NAPO-WDC Demonstrated How Much You Can Learn in One Day

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Deb Lee & Liz Jenkins

Through our wonderful guest bloggers, we’ve had the pleasure of vicariously attending several major professional organizer conferences this year. We don’t hear quite so much about the smaller events, so I was quite pleased when Liz Jenkins of a fresh space agreed to tell us about the 11th Annual NAPO-WDC Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for Professional Organizers held recently.


I love the NAPO National Conference.  The multiple days of speakers and events, seeing everyone you only know from their web pages or books, the wealth of knowledge.  But it can get overwhelming and by the end, exhausting.  That’s why regional conferences can be so much fun!  You’re in, you’re out, and you’ve got lots of takeaways. Recently, the NAPO DC Chapter hosted a one day conference and I was lucky enough to be able to attend.  Worked out well for me since I have family in the area so, in true organizer fashion, I multi-tasked by visiting family AND attended the conference.

The conference hosts, the DC Chapter, did a terrific job.  Great speakers, very well run, and a lovely location.  Even a “tweet up” at lunch where I hung out with @candita, @dallisonlee, @thescramble and more (I’m @afreshspace if you want to track me down on twitter!).  Kudos to Deb Lee for really using social media to promote the event, and making everyone feel welcome.

Here’s some of the highlights:

Krista Green was terrific as the opening speaker.  It was what I needed to hear at the time, and she gave me some great information that jump started my business all over again.  She talked about methodology and analyzing what we do as organizers – clarifying those systems we use that show a level of mastery we need in our profession.  My favorite quote was, “When you are that good at what you do, you will not have to sell yourself.”   She also helped me solidify my thoughts on finding clients.  The more I organize, the more I find that there are particular clients I work with better than others.  Krista recommends narrowing your field with a set of criteria to find the right clients for you.  Many scary thoughts but right on target.

Julie Hall, of The Boomer Burden, spoke about dealing with estates.  I have a lot of clients that inherit a lot of, well, stuff, that they don’t know what to do with.  This is a hugely growing market, and I’m seeing it a lot in my neck of the woods.  When I think about niche marketing and ways to grow my business, this is an area I am focusing on.  Her book, The Boomer Burden, outlines the plan of attack for these clients and I’m currently incorporating this into my organizing repertoire.

Delightful Candita Clayton focused on her niche market of Green Organizing.  Her focus is helping clients make healthier and more sustainable choices for themselves, their families, the businesses and the planet.  I’m still working on how to incorporate this more fully but she gave a ton of great resources for the audience such as  Especially interesting was and the Household Products Database – who knew what was in things we use daily?  She also encouraged organizers to partner with green businesses in their areas – hadn’t thought about doing this but “green” is the color to be these days.

My favorite of the day was Lauren Halagarda, of The Organization Connection.  Her presentation was about using Outlook.  Now, I use Outlook and thought I had it under control pretty well so I didn’t go into it with a lot of expectations.  Lauren showed me things that I had no idea about – and probably shaved 30 minutes off each of my work days with her tips.  She redefined the inbox as “a temporary location for storing incoming mail.”  Then everything has a category to which it goes (task, calendar, etc.).  One pointer that was a “duh” moment for me was unsubscribing to e-newsletters and e-flyers that you no longer read or want.  Hello!  I did about 10 of them that night and don’t miss a one.  Highly recommend her – she really knows her stuff.

And then there was Julie Morgenstern.  The woman whose book, Organizing From The Inside Out, is the reason I am a professional organizer.  I loved hearing her talk.  It was mostly a ramble through time about her life and how she got where she was.  Loved it.

The best part about this conference is that not only did I feel welcomed and part of the group, I came away with way more information that I can use in my daily business than I thought I would.  Don’t you love it when your expectations are surpassed?  That’s what I try to do with each and every client, as we all should.

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Liz Jenkins is a Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of a fresh space.

Her background includes teaching Special Education, owning an art gallery, national-level committee work and speaking engagements in the organizing industry plus volunteer work with animal rescue. She’s a mom, wife, cancer survivor, avid reader, gatherer of random (and useful) facts, and keeper of many pets including an ancient beloved chocolate lab, four rescue cats and a flock of chickens.

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  1. Deb Lee Deb Lee on December 4, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Thanks for mentioning our conference! It was so great to meet pro organizers from across the country, and it’s nice to know that they had a great time and found it worthwhile.

    Hope to see you at MARCPO 2010, Janet. =)

  2. Avatar Janet Barclay on December 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Interesting idea – I’ll be sure to watch your tweets for updates!

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