blog » February 17, 2019 by Renee Herren

Get Organized & Tidy Up With Professional Organizer Jessica Litman! by Renee Herren

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Get Organized & Tidy Up With Professional Organizer Jessica Litman!

With spring just around the corner, there is no better time to declutter, organize and get tidy. The prospect of rifling through items, figuring out what to keep/discard/donate and trying to create storage for all of your stuff can be daunting, but don’t fear! Organizing guru Jessica Litman shared how to get organized and stay that way (including some tips from the popular KonMari Method)! Jessica is the founder, lead organizer and creative director of The Organized Mama, a blog and professional organizing firm based out of the North Shore of Chicago. The Organized Mama teaches families how to lead neater and calmer lives, one drawer at a time!

Q: I’ve tried that Kon Marie method but can’t keep my home organized because of my kids. What am I doing wrong?

Nothing! There is no right way to organize but there are some tricks! First trick is to organize for the least organized person in your home. That means set up a system they can keep up with.If they throw clothes on the floor, add a laundry basket where they drop all the clothes. If paper keeps piling up all over the counter, get a basket to hold until you can pay the bills. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be organized. If you have a place for everything, then you are already winning!

Still unsure? Contact a local professional organizer to help guide you through the process. Certified professional organizers have training to help you create organizational systems that last!

Q: How do you deal with all the artwork and paperwork kids bring home?

  • One easy way is to recycle the unwanted pictures and only keep their favorites. If all the pictures are their favorite, then create a collection area and go through them every couple of weeks.
  • Another way is to take pictures of each item and then recycle after. Create a book or collage to showcase the pictures. I love Chatbooks, Artkive and Minted.
  • Create a command center to hold paperwork. Only keep important documents. Request to receive documents via email and then create a file within your email to store them.
  • And, worst case, just recycle when the kids are sleeping! It’s not the best option but it will help you reduce clutter and create a more manageable home and less stress for you!

Q: What is the best way to organize kids toys?

My favorite way to organize toys is to group them by category. Then only keep about five to 10 categories out at a time. By limiting the number of categories, you are letting your child be more creative. There is research on  why less toys is better. I also created a checklist with six steps to decluttering kids toys.

Q: What do you do with all the LEGOs?

LEGO storage can go many ways. For my kids, I have shelving in their bedrooms that they can store their finished LEGO sets. I have clients who have shelving in their basement or playroom for finished LEGOs.The unfinished LEGOs can be stored in bags until the sets are complete. Loose LEGOs should be stored in  portfolio bins like these.  And I only recommend keeping the manuals for the sets the kids want to keep intact. The rest can be recycled.

Q: How much is too much when it comes to art supplies? And how do you store them?

  • I am a huge advocate for all the art supplies. My kids have a lot of supplies as well. But I don’t put them all out at once. Limit the amount of supplies out at one time. I love storing art supplies on an art cart. I have a whole tutorial here.
  • Extra art supplies I suggest storing in a closet or storage area. Take the extra art supplies out when you are running low or need a “rainy day” activity.
  • Store paper and coloring books in magazine holders so they stand up. This helps limit the unnecessary paper clutter that can happen when the paper is piled on top of each other.

Q: The sentimental attachment to toys, how do you handle that for both adults and kids?

Give yourself and your kids specific parameters. I typically use a giant bin with a lid. Each family member gets their own bin. Once that bin is full, they have to edit down their items so the lid will close. Go through the bin frequently if you have a sentimental kiddo. If you don’t, go through only when bin is full. If your kid is sentimental over toys, find a local donation location where your child can visually see where they are donating their toys to. Once they see that other kids are playing with their toys, it should make them feel good about letting go.

Q: What to do with the hand-me-down clothes you are saving for the next sibling or family?

I suggest being really thoughtful about what you save and what you get rid of. Make sure all items are completely clean before saving. If you notice yellowing around the neck, scrub with vinegar and baking soda to try to remove. If you are limited on storage space, wash all the clothes and store in a space bag. If you have more room, store in an attic or crawl space. Make sure you label each bin with the sizes of the clothes inside.

Q: How can people learn more about you and your services?

You can follow me on Twitter, on Instagram and, of course, you can follow me at! You can also find more info on my website,, and on my Facebook page.

Toni B
Awesome! This has been my goal this year. Looking forward to getting some tips.
Renee Herren
I am SO excited about this chat! Jessica Litman has great information to share and I desperately need to organize all the things! #motivation
Meredith Schneider
With this crazy house of 6 and 3 dogs and everyone running in a million directions, I’m always looking for organization tips!

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