BY JENNY REIMOLD
“Balance is all about setting the bar just low enough that you can accomplish all sorts of bite-sized victories. Life is too short to feel residual guilt about not wearing real pants or making it to the gym every day.” – The Home Edit
It is this witty approach to life, design and organization that launched Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, founders of The Home Edit, into celebrity stardom. Although The Home Edit started as a business, Clea and Joanna have turned their passion for organizing and order into a successful brand. With their “mullet” social media strategy, featuring a “business in the front, party in the back” approach, these savvy ladies have built an empire by posting beautiful photos of organized spaces on their Instagram feed while uploading hilarious videos of their real life onto their Instagram stories.
The Home Edit catapulted into fame after they reinvented traditional organizing concepts. Their signature rainbow themed approach to stylish and functional organization became a social media sensation. Meticulously styled pantries, playrooms and closets, aesthetically designed in a ROYGBIV fashion, became an Instagram phenomenon. Their color coded level of organizational wizardry not only became popular in middle Tennessee, but caught the eye of some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
After “editing” and organizing the homes of celebrity clients Gwyneth Paltrow, Mandy Moore, Christina Applegate and Thomas Rhett, Nashville resident and Oscar winner, Reese Witherspoon, reached out with an offer to collaborate. Her network, Hello Sunshine, now produces The Home Edit’s entertaining television show, Master the Mess, while their first book, The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals, will be released on March 19th.
In addition to building an organizational empire, Clea and Joanna also manage home and family life as working mothers, entrepreneurs and volunteers with St. Jude’s and Baby2Baby. Their “surviving not thriving” comical approach to life is one that we all can relate to. It is this practical and humorous life strategy that has made such a lasting impression upon me both as a mother and a designer. I’m humbled to have been able to interview them on everything from label makers to the Kardashians and to have been offered a glimpse into Clea’s Nashville home.
Did your mutual passion for organization and style bring you together or did you know each other as “mom friends” first?
Not exactly. We met in 2015 through a mutual friend who suggested we go to lunch due to the fact we were both recent California transplants who moved to Nashville for their husband’s job, had kids the same age and had independently planned on having their own organizing business upon moving. We went to lunch, and four hours later, we were business partners. That same night, we came up with our company name, designed our logo, bought our domain and registered our LLC. Organizers are nothing if not efficient. Looking back, it’s probably ill-advised to essentially get married after a matter of hours, but when it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
What areas of people’s homes do you consistently see in need of the most help?
Closets and pantries. Any area that typically lacks space and stores numerous categories.
What areas in your own homes, if any, do you struggle to maintain?
If we are struggling to maintain an area, that means we need to create a new system. Laundry can be tough when we’ve been traveling. In order to keep up with it, we like to use rolling canvas hampers for each family member. We sell them on our website and it’s made laundry day a breeze!
If readers recognize that an area of their home needs help, what are the first steps to take to begin an “edit?”
1. Remove everything- The space should be completely empty when you are done. It might look messy at first but trust us, this is where the magic happens.
2. Create groupings- Start by arranging ALL of the items in front of
you into categories. You may be tempted to skip this step but IT’S IMPORTANT. Categorizing makes editing visually easier when deciding what you keep, toss or repurpose, especially if you have any duplicates.
3. Pare down- Take a look at the grouped items in front of you. The harsh truth is that you
do not need everything that was in that space. To pare down, ask yourself these questions: 1) Do you NEED it? 2) Do you ever USE it? 3) Do you ever WANT to use it? If the answer is “no” to any of the above, it’s time to ditch or donate. Keep two labeled bins or trash bags close by to keep everything in order.
What are your top five, must-have organizing essentials?
1. Large wicker baskets- We generally keep
at least one in each living space. They allow you to easily store blankets and pillows in the living room, or bulky toys in a playroom. By adding them throughout the house,
you can quickly clean up any mess your family members leave behind and they have the added benefit of making a room look polished and well-designed.
2. Divided turntables- A perfect storage solution for any room in the house. You can use it on your desk for pens, pencils and scissors, in the bathroom with cotton balls, Q-tips, and hairbrushes - or on an entryway table to hold keys, wallets and change.
3. Acrylic storage containers- We use these in all shapes and sizes in almost every room in the home. They allow you to keep items categorized, contained and easy to spot.
4. Over-the-door Elfa system- Allows you to take advantage of vertical space and clear clutter off countertops, shelves and inside hidden cabinets.
5. Drawer inserts- These inserts provide
a way to create a functional system in an otherwise forgotten space. When every item is categorized and has a home, you’ll always know where to find it.
What organizing mistakes do you see people often make?
Skipping the editing process. If you can’t make any edits, you’re just shuffling things back and forth as contained clutter.
I love the ROYGBIV organizational concept. How does a parent maintain that level of organizational mastery with children?
Bribes. Just kidding! Believe it or not, the ROYGBIV concept works well with children, often times more than designated bins. It’s more visual and offers a simple way of knowing where to look for an item and where to put it away.
Playrooms can be a different in beast in the organizational world. What tips do you have for parents who want to create a stylish playroom like Clea’s?
Tip 1- Instead of separating out smaller Legos from larger Duplos, consider allowing for more interpretation in where things belong. Creating broad categories that kids intuitively understand — blocks, dolls, dress-up and so on — will help with long-term maintenance and keep your home neat.
Tip 2- Organizing according to the rainbow helps create a playful and creative space for kids and a stylized space for adults. Arrange the books, art supplies, toys and pretend food by color and you’ll not only have a pretty playroom, but your kids will automatically know where everything is stored.
Tip 3- Use large baskets to accommodate bulky categories like stuffed animals, blocks and train sets. For the smaller and more specific categories, use stackable shoe boxes and a paint pen to identify each item. The paint pen easily wipes clean with rubbing alcohol for future updating.
Tip 4- Try creating zones so every space has
a purpose and every item has a home. If you have a lot of trucks, for instance, create a ‘parking lot’ so that there’s a designated spot for them. The zone will hold you accountable and keep the room from descending into toy chaos.
What can readers expect from The Home Edit book? Will there be a shopping list for rookies? New tips for Type A veterans?
YES! Our advice appeals to the newbie organizer as well as the type A person who has a system in place. Everyone can glean something valuable from the book, no matter where you are on the organizing spectrum! We bring our tried-and-true decluttering methods straight from our celeb clients’ closets and into your home. Anyone can totally do this. We think that people will really love our step-by-step tips to help build and ultimately achieve your organization goals. Bring on the ROYGIBIV!
What celebrity clients of yours would be your organizational protégés? Who is skilled enough, on their own, to have their own organizing show? Any dream clients you’d like to work with?
Khloe Kardashian. Hands down. We were just over at her house helping her organize and couldn’t understand why she needed us. Not only is she extremely organized, she lives by a ROYGBIV label system too! As for our dream client? The entire cast of Schitt’s Creek.
A new year offers a fresh opportunity to reevaluate what organizational strategies are working in your life and what could use an edit. Be sure to pick up a copy of their new book and use The Home Edit’s practical tips in this article to improve the order in your own home!
Jenny is your Styling Your Everyday contributor. She will bring to you design and entertainment tips from her years of experience. Connect with @jennyreimold on Instagram or at jennyreimold.com.