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This episode will help:
👉 embrace your organizational style based on your personality
👉 organize your house even if you can’t afford 1,327 acrylic bins
👉 get your family on board when they don’t share your zeal for organization
In this episode:
4:15 Identify what organization means to you
10:18 Creating lasting organizational habits
14:22 Where should you start when organizing your house?
16:28 Let’s talk about containers
19:56 Getting our family on board with organization
24:57 Teaching our kids the skill of organizing
Organization is important, but why?
Before we even jump into the ins and outs of organizing, we should probably find out if it’s even important. And if it is, why? I asked this question to Jessica and I love her answer:
“Organizing matters because our brain tells stories, that’s how it connects everything that goes on during the day. So when we are organized, our brain is able to connect those stories because it’s able to process the environment around us.”
And wow, that is so true. Have you ever walked into a cluttered or really messy space and immediately your body tenses up and you sort of go into fight, flight or freeze mode? It’s because your brain isn’t able to truly process what’s going on around it. So when we can give ourselves organized spaces, we give our brain space to process and regulate and do it’s job well, instead of trying to make sense of and manage chaos.
Organizing literally can get our brains out of survival mode and back into calm, collected, and thriving.
What does organization mean to you?
Okay, so now that we have established that organization is important, what does organization actually look like? Is it the same for everyone, and should we all be following the exact prescribed formula for organizational success?!
Just like with most things in life, this is going to look unique to you, your family, and will probably ebb and flow with the different seasons of your life.
Usually what we do is head straight to Pinterest or Instagram and we see so many beautiful images of clear bins, white linen closets, and color coded kitchens, and while those images are beautiful, they don’t always translate seamlessly into our actual lives.
One thing Jessica suggests is to get into your real life. Find a place in your house that evokes a calm feeling in you, a place that feels organized and use that as your definition of organized and as a great jumping off point.
Where to start
This might surprise you, but Jessica says you should start your organizing journey in your bedroom. Not the kitchen, not the junk drawer, or the coat closet that busting at the seams. But in your bedroom. The one place in your house that probably no one is going to see so why in the world would we start there?!
Because it is just for you. Your room should be your space, your retreat, your place to go at the end of the day (or anytime in the day) to rest, reset, get a goodnights sleep, recharge and if it’s chaos in there, your brain is gonna have a heck of a time getting your back to a well rested state. Which you need to be in to tackle the rest of the house and to be able to truly organize, declutter, and really think through the entire process.
So start with your bedroom. Always. Even though I know you’re still thinking but like nobody sees my bedroom, you have to start with your bedroom.
Remove papers and work documents and all of that kind of stuff. Really keep it zen in there. You will see a huge difference as you start to go through more areas of your home when your bedroom is actually tidy and organize.
Let’s talk containers
So you’ve decided it’s time to organized. Let’s run to the store and pick up all the clear acrylic containers that we can get our hands on and bring them home to get started.
Mistake that we are all probably making (me included) is buying the bins or containers first. I can’t help it, I get really excited and I’m sure you can relate. But containers are just a tool. They aren’t the start, they aren’t even a necessity, and they might not even be a part of your version of organized.
Or maybe they are. If your version of organization is putting everything in clear containers, taking everything out, and you can maintain that, then do it.
If your version of organized does not involve any of that, I am here for it.
But Jessica says that you should never star organizing with a bin ever. Instead start by removing everything from the area you are working with. Get rid of anything that doesn’t need to go back into that space. Either throw it away or set it aside to deal with later.
And then you figure out where everything should go within the space. Then if any organizing tools could help you keep things that way, that’s when you should look for containers or bins.
” I’ve seen so many people have these beautiful pantries that they can’t keep organized. So they have these bins that they spent a lot of money on behind boxes from Costco because that’s what their kids just keep going through. Bins can become clutter too. So really focus on removing the stuff that does not need to stay in that area. Putting things away like where it makes sense, and then seeing if there’s any organizing tools that could help you keep it organized. So it’s like the third step in the whole process.”
Getting the fam on board
We need to be careful that in our zeal for a Pinterest-worthy, organized-looking room that what we really want is a space that feels calm, peaceful, and really good.
And if we’re having freakouts because people aren’t putting pillows correctly, we are kinda missing the point.
Just like we are going to have different versions of organized from our neighbors or friends, we are going to have different ideas of what organized looks like within our own homes! So it’s not necessarily getting them on board with getting organized, but figuring out how to morph all your different versions of organized together in order to live happily in the same home.
I love Jessica’s idea of a bare minimum that you can build off of. Her example was that at the end of the night, she doesn’t want any pillows or blankets or random stuff on the floor in the living room. So her kids are responsible for picking everything up. But then she can go back in and fluff the pillows and arrange them exactly how she wants. It’s a win for everyone because she’s helping them build good habits, but not holding them to her higher standards.
Teaching kids the life skill of organizing
Unpopular opinion coming in 3…2….1…..
Let them have and be responsible for their own space, like their bedroom. Let them discover how to organize and find out what level of mess they can handle. Obviously, as the parent, you can put in some stipulations like no food, or whatever you think is reasonable, but at a low, low bar.
Jessica shares about a client she had once:
Her daughter’s stuff was just coming out of the bedroom, and there was always so much pushback whenever the mom said to clean the room. So we came up with this idea that as long as the door could open and close without pushing, The room would be considered organized, clean, or whatever.
She came to that realization on her own after she wanted an outfit for school or something, and she couldn’t find it, she realized clothes on the floor don’t make the most sense. She ended up cleaning up her room all on her own accord because something happened to her that made her realize her living situation wasn’t working for her.
I love this example because if she didn’t have that wiggle room or flexibility, she would never realize why it’s important to do those things.
Sometimes as the mom, we want to swoop in and clean or fix, but that’s such a disservice to our kids and rob them of the opportunity to learn on their own.
So while we are on our own kick of organizing, remember to allow them the privilege of being able to learn this skill instead of us just doing it for them.
I could just talk with you about this forever. In fact, we did! This conversation went on some much longer, and we jumped into a whole other conversation around decluttering. But that is going to be a part 2 of this episode that airs next week.
Links You’ll Love:
I’d love to hear what you thought of this episode. Let me know by connecting on Instagram!
Get the book, Home Sweet Organized Home on Amazon
Connect with Jessica on Instagram: @organizedmamas and Facebook
Jessica’s Podcast: Organizing Tune-Ups
Other Episodes You’ll Love:
Keeping a Clean Home When You Don’t Have Time (Ep 22)
Helping Our Kids Balance The Busy (Ep 21)
[00:00:00] Jessica: organizing matters because our brain tells stories.
[00:00:03] That’s how it like connects everything that goes on during the day. So when we are organized, our brain is able to connect those stories because it’s able to process the environment around us.
[00:00:46] Leah: Welcome to this episode of The Balancing Busy Podcast. I am Leah Romale, and today we are talking all about organizing our homes.
[00:00:57] How do we organize different areas of our homes? What do we do when a family member in our home is not as organized as us and so much more? Today my guest is Jess Litman known as the Organized Mama, and recognized by people as an organizing and DIY expert. She has been encouraging families. To not only embrace their homes, but also how to incorporate fun and easy home organizational habits that every family member can do.
[00:01:29] Jessica has a podcast organizing tuneups, and she has a book which I purchased beforehand because I was realized, oh my gosh, she has a book. I should grab it. And if you are looking on YouTube, like there are all these tabs. If you’re not, trust me, there’s all these. I was so surprised how helpful I found this book.
[00:01:51] Home Suite, organized Home, she is amazing. You can purchase this book anywhere. Uh, books are sold. I grabbed mine on Amazon and I’ll have the links in the show notes, but here is the funniest thing that I am gonna share with you. I record these intros and these outros after we do our interviews, and I get on the interview and I’m like, hello.
[00:02:13] It’s so nice to meet you. And she’s like, we have actually met. And I’m like, whoops. Wait. We have So it turns out that she was an attendee. At Inspired retreat and I was a speaker there and so that was where we met years and years and years and years ago.
[00:02:33] And here’s the most amazing thing, we got reconnected because we are boast speaking at Mom 2.0 Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. Uh, actually both of us speaking on organization, which is so fun. So, That was so amazing to get reconnected and we just had a blast talking about organization.
[00:02:55] This is literally something I could talk about for hours and hours and hours. You know it. So without any more intro, let’s jump in and start getting right into it on how we can organize our homes with just, you know, a little bit more ease, a little bit, little bit simpler. So let’s jump.
[00:03:13] Jessica, I am so, so excited you’re here. So I just finished introducing everybody to you. I have your book.
[00:03:23] Jessica: I’m so, so
[00:03:24] Leah: excited to talk with you. I just can’t even believe that we met so long ago and I’m so glad you
[00:03:33] Jessica: like, reminded me and told me. Um,
[00:03:37] Leah: that’s so fun. And that we’re gonna get to see each other again cuz we’re both gonna.
[00:03:41] At Mom 2.0 Yes. Speaking. Which is so amazing. So you are the organized mama. Yes. You,
[00:03:48] Jessica: you
[00:03:49] Leah: help us get organized, which I, I’m so excited for this conversation. You don’t even know. Oh. So will you start by kind of explaining, um, you are, so I, as, as people can see, if they happen to be watching the. I have so many tabs in this book.
[00:04:05] I thought it was so good. And one of the things that you talked about right off the bat was that we need to identify what organized means to us. So will you talk me through that?
[00:04:16] Jessica: Yes. Ugh. I think this is such a big thing that we really need to look at because we see so many like beautiful images on Instagram, on Pinterest, but then translating that to real life, like four, you know, like 3D in like four walls instead of just the two you usually see online
[00:04:37] really needs to be clear for you and you really need to identify what that actually means and looks like. So, um, I was doing in-home, uh, organizing for clients back pre covid and I had one particular client who. You know, she just had collected a lot of things, so her goal for us working with her and organizing her was just to be able to see her floor.
[00:05:04] Like she didn’t want stuff on the floor of her room. And that was her organized. And I loved that she was crystal clear on the direction she wanted to go. She wanted to walk into rooms, not have things piled up on the floor. And that was organized for. And so I think we’ve kind of gotten away from the idea of like, organized looks different to everyone, so you need to get clear on what that means before you even touch, uh, anything.
[00:05:31] Buy a bin, any of those things you need to get clear on what it looks like in your home for real life.
[00:05:38] Leah: Okay. So how, how can we get more clear on that? Like are there any questions or any things that we can check in with ourself that are gonna help us re. What our version of organized is versus maybe like a Pinterest version of organized that isn’t realistic for, for us personally, but we’re trying to hold onto.
[00:05:58] Jessica: Yes. So walk around your house and see an area, a drawer, something that you say, this is organized. I can keep this tidy. I don’t have to like overthink it. It’s easy. You feel calm and like. That’s your version of organized. It’s easy. You don’t really have to think about. And you can feel your body change.
[00:06:24] Like you get calm, you get like relaxed. And so that, that’s organized. Okay. So it might not be, you know, the gorgeous, um, you know, it might not like look like Pinterest and that is fine because a lot of times, and I try and like. You know, my followers, this is like sometimes I have to create a pretty picture for a brand because that’s what you know they’re requesting because that image evokes an emotion that you wanna replicate.
[00:06:57] So that’s what the brand wants, but you have to decide what’s actually going to work in your home. So really getting clear on that is going to help you so much throughout your entire organizing.
[00:07:10] Leah: I think it’s so interesting identifying what does help us feel calm and what doesn’t. Can I tell you my, my favorite organized area in my entire house?
[00:07:21] It is my spice store. Nothing makes me, I love it. So it makes me so happy. And it’s so funny because the story behind that spice drawer is that I had been seeing those cute labels you see on Instagram with the jars forever, and I felt. That is frivolous or you know, whatever to, to buy them. And then I finally just one day bought them.
[00:07:46] They came. I remember being like so excited transferring all of my spices with the little funnel it came with into the cute little jars and putting all the labels on. The kids wanted to help and I was letting them help put the spices in, but they did not get to help putting the labels on. Cause I was like, you cannot have a crook label.
[00:08:04] I’ll be so disappointed And. Like setting ’em all up. And then I even went as far as alphabetizing the spices and, and put them back in the drawer. And, and so there’s a couple things that I think about. Number one, I waited so long. Mm-hmm. Because I was telling these stories about why it, you know, it was more than, than I should do.
[00:08:29] I think sometimes that comes down to, I grew up with, um, a mom. Organized everything in reusable boxes. Yes. Shoe boxes, little jewelry boxes. Mm-hmm. That was organization, you know, that’s how she organized and it was constantly like, oh, we can use this for something. And yes, and she would use that to organize.
[00:08:51] So again, I caught myself feeling a little bit of guilt around buying like the beautiful acrylic bins in the beginning. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And yet I love. Calm. Yes. I love, yes. I’m, I’m very much about like removing any labels that aren’t, aren’t needed. Like I just want. Mm-hmm. I want to be able to have less distraction and so recognizing how much that helps me.
[00:09:16] The other thing I’ve noticed is like if we go back to that spice drawer is Okay, so I haven’t really been able to maintain. Alphabetized spice drawer. Mm-hmm. Right. And so maybe I need to recognize, and maybe we all need to recognize in our like journey of organization, not everything we try is going to be perfect.
[00:09:35] And there’s like an ideal version, and then there’s a version, maybe a step back. Like I still have this beautiful str spice drawer that I love opening, but every once in a while I do open it and I’m like, why is the curry next to the garlic? Those are not the same letters. Right, right, right, right, right.
[00:09:51] Right. And like, it’s okay. It’s still like, it’s still a better version. So how, how do we create those lasting habits? Cuz I’m like, I have been able to keep that one area. Yes. Like pretty dang organized. But I’ll be honest, there’s a lot of other areas I try to organize. We get it all organized, but it doesn’t stay organized by pantry.
[00:10:12] Oh my gosh. That is one of them. Yes. So how, how do we create those lasting habits?
[00:10:18] Jessica: So, Like you’re saying, it’s a journey and it’s a habit, so you open up your spice. And you might have come to the realization, it’s not gonna be alphabetized, but it’s still gonna like look pretty when I open it. Right? So we have to go through that journey and create a new habit around the pantry and just focusing on like, okay, every time I do a.
[00:10:42] You know, go grocery shopping. I’m going to do a quick reset. And that reset is just remove the stuff that doesn’t belong. Or, you know, like the Spice Store is an easy example of a quick reset, right? You’re cooking, you’re waiting for water to boil, boom, boom, boom. You alphabetize the spices like really fast, right?
[00:11:00] Like that’s a quick reset. Just something you can do while you’re waiting for something else. So creating those quick resets. Um, one thing with like the fridge, when you go, you know, before you put anything new from the grocery store, just quickly like go through and like, as you’re removing stuff from the bag, take out the things that you know, either like the leftovers, that if you’re anything like my family, like they leave little remnants of like leftovers in, that’s so.
[00:11:28] They’re the fridge and it’s like, okay, well, you know, it’s weekly grocery shopping, so I’m just gonna clear that out. And it’s a quick reset, but it’s a habit you have to set every time you, you know, stock the fridge every time you, you know, look at the pantry, those quick things are going to make a huge impact because you’re taking small, like small action big.
[00:11:51] Leah: Okay, so I’m looking at a space and I’m like, I want to organize this. Whether we’re talking about the pantry, the junk drawer, the coat closet, the refrigerator. I, I have a couple questions I wanna ask you, but I’m gonna start with like, where do we start? Like, I is, is my method of like yank everything out and like put it all out on the floor and then I’m like, wow, this is a lot.
[00:12:13] Okay. Yes. And then I start, you know, systematically working my way. Is that like the best way or what would you suggest like, How do we, I definitely think you’re gonna say go area by area, like, but like how do we, how do we break this down? So
[00:12:28] Jessica: there are two ways to do this because not everyone can see the giant pile and actually take action.
[00:12:35] I’ve had, that’s why a lot of people hire organizers because when you pull everything out, it’s so overwhelming, right? So, If you are able to invest in an organizer, then that’s the method that they’re going to use. Pull everything out and then put things back. If you’re able to handle it, do that method.
[00:12:54] But if you’re not, that’s okay. And you are completely like, you can still get organized. Okay? You can do it like space by space, drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf. But use like post-it notes or like paper or something that you can leave to, to kind of take inventory so you know what’s what. So the best example of this is your kitchen, right?
[00:13:21] So if taking everything out of your kitchen to reorganize, it just gives you hives and you’re just like so stressed about it. I’ve had so many followers just like, I can’t do this. I can’t take everything out. So then open up one. Take everything out of there, decide what needs to stay and focus on what staying.
[00:13:42] And then I say declutter, but that just means remove it from the space if it doesn’t fit. And then put the stuff that needs to stay back, put a Post-it note on that cabinet, what’s in there, and then you can move on to the next one. And so if you pull something out and you’re like, oh, I have another stack of mixing bowls, but I know I have other mixing bowls over here, you’re able to see that inventory as you go through without taking everything out.
[00:14:09] And. I found that there is a good chunk of people that benefit from this method of organizing as well. And, and when it comes to like, where do you start? Start in your bedroom? Always.
[00:14:22] Leah: Really. Okay. Tell me why, why should we start in our bedroom? Yes.
[00:14:26] Jessica: Okay. So. In order to truly organize, declutter, and really think through the entire process, you need a good night’s sleep.
[00:14:35] If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your brain is not able to process that information. It’s not able to go to REM sleep, and you’re gonna be. Way more irritated in, you know, just life in general. So start with your bedroom. Always. I know it’s like nobody sees my bedroom, but you have to start with your bedroom.
[00:14:55] Remove papers and work documents and all of that kind of stuff. Really keep it zen in there. You will see a huge difference as you start to go through more areas of your home when your bedroom is actually tidy and
[00:15:11] Leah: I love that Co. I was thinking like, yes, I love the idea of starting in your bedroom because number one, it should be your retreat.
[00:15:16] Yes. But number two, you’ll never get to it otherwise. Right, exactly. Because we’re always gonna work on the other areas that are visible, but like, yes. I, I always joke that it is amazing, um, how good I am at cleaning the house right after someone has. Stopped by Uhhuh Uhhuh. Like, that’s what I’m great at, like getting the house clean is that, I’m like, yeah.
[00:15:37] And I’ve been embarrassed. Okay. Or, um, or you know, like, I’m really good at organizing that area when somebody opened and saw inside of it. And that’s, that’s the point that gets me. So I, so I’m noticing as you’re saying this, I’m like, yeah, my style is area by area. Even within the kitchen. I’m like, I pull all the pots and pans out and I organize.
[00:16:00] And that might be the only thing I do that day. Mm-hmm. And then another day I’ll come and I’ll do a different area. Um, and so, and I can see that that wouldn’t work for everyone depending on, you know, your level of chaos that you feel like you’re in. Exactly. There might be too much overlap and so you’ve, you gotta pull out more to then put it all back in the right spots.
[00:16:23] Okay. So how do you feel about. Containers. So basically there are like a million of them and it’s such a trend on Instagram, and I’m not gonna lie, you guys. Sometimes I see these cute videos and I love watching them because I think they’re darling, but I’m like, that is so not practical. Yep. Who on earth can like do that?
[00:16:48] Who actually can grocery shop by color? Yep. And not by like the food that you eat, so, exactly. Tell me, tell me your thoughts about.
[00:16:59] Jessica: Um, my thoughts about containers are that they are tools to organize. They are not the start, they are not a necessity. They are just a tool. So if your version of organized is putting everything in clear containers, taking everything out, and you can maintain that, then do it.
[00:17:21] I am here for it. If your version of organized does not involve any of that, Do it. I am here for it. I am very much, bins are tools. They aren’t the, that you should never start with organizing with a bin ever. . Start by removing everything from that doesn’t belong in that area. So if you’re doing, um, kitchens, just because we’ve been talking about spice stores and kitchens, you’re cleaning out your kitchen and you notice you have, you know, like, uh, phone chargers and you have batteries, and you have all these things that don’t belong, remove them.
[00:18:03] Right, like remove them from your space. Just put them at like the edge of your like kitchen door, like make a pile. You’ll deal with that stuff later. It’s not important right now. And then you figure out where everything should go within the space. Then if any organizing tools could help you keep things that way, that’s when you should look.
[00:18:26] And also work within your budget. Like we don’t need to be living in like this high consumption like area. I’ve seen so many people have like these beautiful pantries that they can’t keep organized. So they have these bins that they spent a lot of money on behind boxes from Costco because that’s what their kids just keep going through.
[00:18:50] Bins can become clutter too. So really focus on removing the stuff that does not need to stay in that area. Putting things away like where it makes sense, and then seeing if there’s any organizing tools that could help you keep it organized. So it’s like the third step in the whole process.
[00:19:08] Leah: So do you buy the bins after you’ve figured out what you have or do you Yes.
[00:19:14] Buy the bins ahead of time, but then know that you can like return and.
[00:19:19] Jessica: I never buy the bins ahead of time. I always say buy ’em after, like live with the space first. Because after you organize, you might find like, Hey, this drawer is not working for anyone in my family, so I don’t wanna spend money on something that in the end I’m gonna have to change.
[00:19:40] And then I just spent money on something that in the end, we’re not gonna use. So make sure it works. And. Look at things that’ll fit your space, fit your stuff,
[00:19:51] Leah: okay? So how, how do we get our family on board with our organization goals? So, yes. So you know, when you have someone who is disorganized, um, um, and they’re not on board, right?
[00:20:09] Like there’s. There’s, it’s one thing when it’s your kids, cuz you can like, you know, you can mom up and be like, mm-hmm. Too bad do it. Mm-hmm. Um, but there can be a lot of like, just friction if it’s hard for them. It’s really hard when it’s your spouse or your partner who’s, you know, not super organized. So how, how do we, how do we, how do we broach.
[00:20:32] Jessica: Oh, this is a big one. Um, this could be like three episodes in one. Just say, so start by looking at it as, cause I don’t believe people are disorganized. I believe that their view of organizing is different. So, Their view might look to you like it’s disorganized, but they might feel like it’s more organized.
[00:20:55] Um, my poor husband gets thrown under the bus a lot of times because I’m like, I want people to know, like I live through this too. He is so clean, but his organization skills are not up to par with. I framed it like that. Um, so, so I set up some habits that I have everyone in the family do, and then I have habits that I do on top of that so that I make sure things are organized for my liking, but they kind of have the low.
[00:21:32] Requirement necessary. So like in our family room, I hate at the end of the night, I’m like, I don’t want blankets on the floor. I don’t want pillows on the floor. I don’t want books. I don’t want games. You have to get all of that up off the floor. So everyone helps. And they do that. Once they all leave, then I put the pillows, how I like it.
[00:21:52] I put the blankets, how I like it. I stack the books. But their goal, Like what they’re responsible for is very minimal. Nothing can be on the floor, so they have to put the pillows on the, on the couch. But it’s that balance that we as the organized person have to kind of like lower our bar for what they can do, and then we can add our expectation on top of that, if that makes sense.
[00:22:20] Leah: It does, and I’m just thinking about. Maybe we need to be careful that in our zeal for a Pinterest worthy, organized looking room, which let’s be honest on Pinterest or on Instagram, is two dimensional. You’re just looking at one small section. Yes. Maybe we need to recognize that. What we really want is a space that feels calm.
[00:22:45] Yes. Peaceful. Really good. And if we’re having freakouts because people aren’t putting pillows correctly, we are missing the point. Right,
[00:22:54] Jessica: exactly. Like it’s not happening. Exactly. And like organizing is a skill that we have to teach our kids. So I had this client, she lovely person. Sent her a college son or son off to college with these like little note cards.
[00:23:13] Basically like all the life skill things that I’m like, okay, he should know. By the time he is 18. They were like, you know, oh, if you need Tylenol, take this much Tylenol. This is how you do laundry. All of these little things that I’m like, These are things we have to teach our kids. We have to teach them how to fold clothes.
[00:23:34] We have to teach them how to do laundry. We have to teach them how to keep their room tidy because if you have a roommate, if you’re in a college dorm, if you’re even in an apartment with like somebody else, you need to know these things. So really putting into perspective that as moms, we need to make sure that we are teaching them and allowing them that space to kind of figure.
[00:23:59] What does organized mean to them? Because we now are thinking about, okay, well what does it mean to me? We can start with them now so they don’t have to like worry about organizing when they’re older.
[00:24:13] Leah: I love that. Ha, being someone who happens to have an 18 year old and a 17 year old and has one that will be heading off to college.
[00:24:21] We are literally having these convers. All the time, and we’ve been having ’em for years where I’m like, you are going to be so grateful because you’re gonna be such a good roommate because you know how to, you know, cook and clean these all. And then, and then I’ll be honest, we also have some other conversations where I’m like, You are going to have some very frustrated roommates if you do not.
[00:24:40] Mm-hmm. Get better at resetting and re, you know, putting, putting your things back where they belong because they are not gonna wanna walk into a bathroom that you have taken over with your stuff or whatever it might be. So how do you suggest teaching our kids to be more organized?
[00:25:00] Jessica: So this one always gives me, gets me some.
[00:25:05] Backlash. So, which I’m like, I’m prepared for it. So you have to let them own a space. And I say it pretty much like their bedroom is an easy one because you can close the door. Um, so letting them kinda like discover. How to organize, what kind of level of mess they can handle. Obviously as the parent, you can put in some stipulations like no food, no, you know, whatever you think is like reasonable, but at like a low, like low, lower the bar.
[00:25:43] But, um, I once had an in-home client. Her daughter’s stuff was just coming out of the bedroom and she’s like, she won’t listen to me whenever I like, say, you gotta clean your room. You gotta clean your room. She never did. There was always so much pushback. So we came up with this idea that if as long as the door could open and close without pushing, The room would be organized, cleaned, whatever, and there was no food allowed in the room ever at all if she was going to live like this.
[00:26:14] If she wanted food in a room, nothing could be on the. So she came to that realization on her own after she had to, like, she wanted an outfit for school or something, she couldn’t find it, realized clothes on the floor don’t make the most sense. Ended up cleaning up her room all on her own accord because something happened to her that made her realize her living situation wasn’t working for her.
[00:26:38] So, but if she didn’t have that wiggle room or flexibility, she would never realized why it’s important to do those things.
[00:26:46] Leah: Yeah, I, I mean, I definitely think we would do such a disservice to be going in and cleaning for them, taking care of all these things, robbing them of the opportunity to learn for themselves.
[00:26:57] And I think probably age yes, plays a big factor in this too. Like I remember times when my kids were younger asking ’em to clean their room, asking ’em to clean their room, asking ’em to clean their room, and then realizing that just like we get so overwhelmed by an area of the house that. Crazy. And we’re avoiding it because we’re overwhelmed.
[00:27:16] So do they. And so realizing, I remember realizing like, oh, I need to come in and do this side by side. Yes. And show you and model it and help you. And then like try to, and then try to help them learn how to maintain it. But, but I see that need for being flexible of like, if they choose not to, we need to let them have that opportunity.
[00:27:40] Yes. Versus taking it from them. Either doing it for them or, you know, trying to force so hard that it creates. Yes. Again, we’re back to the conflict when what we really want is peace. Exactly. Peace is peace. Exactly. Yes. Oh, I love this so much. Okay, so what, what are your other, like what are your go-to like, okay, if you are trying to organize, here are the best, best takeaways that are gonna help any of us just be more organized in our home.
[00:28:12] Jessica: Ooh. Um, okay. Some big things. One, like ask yourself, like anything, anything you touch or like move around or whatever. Like when was the last time I used this, um, is. I’m a big fan of labeling, so I think labels help everyone because there isn’t questions about where things go. So labeling a lot of things I think is really helpful, especially like kitchen drawers and cabinets.
[00:28:45] Um, especially if you have teens and like you expect them to empty the dishwasher. Put labels on it, put post-it notes on it, like who cares? Put it on there so they know where things can go and it will help so much. Um, so labeling is like one of my big go-tos. And I also think like, just knowing it’s a journey, like you said, Leah, like it’s a journey.
[00:29:09] It is not, you know, oh, I have to get this done by this date. It’s not, organizing is about, Being functional, it’s about removing the stuff that is no longer serving you, is no longer working for you. Um, or maybe it’s just removing things that have a maybe negative or. Kind of like not so positive interaction with you and your family in that space.
[00:29:39] There’s a lot of times you might have something in your house or in like a room that could be better served in a different room, and just moving that to a different space could completely change how an entire room functions. So just looking at how you use the space, knowing every season is going to change.
[00:29:55] So like with the pantry. You could have really young kids that you can keep it all nice and organized, but as soon as they are able to open that door and grab their own snacks, that pantry’s gonna look way different. And that’s okay.
[00:30:08] Leah: Uh, I love that. . Okay. My final question for you is why does, or I really should have started with this one, but that’s okay. Why does organization matter for us?
[00:30:23] Jessica: Oh, so I am a total like. I really like setting like the brain and how we process things. So organizing matters because our brain tells stories.
[00:30:36] That’s how it like connects everything that goes on during the day. So when we are organized, our brain is able to connect those stories because it’s able to process the environment around us. If you ever notice, like you walk into a room or. Or even like sometimes libraries do this to me where there’s just like so much.
[00:30:58] Mm-hmm. And your body just kind of like your shoulders go up, you get a little tense, your brain then goes into the fight, fight or freeze. And so it’s not able to truly like process what’s going around where if you create an organized space, no matter what you encounter throughout your day, you will have, your brain will be able to process.
[00:31:19] In your home and then it’s able to like regulate your nervous system, like center you the, you know, if you have seasonal depression, those type of things is your body’s able to regulate that better. I’m not saying like perfect but better when you are in an organized state and your environment is organized.
[00:31:42] Leah: I love that and I agree wholeheartedly. Like sometimes I’ll just recognize I’m feeling a little. Little more stressed, a little, you know, the anxiety levels feel little raised. And I’ll look around and I’m like, I need to clean my space. I like mm-hmm. Or I have a really big project, a big workday. And I’ll be like, before I’m jumping into that, I need a completely clear white space because I am so much more productive.
[00:32:06] I’m so much more focused. Oh, I, I love that. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think organization, we. Feel better. I feel more peaceful. Yes. But yes. I love like wrapping this all back to where you started, but each of our version of organization can be different and it’s finding the version. That that has meaning to us.
[00:32:27] Yes. And then working to create that space so that we can feel more at peace, more productive, more creative, more energetic, like all those good things. Mm. So good. So good. Okay. I could just talk with you about this. Forever. But I know for the sake of our amazing listeners who are like, Leah, I don’t have that much time.
[00:32:49] Um, I’m just going to have you on again and we are gonna do this again because I have more, more sections I wanna tackle with. Love it you. So that’s just, that’s how we’re gonna solve this one. So thank you so, so much for being here and um, it has been so amazing. Any final words you wanna leave us?
[00:33:08] Jessica: Um, I will do a shameless plug, if you don’t mind.
[00:33:11] Do it. Um, if you are into organizing podcasts by organizing podcasts called Organizing Tuneups is where we break down big organizing concepts into five to 15 minutes, where you can do in your home every day. And they’re really actionable, really tangible, and they’re less than 15 minute episodes. I keep it short because I want you to take.
[00:33:35] Leah: love that. And I’m going to also plug for you your book. Yes. Which I thank. You’ll have, I’ll have Linked Everywhere, but it’s called Home Sweet Organized Home Declutter and Organize Your Busy Family by Jessica Litman. You can get it on Amazon. That’s where I grabbed it from. Yes. Because I was having her on the podcast and I was like, oh, I should buy her book.
[00:33:54] Jessica: And then I was like, oh my gosh, this is actually really good. So, Um,
[00:33:59] Leah: thank you. Yeah, it’s, it’s awesome. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna plug that for you too. Okay. Thank you so much. Thank you. Okay. How amazing and adorable is she? She is so much fun and so sweet and she just makes me feel like excited to go organize so, Be honest, I don’t actually have anything to organize because we still don’t live in our house since the fire. But I will have some major organizational projects when we move back in into our house eventually.
[00:34:29] But for now, some of my biggest takeaways and what I’m most excited about is really recognizing our different. Versions of organized, I’m thinking about this with my family. I’m thinking about this with my expectations of what I love organized being versus my family’s expectation, and just really coming back to if what I really want is this feeling of calm and peace, then I don’t want there to be friction and contention around the very thing I’m trying to create that which is having an organized.
[00:35:03] I am so excited to try her strategy of bins later. I totally always buy the bins first. I don’t know if you do that too. I always buy the bins first cause I get excited about ’em. Like I’m all excited about everything being acrylic and clear. So I’m going to try this. I’m gonna test getting everything out, figuring out what I need, and then going and buying the bins and see how that goes.
[00:35:24] What are you going to try and what area are you going? Start with, are you starting with your pantry? Are you starting with the junk drawer? Are you starting with your office? Where are you gonna start? But I firmly believe, and I love what she said about, you know, an organized space is a space that is free to be creative, to be happy, to be calm, to be peaceful, to feel rested.
[00:35:49] I love. Absolutely love that. So I hope you love this episode and I can’t wait to hear what you’re gonna take from it. Definitely send me a dm, reply back to an email. Let me know what you loved about this episode, and if you could take a moment and leave a five star review, that would mean the world as well, like absolutely mean the world.
[00:36:10] Okay, that’s it for this time. I’ll see you next week.Hide Transcript