Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

NAPO-LA announces Organizing Awards finalists

by Margaret Lukens, New Leaf + Company LLC

The Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers has announced the finalists for the 2009 Los Angeles Organizing Awards. This program — which has been getting bigger and “glitterier” every year since it began in 2006 — now features celebrity hosts, red-carpet photo ops, and a whole weekend of events. The awards gala is set for Friday, January 30.

This year the finalists include several of my favorite organizers and products. For example:

Best Home Organizing Product: Vital Records PortaVault from Securita
Securita PortaVault2
Founder Sheri Dodsworth was inspired to create the PortaVault as she watched the plight of those who fled Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. People were left stranded without account numbers, identification, and the essential information needed to rebuild their financial lives. She designed a simple, lightweight water-resistant case to carry paper records and CDs (you could even carry complete copies of your digital photos), to help disaster victims recover from devastating loss. Being a little bit prepared is better than making no preparation at all. Everyone would benefit from a tool like the PortaVault, even if they don’t take the time to make use of all its many features.

Most Helpful Organizing Technology: Anywhere Vault

(Update: Anywhere Vault closed its business in 2009.)
There are many home inventory products on the market; this is my favorite. It offers the greatest security — you store your information on Anywhere Vault’s secure servers, so if you aren’t at home to grab your records in the event of a fire, tornado or other disaster, your records are still accessible to you or anyone to whom you’ve given the “keys” to your Anywhere Vault. You can add to your vault a little at a time. You can store as much or as little information as you wish. This product is also useful for businesses, which could save countless hours and many dollars by documenting their assets and storing the information offsite. Too busy to do your own document scanning of receipts and vital records? Anywhere Vault offers an affordable one-time service.

Best Organizing Book: Knack, Organizing Your Home, by Emily Wilska

Books about home organizing is a crowded field. Emily Wilska’s book, in the new Knack series, stands out as comprehensive, beautifully written, and entertaining. She offers tons of decluttering and storage solutions. I dare anyone to read this book and not find practical and elegant ideas in every chapter.

To get a sample of Emily’s organizing philosophy and writing style, visit her blog, The Organized Life.

Best Organizing Website or Blog: Jeri’s Organizing & Decluttering News

Jeri Dansky’s blog is a treasure trove of interesting concepts, useful information, and products to suit every taste and budget. Among Jeri’s outstanding skills is the ability to find anything on the web, if it is there to be found. I have hired her to do product searches for clients who have had very specific or unusual requirements — a corner desk in a certain style with a particular filing capacity, for example. She generously shares this skill for free in her daily blog posts. Dip in and enjoy!

My best wishes to all the finalists in this year’s Organizing Awards!

Are there any products and services that you depend on to keep you organized? What would get your award for organizing excellence? Leave a comment here.

(Photos on this post are copied from the respective links given in the award category description.)

Time management: a quote

A quote for the day:

Carl Sandburg birthplace, Galesburg, IL

Carl Sandburg birthplace, Galesburg, IL

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
— Carl Sandburg

The Only Thing to Fear

by Margaret Lukens, New Leaf + Company

My plans for 2009, and the nation’s plans for the inauguration of President-elect Obama, have sent me back to past inaugural themes. While the planners in Washington have chosen to sound the keynote from Lincoln’s inaugural address, “a new birth of freedom”, it is another one, Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address from  1933, that  has particular power to stir me to reach for my highest in difficult times. As we again welcome a new administration that inherits a sputtering economy, it seems especially timely .

FDR's first inaugual

FDR's first inaugual

You can hear President Roosevelt’s entire 1933 inaugural address at, a treasure trove of great recordings. Below is an excerpt which sounds themes that seem written for today:

“….This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; and the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone. More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

And yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered, because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply….

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.”

Your Inauguration Day

by Margaret Lukens, New Leaf + Company LLC

It has been many years since the United States has shown such excitement over the arrival of a new president. Like the inaugurals of 1961 and 1981, this inauguration is made more thrilling because it comes amid military, economic, and social challenges as well as historic opportunities.


We, like our new president, will thrive when we embrace the painful challenges for what they can show us about the way forward.

Celebrate your inauguration day. Ask how today’s problems can provide the path to future greatness.

  • What values do I want to express more clearly in the future?
  • Am I committed to excellence? Am I on the road to mastery in my field?
  • How can I spend my money better? Are there any purchases I make from habit, without considering their benefit? Am I investing enough in myself?
  • Are there products and services my clients want that I am not providing? What needs, currently unmet, can I fill?
  • What resources do I need to accomplish my goals? How can I find them or create them?
  • How can I strengthen alliances with  employees, clients, and business partners? What resources do I have that would help others reach their goals?

Now is the time to start something new — new initiatives, new directions, new paths.

Taking my cue from events in Washington, here’s my personal plan for Inauguration Day: I’m going to commit myself to positive change, rededicate myself to my core values, then I’m going dancing!

What are your inaugural plans? Leave a comment here.

Why “Get Clients NOW” might be perfect for you

If you want to attract more clients to your professional services business, this is a class for you.


Based on the book by master coach C.J. Hayden, Get Clients NOW! ™ will help you focus on marketing to fill your schedule, using proven strategies and high-quality tools customized to your business.

You will not only learn what you need, you’ll take action to make it happen. During this program you will

• Focus your marketing efforts.
• Diagnose what’s missing in your marketing.
• Choose from dozens of effective tactics to build your client base.
• Overcome the fear, procrastination and resistance that keep you stuck.
• Stay motivated, no matter what.
• Design a plan that suits YOU, one you can use again and again.

Allow me to offer you this fantastic opportunity.

Get Clients NOW ™ combines a seminar to teach the tools you’ll need and regular coaching to help you take effective action and build your client base.

New Leaf + Company is offering a convenient six-week group teleclass so you can participate from anywhere, beginning January 5. To register, phone 650.342.0580 today.

Make 2009 a spectacular, break-through year for you and your business. Call now!

Why do I offer this class?

My MBA taught me that when it comes to a small business, marketing is not brain surgery or rocket science. It consists of a few simple principles which, applied consistently, have a powerful impact. It really is an organizing problem — focusing your time, paper and projects to achieve your marketing and business-building goals.

My business experience allows me to help other solo entrepreneurs and small business owners to achieve their marketing goals. Get Clients NOW provides a simple, tried-and-true framework. I know it works because I’ve used it myself.

Call now. 650.342.0580. You won’t be sorry. Make 2009 the year your business really takes off.

What does it cost?

What is the cost for 3 hours of training plus 4 hours of group coaching? While other programs cost much more, Get Clients NOW is just $245 with New Leaf + Company this month.

Call 650.342.0580 to speak with Margaret Lukens in person about how Get Clients NOW can make a significant difference for you this year.

What is the value of just one client for you? Call Margaret Lukens at New Leaf + Company today! Begin 2009 with one of the best investments you’ve ever made. Clear your calendar; you won’t be sorry.

I look forward to speaking with you!

All the best, Margaret Lukens

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