Gray


Regina Lark


Gail Gray

Director of Administration

Kathryn Masci


Gail GrayDirector of Communications & Technology
Susan Culligan


Director of Membership

Cynthia A. Smith


Gail Gray
Director of Marketing

Heather Furlong



Gail GrayDirector of Professional Development

Leslie Haber



Gail GrayImmediate Past President

John Trosko


Coordinators &
Committee Chairs


Educational Development Committee

Jean Furuya


Golden Circle   


Associate Member Coordinator
Carol Keller

Greeter Coordinator

Christie Gelsomino



Donna Rosman
Sasha Escandon
Kim Rocke


Christie Gelsomino



Cindy Duffy


NAPO in the Schools

Deborah Kawashima

New Member Orientation

Jean Furuya, Ann Gambrell

Sara Getzkin
Donna Rosman

Volunteer Coordinator 

Lori Rubin

Website Coordinator

Susan Culligan



Heidi Chianta
Susan Eleftherakis
Claire Flannery
Millie Hinkle
Shari Richardson
Kim Rocke

Yahoo Group Moderator
Dara Fiss


Meeting Information


Meeting Attendance


July 2009
46 members, 6 visitors

August 2009

43 members, 8 visitors

Total Membership
Regular members: 134
Associate members: 16


Mini Board Minutes

The Board approved the NAPO-LA 2009-2010 Budget ahead of schedule.

As of 2009-2010, membership renewals will be moved from September to October.



Volunteers of the Month



August: Toni Scharff
July: Donna Rosman
June: Linda
May: Cindy Duffy
March: Katherine Macey

February: Robin Davi



February: Fay Wolf

March: Sara Getzkin

April: Abbey Keusch

July: Neighborhood Groups Committee

 August: Heidi Chianta

September: Gus Gougas

November: Carol Hogg


Volunteers of the Year

 2008: Heidi Chianta

 2007: Cary Brazeman


Associate Members

Custom Closets

310-516-7000 x224


College Hunks Hauling Junk


Office Organization Products
Email Barb Schmit


Versatile Storage Products
Email May Lee   


Custom Garage Systems
Email Jaime Dietenhofer


Go Junk Free America
Go Junk Free America!



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


Custom Glide-Out Shelves for Cabinets & Pantries


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





NAPO National Membership

Annual Dues:
$200 - Active Member*
$150 - Associate-Branch
$250 - Associate-Local
$550 - Associate-Corporate
  $20 - 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.
$25 - One-Time Processing Fee
$25 - Lapsed Member Processing Fee

Associate Members:
Dues are prorated quarterly by 25%.
$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.

For more information on becoming a NAPO-LA member, click here.

For the NAPO Code of Ethics, click here.



The Los Angeles Organizer

The Los Angeles Organizer
Newsletter Staff

Acting Editor: Susan Culligan

Assistant Editor: Beth Zeigler


Rewrite Editor:
Claire Flannery


Millie Hinkle
Donna D. McMillan
Toni Scharff


The Los Angeles Organizer is published bimonthly (January, March, May, July, September, November). The newsletter is e-mailed to NAPO-LA members, NAPO national board members, and 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. Photos should be .jpg, 72 dpi, sent with your article. All article topics and content must be approved by our editor. Submit editorial to

Advertising: 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 containing a link to your website, located in the left side column of the newsletter. The ad can be your logo, a photo, or a short message. Format: .jpg, 72 dpi, 125 pixels w x 100 h.
$25 NAPO-LA Members
$35 Non NAPO-LA Members

Full Ad:  This is a large block located at the end of our newsletter. Should provide details about your company or service, along with a logo and/or photo. See current newsletter for examples. Format: Submit ad copy (100 words max) as a Word document or email, and no more than one logo and one photo as .jpg, 72 dpi.

$35 NAPO-LA Members
$45 Non NAPO-LA Members

Submit ads to



 18 Hollywood Neighborhood Group
    Pasadena/Glendale/Burbank Neighborhood Group
    Orange County Neighborhood Group
    Los Angeles Organizer Newsletter Published 
 21 Board Meeting 2:45pm
    Los Angeles Organizing Expo



1-3 NSGCD Annual Conference
 18 Golden Circle Autumn Meeting
    NAPO-LA Ventura County Neighborhood Group
 24 EDC Workshop: Double or Triple Your Appointments
    with New Clients
 26 Board Meeting 2:45pm, New Member Orientation 4pm,
    Chapter Meeting 6:15pm


  5 SFMHA Annual Conference on Hoarding and Cluttering
  7 NAPO San Francisco 20th Regional Conference
  8 NAPO-LA Westsiders Neighborhood Group
 15 NAPO-LA Hollywood, Orange County, and Pasadena
    Neighborhood Groups
 23 Board Meeting 2:45pm, New Member Orientation 4pm,
    Chapter Meeting 6:15pm


President's Message

Chantale B1Be Prepared
By Chantale Bordonaro,

Preparedness: the state of having been made ready or prepared for use or action; "putting them in readiness"; "their preparation was more than adequate."

August 27th, 8:30 pm: I am driving home to South Redondo Beach after finishing a move and enduring the hottest day of summer. As I park the car in the driveway, I see over the hill a red sky filled with smoke. I feel sorry for the homeowners in RPV, thinking it was an isolated event. (As we all know now, it was not, and we even saw worse). As I write this morning, the blaze is still going, with over 100 acres burned and only 35% of the fire contained. I have lived in California for almost 10 years; I felt earthquakes and heard of friends being evacuated because of fires and landslides. But in the last two months, with the two shakers in neighboring Hawthorne (one was a 4.7 magnitude quake) and now these fires, it hits a little too close to home.

As a family of three, are we prepared? I do this with clients; I should lead by example right? Hey, I even wrote an article on it! We did start our "Just in Case Emergency Kit," but we still don't have a plan. Only last night did we finally film the whole house for insurance purposes.

Being properly prepared applies to your personal life as well your business.

Personal Life

  1. Make a family plan: Once your plan is established, make sure to rehearse once or twice a year and update it with new information based on your family needs
  2. Create a "Just in Case Kit": Include 3 day's worth of food and emergency kit. Store your supply kit in an easy to access spot in your home and don't forget to change or rotate your water and all supplies to make sure they stay stays fresh.
  3. Create a "Go-Pack" for all your important family documents and memories
  4. Get educated: Make sure to gain general awareness by checking websites like and from the American Red Cross. These sites will provide you with excellent home and office safety tricks and provide you with easy to follow checklists. Attend our NAPO-LA October meeting to learn about other resources!

Business Life

  1. Make a plan: Understand the importance of business planning: It would be great if you had a business plan but if you don't, at least make sure to know what your expertise is, what your market is, and who your target client is. Establish goals and review and/or revise them every 6 months.
  2. Create a PO toolbox: Include all items you might need in a consultation: pens, sharpies, tape measure, index cards, highlighters, label machine and extra labels, Ziplocs and garbage bags, scissors, thin gloves, masks and booties, etc. Moving clients? Have a tape gun, a cutter, moving blankets, gloves, pre-printed labels, blank inventory list, etc.
  3. Create a "Marketing Go-Pack": Always carry your business cards with you. In your car, have samples of your marketing materials, some blank prospect forms, any materials you would use in a "needs assessment consultation," and of course, your camera to document it all.
  4. Get educated: Improve yourself, improve your business. Make sure to seek education from NAPO, NAPO-LA, and your local Adult School. Check out the upcoming NAPO-LA Expo or NSGCD or NAPO-SFBA conferences. Whether it's within or out of the industry, remember that all fields of life or work might teach you something that will make you a better Professional Organizer. I just took a class from the Beach City Health District that focused on Elders ("Not ready to be old"). It taught me a lot about the way we should treat our elders.

So, for both your personal and business lives, get prepared just in case!!


NAPO-LA 5th Annual Organizing Expo

It's right around the corner!

Monday, September 21, 2009
Olympic Collection Conference Center
4 pm to 8:30 pm.

Participating vendors, including Closet Factory, College Hunks Hauling Junk, Esselte, Get It Together LA!, Go Junk Free America, National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, NorthStar Moving Corporation, Organizing Systems, OrganizIT!, ScanDigital, ShelfGenie, and SmartBox, among others, will delight us again with their exciting new products and services.

And back by popular demand, "Ask The Organizer Panel" experts responding to today's personal and business needs will be members Chris McKenry (Get It Together LA!), Donna McMillan (McMillan & Company Professional Organizing), Barbara Ricketts CPO® (A.K.A. The Mess Doctor); and Dolores Kaytes (Highly Organized, Inc.). The discussion will be facilitated by Lynne Gilberg CPO® (Lynne Gilberg Organizing). Bring your questions to this knowledgeable panel of professional organizers.

Both events are open to the public as well as the membership. Please use the following links for more information about the event, tickets, vendor registration, or sponsorship, or contact Barb Schmit, NAPO Expo Vendor Coordinator,


2010 Los Angeles Organizing Awards

Task Force Update

November 23, 5:15 pm
The Olympic Collection
(right before the regular Chapter meeting)

For more information, contact Erin Haas,


Renewals Are Coming Up!

October is Renewal Month

Fall is around the corner, and it is annual dues renewal time at NAPO-LA. Renew online during the month of October for another year of exciting events and opportunities.

Membership in NAPO-LA gives you unparalled opportunities to build your business and take it to the next level. Take advantage of our continuing education, publicity, leadership training, support, professional credibility, or simply meet new friends at NAPO-LA.  Read about your benefits online: NAPO Los Angeles Membership Benefits.


Active Members

Level 1 - $100
Reduced annual dues, $10 chapter meeting fee and a listing in the "Find an Organizer" section of the NAPO-LA website

Level 2 - $165
Includes attendance to all monthly chapter meetings, a listing in the "Find an Organizer" section of the NAPO-LA website, and admission to the Expo. Level 2 available October only.

Associate Members

Local Associate Member - $300
Locally based, self-operating retailer, supplier, designer, or independent sales representative primarily in the manufacture, distribution and/or sales of organizational equipment/supplies or organizing industry services.

Branch Associate Member - $175
Operates as a local branch or regional office of a NAPO National Corporate Associate Member.

  • Current NAPO National membership is required for membership in NAPO-LA. Lapsed National membership will result in forfeiting your chapter membership.
  • No refunds or credits will be issued for unused membership benefits.
  • Chapter dues must be postmarked or received online by October 31, 2009 or a $25 late fee will be charged.
  • Names of Active and Associate members who do not renew by October 31 will be removed from the NAPO-LA chapter roster and website.
  • Membership in NAPO-LA cannot be deducted as a charitable contribution but may be deducted as an ordinary business expense for federal tax purposes.  Consult your tax specialist.

Thank you for continuing to support the founding chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. You won't want to miss a minute of the exciting year ahead!


NSGCD Annual Conference


NSGCD Conference 2009


October 1-3, 2009
Omni Hotel, 251 South Olive Street, Los Angeles CA 90012


Click here for more details

Professional Organizers Networking Reception
Thursday, October 1, 2009
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Omni Hotel, 251 South Olive Street, Los Angeles CA 90012

The 2009 Annual Conference kicks off with an opening reception offering NSGCD and NAPO-LA members the chance to network with fellow professionals. Come join us for hors d'oeuvres and drinks! Networking provides the opportunity to make new connections, expand your knowledge, and find ways to improve your organization. Come make changes in the way you live, work, and think and meet the professional organizers of NSGCD and NAPO-LA!

Preregistration for the Networking Reception is required; to preregister go to


NAPO-SFBA 20th Regional Conference

"Foundation - Evolution - Innovation"
November 7, 2009, San Rafael, California

NAPO-SFBA Conference 2009

The NAPO-San Francisco 20th Annual Regional Conference "Foundation - Evolution - Innovation" conference is an all-day event focusing on:

  • Building a strong foundation and knowledge base within the field of organizing
  • Evolving organizing businesses with effective marketing and brand strategy
  • Learning about innovative tools, applications and emerging technologies

Click here for the conference agenda and registration info. Early Bird registration ends on October 7th - a savings of $76 for NAPO members. [Note: Book rooms at the conference hotel directly through the conference link off our web page, not through a third-party travel site such as Expedia or Orbitz]


Nominations Committee Announced

John Trosko, Immediate Past President

As the Chair of the NAPO-LA Nominations Committee, I am pleased to announce our committee for the current 2009-2010 Term. As many of you know, our work can have a very profound influence on the chapter as we manage the entire leadership succession process on behalf of the board.

The Goal of the Board Nominations Committee
The nominations committee gathers board nominations, reviews qualifications, validates memberships, presents the nominations to the membership, oversees the election process and ballot returns, announces the results, and facilitates a smooth transition to a new term. Our primary focus and goal is to provide leadership to the Chapter that closely matches our goals and objectives.

NAPO-LA Leadership Forum
A main responsibility for the nominations committee is to plan and execute the 2010 NAPO-LA Leadership Forum, a significant educational program designed to teach and inspire chapter members to be more effective as leaders not only in the chapter, but also in their business and civic activities. The Fourth Annual NAPO-LA Leadership Forum will take place the evening of Monday, January 18, 2010. Details and the facilitator will be announced in November.

Nominations Committee Schedule
This year's Nominating Committee consists of one Chair, one current Board member, and two regular members. All have previously (or currently) served on the Board in various capacities. Our first meeting of the Committee will be mid-September. We will provide updates to the membership in October. Nominations for the 2010-2011 term open late November.

2009-2010 Nominations Committee Members

Tom NevermanTom Neverman served on the NAPO-LA Board as Director of Programs for two years prior to being elected NAPO National President in 1990. Tom's company, The Moving Doctor, specializes in orchestrating relocation projects for clients around the world. With over 21 years in business, Tom is considered a veteran of the organizing industry. He has been featured in Forbes Magazine, InStyle, HGTV and the Discovery Channel.

Marcy MeltonMarcy Melton, CPO®, served on the NAPO-LA Board from 1997 to 1999 as Treasurer and has been a member of NAPO and NAPO-LA since 1996. A 13-year veteran Professional Organizer, Marcy majored in television and radio at Ithaca College and spent 20 years in TV advertising sales and sales management, prior to forming her organizing company, West Los Angeles-based Bullseye Organizing Solutions. Her current business focus is bookkeeping and tax preparation, filing systems, paper management, and time management. She has attended 11 of the last 12 NAPO National Conferences and is thrilled to watch new chapter leadership emerge.

Leslie HaberLeslie Haber has been a Professional Organizer for over 16 years and an active member of NAPO and NAPO-LA for over two years. Leslie is currently serving her second term as Director of Professional Development, where she is charged with creating and producing the chapter's regular meetings and overseeing the NAPO-LA Educational Development Committee and NAPO in the Schools. Her business career began as a producer of large-scale special events and directorships at many of Los Angeles' top hotels. Her company, An Organized Life, serves clients in Los Angeles and New York City. Leslie is a civil and gay rights activist and has formed numerous grass roots organizations to provide a strong voice in local city government.

John Trosko (Nominations Chair), is a Los Angeles-based Professional Organizer, business owner, blogger, and published contributing author. Since joining NAPO and NAPO-LA, John has served on the Board as Director of Professional Development, Vice-President, two terms as President, and currently, Immediate Past President. Under his tenure, the Los Angeles chapter received the prestigious NAPO National "President's Award" for his and the chapter's collective contributions to the organizing industry on a national level. Prior to forming OrganizingLA in 2004, John was a member of the production management staff with Walt Disney Feature Animation. His company has been featured in BusinessWeek, Self Magazine, Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, and Daily Candy.

For more information on the Nominations Committee, contact the Chair at


Revamping the Assistant List

SusanCulligan.jpgA Proactive Approach

Susan Culligan, Director of Communications and Technology

As of October, the Board of Directors has created a more dynamic, proactive vehicle for members to connect with other members who want to work as, or who need, assistants in their professional organizing work.

This approach is two-fold and, we hope, will be easier to use and keep current.

First, we'll be using the Yahoo Group for both Assistants Wanted and Assistants Available announcements. Members wishing to make themselves available as assistants are encouraged to post their qualifications and information once per quarter to the Yahoo Group members informing them of their availability. Organizers wishing to hire assistants can post their requests on the Yahoo Group as well, so it pays to be a member! (For instructions on joining the Yahoo Group, which is a great way to stay connected with other members, go to the Yahoo Group page on our website and click the purple button.)

Second, we've created an Assistant List Bulletin Board on the website (AssistantListBulletinBoard), where assistants can post their availability and hirers can go to see who's eager to work. This bulletin board forum is cleared every 90 days, so only those who've recently posted their availability will appear.

We hope these changes will create a more active and lively way for members to connect in hiring and working as assistants.


Volunteers Of The Month

July 2009

Gail GrayDonna Rosman, Chapter Co-photographer

What is your business name?
Progressive Organizing Services

Where do you do business? I recently made a move to the Pasadena area, but my coverage is the greater Los Angeles area. I also occasionally work in the Tucson, Arizona area.

What are your main organizing interests or specialties? My main areas of interest are in the CD population and the elderly.
What are your main non-organizing interests or hobbies? In addition to organizing, I am a dog trainer and dog rehabilitation specialist. I have been training dogs for the past 12 years, and have found that dog training and organizing are incredibly similar.  Organizing isn't usually about the "stuff," and dog-training usually isn't about the "dog." I'm a photographer, an avid hiker, skier, and equestrian. I have four dogs, two cats, and four horses.
How did you get into organizing as a profession? I have two children with ADD, and I have ADD. We had to get organized. I have a background in communications, nursing, and business management, and when the time was right, I chose to put all my skills together to become an organizer.  
How did you come to join NAPO and/or NAPO-LA? I joined NAPO in early 2008, so I'm relatively new. I found NAPO online, and immediately attended my first National Conference. When I realized I was in a room of 900 people who I could totally relate to, it was a cathartic realization that this is what I wanted to do!
What has been your experience volunteering in NAPO-LA and what do you see as the benefits of volunteering? I really enjoy volunteering because it's been a great way to learn from more experienced organizers. It provides a continuous exposure to professional peers, and it's a great way to meet incredible people!

August 2009

Toni ScharffToni Scharff, Expo Task Force, Newsletter Proofreader

What is your business name?

The Simplicity Project

Where do you do business? Santa Monica, the Westside, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, and south through Palos Verdes

What are your main organizing interests or specialties? I specialize in general residential organization, including small and home office systems, paper flow, and mail management.

What are your main non-organizing interests or hobbies? This year I've been reading old classics that I missed out on during those years of formal schooling. On my bicycle, which I use for commuting and exercise, the longest sport ride I've done is 165 miles to Ventura and back; and I like to view the world from mountaintops. My husband and I enjoy flying to small airports in the western half of the country in our single engine Cessna 182.  Our recent trip was from Los Angeles to Montana via Denver. "If you have time to spare, go by air," they say. We had several weather holds and a layover due to a tornado warning, but made the round trip in just two days longer than planned.

How did you get into organizing as a profession? I like to introduce myself by saying I was born with alphabetical files and a balanced checkbook, which is essentially true: I came with the "Obsessively Orderly" gene. In 1999, ten years after moving to LA from Montana, I was helping an acquaintance, who I've come to learn was a hoarder. As we struggled through her piles of possessions, she casually mentioned, "You know, Toni, people pay for this. There are groups you can join - people do this for a living."

How did you come to join NAPO and/or NAPO-LA? I was out of there in a flash, got online, found NAPO-LA, called the hotline, joined immediately, and the rest is history. I have been a self-employed organizer and NAPO member for the past 10 years .

What has been your experience volunteering in NAPO-LA and what do you see as the benefits of volunteering? I started volunteering to get to know my colleagues, to learn what it takes to run a chapter, and to "be in the know" about what was going on in our chapter. Being a Board member, working on committees and with NAPO projects has expanded my horizon at the rate that our industry is growing. There's nothing like being involved in one of the fastest growing and cutting edge small industries in the country.


KathrynMasciHave 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 our Volunteer Coordinator, Kathryn


NAPO-LA Chapter Meeting Information

Leslie Haber1Leslie Haber
Director of Professional Development

Past Presenter:

Thanks to Mary Ann Williams of School of Moxie (and she's sure got moxie!) for her wonderful presentation on Record Keeping & Digital Archiving. Once we all got over our initial shock concerning the shorter-than-expected lifespan of a compact disc, our group enjoyed learning about this important and growing field of interest and informational archiving.  

Upcoming Chapter Meeting

Monday, October 26, 2009:  

Safety Preparation for Clients & Organizers (aka: "JUST IN CASE...!"). Presenters will discuss creating emergency lists, kits, inventories, and emergency plans. We'll also learn about estate planning, emergency contacts, and basic safety guidelines for home, pets, office, and car. 

Silent Auction

We will not have a Silent Auction at the Expo in September


CD Support Group

By Jean Furuya
Educational Development Committee Coordinator

If you are working consistently and on an ongoing basis with chronically disorganized clients, you are invited to participate in an informal support group.


Next Meeting

Tuesday, September 15, 6:00 - 8:30 pm

Limited to 12 attendees. A simple pot luck is planned.


Topic for discussion: CD Clients and Family Relationships

We will spend time discussion our individual issues and experiences with our clients and how their disorganization and progress affect their families.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Jean Furuya.

Phone: (310) 316-1753


NAPO LA Members

Welcome Our Newest Members


KendraMillerKendra Miller

Inner Beauty
Los Angeles, CA

AriannaVargasArianna Vargas
Casa Bellisima Organized Interiors
Sherman Oaks, CA

Associate Member Contact Correction:
 Our website had an incorrect URL for our newest Associate Member! We apologize and include the correct contact information below:

Go Junk Free AmericaEvan Berger
Go Junk Free America! Inc.


Golden Circle

Karen FulksOrganizing and Safety
Karen Sue Fulks
Organizer Extraordinaire/OE

Organizing and safety - should these two words go together? You betcha'! Let me give you some things to think about and some safety tips that might come in handy. More than likely, you will have already thought of these, so this will be a refresher course.

When you get the original phone call from a client, and as you're asking the basic questions of what they need, listen - really listen - to this person. If you get a gut feeling of unease or distaste, or they've said something that makes you uncomfortable, go with your gut! Always listen to that inner voice that we sometimes question. Maybe this is not the client for you. And it doesn't matter why you're not comfortable, because only YOU know your comfort level.

Now let's say you've decided to meet with the client. If you're not sure of the neighborhood, it's not a bad idea to drive there beforehand to "scope out the territory." Make sure that someone knows where you are - give your office partner or your life partner or a friend the address and phone number of where you will be going. Also, make sure that your cell phone is either in your hand or in an easily accessible pocket. If at any point, as you're making this initial assessment, you become uncomfortable about the situation - remember, you don't have to be there, you can leave at any time. Look at your watch, make up an excuse and get out. Again, your intuition is your greatest friend in these situations.

Ok, the client turns out to be someone you want to work with. Should the word "safety" still be in your vocabulary? YES! In your "toolbox" should always be gloves and a mask. Whether working with hoarders or straightening out a garage, you can never be too careful where your health is concerned. You don't know if there are hazardous materials lying underneath those newspapers. Or, as you're clearing up a garage floor, filled with old papers and such, there might be a risk of Hantavirus (researchers believe that people may be able to get the virus if they touch something that has been contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva, and then touch their noses or mouths.)

Also remember - know your limits in terms of reaching and stretching and lifting. Most of this might seem like common sense, but sometimes as we're "in the moment" of organizing and helping others, we tend to not think of taking precautions. So, remember to take care of yourself first.

For further information on safety, Debbie Stanley, of Red Letter Day Professional Organizers, presents a safety teleclass through NSGCD (


AnnGambrellNewGolden Circle at the Beach

Ann Gambrell
Golden Circle Coordinator

The July meeting of the Golden Circle was held at the home of Debra Frank in Manhattan Beach, with brunch cohost Carol Keller and 13 members in attendance. After the tour of her lovely - and can I say organized - home, we shared a great brunch with an abundance of networking and sharing over dessert. By the way, as a brand new Golden Circle member, this was Debra Frank's first meeting - and she hosted it as well!
Thank you Debra and Carol.

During the quarterly Golden Circle update time, there was no lack of willing volunteers for a variety of requests. Members came forth to host the 2010 meetings, to write articles for the chapter newsletter, bringing organizing tips (on the spot!), and more. Thank you all.

Future meeting ideas were discussed, including a Waste Management trip/tour, a TV show, a Green/Recycling facility visit, meeting themes/topics, etc. Members offered to research these possibilities.

Lynne Gilberg brought an update on the newly formed "Helping Hands" service for Golden Circle members. Lynne & Rosalind Lakomy will provide members in need with personal assistance when necessary, which may include ill members' needing meals, transportation to appointments, shopping needs, moving, etc. Kudos to all volunteering to pitch in when the needs arise. Contact Lynne or Ros with such needs. Thank you all.

Long time LA Chapter member Sheila McCurdy will be moving out of state and will be greatly missed. All our best to Sheila, as we look forward to connecting with her at our future NAPO National Conferences.

The next quarterly meeting of the Los Angeles Area Golden Circle will be on Sunday October 18th, hosted by Sally Hulem and Marcy Melton. See you then.

Tips from the Pros

When helping a client clean out a linen closet, consider donating all those unused towels, sheets, blankets, etc. to an animal shelter. They are always in need of these items. Donation is tax deductible for your client.
Claire Flannery, simplify

To organize catalogs and phone books, take a hanging file and cut off the paper, leaving just the metal rod. Hang this in your file drawer to hang catalogs and phone books for easy access.
Barb Schmit, Esselte

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:


Double or Even Triple Your Appointments with New Clients

Michelle and SadieSaturday, October 24; 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Instructor: Michelle Quintana
To register click here

Does this sound familiar?

  • You get a call from a VERY interested prospect, explain your services, your fees, and answer all the questions, but ... YOU DON'T BOOK THE APPOINTMENT!
  • You continually get objections about your fees and don't really know how to effectively handle them, and ... YOU DON'T BOOK THE APPOINTMENT!
  • Or the prospect says, "OK, I need to check with my husband, and I'll get back with you," and ... YOU DON'T BOOK THE APPOINTMENT!
  • Your prospect is worried about spending money on your services during a down economy, and ... YOU DON'T BOOK THE APPOINTMENT!

What is this costing you in real lost revenue? Afraid of sounding sales-hypey on the phone and have no clue how to effortlessly "close" the appointment?

If you're ready to get outside your comfort zone and begin booking appointments, then this training session is for you. Just one or two tips will pay off for the rest of your organizing career. You'll learn exactly how to master ...

  • The three most common objections, how to stop them dead in their tracks, and what NEVER to say to a prospect.
  • Sounding professional without the sales-hype -- having them begging to work with you.
  • Role playing with colleagues to break the comfort zone keeping your income in the tank.

Here's what past attendees said about Michelle's session:

"I received a phone call from a CPA who received a flier of mine. He asked about my fees, and with that first question I became Michelle's clone! I qualified him, felt his pain, praised him, told him about my four-hour minimum and hourly fee. We booked the first appointment to reorganize his home office. That one phone call more than paid for the workshop!" --Regina Lark, A Clear Path

"Michelle's workshop was simply great. She's an energetic, highly knowledgeable, humorous, and motivating speaker, and she got us very charged up about how to engage first-time callers in order to get to that first step, which is booking an appointment. Role-play was really fun (and very revealing!). Anyone who's interested in generating more business needs to take this workshop."  --Susan Culligan, Got to Get Organized

Make more money and book your calendar with clients who WANT to work with you!

Michelle Quintana spent 12 years as a NAPO-LA member and full-time organizer. Now owner of Bulldog Creative Copywriting, she traded in the clutter for the keyboard, using what she learned in building a six-figure organizing business and turning that passion into a career as a professional freelance copywriter.

Date: Saturday, October 24, 9:00 am-1:00 pm. Class limited to 20 participants, so register early!
Cost:  Early registration: NAPO-LA Members: $99; Public: $119
          After October 21, add $15
Location: Circle of Care Leeza's Place, 5000 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks CA 91403

To register click here
For more information contact




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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


The National Association of Professional Organizers, Los Angeles Chapter (NAPO-LA) is a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO, Inc. (the National Association of Professional Organizers) and is not entitled to act on behalf of or to bind NAPO, contractually or otherwise.

For questions on our disclosure policy, please contact our Chapter President.


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