Lori Cela

Lori Cela CPO® is a Certified Professional Organizer and mother of 3 in Powell, Ohio. She loves to help others get organized and simplify their lives to make time for what really matters.


    The start of the New Year feels like turning a new blank page on your life story. This new beginning tricks us into thinking that we will finally get motivated to do all the things that we have been meaning to. It is supposed to inspire us to do better and achieve our dreams. So that’s what most people set out to do without a clear game plan and how to stick to it.


    Do you remember last year when you said, “this year I will get it together”? You were probably one of thousands of people who vowed they would finally get organized.

    It is too hard. There is too much stuff, not enough time. Don’t know where to start. This will never end. I would rather be doing something else. I can’t do this.


    January came and went. Some quit within the first few weeks. Then you gave up too. Perhaps you lasted more than others and got a few things done but it did not get anywhere close to making your New Year resolution a reality.

    According to statistics, about 80% of people will give up on their New Year resolutions by the second week of February.


    Personally, I don’t like resolutions. I do not see the point in deciding to do something in a grandiose fashion at the beginning of each year then running out of steam or energy just a few weeks later. What is always left is feeling like a fraud and a failure.


    Most resolutions do not work due to a number of reasons. They often are too generic, too broad. No specific steps or timeline is planned to help achieve it. And sometimes they are plain unreasonable ( Me? Workout every day? Maybe in 2019. I am too busy this year).


    So instead of feeling discouraged that the resolutions are once more failing you, follow another approach that is much more likely to produce results.


    Here are 8 steps to finally get organized in 2018:


    1. Get Inspired

    The very first thing to do is visualize what you want. Create a vision board if you like or refresh your Pinterest boards, start new ones with a clear purpose. Get together pictures, quotes and anything that motivates you to get organized. Read up on blogs or get a new favorite book about organizing.


    1. Write it down

    Do a complete brain dump and write down every organizing project that you would like done in your house. Be as detailed as you possibly can. Take a notepad and pen and go from room to room. Jot down anything that needs organizing, from drawers to closets, pantries etc. Keep this list handy so you can refer to it often and check items off when completed.


    1. Tell someone

    Yes, seriously. Share your goals with a friend or a loved one. Vocalizing it will make it so much more real and perhaps they can even hold you accountable somehow (or even better join in with their OWN organizing quest).


    1. Pick your battles

    Prioritize and plan. Choose to invest your time first in the most used areas of the house. Do not go digging into attics and basements just yet. Start with your kitchens or closets. You have most likely suffered a setback because of this in the past. So unless you are obsessed with organizing like I am, and your idea of fun is rearranging your pantry for the millionth time, please be smart about how much time and energy you can realistically devote to organizing projects.


    1. Make appointments

    With yourself that is. Make an actual appointment and try your best to treat it like an important deadline versus a chore that can be put off. You would be serious about it if you called me to come over right? Make it a priority but also be realistic about how often you can carve out a slice of time to dedicate to this. For some once a week on a Saturday morning works. Others can only handle every other week. Pick something that works for you and your family.


    1. One bite at a time

    Break down larger projects into more manageable portions. That is how us Professional organizers make it happen. Most likely you cannot tackle the whole kitchen in one afternoon. Plan to work on those three upper cabinets the first time and do the lower cabinets the next session, then the spice cabinet, the pantry etc. Check things off your initial list as you go along.


    1. Stick with it

    Keep your “appointments” and continue chipping away at the clutter. If a 30-minute session at a time is all you can do then keep using it in the same room and finish one area before moving on to the next. It will only confuse and overwhelm you and make it more likely for you to quit if you keep jumping from space to space. I promise it does get better and dealing with it does become easier as you have less and less.


    1. Reward yourself

    As humans, we are wired to pursue pleasure. It truly is quite effective to tie some personal goals to a fun reward for yourself. Perhaps a dinner date, a new outfit, movie or girls night out? Anything that motivates you and reinforces that “feel good” reward at the end. Maybe every time you check off to do or a space from your organizing list you can “pay” yourself something. At the end you can buy that fancy purse you had been eyeing for quite some time. Or donate the money to a favorite charity and help the world be a better place. Win-win



    Tell me? How do you feel about New Year Resolutions? Do they work for you? I would love to know.


  • Why “good enough” is the new perfect.

    Standing at the bedroom door, I was trying to wrap up our last organizing session. Looking back at the room I could not help but feel somewhat of a disappointment with myself. So much more could be done with that space. Sigh…

    Even a professional organizer struggles with the lesson that sometimes “good enough” is enough.

    This happened to be one of those days for me.

    So there I was, surveying the result of 5 hours of decluttering and organizing. My young client had a hard time parting with her things, her treasures. We had already discussed that during our consultation.

    I glanced at the new piles in the hallway. Trash, donate, belong elsewhere. We discarded very little, in fact much less than we needed to. Most times she could not come up with a reason for keeping anything and what she wanted to do with it. Another sigh…

    Did I do what I needed to do?

    Was there enough motivation? Did my preaching match her listening?

    They say our brains can process about 35-50 thoughts per minute.

    My perfectionist brain really felt like it was on fire with a barrage of questions and attempted answers.

    If there is one thing I will never do is push. As a lifelong empath, I always absorb other people’s emotions and I worry about upsetting or creating discomfort. I tell clients I like to “stretch” their comfort zone instead.

    All this tsunami of self-reflection was stopped in its tracks when a long “WOW” came behind my shoulders.

    My young client came in, and blurted out in typical millennial style :

    “OMG my room looks so much better!”.

    “Really?” – I asked. “You mean that?”

    I was blatantly seeking validation to quell my doubts. What I had wanted to see was Pinterest. What she was seeing was a new lease on using her bedroom.

    I wanted the amazing before and after. She was appreciating the newly found floor space and the layout. She thanked me numerous times and gushed over how big and pretty her room seemed.

    “Well, – I told myself. She might not know any better”.

    It wasn’t until later that night, as I was reviewing the before and after pictures of our session that it hit me. She was right.


    My client had just given me a refresher course on the power of progress versus perfection.

    Good enough is the new perfect.

    The room was so much calmer than before. I had left her world a much better place. There really should be no room for disappointment. Side by side those before and after photos were not Pinterest worthy but it was real life for this young lady.

    When you find yourself  chasing perfection again here are 5 thoughts to help overcome it:

    “Meet yourself to where you are emotionally able to go”

    (not necessarily just where you are). Explore and stretch your comfort zone to new heights but never push beyond what you are able to enjoy.

     “Organization is in the eye of the beholder”

    There is no formula. You have nothing to prove to anyone. It only has to work for the person living in the space. Stop trying to match what you saw in that magazine or that beloved store display.

    “Victory begets victory”

    This never fails me. Once you get a taste of what you can do, you are much more motivated to keep going and pursue a better version of you or your house. Start small and savor your victory. Do not beat yourself up because you only were able to declutter two drawers in your kitchen versus the whole thing. Pat yourself in the back on this small victory and remember that good feeling for next time. You will score another victory that way.

    “Perfection is overrated”

    Chasing it is quite useless. It often stands in the way of you making a difference in your current situation. Good enough really is the new perfect. We must realize that unless we appreciate progress, we will likely NEVER get to perfect.

    “Before and afters really do help”

    I know you’re smiling. We are but flawed human beings, my friends. Even the organizers with their magical powers to transform spaces and lives. Inside all of us lives a little girl or boy who wants to yell “look ma, look what I did”. So go ahead and give yourself that satisfaction. No, do NOT call your ma each time you clean out under your sink. But it is ok to take those before and afters. Look at the difference and feel good about your achievement. It sure helps me every single time.


  • Organizing with Teens

    As a Professional Organizer sometimes I have the privilege to work one on one with my clients’ children. Sometimes even TEENAGERS !! I know what you might be thinking but I really love organizing teens and they are one of my favorite crowds.

    As I was organizing the bedroom with my client’s 14-year-old daughter a few weeks ago, about an hour into our session the mom came in to observe. Her arms crossed, body language expressing so much more than what she was saying, the conversation between mother and daughter took quite an interesting turn.

    The daughter and I had been working hard but had little to show for it. From my perspective, we were making quite a progress even though the donation bin barely had anything in it and the trash bag was not that much different. What the mom wanted to see however was a very different picture. After all the room still seemed covered in just useless items.


    So there came flying the usual “you must get rid of”, “you cannot keep” and “you have too much”. Followed by “why do you need that”, “you never play with those” or “you have to do better than this”. That was it. The typical eye roll followed and the daughter jokingly kicked mom out of the room so we could continue our work.

    It got me thinking then.

    What is different about a teenager that makes it so hard for some parents to help them get organized?

    Why would a 14 year old let me mess with her stuff but not trust her mom to do it?

    Well, you ARE a Professional Organizer you might say and the teen has already seen you do YOUR magic in the kitchen the previous session. Ha. Ok, fine I see your point. That might just have something to do with it. However I do have the feeling that the issue is not as simple as that.

    As humans we all have the basic yearning to be understood. We want to be accepted and appreciated.

    The ability to see things from the other person’s point of view opens up much needed channels of communication. Validating their challenges, not dismissing their everyday struggles with “when I was your age” type of lectures, really helps bridge the age and generation gap.


    Most teenagers’ complaint number one when it comes to their parents is that we don’t understand.

    “You just don’t get it”. How many times have you heard that?

    I have been at this mothering thing for almost 15 years now. I do not expect to have all the answers. Some days I really wish I did. Raising three completely different kids has taught me a thing or two along the way.

    From my humble observation and experience, there are a few key points to keep in mind when organizing teens.

    These might make your decluttering efforts a success rather than another shouting match.


    A teenager simply hates the fact that mom or dad still talk to him as if he or she were 5 sometimes.


    I always tell teenagers that their bedroom is their mini apartment. They should take care of it and treat it as such. It is a reflection of who they are and who they aspire to be.


    Yes, really. You think you know your preteen or teenager? Think again. Things change at lighting speed in the teen years. My now almost 13 year old used to be obsessed with Legos. He is all about fancy cars and movie making now.


    Ask questions to help them discover what they like about their room, how they use it and what they would like to see change. Be flexible and appreciate their uniqueness.


    No need to dive in headfirst into purging, especially if it has been a while since you did this together. No need to push or tell them what to do. Gain their trust that you are there to help make this room work for them.


    Yes it is only a bedroom but you can still make some sense out of it. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a child’s bedroom and found clothes in all corners and furniture pieces. Dedicate areas for sleep, homework, clothing, hobbies etc.



    Ask your teenager to pick out their 3 or 4 most favorite activities. Showcase those more. Think of storing the rest in the room or even better, elsewhere.


    They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. No need to be fake since teens can spot it a mile away but appreciate their efforts and celebrate small successes.


    Put their favorite music on and enjoy their company. The day when they move out forever and take all the stuff with them is not that far away.


    If there is one thing teens hate with passion is hypocrisy. A parent whose bedroom is in mayhem all the time cannot demand from their 15 year old to have hers Pinterest- worthy. So practice what you preach please. They will follow. I promise.



  • 10 Common Organizing Mistakes

    Tired of all the clutter in your home? Do you constantly feel like you are simply putting out fires instead of living and enjoying your family the way you want?

    Many people are very excited to get their homes in order but sometimes there are little things along the way that trip them up. Below are some of the most common organizing mistakes that people make that make it hard to get and stay organized.



    When your house is full of clutter it is quite normal to feel lost. In these cases, I always suggest starting with the space you spend THE MOST time in, say a kitchen or a living room. Many people head straight to organize that messy basement or attic instead. They think the decisions will come easier to them because they do have a lot more junk there. This is often a mistake unless that’s the only area that is disorganized. You must begin as close to your “Center” as possible so that the whole family can reap those benefits immediately. Otherwise you end up using a lot of your limited organizing energy and motivation in a room that won’t make much of a difference in your day-to-day life.


    You should start small if you have never been organized before. Pick a drawer or a closet and go from there. Or you could go for the kill if you have some organizing experience. Get to the bedroom perhaps because that is the first and last space that you see every day, or maybe tackle that garage so you can finally park your car inside. Feel good about your success and move on to the next planned space only AFTER you finish what you started.


    Organized kitchen - professional organizer
    Professional Organizer – Time 4 Organizing

    That’s all the clutter that usually lurks behind closed doors, cabinets, drawers, boxes etc. If that is the only kind of clutter you are dealing with in your space, great. Start there. However if your whole house needs attention, if there is visible clutter anywhere you must attack that first. Clear those counters, walkways, tables, beds etc. Get some visual success, savor your progress and then tackle the closed spaces one at a time.



    Doesn’t almost everyone do this? You might think that more bins equal more organization. That is not always the case. Almost all of my clients already have some organizing products. The real challenge is not getting the right products or setting up a system that works for them. Professional organizers always suggest de-cluttering first. Then we analyze what and why you are keeping, how will you use it and what makes sense to buy based on the way you function, not because it looks great on Pinterest or that display at the beloved container store.



    In the organizing world things don’t like to be by themselves. They want to be with their herd. So create categories and put like with like. Assign everything a home so that things do not wander around the house. Have a central incoming mail station for incoming paper for example. Group things in the kitchen based on their function, such as spices, baking etc. Have a logical place where to keep items based on how they’re used.



    kitchen pantry containers

    I believe one of the crucial steps in ensuring successful organizing is proper labeling. When you assign labels to your most used systems particularly kitchens, pantries, kids’ playrooms, clothes’ drawers, filing drawers etc, everyone is much more likely to keep using the system in the way it was intended. And no need to make it too specific! Keep the categories broad enough so they work for you for a long time.


    If this concept does not ring a bell right away I can assure you have done it at least once at some point. I know I have. Sometimes despite our best intentions when organizing we get interrupted and physically move ourselves into another room or area of the house. We find an object that belongs somewhere else and we decide to return it there, then something else takes us into another spot and so forth. We waste our time and energy by zigzagging through the whole house and get very little done. When I work with clients I suggest they put anything they find that does not belong in that room into a pile or basket to be returned at a later step. No more wandering off from the kitchen and finding yourself sorting your kids toys in the basement an hour later.



    Just like every other system, organizing needs constant attention and adjustments. Maintenance is the hardest part for people sometimes. Many assume that after the organizing work is done, they should not have to lift a finger anymore, right? That would be amazing!! And it would totally work if you just STOPPED LIVING in your house!! In reality you must pick up and return things back to their original place at a somewhat regular interval, whatever works for your and your family. Some moms do it in the evenings, some use the mornings after everyone goes to school. Some others can only do it once a week, say a Saturday, when everyone is involved and can pitch in.



    Need I say more? I get it. It is hard to let go. We all have those possible scenarios of “what if this happens”. What if I lose this baby weight and I can fit into those jeans again? Well, I am not saying you should disregard every “what if” but you can truly rationalize and put aside many of those.



    Finally it really does not matter how much you declutter and organize if you or your family constantly keep overwhelming your systems with more things. So have a filter for what you choose to bring. Each time we should really ask ourselves a few questions such as: Do I really need this? Do I love it? Where will I store it? Use some simple tools that I am sure you have heard before like the “One in One out” rule. If you must absolutely bring that new pair of red stilettos home then try to make room by letting go of an older pair. Strive to keep that newly found equilibrium.