When celebrities like Mandy Moore, Reese Witherspoon and Khloé Kardashian need help organizing their houses, they call Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin.
The Nashville, Tennessee-based home organization duo behind The Home Edit have brought order to Emma Roberts’ closet and Busy Philipps’ pantry, releasing a New York Times-bestselling book and gaining 1.1 million Instagram followers along the way.
In town to celebrate their partnership with GE Appliances for National Laundry Day on April 15, the Home Edit cofounders spoke with Makeful to share their top organization tips, particularly for home-office spaces.
What’s the first step when you’re organizing a space?
Clea: We have to assess the space. And we also have to ask the client a million questions. Because we really need to know how they live. Who else uses this household? Who’s using the space and how they’re using it. What their needs are, what their natural patterns are in the house, how they flow through it. Is their inclination to drop their purse in one spot, how they handle their mail, that kind of stuff.
And then we try and create systems around the way they naturally live. We don’t want to want to fight the current, we don’t want to force them into a situation that is not going to be sustainable for them. We really try and create systems that are really smart and maintainable, but specifically to that household.
If someone wanted to organize their entire home, is there an order that you recommend that they do it in?
Joanna: Our book is actually organized in order of how we think people should address their home. The laundry room is actually one of the best places to start because it’s contained, and it has one category typically, and one purpose. The closet, kitchen and pantry are the hardest spaces.
These days, so many people work from home. Do you have any tips for organizing a home office?
Joanna: The first you do is edit. We say this for any space: the most important thing is to only keep the things that you use, or that you love.
Clea: Especially, not just to keep what you use and love, but keep close by you what you use and love. There might be things that are sentimental, or maybe taxes from three years ago…whatever it is, you can still keep it in a space that isn’t taking up your valuable real estate. Maybe it’s the very top shelf of a closet or the garage. But you don’t have to take up your prime spaces, like the top of your desk, with things that you don’t use, love, or need all the time.
With offices, are there any common organization issues that always come up?
Joanna: For a home office, I think piles. Piles are the mistake. You need to contain everything, you need to have a system and a place for everything. And no piles of paper.
Is it important to have clear storage containers so that you can see your things?
Joanna: Some clients need that, and other clients are fine with opaque baskets.
Clea: It’s really a preference if people want to see the items that they are organizing or not. Again, those are questions that we ask them, to really get down to the bottom of what they really are going to want out of a space.
Do you have any tips for labeling or hacks with regards to labels?
Joanna: Buy ours, because they look better!
Clea: They’re removable and they don’t leave a residue so that if you change a category, it’s easy to take off.
Do you have any tips around digital organization?
Clea: As we move into a digitized space, I think that that becomes such a crucial thing. Cleaning out your desktop, cleaning out your inbox, making sure your inbox is really a to do list, filing things away, digitizing photos, putting them in a cloud storage so they’re not taking up all the storage on your phone. Things like using backup systems and cloud-based servers. I am a huge proponent of it, I think it’s a really critical thing.