Lori Reese, like most kids, had a messy room growing up.
But, unlike most kids, she also enjoyed cleaning up the mess.
“I loved organizing it and tidying up,” she said. “I was always getting rid of things, but, as a kid in a family of five, that just meant putting it in the basement.”
It’s often our most innate traits that form the breeding ground for our eventual passions. This was certainly true for Reese, who, in 2014, founded Consider It Done, a company that offers expert services in planning, organizing and managing life’s transitions—i.e., downsizing, de-cluttering, organizing, household management and personal assistant support.
Though Reese’s previous work ranged from an assistant for C-suite executives to a long chapter in human resources, the world of personal organizing was long on her radar.
She cited a favorite read, Julie Morgenstern’s “Organizing from the Inside Out,” and discovering the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals as game changers in her career evolution.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, there are people out there doing this!’” she said. “But, at the time, I was in a different life chapter. So, I tabled the idea, but it was always there.”
It was losing a close relative, several years back, that became catalyst for her to create a next chapter, centered around work she felt passionate about.
“Losing her helped me realize that life is too short,” Reese said. “You have to seize the moment. So then I really started to get serious.”
Does That Work?
At the beginning, Consider It Done took on a broad range of projects—even developing an extensive catalog for a client’s art collection.
Today, the business, which has grown to five people, has evolved to specialize in helping people manage life’s transitions, whether that’s an estate, paperwork, downsizing, paper management or a host of other such tasks.
Reese’s zest for shepherding clients through even the most onerous projects is evident, but, let’s face it, for many of us, getting organized and knowing what to keep and what to purge isn’t something that comes easily.
So, where can the rest of us start?
“Books are a great jumping off point for self-starters,” she said.
There are many to choose from, including Marie Kondo’s recent bestseller, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
“Using her approach is not a bad way to begin weeding out what you are ready to pare down,” Reese said. “But there’s more to being organized than just getting rid of things. It’s also about finding a system that’s right for you—one that builds off of what comes naturally to you, so you’ll be able to maintain things once you get organized.”
Reese cautioned against comparing your surroundings to what you see on TV or in magazines.
“I always say that ‘neat’ doesn’t have to mean ‘pretty,’” she said.
As an example, she mentioned a client who preferred organizing paperwork in shoeboxes.
“I asked them, ‘Does that work for you?’” she said. “And it did, and that’s what’s important.“
Reese understands that it can be hard at the beginning, especially for people tackling a project on their own.
“Try to be patient with yourself,” she said. “Don’t carve out an entire Saturday—budget small amounts of time to start—even just 15 minutes at a time. Try tackling one shelf or one little corner or maybe decorations from just one particular holiday.”
Inherently, it’s extremely personal work.
“Often times, I’m seeing the parts of people’s lives that they don’t want others to know are not so perfect,” she said.
So, trust is essential.
Reese understands that it isn’t always easy to let someone else see the less-than-HGTV-perfect parts of our lives and homes.
“It’s a big step to hire expert help, but it makes such a difference from the start,” she said. “I see the relief people start to feel as soon as they start to work through a project.”
But what’s it really like to let a personal organizer see behind the curtain, so to speak? To get a glimpse, I spoke with Vicki Holbrook, a client of Reese’s.
“I was struggling with carving out time to tackle some organizational projects,” she explained. “So, I figured scheduling someone to come in would force me to get started.”
Reese, said Holbrook, began by breaking down her large projects into manageable steps.
“I could tell right from the start that she wasn’t judgmental, nor did she make me feel like a lost cause organization-wise,” she said, laughing. “Plus, it’s just nice to work with someone by your side.”
Indeed, it’s always inspiring to meet people who love their work, and Reese, dating back to childhood, seems finally to have found her calling.
“Some of my greatest joys so far have been watching the transformations people experience as we work through things,” Reese said. “And they get organized.”
For more information on Consider It Done, call 717-991-9036 or visit www.consideritdonepa.com.