There’s likely at least one pile, of something, sitting around your home.
Thinking of adding a piece of paper, or an item of clothing, or a dish, to it? Be careful.
That same sedentary pile may very well be standing—and wobbling—at this time tomorrow.
Who you gonna call? Jessica Litman, pile buster. Or, more formally, The Organized Mama, which is also the name of the media company she started in 2016. (Litman’s “The Organized Mama” blog, born in 2013, kickstarted the burgeoning venture).
The Glenview resident and mother of two (Eli, 9, and daughter Adleigh, 7, with husband Ben) has as an exemplary track record of helping folks whittle their in-house mountains down to molehills.
And, ideally, no hills.
“When you declutter a physical space, your mental space opens up as well,” Litman says. “Mental clutter and internal roadblocks can be thoughts or overstimulation from outside sources that keep you from thinking clearly or making decisions quickly.
“One of the most important things, for people who want less chaos in their life, is finding out what being organized means to them. They have to figure out what they want it to look like at home for them and their family.”
The Organized Mama’s mission is to teach families how to find the calm in their homes by removing clutter with easy tips, tricks, and tutorials everyone can do.
Among Litman’s 100-plus blog entries: “15 Ways to Store Decorations”; “20 Ways of Organizing Clothing in Closets”; and “5 Tips for Clearing Mental Clutter.”
One of her tips for tackling, or at least denting, a pesky pile is to do so with the help of a checklist and a timer. Set the timer to buzz at 15 minutes, Litman suggests. Then focus solely on dividing the mass into this-must-stick-around stuff and this-must-go stuff until the timer blares time’s up.
Check off the task on your list.
Feel weight melt off your shoulders.
Move on to the next task.
“Maintaining order and living as clutter free as possible can be a sanity-saver when things get chaotic,” Litman claims on her website (theorganizedmama.com). “I found solace in organizing at a young age, because I experienced a lot of loss at a young age.
“When things get out of control, I know I can create order for myself.”
Litman grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, and performed for the tennis and dance teams at Armstrong High School. Her most devastating loss occurred in middle school, a setback that had nothing to do with a competition. Jessica’s good friend and neighbor, Brian, who made her laugh often, died at age 13.
“After he passed away I felt like I was falling apart,” Litman recalls. “I focused more on my space in my bedroom, constantly making sure everything was straightened up; doing so helped me reset, mentally, and it put me in a better place. I’d always made my bed and lined up my stuffed animals every morning, but those actions, more than ever, helped me get through a difficult time.”
The daughter of Jim and Debbie (a former special education teacher), Litman didn’t even know what a household chore was when she was a student in middle school. She couldn’t believe it when she discovered her classmates labeled tidying up their rooms a “chore.”
Born to get things done at home—without being asked.
That was young Jessica.
Litman received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Indiana University and her master’s degree in Special Education at DePaul University. She taught second-graders in Schiller Park for two years before serving a stint as a third-grade teacher in Arlington Heights.
After earning her master’s degree, Litman returned to Schiller Park as a special education teacher and later became director of special education for the Schiller Park School District. Her visits to the homes of special education students fueled the creation of “The Organized Mama” blog.
“Parents of special education students have a lot of paperwork,” Litman says. “I helped them with it, right there at their homes. That led to discussions about strategies to organize a student’s room—with one being, take all of the toys out of the room, because that’s a place to sleep, not play. How best to make sure the child was ready to leave the house on schooldays was another strategy I shared with parents.”
Litman formed The Organized Business in 2020, a business consultancy to help organizing experts expand their reach and impact. The Organized Business services consist of social media outreach strategies, creating and writing a successful blog from scratch, emphasizing the importance of multimedia content, course creation, and more.
The Organized Mama is also The Coach of the Organizing Experts.
Litman’s first book, Home Sweet Organized Home, will be released next spring. It took her only a month and a half to write the book’s 19 chapters. That’s akin to a spacecraft needing only three minutes to reach the moon.
“I had my outline, and as I wrote, everything flowed,” she says. “I couldn’t type fast enough.”
The mama, wife, The Organized Mama CEO, teacher-for-life, blogger, coach, and author was named People.com’s Organizing and DIY Expert as part of its Parent Expert Squad in 2018, and earned “Stylemaker” status from Better Homes & Gardens in 2019. Add “Go-to Resource During a Pandemic” to Litman’s IMAX-screen-sized business card.
“People, now more than ever, want a home that feels comfortable, organized, and tidy,” Litman says. “They want to come home and feel calm and patient.
“You’d never feel anywhere near that,” she adds, “if you have to face piles and chaos as soon as you enter your house.”
Visit theorganizedmama.com for more information.