We all come from different walks of life, operate uniquely, and have our own ideas of what we consider to be “clean.” Our living spaces are our own and our design and organizational styles are a large part of who we are. Despite our differences, I think that all of us can relate over one common denominator: the junk drawer that’s been haunting our nightmares.
Maybe for you, it’s not exactly a junk drawer. Perhaps it’s your pantry, filled with expired items in a mismatched fashion that makes pulling out garlic seasoning an Olympic sport, or the cluster of items in your wardrobe that make finding your seasonal puffer moderately traumatic.
We all could use a bit of organization in our homes, and even if our homes are tidy, it’s quite likely that you’re still not using your space to its fullest potential. Enter The Home Edit: a system and approach that takes the guesswork out of organizing and offers a solution to clean up with aesthetic and design in mind.
Founders Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin authored The Home Edit book in 2019, and it quickly rose to become a New York Times Best Seller. Among many happy customers, 30-year Leslie Ehlers (Everygirl, travel-enthusiast, and Netflix-connoisseur) has taken on the challenge of revamping her space using resources and guidance provided in The Home Edit.
Leslie and her husband own a Texan home that they’ve lived in for the past five years. She humorously describes herself as “control freak” that runs a rather tight ship and endorses that their house is mainly tidy. A friend reached out to Leslie to check out the brand on Instagram, knowing that their feed would satisfy her A-type personality, and Leslie was interested, to say the least. She bought The Home Edit during the brand’s Black Friday sale, and after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, she got to work.
Clea Shearer & Joanna Teplin
Leslie notes that the book is very user-friendly. “It’s set up like a recipe book. The first 50 pages outline their process that’s applicable to spaces you’d like to organize. After that comes the specific sectioning, much like you’d find appetizers, breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a recipe book. Instead, they highlight different areas of the house: entryway, bathroom, laundry room, play spaces, closet, kitchen, and pantry.”
Lesson #1: Don’t run out and buy a ton of containers
Over the last few weeks, she’s been tackling rooms of her house and is saving the *all dreaded* master closet for last. When I asked Leslie how she got started, she admitted that her approach was a bit backwards from what the book suggested. She went to the container store, “spent too much money” (as we all find ourselves doing from time to time), and then read the book. “On page 20, it literally says not to start with the pantry … but guess who started with the pantry?” she laughed. Resist the urge to run out and purchase containers—we know it’s hard. It’s much better to follow the steps, edit what you have, and then make a plan from there.
Now that the pantry is done, we cook so much more. Before, our pantry was a mess and we didn’t even know what items we had to work with. Now, everything is on display in neat little baskets, so being overwhelmed is a problem of the past.
Lesson #2: Follow their method because it truly works
“I followed their method and the pantry took me about four hours … I know that because my husband started the Cowboy’s game when I took on the project and the game ended as I was finishing up.” She endorses that the most difficult part for her was The Home Edit method places an emphasis on resisting the urge to organize from the start. Instead, it focuses on taking everything out and grouping together like items. From there comes the “editing,” AKA getting rid of items you don’t want, need, or plan on using in order to maximize valuable space. “They warned me that I would be overwhelmed during the grouping process—and they weren’t wrong. I looked around during that step and said, ‘oh my God. What the heck did I just do.” Thankfully, they prepared me for it, so it turned out OK.
Lesson #3: Investing in a better space will make you use it more
“Now that the pantry is done, we cook so much more. Before, our pantry was a mess and we didn’t even know what items we had to work with. Now, everything is on display in neat little baskets, so being overwhelmed is a problem of the past.
“After the pantry, the bathroom was easy,” Leslie said. She explained that they often host visitors, so she wanted to give her guests a home away from home and anticipate their every need. “I wanted to stock up with items my friends and family might need: Advil, shampoo, a toothbrush, q-tips, cotton balls, and razors. I found all of the travel-sized items at the grocery store and my parents truly thought I went overboard … that is until they found themselves reaching for the under-sink space again and again.”
Every time I organize a space in my home, I feel like I’ve lost 10 pounds. And that feels good.
Lesson #4: Start with one area at a time
After just four weeks of revamping her home with the help of The Home Edit, Leslie is hooked. Next, she plans to tackle her master bathroom and laundry room. “I’m a person who loves to check things off of my list.” The Home Edit has given her the confidence to do just that. She’s tackling space by space, little by little, to give her home a simplistic vibe that we all envy. In her newly thought out, organized spaces,” everything has a purpose and is useful.”
When asked if she’d recommend The Home Edit to a friend, her answer was simple: “I think that everyone could benefit from the book, whether you follow their steps to a T or not. I thought it would become a decorative piece on my coffee table, but I’ve referenced it way more frequently than I thought that I would.”
If you’re looking for your wake-up call to tackle that junk drawer filled with pens, sticky notes from 2018, and expired batteries, consider this your wakeup call. For Leslie, simplifying and organizing her home à la The Home Edit makes her feel like a weight has been lifted within her home. “Every time I organize a space in my home, I feel like I’ve lost 10 pounds. And that feels good.”
Ready to organize? Start here.
pssst… currently 20% off at The Container Store