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#065: Easy Home Organizational Habits with Jessica Litman

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I am super excited about today’s episode and you should be too especially if you hear the word organization and you cringe. Getting organized can be super challenging and super intimidating but it doesn’t have to be hard. I am sitting down today with Jessica Litman who is known as the Organized Mama and she is recognized by People.com as an organizing and DIY expert. 


Jessica has been encouraging families not only to embrace their homes but also teaches them how to incorporate fun and easy home organizational habits that every family member can do. Her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Parent’s Magazine, and the Boston Globe. She has an amazing book called Home Sweet Organized Home that is out on bookshelves and filled with some amazing tips and tricks.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify – or listen to it below!

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in this episode:

[02:26] Jessica’s story and how an organization became her passion

[05:07] Everyone has organizing ability in them

[07:18] Jessica’s approach to organization

[08:48] Organization doesn’t have to be complicated

[11:54] First step to organizing and next steps

[14:57] Pretty is the end goal

[16:41] Organization maintenance 

[19:19] Toy storage

[24:58] It starts with YOU and your goal

[27:03] Jessica’s Book Home Sweet Organized Home

[31:25] Sentimental items

[35:01] Digital scrapbooking to reduce clutter

[38:48] Teaching kids organizational skills

[02:26] Jessica’s story and how an organization became her passion

So I’ve just always been an organized person by nature. When I was in college, I actually looked up the National Association of Professional Organizers and thought this would be my dream job. But my parents were like, that’s not really like a thing because at the time, it really wasn’t. So then I went to college for education and I started teaching elementary school kiddos. At the same time I was getting my master’s in special education and we were going into people’s houses for home visits for some of our younger kiddos. The parents just needed some organizational tips. So I was helping them organize all the paperwork that comes with special education and which just kind of led to when I became a stay-at-home mom. We moved from a one-bedroom condo in the city of Chicago to a house in the suburbs. There was a lot of organization that needed to take place. So then that started the blog, which then started kind of everything that goes into the Organized Mama.

[05:07] Everyone has organizing ability in them

I totally believe every single person has organization in them. But I think the trend right now with organizing is that it’s a trend. We picture clear bands, rainbow color coded, and everything in perfectly straight lines. If you actually look truly at what organizing is, especially for people whose brains might be a little more creative, you still have that organizing ability in you. It’s just not going to look like what you see on Pinterest.

[07:18] Jessica’s approach to organization

I honestly think it’s just all on how you use your space and how you really like to set up things in your house. So for you no matter where you are, look at everything that you have in your house, and how you go about your day. Then put things in place. Maybe you need a bin, a tray, or a hook in order to keep the things that belong in that space there.

[08:48] Organization doesn’t have to be complicated

We don’t need to make it so complicated because it’s just organizing. lt’s not this over-complicated thing that I think we see. It’s just making your life easier and putting things in place to help you find exactly what you need when you need it.

[11:54] First step to organizing and next steps

The first step is to declutter. Just remove the things that aren’t supposed to be in there, which are easy things to see.

[14:57] Pretty is the end goal

Pretty actually can assist the organizing, because you aren’t going to want to change that up much. You’re going to try and keep up with it because it looks pretty. But pretty is the end goal. It’s not the process, it’s how I’m going to maintain it. So once you’ve grouped things together, you’ve made sure that you know how everything flows and all of that. Then you can look at either the stuff you have in your house right now, because odds are you have things that can work or you now have a better idea of the size of things. 

[16:41] Organization maintenance 

I think a lot of people feel like the idea of organizing is an end goal, but actually it’s a process. It is something you have to maintain. So, for me anything in the kitchen, especially refrigerator or pantry items, you can maintain that every week, because you’re going to go grocery shopping.  So every week, you can easily tweak the things in there as you put things away. Things in your closet, you can do daily.  So you have a bag or a bin or something in your closet and then if you pull something out and you decide you don’t like it then you have a spot in your closet just to toss it. You don’t have to worry about doing like a giant closet declutter. You’re doing it every day when you’re trying on clothes to get ready for the day.

[19:19] Toy storage

The first thing is that we are the ones buying the toys. So we need to look at our reasons why we’re buying all of the toys. There’s a lot of you know, research out there that just says kids don’t need all the toys they actually are far more creative with less. You don’t need all of the toys. Fewer can lead to far more creativity and we need to inspire kids to do that.

[24:58] It starts with YOU and your goal

It starts with you and you getting clear on your goal of being organized.  And then just start there. Once you have an end goal then you will then know which path to follow.

[27:03] Jessica’s Book Home Sweet Organized Home

In the first few chapters, I dig really deep into defining what organizing means to you. I also talk about clearing mental clutter, because that is another thing that totally stops us from physically organizing our house. When our brain has so much going on, we aren’t able to truly process the physical items, because our brain is just at capacity. I share some of my favorite tips for clearing that mental clutter so that you actually can organize your physical space. Then we go into like all of the things with decluttering and organizing every area of your house with so many checklists because I love checklists. The book is coming out sometime in April. 

[31:25] Sentimental items

This is something that is so difficult. A lot of times the sentimental items could be attached to a physical item from somebody else and so we feel guilty about holding on to that particular item. So if that’s the case, that’s when you kind of have to separate the tangible item from the guilt or the emotion placed on it by somebody else. Often if we can’t keep it, donating to a true organization that can really benefit really helps the process.

[35:01] Digital scrapbooking to reduce clutter

A few years ago is when I first discovered this digital scrapbooking. I had a client that had a bunch of her really old Christmas ornaments that were starting to fall apart losing their picture. So she hired a professional photographer to take pictures of all of these ornaments and turned them into this gorgeous coffee table book that she puts out every Christmas. She no longer has to hold on to the physical ornaments or worry about them getting damaged or broken or breaking other things. She has this beautiful book that she can look at. You could create beautiful scrapbooks of stories, pictures, and memories and you can cherish them in a way that everyone can enjoy versus taking them out.

[38:48] Teaching kids organizational skills

It starts with having them involved in the entire process. So I know a lot of people prefer to organize when their kids are at school. So if that’s the case, before they get home, you need to label everything. For kids like that could be picture labels, text labels, or a little of both. But when you have those labels, and then turn it into a game where you take some things out and see if they can find where the items go back. I’m a big fan of having the kids help.

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