Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms weekly Meet a Mom series where we feature one local mama, what they’re up to both personally and professionally. This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely Glenview resident and mom of two, Jessica Litman. Why are we drawn to Jessica? Because she’s the ultimate organized mama and she owns it… literally! Jessica founded The Organized Mama eight years ago. And moms, who doesn’t love a good organized tip, gadget and Insta eye candy when it comes to organizing, right? Welcome, Jessica!
Hi Jessica! Please introduce yourself.
My name is Jessica Litman and I am from Minneapolis, MN. I live in Glenview currently. I went to college in Indiana and after college got a job in Chicago so I moved here and have been here ever since.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have 2. A son who is 8 and a daughter who is 7. They are 16 months apart.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
What is weird is that it is a love/hate thing. I love watching them grow and develop and do things for themselves but I also hate it because it means they are getting older, if that makes any sense!
Do you have any “organizing” tips for us
I have found that creating a breakfast and lunch “menu” for daily meal options has been a game-changer. Every Sunday I write a list of like 5-10 different food options (kind of like a menu) that they can pick from for meals. Then I don’t have to think about what to feed them since I am over meal planning at the moment.
Some meals we have written on our menu are: sandwiches, waffles, pancakes, charcuterie board including whatever left overs are in the fridge, left overs, and surprise me which is just me making a charcuterie board with whatever is left over in the fridge.
Any favorite podcasts we haven’t heard of?
I love Awesome with Alison for positive podcasts, and Mind Your Business podcast for business stuff.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I am a total introvert. Lots of people think because I have a public brand that I am really outgoing and can talk to anyone. I am so not that. I get really overwhelmed in large groups so I don’t talk, I listen and take in everything that is happening. I get really anxious in new situations where I don’t know anyone.
Favorite local takeout restaurants?
Tava for Indian, Bluefish for sushi, Eataco + Cafe El Tapatio for Mexican and Spirit Elephant for everything else
You are The Organized Mama. Tell us more!
I run The Organized Mama, a media company + professional organizing brand based out of Chicago, IL. Over the past 8 years, I have helped countless families get organized through in-home services, speaking engagements, and blog + video tutorials. I have been named “Family Organizing Expert” by People.com, and have had my work featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, and The Boston Globe.
How did you get involved in organizing and coaching?
I started writing my blog 8 years ago as a way to share me decorating our new house with a baby. It grew into friends asking for help organizing their homes!
What is your most favorite organizing hack?
This is a tough one because there are many. I will say label everything. When everything is labeled it makes it easier for everyone to find things!
What is one thing your closet can not live without with regards to keeping organized?
For my closet, I need matching hangers!
How do you deal with mess?
Like I tell my clients, you just have to start! There is no right or wrong way to deal with the mess but you just have to actually start picking up. If you get overwhelmed, start with larger items first.
How can you get the kids to help?
I have a program called The Organized Kids Academy that teaches kids how to organize, fold, and declutter. But the entire program is taught by a 6 and 7 year old!! So it’s like peers are teaching your kids how to organize!
Oh, business tips, yes, please! Speaking of, who are your influencers and/or mentors that have helped you get to where you are today and/or continue to inspire you.
Honestly when I started there wasn’t a lot of professional organizers doing the online business thing. Most people were going to in-home clients or they were solely doing things online. There wasn’t anyone doing a little of both. So I ended up finding a great community of other business owners who work together to support each other.
What advice can you give other mamas out there who are looking to start a new business in the current climate?
Just start! You are never going to get everything perfect so just get it out there. And treat every opportunity as an “experiment”. See what works and what doesn’t. Use that information to tweak what you do moving forward. By doing this, you are never going to stop learning and you will never feel like you aren’t making progress. That is the biggest thing I have seen for myself. When I switched my focus to experimenting with things then I stopped feeling like I kept failing at different endeavors.
What’s next for The Organized Mama?
I have created a bunch of digital courses to help families get organized and professional organizers/online business owners work with brands. These are launching soon! I also am working on creating more digital products to help families get organized.