29+ Organization Hacks From 'The Home Edit''s Joanna and Clea
| LAST UPDATE 04/30/2023
Get excited, folks! At long last, season 3 of Netflix's The Home Edit is nearly here! Until then, we're clarifying why Joanna and Clea are our ultimate organization gurus and reminding ourselves of their top tips!
1. Make a Giant Mess
Joanna and Clea tell their viewers that one can only truly organize if one makes a giant mess first. Although we trust them with our lives, we'd be lying if we said this one didn't confuse us slightly!
As they explain, the word mess is misleading. It's not a mess in its own right but one with a purpose. To make an order, we need to take every single item out of its place so that we can put them back in proper order. By having it all out in front of you, you can see what there is and what needs to go.
2. Declutter As You Go
Decluttering is a major part of The Home Edit's process, as we decide what among the sea of stuff is for the garbage. That being said, the organization gurus emphasize that this can be done slowly but surely. Don't feel pressure to declutter every space before beginning to organize.
This will be hard to achieve and will only delay the organization's completion. Instead, they recommend decluttering as you go. Choose a section to organize and declutter that specific space while you do so. Once that's done, move on to the next space. By midnight, the whole kitchen will be done!
3. Opt for Matching Containers
This hack may not be the most important of all, but it makes for aesthetically pleasing results! Anyone who has watched even just five minutes of The Home Edit will be familiar with the women's love for matching containers - transparent ones, to be precise!
Keeping things in identical containers helps to create a uniform appearance and presents a feeling of order. A favored place to instill this system is the spice shelf. Instead of mismatched containers from different brands, purchase glass containers and pour in the spices. Add labels and organize them by color for added perfection!
4. Have Specialized Stations
Another concept viewers of The Home Edit will be familiar with is the wonder of designated stations. Having all the items required for one task in one place adds a layer of functionality to the space and ensures things can be done more efficiently and quickly.
Take coffee making, for example. Rather than having the mugs in one drawer, the sugar in another, and the coffee beans on the shelf, keep all the related items in one coffee station. You could even invest in a coffee cart if you're really looking to wow your guests!
5. Work With the Space
We all drooled with jealousy at the sight of Khloe Kardashian's expansive pantry, beautifully organized by Clea and Joanna. With matching containers, layers of perfectly placed cookies, and beautiful labels, it was an ordered fantasy. But what if we don't have a giant room for a pantry? Is it a lost cause?
Joanna and Clea work with homes of all shapes and sizes and repeatedly explain the importance of working with the space you have. It's not always about having an abundance of space but learning how to optimize the available area. For example, if you have small and deep shelves, use long and narrow bins to make use of the depth.
6. Labels, Labels, Labels
Browsing through The Home Edit Instagram page, it's hard to ignore the overwhelming appearance of labels. The organized women love them, putting them on as many things as possible. As they explain, they help to create order, reminding everyone in the house where everything goes.
Keeping the label words broad makes maintaining the system easier. For example, a "snacks" box has clear instructions, and it is easy to understand what goes in it. Being too specific and writing "dried fruits" may be slightly ambitious. For extra beauty, purchase The Home Edit handwritten labels and simply stick them on!
7. Paper-Line the Drawers
We'll admit this is another hack more about the beauty than the function, but that doesn't mean we love it any less! Using Rifle wrapping paper or even leftover wallpaper from a house renovation project, you can line your drawers and give them a boost. Opening your drawers will now be that much more exciting!
Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it's straightforward to install. Simply roll it out over the drawer's base, sticking it down as you go. Because they don't need to match, there's no stress when one gets damaged and needs replacing. It's just for the fun of it!
8. Buy Now, Return Later
Okay, we're officially convinced of the power of containers, but where do we go from here? Anyone that's paid a visit to The Container Store will be strikingly aware of how overwhelming it can be. Boxes of every shape and size lie there staring at us, and we have no clue which ones we need.
Joanna and Clea suggest buying extra and dealing with it later to avoid having to go back and forth to the store. Make the most of the returns system and buy a wide selection of storage options. Bring it all home and figure out a suitable arrangement with your space. Once your renovation is complete, return all the extras!
9. Keep the Alike Together
In a similar vein to the designated stations, The Home Edit founders believe in the value of categories. Like the coffee station, it's worthwhile having things for specific projects and hobbies in one place. For example, if you're an arts and crafts fanatic, keep all the art supplies in one section of the house.
Then, the next time a wave of inspiration comes your way, you'll be able to get straight to it without having to first search around the house for this and that. It's all about a system, people! These ways are sure to change your life for the better!
10. Refridgerator Transparency
For the pantry, Joanna and Clea encourage their clients to use a variety of container materials and shapes depending on the available space. The fridge, however, has its own set of rules, and it all begins with clear storage bins. Instead of placing produce straight onto the fridge shelves, put it in these transparent containers.
There are clear bins designed for every type of food and help the visitor quickly see what's inside each box. Not only that, but it allows you to quickly assess what is low and what is in excess. This, in turn, ensures no items are left to rot at the back of the fridge! You can easily keep an eye on things now!
11. Remember 80/20
The underlying dilemma of organizing is, do we want to keep the item or throw it out and keep the space? "You get the item or the space; you don't get both," the team explains. Their solution is to "Live by the 80/20 rule: Keep your home no more than 80 percent full and leave at least 20 percent for breathing room."
For the hoarders among us, it may be tempting to keep hold of everything, but there is value in having some extra space available. Keeping some areas empty and open will instill a sense of calm into the home, helping the place feel less chaotic. Apply this ratio to all rooms and spaces - even the bookshelf!
12. Keep Things User-Friendly
Having a highly complex and sophisticated organization system may sound wonderful now, but there's little chance you or everyone else in the house will be able to keep up with it! Areas like the pantry and the fridge will have many visitors throughout the day, making them harder to keep tidy.
"Everyone in the home uses them on a daily basis, from adults to kids. This means the system must be intuitive and user-friendly for all ages," they say. Be realistic with the system, and don't dream too big. Labels and color codes are family-friendly and accessible for everyone to understand and follow on their own.
13. Don't Wear? Don't Keep!
Most of us are guilty of holding onto clothes we no longer wear. There's just something about that dress from four years ago that makes it hard to part ways with! "When people hold onto things they never wear. It's just a waste of space! If you haven't worn it in a year, you probably never will," The Home Edit team says.
"Closets can be hard because there tends to be an emotional aspect to getting rid of clothing," they explain. "Rather than going through every item of clothing separately, start by grouping them in categories. It will help you see where you have unnecessary duplicates and decide which items are worthy of keeping."
14. Organize by Season
You might be the most organized person out there, but sometimes a lack of space will still work against you and your order system. A sensible solution is to cycle your wardrobe in line with the season changes. Winter coats shouldn't be front and center in the summertime," The Home Edit note.
While winter is underway, keep your warmest clothes on the shelves with easy access. Your breezy summer clothes can be put away in vacuum-sealed bags or breathable bins until the sun makes its reappearance. This system ensures that your closet is not overfilled and means the things you need at that time are easier to find.
15. Cleaning and Sorting Are Different
Hate cleaning but love organizing? Love cleaning and hate organizing? That makes total sense because these two home tasks do not go hand in hand. Although they may be associated in our minds, there are some significant differences between them, and both should be given equal attention.
Cleaning involves removing dirt and dust from our homes, and organizing is about creating systems to instill order. "If you don't create a sustainable system, a mess is bound to reappear," explains The Home Edit. "If you take the time to think through your habits, your home, and your lifestyle, you can create smart solutions that you'll be able to maintain,"
16. Organize in Line With Shopping Habits
Before begging to create your system of organization, Clea and Joanna recommend thinking about your shopping habits first. For example, consider whether you tend to buy in bulk and how your pantry arrangement will accommodate this. Something may need to be changed if everything is neatly in place until the Costco explosion.
"If you are buying in bulk, make sure to have space for overflow items that don't fit into your bins," The Home Edit team suggests. "If you have a huge amount of snacks, devote a couple of bins to those items so you aren't cramming everything into a single container."
17. Have an “Away” System
Having a home office is convenient until we find ourselves working at midnight because we can. According to Joanna and Clea, the trick to having clear work/life boundaries is creating an "away" system that puts our work equipment out of sight. For this, no extravagant storage is necessary; a roll-away cart or closet will do!
"It's visual clutter but also mental clutter, and we need to make sure that our home can also function as our home life and not [just] our work life," Joanna told Apartment Therapy. "We need that separation and distinction. It's not just about designating an area, but also making sure that you can physically put it away."
18. Contain It All
It's the smaller, more confined spaces that tend to mess up the quickest. Even with the best intentions, the pantry, medicine cabinet, and utensil drawer do not stand a chance of staying uncluttered. In just a matter of days, it can look like it had never been organized at all. Containing is the answer here.
"If you contain it at the front end, it's not as hard to maintain as you would think. The containment is really critical, and it's containing within its own category," emphasized Clea. This means organizing by subcategories in small bins, such as nail polishes and mini toiletries in the bathroom. Use labels for the finishing touch!
19. Utilize Walls and Doors
If all your shelves have been filled and there are still more things to put away, it's time to get creative! Instead of looking ahead, look up and around and see if there are undiscovered storage spaces. "People assume that they're out of storage, but you can always add to it," noted Clea, who recommended over-the-door hangers.
"If you don't have a great door to put it on, you can put [command hooks] right onto the wall, cabinet doors, or closet doors." If there's no shelf space for bags, you can hang them on hooks on the hanging rod. "Some people have more hanging space than shelf space," Clea said. "It depends on the space you're working with."
20. Don't Forget To 'Edit!'
Loyal followers of The Home Edit philosophy will be able to chant out the motto with ease. Joanna and Clea's four golden steps to organizational recovery are to edit, categorize, contain, and maintain. As seen in each episode of the show, it all begins with the crucial foundational step of edit. So what does it really mean?
To 'edit' is to look at an item and decide whether it deserves a place in the home. "I physically touched every item and made the judgment call, do I keep or do I donate it/get rid of it if it's actual trash, which it can be," Clea revealed. "It's so gratifying to know that everything you're unpacking you want, or use, or love, and it has a purpose."
21. Check In on the Sentimental
Joanna and Clea may be strict about their 'edit' phase, but that doesn't mean they don't have hearts. They understand that sometimes we need to keep holding onto something for no reason other than that it holds sentimental value. But while they allow this, they encourage us to check in frequently on their emotional status.
"If things are super sentimental, it's just as important to go through and make sure that each of those items still has the same weight in your mind because maybe something that was sentimental five years ago doesn't feel the same way anymore," Joanna explains. Do this often, and you'll be surprised how much space can be freed up!
22. Turntables for Easy Access!
Joanna and Clea love a turntable, and who can blame them? So simple yet so incredibly useful, these rotating containers help us to store multiple items in one place and find them with ease. Install them in the fridge or the pantry, fill them up, and let them do their thing!
Also known as the lazy Suzan, the women describe the organizational tool as "magic!" "It works great as well for under the bathroom sink," Clea insisted. "You can keep all your products, and it's a great way to get around the pipes. Or you can put it on top of the counter if you don't have space."
23. Check for Expired Products
"The bathroom especially is a place where people acquire a lot of different products, and they don't often check expiry dates, so edit out things that you no longer need or use," Joanna told theSkimm. "Anyone who does not address under the sink in the bathroom is missing out because that is great space!" agreed Clea.
Make it a regular part of your schedule to go through your various beauty, skin, and medical products, throwing out the expired items and having a designated box for those nearing their sell-by date. That way, you'll be sure to use those up first and leave the newer products for the future.
24. Three-Tiered Risers
The three-tiered riser is a common feature of a pantry organized by The Home Edit. "In a pantry, we always use a three-tiered riser," Clea and Joanna excitedly explained to The Today Show hosts. "It's a great way to take advantage of vertical space."
Expandable versions are also available, which can help to make further use of available horizontal space. Ultimately, their appeal is that they can store multiple items on the shelf, allowing them to be easily seen and grabbed. Stock up now and thank yourself later.
25. Contain the Wires
We love our tech gadgets as much as the next person, but we can't ignore the chaos their different wires bring into our homes. In an episode of The Home Edit, Joanna and Clea were challenged to organize a family's miscellaneous tech drawer. Working their magic, they created the charging station of our dreams.
Cable ties are the go-to solution for keeping wires alongside each other untangled in a drawer. If the unsightly appearance of the multiple wires is what's bothering you, the genius solution is cable wraps. These will help to hide all those different cords in one tidy sleeve and keep your space organized.
26. Digitize Your Life
Talking of technology, it can be a fundamental tool in helping to free up more space in your home. One thing people tend to hold onto more than most is old documents, receipts, and even artwork done by the kids. Although these are important and often sentimental, they tend to take up more drawer space than we can afford.
An intelligent solution to this is to scan or take photos of each document and upload them to a digital cloud folder. Not only will this free up plenty of physical space, but it will help to keep them safe and readily available. Birth certificates, old passports - it's all there.
27. Think of Alternate Uses
One important lesson we have learned from Clea and Joanna is never to take things at face value. Those layered acrylic shelves may have been designed to store spices, but that doesn't mean they can't be used for other purposes, such as displaying your purses. Don't be afraid to get creative!
Joanna and Clea suggest using curtain rods in an office closet to hold wrapping paper and create an efficient gift-wrapping station. If it will help to keep things tidy, it's always worth a shot! Thinking out of the box in this way is how The Home Edit followers separate themselves from the 'regular' organizers in the group.
28. Drawer Inserts
Whether or not we're willing to admit it, we all have, at one point in our lives, had that one messy and neglected drawer. Sometimes located under the nightstand, other times in the kitchen, it's where we allow chaos to ensue, holding all sorts of loose items we never plan to see again. Is there any hope for these doomed spots?
Joanna and Clea always have a trick up their sleeve, and the chaotic drawer is no exception! "The easiest way to tackle a drawer is drawer inserts," they told The Today Show. "Divide up all your categories, and you can actually use clear putty to adhere them down so they don't slide around."
29. Keep Things Low
As mentioned, installing an organizational system that can be maintained and upheld by the rest of the family is of utmost importance. Kids are no exception to this, and therefore, their playrooms should be arranged in a way that they can easily tidy up after themselves.
"Keep things low on the ground, so kids can actually put their toys back," Clea told the theSkimm YouTube channel. If they can reach the shelves, they will feel empowered to put things back where they belong and keep the room under control. It's essential they take pride in their space.
30. A Kid-Friendly Approach
While on the topic of children's playrooms, big bucket zones can also be a great way to help them stay organized. "We love having different baskets and bins to create different zones for different categories. So that kids or adults can easily put things away," Joanna explained. "Stuffed animals, art supplies, etc."
"Kids grow up fast, and so their toys get switched out. So having generalized categories is really helpful," noted Joanna. Organizing toys by the rainbow is also a form of visual labeling that creates an inviting tone and helps everyone to maintain the room's order.