Get Organized with The Home Edit with Clea and Joanna first burst onto Netflix with Season 1 in September 2020 at a time when many of us were in the throes of pandemic lockdowns. In theory, we had time to organise our homes, but paradoxically we felt like doing anything but.
But that’s ok – the telly is for living vicariously. How many avid viewers of MasterChef go on to create the culinary delights they have witnessed? Those who can, do. Those who can’t, watch and learn.
And Get Organized with The Home Edit taught us a lot.
Get Organized with The Home Edit – What it taught us
1. All organising involves four steps.
• Edit – Fancy word for declutter. Crucial.
• Categorise – Put like with like to make storage intuitive.
• Contain – Use boxes/bins/tubs to keep your categories separate and set limits on acquiring too much. Containers also act as drawers so you can access the back of shelves. And you can label them.
• Maintain – Kinda speaks for itself, put things away and don’t keep acquiring.
2. Think zones.
Get Organized with The Home Edit uses the word Zones a lot. And we already understand the concept. We all have a cutlery drawer, a bookshelf, a coat rack, etc. We just need to expand this notion out to all our stuff. The team takes it to the next level in Season 2 Episode 1 when they create a trail mix station. Joanna is particularly chuffed about that, bless her cotton socks.
3. Think about what you use the most.
The Get Organized with The Home Edit team calls it ‘touch access’. I call them High Frequency items but either way you need them in easy reach. Your daily hairbrush, your favourite purse, your go-to coffee mug. Between your hip and eye level usually, so you don’t need to bend or stand on a chair to access them and put them away. Note the last part of that sentence – and put them away. Because ease of keeping a space tidy, is key to its success.
In Season 2 Episode 1, Clea and Joanna organise a family’s pantry so that healthy items are in the High Frequency zone in clear bins. This means the fam is more likely to gravitate towards them. Brilliant.
4. Aesthetics are important.
Whether it’s books arranged by colour, or a beautiful rug to show off all the newly-found floor space, Clea and Joanna know how to make a room beautiful. Like they say, function AND form. Both matter.
5. Consultation is key.
We all have different clutter tolerances and lifestyles. Some people are happy to empty all their staples into clear containers, but for me it’s unnecessary effort. The team always consults with their clients to determine their “fussy factor” and what’s maintainable.
6. Measure and plan.
Each space is different, and measuring the shelves determines what containers will fit. If you go back to point 1, this needs to tie in with steps 2 (categorise) and 3 (contain). So if you have five snack categories for a shelf two metres wide, containers must be under 40cm wide each. You want to allow some breathing room, so I would cap the width at 38cm per container. Get your measuring tape and calculator out for a perfect result.
7. Know your products.
In some instances, a sideways rack works better than a stack (for example Drew Barrymore’s pot lids in Season 2, Episode 1). Also, a turntable might help display small items in a deep space. A browse in Kmart or an organising store will show you what’s possible.
8. Store big items at the bottom.
It makes logistic and aesthetic sense to have heavy items at the bottom of the space. I have some big appliances like rice cooker and bread maker at the bottom of my pantry for this reason. Also I don’t use them every day (see point 3)
9. Deal with donations immediately.
The duo chastises a cluttered family in Season 2, Episode 5 for not taking donations straight to charity. Sometimes the unwanted items end up back in circulation, which undoes all that difficult physical and mental work.
10. Doing it with friends is fun.
The friendship between Clea and Joanna is heartwarming. They also have a great team who contribute ideas (can someone get sassy Sumner her own show please?) meaning a well-informed result.
Try and enlist a buddy who is good at organising and even if they are not – the accountability is helpful.
Get Organized with The Home Edit – What we can live without
1. Too much plastic.
I understand that it looks nice while it is new and free of dust (and believe me, that stage doesn’t last long). But there is just so much landfill. In Season 1, Episode 7, they took packs of frozen products out of their functional cardboard boxes just to put the products into clear acrylic bins. In the process, they discarded the nutritional information and use-by-dates on the boxes. As Professional Organisers we have a responsibility to declutter, not reclutter our clients’ homes.
And the gals now have their own lines of products, so the consumerism they are fuelling knows no bounds. In fact, they refer to organisational items (plural) as ‘the product’, as in ‘Ladies, go and make a list of the required product’? They revere their plastic landfill as an important species.
Alas, Marie Kondo has fallen into the same consumerist trap. She used to repurpose old iPhone boxes but she has sold out too. It’s all a bit on the nose.
My head hurts.
3. The compressed timeline.
It’s not Clea and Joanna’s fault. But as a public service announcement, it takes a team of professionals (including builders), an onsite truck full of goodies, and a lot of money to do each project. You can’t do the same thing alone in an afternoon with a $50 Bunnings voucher and a bottle of sav blanc as company.
Do we compress bodies with our clients and service providers now? Even pre-Covid that would be weird.
5. Categorising books by colour.
Advocates of the Dewey System shudder every time they see books arranged by colour. Such an arbitrary way to organise precious literary resources.
6. They boot out the clients.
I fear that the omission of ongoing consultation sacrifices the end result. But in what other conditions can Clea and Joanna hypothesise and squeal excitedly?
7. Mystery donations.
Does the stuff edited out end up as landfill? Or does the lovely Home Edit product truck make a pitstop at Goodwill on its way back to depot? It would be great if the show made a point of sustainable donation. Marie Kondo also does this, while on Space Invaders they proudly donate to the Salvos.
Critics also condemn the show for its superficial focus on celebrities, but they do feature a pleb on every episode. Some judge Clea for being bossy but I suspect this as being thinly veiled misogyny.
I don’t know about you, but I am off to measure up my garage for a makeover. I just wish I had their shelving guy on hand.