NAPO-WDC Blog

  • March 24, 2020 12:38 AM | Carolyn Thompson (Administrator)

    Anna Novak, Home Transition Pros

    March 24, 2020


    As the country grapples with a flu pandemic, we want to do everything we can to help protect families, particularly our seniors.

    Fortunately, coronaviruses are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill. While hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes have disappeared from store shelves, you probably already have one of these products that have been approved by the EPA to use against the dreaded SARS-Co_V2.

    View the List of EPA-Approved Disinfectants to Use Against Coronavirus

    Stay Well,

    The Team at HomeTransitionPros.com

  • March 09, 2020 10:59 AM | Diane Greenhalgh (Administrator)

    Another Redfin article about space saving tips for small houses with a tip from one of our chapter members, Heather Cocozza. Check it out.

    March 9, 2020

    When you have a smaller home, every inch of space counts! If you’re feeling cramped in your tight quarters, don’t worry, making a small space more livable can be easy. To help you get started, we asked organizational experts for their best tips and tricks for maximizing space in a small area. Check them out and you’ll feel like you’re living large in no time.

    1. Start by purging your items. Set up three boxes and label them “keep” “donate” and “trash.” Set a timer for two hours and start categorizing the items within the three boxes. Don’t step away to put an item in the room or area that it belongs, just place it in the keep pile for now. If you come across things that spark a trip down memory lane, set it aside for now in the “Keep” category. Plan a “Memory Night”, order some food in, and take that trip with family and friends! – Organizing by Ali, Alison Monaghan

    2. Store less frequently used kitchen items elsewhere. In the kitchen, look for small appliances, big cookware, extra canned foods, and extra paper products that are not used regularly and move to another storage area in your home. This frees up space and allows for a less cluttered feel. – Cleared Spaces, Amy Van Arsdale

    3. Accommodate the storage spaces you’re working with, versus attempting to accommodate your belongings. So many of us feel we don’t have ample storage, however, we may just need to pair down our belongings in an effort to truly work towards a simplified space in a smaller home. – Organized for Life, Lauren Silveira

    4. Incorporate storage within your decor. For example instead of having shelving staged with only home decor and books, mix in beautiful bins to house other items. Think of electronic accessories, envelopes or office accessories, and even toys. – Freshly Organized, Melanie Schmidt

    Tall bookshelves or cabinets can also store clothes, crafts, and toiletries. – Arranged by Erin, Erin Kelly

    5. Use over-the-door organizers. The back of a door can be a wonderful storage place.

    • Buy an inexpensive clear hanging shoe organizer, place it over your door and use it to store items such as scarves, socks, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, travel toiletries or hair products. You can even use them for shoes! – Aim 4 Order, Cindy Bernstein
    • In the absence of a linen closet, utilize over the door organizers for fun and functional linen storage. – Let Your Space Bloom, Amy Bloomer

    6. Remove doors from closets. If you have bedroom closets with bi-fold doors and you need more space, remove the doors. They pop out easily. Once they’re gone, the space will feel larger, and you can put up a curtain instead if you like. The closet can become an office, too, with a desk, computer, and other office accessories. – DETAILS Organizing It All, DeeDee Welles

    7. Have a paper filing system. Every household needs one. Every piece of paper worth keeping should have a permanent home where you will know to look for it. There are things that will have to be kept and those need to be filed. Most likely, those files will have to be created as you go. – My Space Reclaimed, Maristella Bertram

    8. Utilize vertical wall space. New York City apartment dwellers are always looking to maximize their tight spaces. Make use of vertical spaces with shelving, hooks, or other mounting options.  Backs of doors are hidden gems, as can be tight spaces to the side of fridges, washer/dryers, etc.  Using wall space can be a great way to blend the functional with the visual-hooks for a decorative hat display or floating shelves with color-coded books are great ways to add personalized decor while also adding storage. – Embrace Your Space NYC, Sarah Grace

    9. Clear the medicine cabinets. Medicine cabinets are often home to mostly expired medicine, lotions, and all manner of potions.  Find inexpensive drawer organizers at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, or The Container Store. Keep first-aid stuff close at hand. Use baggies to gather hair clips, razors, nail supplies, etc. – A Clear Path, Dr. Regina F. Lark

    10. File fold. Things tend to get lost in deep shelves that hold clothing. To solve this problem, plastic boot boxes from The Container Store allow one to “file fold” so clothing isn’t stacked. File folding allows you to see what you have and eliminates the clothing from falling all over if it was in a pile. – Lisa The Organizer, Lisa Haubenstock

    11. Remember that less is more. We can all cut down on the number of products we buy. If your space is overwhelmed with products, that clutter can make an already small space feel tiny. – Clutterless Home Solutions, Lahni Carney

    12. Turn cleaning into a game for the kids. To de-clutter the playroom and instill de-cluttering habits in your kids, make cleaning fun by turning cleaning into a game! Use clear packing cubes as a smart storage solution for toys and other knick-knacks. Categorize each packing cube and ask them to match the toys to the corresponding packing cube. – EzPacking

    13. Save space in your laundry room. Use open shelving or a hanging rack system placed on the back of a door. Both are good options to keep washing supplies organized and easily available. Zone the shelf space and use containers to keep categories together. – Everyday Organizing, Nancy Patsios

    14. Use clear or mesh wall pockets for mail. These are a must for organizing mail when you don’t want papers piling up on your kitchen counter or dining room table. Designate one wall pocket for magazines/catalogs, one for bills to pay, and the third one for all other types of mail. Be sure to label your wall pockets and go through them once a week to keep the papers from piling up. – reSPACEd, MaryJo Monroe

    15. Find storage solutions for “dead” space. These are places where furniture or full-size wall shelves won’t fit. Some examples of dead space are:

    • The wall underneath stairs  – Perfect for hooks to store coats, keys, hats & bags, a dry-erase board/bulletin board/family calendar, or wall pockets to store mail.
    • The inside of kitchen or bathroom cabinet doors – Ideal for 3M Command hooks or magnetic hooks or cups to store small items like pot-holders, dish towels, Tupperware lids, scissors, make-up, or toothbrushes. – Cluttershrink

    16. Be careful when using vacuum-sealed bags. Never use vacuum-sealed bags for delicate textiles like cotton, suede, silk, leather, etc. Only use them for durable fabrics such as denim or ski gear. Natural fabrics need to breathe or else the fabric will be irreversibly damaged. Don’t ruin your clothes in order to save space using a vacuum-sealed storage bag. – Garde Robe, Doug Greenberg

    17. Give your items a consistent home. If you notice piles of clutter, it is likely that you have never designated a particular spot for them. Every item needs one consistent home, so when you are done using it, you know where to put it and when you need it again, you know where to find it. – Cocozza Organizing + Design, Heather Cocozza

    18. Invest in storage containers like baskets and bins to organize valuable square footage. Whether it’s reorganizing your kitchen, decluttering a storage room or tackling overstuffed closets, implementing an organizational system is a vital storage hack for maximizing each area of your home. – DFW Packing Pros

    19. Install a custom space. Built-ins tailored to your needs can utilize every available sliver of space. When they’re part of the walls, you don’t lose as much valuable square footage. For example, turn a wall into an office or craft space. – SolutionsForYou, Anne Blumer

    20. Double-duty furniture. This allows you to not only maximize your physical space but also the functionality of a space. 

    • For example, my ottoman holds a dozen shoes, my mirror is hiding all of my jewelry, and my nightstand doubles as an underwear drawer. It’s all about getting creative while finding homes to store your things and the possibilities for multi-purpose furniture pieces are endless! – Sort & Sweet
    • In your living room, choose a coffee table or end table that provides storage below for books, blankets, etc. either by neatly placing the items or by utilizing baskets to conceal the items in the space.”  – Orderly by Danica, Danica Finocchario-Smith

    Emily Huddleston

    Emily is part of the Redfin content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate trends and home improvement. Her dream home would be a charming Tudor-style house with large windows to let in lots of natural light.

    Originally posted on Redfin

  • February 20, 2020 1:51 PM | Diane Greenhalgh (Administrator)

    A number of chapter members' tips appeared in this Redfin article. Check it out.

    February 20, 2020

    Whether you’re used to living in a small space somewhere like New York, or you just recently downsized, you’ve probably quickly learned how crammed it can feel if you aren’t carefully utilizing every inch of space. But with a little purging and reorganizing, it’s easy to make your home look and feel more spacious. To help, we talked with organizing professionals to find out their best space-saving solutions. 


    1. Empty out everything first. It’s tempting to start organizing with everything still in its place, but there are always advantages to organizing by clearing the space first. You will find some things that were hidden and will be able to make better decisions about what to keep or donate. Plus, while everything’s out, it’s a great time to dust off shelves or vacuum out the closet. – Bring Peace Home, Stefanie Wyres

    2. Less is so much more, especially when it comes to the clothing inside your closet. For my Denver clients who live in smaller homes with smaller closets, a closet edit is the very first step we take! Chances are, you only like and wear about 20% of your wardrobe. After that, I highly recommend thin velvet hangers to save space inside your closet. – The Style Shop, Sandi Mele

    3. Create zones in a larger space, like a studio apartment, so it feels like each area has its own function.  Zones can be separated by a screen or curtain or by arranging furniture in groupings that section of the space.  Free-standing room screens start at about $40; a curtain, rod, and hooks can start at about $50. – Let’s Get Organized, Gayle M. Gruenberg

    4. Store your placemats and clean napkins UNDER your sofa cushions. It keeps them nice and flat and is perfect for meals on your coffee table as well. – Simplify You, C.Lee Cawley

    5. Use dual-purpose furniture. Multipurpose is the name of the game for tiny living, including furniture. Avoid large, bulky items, and instead aim for flexible, movable options, such as ottomans with storage that can be used for seating, a coffee table, or footrest. Or a folding table with wheels that can serve as a desk, dining table, or craft area. Do a search on Amazon for “folding table with wheels,” and you can see all the fun possibilities! – Priority Focused Organizing, Diane Greenhalgh

    6. Store off-season clothing in a clear container at the top of your closet or use a flat container on wheels that will fit under a bed. – Simple Solution Organizing, Adele Tusson-Gross

    7. Organize your things in a way that supports your habits. Know your routines and how you function then use that knowledge to decide which very specific things you need and where those things will live. To maximize efficiency in a tiny space, only keep exactly the things that you use in your daily life and always keep those things in the space where you use them. – Create Infinite Space, Jessica Borelli

    8. Think vertical. Go to the ceiling with storage and function. Add a wall-mounted desk with mounted shelving above. Maximize the vertical space with four or five narrow bookcases that hold labeled bins and baskets, books and notebooks, and framed photos and keepsakes at the top. – Professional-Organizer.com, Ellen Delap


    9. If you have a small kitchen, buy multi-purpose appliances. Get a blender that can also work as a food processor. If you have a steamer that you can cook rice in, there is no need to have a rice cooker as well. This way you cut down on your inventory and double your space. – Mission 2 Organize

    10. Think outside the box. When it comes to small kitchens, think “outside the box” (or kitchen). Store less-used items in a basement, garage, or even a guest broom closet. – Call 2 Sisters

    11. Invest in a good looking step ladder. This way you can make the most of all your vertical space and access it easily. Most step ladders are a bit utilitarian looking so take the time and find one that fits with your design vibe. – Merchandised Maison, Shelley Malik

    12. Organize hallway closets. Hallways are the first place in people’s homes to make an impact so this is one area that you need to maximize the usage of available space by ensuring you only keep what’s needed there. As a KonMari Consultant, I like to organize by category – if you look at what’s in your hall it’s mainly coats, shoes, and bags. However, if you just tidy the items in the hall you’ll find that similar items from around the rest of your home migrate back within a couple of days. To prevent this you need to store just the items that are used every day in the hall and find a home for the remaining items elsewhere in the house. – A Life More Organised, Sue Spencer

    13. Don’t let your interests turn into your clutter.  Like to read? Keep only the current book on your nightstand and invest in a small bookcase for the collection.  For hobbies that have parts (think quilting, LEGOs or photos) purchase multiple-use containers. They will serve you in many ways when you interested in the current project wanes. – The Zen Organizer, Regina Leeds

    14. Maximize space in a closet, cabinet, or drawer. This can have a major impact in a small house. By getting rid of stashed-away items you no longer need or want, you create space and a potential new “home” for things you treasure. – Light House Organizer, Suzanne Lindsey

    15. Reduce Paper Clutter. Think twice before printing information from the internet or from your computer. Develop effective systems for filing on the computer and have backup systems to ensure that your files are safe. – Amazing Spaces, Renée Ory

    16. Remove packaging from pantry items. Living in a small home means creating meals in a small kitchen, often with little pantry storage. To maximize space, remove as much packaging as possible from pantry items, like snacks and bars, and put them into a simple basket or container. This low-cost tip alleviates the potential for partially empty boxes taking up valuable space as food items are used up, makes it easy to see what you have on hand and not buy duplicates, and maximizes available space. – Simplify Studio, Lisa Smith


    17. Purge clothing from your closets. Every time you wear something, turn the hanger around. If by the end of the season there are hangers left without having been turned, you’ll know you haven’t worn that piece the whole season. It’ll help you weed out clothes you may not even realize you haven’t worn! – Sage Organization & Design, Jolin Polasek

    18. Use benches rather than chairs in your kitchen area. This can save a lot of space and the dining table can be used as an additional kitchen counter space. – Find Serenity Space, Jane Rice

    19. Understand our personal approach to clutter. When decluttering a small space it’s important we look at the practical aspects of the process. However, we first need to take the time to understand and overcome the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that are behind our gathering of clutter and our inability to declutter. True freedom and peace of mind come from learning to let go of what’s weighing us down on all levels. This inevitably brings unexpected, exciting transformation to all areas of our lives as well as our wardrobes, homes, and workspaces. – Declutter Therapy, Breda Stack, Declutter Therapy Programmes and Professional Certifications

    20. Follow the 3P’s. When organizing anything, use the 3P’s of organizing: Pair like items together; Purge what you no longer love or use and Place the items in the best storage based on the frequency of use. – Enuff With The Stuff, Maria White

    21. Over-the-door storage. My favorite tip is using a Container Store Elfa door rack on the inside of closet doors. They work great inside a linen closet door and are the perfect place for a hairdryer and all sorts of toiletries. Plus, it’s not permanently attached to the door so you can take it with you when you move. – Balanced Spaces, Susan Kousek

    Over-the-door storage can also hold purses, shoes, socks, or even a hamper. Here are some products that I have strategized for various clients:

    Originally published by Redfin

  • February 14, 2020 4:49 PM | Carolyn Thompson (Administrator)

    Carolyn Thompson, Real Estate Search and Sale, LLC

    February 14, 2020


    Many people enjoy the convenience of shopping online.  To help your clients make room for their new purchases, and to deal with empty shipping boxes, inform them of a free and easy way to donate household items and clothing using Give Back Box®. The donations will make a difference in their community and recycling the shipping boxes, or any other cardboard box, helps the environment too.   

    It’s as simple as printing a free shipping label and dropping the box off at UPS, FedEx or USPS, or request a pick up.

    More information is available at this link:  https://givebackbox.com/works

  • January 13, 2020 3:40 PM | Carolyn Thompson (Administrator)

    Tasha Valentine,  The Tidy Type, LLC

    January 13, 2020


    A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a new client who was at her wits end with the clutter in her home. After a brief introduction, I asked what led her to call and listened intently as she told me her story. Nothing that she said was out of the ordinary, so I continued to go through my script and we scheduled a date for an organizing session. She asked if we could make it a few weeks out and I didn’t have an issue with it, but given her enthusiasm during our call, I was curious to know why. I asked and she said “I need to tidy up before you get here because I don’t want you to see my house like this.”

    Feelings of shock and confusion entered my head and I was speechless. All that I could think at the moment was “why would anyone want to organize before the organizer comes over?” After a few seconds of silence, I let her know that organizing before I came would not allow me to effectively help her. She didn’t seem to understand why, so I provided her with a few examples:

    ·        When you hire someone to paint a room, do you paint before they come?

    ·        When you hire someone to prepare your taxes, do you prepare them before they come?

    ·        When you hire someone to clean your house, do you clean before they come?

    If she tried to organize before I arrived, I wouldn’t be able to assess the real situation and help her truly solve any organizational challenges she was facing and it would be counterproductive to the process. I went on to let her know that my goal was to help her become (and stay) organized. Once she understood where I was coming from, she asked “well then what should I do until you get here?” I let her know that the best way to prepare would be to think through her daily routine and note all of the areas that could be improved if they were organized and be ready to share that with me when I arrived. Other than that, all she needed to do was sit back, relax, and envision what her new life would feel like in an organized home.

    The Tidy Type LLC is a whole home organization company who believes that everyone thrives when they are organized! Proudly serving Southern Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia.



  • December 26, 2019 5:23 PM | Diane Greenhalgh (Administrator)

    NAPO conference recordings are free for our chapter members.

    Title: Show Me the Money! Money Mindset & Pricing Strategies
    Number: CR 2-217
    Presenter: Lisa Montanaro
    Review by: Diane Greenhalgh, Priority Focused Organizing

    There are so many ways to create a pricing structure and Lisa outlines the pros and cons of the various pricing models. She also discusses policies to establish and how to overcome price objections from clients.

    I particularly liked:

    • Creating a pricing pyramid of different products to allow clients to come in at the level they can afford and bringing them up the pyramid.
    • Establishing a money mindset and how to go about a pricing increase.
    • The different pieces of creating packages.

    Submit your review of a conference recording to membership@dcorganizers.org.


  • December 16, 2019 9:34 PM | Carolyn Thompson (Administrator)

    Carolyn Thompson, Real Estate Search and Sale

    December 16, 2019

    Recently I met with a client to sell her home.

    My client said she’d like to sell in about a year. She said that she wants time to get her house ready and prepare her kids emotionally for the move. Currently, the house is a great fit for her family and in a convenient location. Her sons enjoy where they live. It helps them stay grounded and moving would be a difficult transition.

    It’s essential to understand why someone is considering buying or selling a home so I may provide prudent guidance.

    In this scenario, my potential seller said that her home was too much to manage. She was overwhelmed with yard maintenance, home repairs, and lack of organization.  I lined someone up to manage her landscaping. My real estate company, Real Estate Search and Sale, provides an extensive plan for property repairs and maintenance. Now thanks to Silvia Baleras, Your Life Simplified, LLC for introducing me to NAPO I now have a plethora of specialists available to, manage, organize, stage and perform dozens of additional services to help my clients. This is beneficial to my clients whether they elect to stay in their current home or transition to a new home.

    My company, Real Estate Search and Sale does not charge to create plans for maintenance, repairs, cleaning, and staging.  It is our goal to help people be as happy as possible in the space they already have, and only move when necessary.


  • November 27, 2019 9:08 AM | Carolyn Thompson (Administrator)

    Mari Millard, Two Maids & A Mop

    November 27, 2019


    When the vacation is really over

    Recently, my spouse and I enjoyed a couple of weeks in Europe enjoying great food and a break from a busy life.  While our eight-year-old twins and two doodles were excited for our return, our home looked like a frat house.  Even though Grandma was home with the children and animals, basic cleaning seemed to be an afterthought.  There was dirt and dust in places that I’ve never seen before.  The baseboards and corners of the floors had accumulated a variety of foreign objects.  The appliances were covered with food smudges and fingerprints.  As the owner of a residential cleaning company called Two Maids & A Mop, I’m used to seeing homes in all types of conditions.  However, it’s usually not my own in such a sad state. Typically, we have teams clean on a regular basis which helps keep up with the wild inhabitants but we didn’t while we were gone-big mistake.

    I’ve learned something very important regarding travel.  From now on, I’m going to schedule a cleaning to coincide with my return.  I want to walk into a freshly clean home. I want to see the beautiful vacuum tracks on the carpet and mirrors free of toothpaste spray.  I want to have fresh sheets on the bed ready for a deep restful sleep.  Also, there are occasions when I have a pet sitter stay at the house while we’re away.  I’m going to start the same practice of a pre-return clean for those circumstances as well.  For most of us, the vacation has to eventually end but you don’t need to return to a complete disaster. 

    Two Maids & A Mop is a women-owned residential cleaning business servicing Montgomery County, DC and NoVA and we are unique in that we utilize a Pay for Performance Plan wherein our maids are compensated based upon your rating each and every time that we clean your home.  We also believe in giving back to our community and we proudly partner with Cleaning For A Reason to provide free cleaning to women battling cancer.  Call or email to get a free estimate. 703 214-2424 or alexandria@ineedamaid.com


  • November 18, 2019 6:38 PM | Diane Greenhalgh (Administrator)

    NAPO conference recordings are free for our chapter members.

    Title: The Operations Manual - Run Your Business Like A Badass
    Number: CR4-704
    Presenter: Alexis Boccanfuso of Clutterphobe
    Review by: Jill Katz, One to Zen Organizing

    As we know, having an organizing business means that we both organize for clients and run a business. We need to do both to be successful. Some call it working “in” your business vs. working “on” your business.

    This conference presentation focuses on being a business owner. Here are 3 nuggets I learned from the presentation:

    • If you are running your own business, an important component of success is having an operations manual with SOP’s or Standard Operating Procedures.
    • SOP’s have 3 main components: Function such as payroll, marketing, client intake; Tasks within that function such as “How I get paid” or “How do I follow up with leads”; & Step-by-Step procedures of how that task gets done.
    • These SOP’s are important in creating consistency with each function and task. It also ensures that anyone can look at it (ex. If you are on vacation, hire employees) and maintain it to your standard.

    Submit your review of a conference recording to membership@dcorganizers.org.

  • November 14, 2019 10:03 PM | Carolyn Thompson (Administrator)

    November 15, 2019


    Diane Greenhalgh, Priority Focused Organizing

    November 15, 2019

    • Check out https://www.ready.gov/kit for a list of emergency supplies to pack.
    • Include a flashlight in bedrooms and other areas so you and your family can find your way around if the power goes out. Some flashlights you can plug into the power outlet to keep them charged and they will light up when the power goes out so you can find them.
    • Put emergency cash in a secure but easily accessible spot that you can access even in the dark. If power and/or the Internet are down you won’t be able to use your credit cards. Include enough for your family for lodging, food, gas and other supplies for at least a few days.
    • Create an emergency folder that includes copies of your license, passport, account information, medications list (including doses and doctor who prescribed them) and other important documents and information.
    • Charge your phone and other electronics regularly, especially overnight. Some people charge their phone when they are getting ready in the morning or when they get to work. If an emergency happens in the middle of the night you won’t have the ability to use your phone for very long. You want to have as much battery life available as possible. Also, charge it in the same spot every night so you don’t have to go searching for it.
    • Create one person as your point of contact for friends and family to get updates from. You will have other things on your mind and won’t have the time or phone charge to update everyone. Let the contact know where on social media you will post updates for everyone when you can.
    • Store memorabilia in waterproof totes where they are easily accessible so you can grab and go. For electronic information, it is a good idea to have one of your backups on the cloud just in case something happens to your home.
    • Keep travel supplies stocked and ready to go, including a power strip with USB inputs. What you would use for a trip you will also need if you are forced to evacuate.
    • Don’t forget supplies for the fur babies. Don’t just include food and medication. Be sure to include a leash, bowls, and other items. Include a list of hotel chains that allow pets.


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