Why Am I Reviewing This Book?
The Home Edit is a book about organizing in a way that marries form and function, creating visually appealing spaces that are easy to maintain. It was written by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, who have a business and popular television show by the same name, and published in 2019.
Admittedly, I am a bit “behind the 8 ball” in writing a review on The Home Edit. Joanna and Clea have published other works, since, as well (I’ll be getting to at least a couple of those, as well). But, with the recent popularity of the show, I thought it would still be a good idea to review The Home Edit, since the book is mentioned multiple times in the show and I’m sure others are curious about it, as well.
As for my angle, I am a feng shui master, clutter clearing and organizing expert, as well as a seasoned writer and published author. I am an artist and designer and I really appreciate how Joanna and Clea’s work is as much about making a space beautiful, as it is about making it well-ordered and functional. I am also someone who has had to work through my own clutterbug tendencies and deal with the psychological reasons behind them. So, I am bringing all that experience with me and I hope to be able to offer a unique perspective on The Home Edit.
This book is thick and somewhat heavy. The cover is paperback, but on the sturdier side. The title reads:
The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals
That’s a pretty lofty statement. My inner skeptic (bless her heart!) is saying, “Really? All of my house goals? I doubt it!” But, she’s also captivated by the pictures, so whatever.
There’s a partially covered picture of an organized pantry, on the front. It may not be the most appealing picture, but if someone is familiar with Joanna and Clea’s work, they’ll probably recognize the organizing style.
The picture is in keeping with the mostly neutral color scheme of the cover, though, and it’s not overly distracting, so maybe that’s why it was used.
This book is on the pricey side at U.S. $24.99/$33.99 CAN.
Is it worth it? Well, how much is it worth to get your house sorted AND to have a book that’s appealing enough to place on your coffee table?
Not to mention it could be a conversation starter for company, since the show The Home Edit is really hot, right now, so the brand name helps.
A lot of thought went into creating this book and it’s obviously well-made and classy, while still being approachable.
I got this copy of The Home Edit from the library, but if I really wanted and needed my own copy, I think it would be worth the price.
The table of content is very simple and the book is broken down into three sections: The Edit, The Assembly, and The Upkeep. There are tags arranged in the middle of the book, meant to be a quick reference. There’s black (The Edit), a rainbow (The Assembly) with a color for each section of your home, and black again (The Upkeep). There is an index, which is great. There’s also a “how to stay inspired” section, at the back.
As one might expect from a couple of organizing geeks (I say that, respectfully, since I am one, too), their book is really well-organized, with a thoughtful and appealing layout.
There are tips for paring down, measuring and otherwise preparing your space, doing things in stages (to avoid going nuts), tips on how to shop for supplies, etc.
Because Clea and Joanna are moms, they thought of things like the “go play outside drawer”, LOL. There are many other clever examples of beautifully organized spaces in their assembly section, as well.
Within the assemly section, they cover the following:
- Home Office
- Play Spaces
Many Pages, But Also Many Pictures
This book is thick, with 250 pages (including the reference pages), at the back. Fortunately, many of those pages are filled with pretty pictures of organized spaces. So, it’s not as wordy and hard to get through, as if it was ONLY or even mostly text. I’d say it’s about 50/50. And some of the pages that have text are not even full. Some of the pictures have lines and numbers drawn from correlating text on the adjacent page, so that’s a nifty layout/printing trick which obviously required extra care. In case you’re wondering, it took me about three bus rides (or a little over three hours) to get through the nearly 250 pages of this book. So, it’s really not too wordy.
Something very notable about Joanna and Clea’s work is that it’s mom-friendly. They are both mothers of two children, a boy and a girl. So, they know firsthand, what goes into creating and maintaining spaces, even with children in the mix. That knowledge is woven into their lifestyle and organizing advice. It’s also reflected in the book. One thing that spoke to me was their “Go Play Outside Drawer”, filled with sidewalk chalk and things that otherwise belong ONLY outside, according to the authors. I like how they use organizing to create boundaries, healthy structure, and expectations for self-sufficiency, in regards to children’s items and spaces. Those are all very healthy things.
Not that I’m trying to be a “glass half empty” kind of person…However, I would like to also see sections for inspiring and beautious bedrooms, garages, attics, and basements. But, that would be a much bigger book. I guess they had to draw the line, somewhere.
They also say, straight up, that they dislike organizing garages, attics, and basements. So, I guess that’s why they didn’t include them in the book. Makes sense. However, I remember them tackling at least a couple garages, in the show. I remember them doing a basement playroom, as well. And a bedroom, or two.
As for instructions on how to tackle those spaces, step-by-step, in written form…well, you’ll have to find that elsewhere, I suppose. Unless, maybe that’s book #2? I doubt it, LOL. There aren’t enough sections to make up a rainbow…
You should be able to take the processes they use for editing and assembling smaller projects and apply them to a garage, attic, or basement. But, maybe take it one section at a time, rather than trying to do the whole thing, in one go, and driving yourself nutso.
Who is the Book NOT For?
Alright, so, The Home Edit is NOT for you, if you:
- feel that spending the time to give each item a proper home is overrated
- find Clea and Joanna’s personalities to be obnoxious, annoying, or any other shade of unpleasant
- do not have the time, money, or inclination to buy the book, let alone go out and buy carloads full of Lucite containers to micromanage every little item in your home
- get stressed out by clean and orderly spaces, because that’s the opposite of comfort and control for you, somehow
- are someone for whom the act of editing (decluttering) usually backfires, i.e. you end up creating three messes for every one that you clean up, because you have a serious hoarding disorder and need psychological help, far beyond what the book can provide…it’s okay if this is you…just be honest with yourself and get the help you need, if and when you’re ready for it…
- have a strong aversion to the use of the rainbow for organizing EVERYTHING, including books and types foods
The Book vs. The Show
If you find yourself asking, “Can’t I just watch the show?”, I will tell you that there are some key differences.
While the series The Home Edit (there are currently two seasons on Netflix) showcases Joanna and Clea’s quirky personalities and relationship to each other, as well as projects that they take on, the book is more instructional and it breaks things down, piece by piece.
Rather than having a team of organizers come in and transform a space in a day or week, it assumes that there is one person working on their own space.
There are details in these pages that are not discussed in the show. Plus, you can bookmark pages, have the book by your side as you’re organizing, refer back to it, as often as you need to, flip through it for encouragement, instructions, and inspiration. While the show may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind, the book is tangible. It can be your constant companion, as you move from project to project, throughout your home.
Sure, you might want to check out the show, because it’s really fun and inspiring. But, if you want to know the nuts and bolts of how to organize a space, like they do on the show, you should pick up a copy of the The Home Edit. And no, Clea and Joanna are not paying me to say that, LOL. I really feel that the book is a great companion to the show, as well as a standalone guide to organizing your space in a way that’s beautiful, highly functional, and that enhances your quality of life.
My Overall Opinion
I really liked The Home Edit, in case that’s not already obvious. I think it’s really well done. I personally enjoy Clea and Joanna’s personalities and rapport. I dig their dorky sense of humor.
While I don’t completely agree with their methods and I think their use of clear plastic containers for EVERYTHING is a bit overwrought, as well as perhaps not the best thing for the environment, I understand their reasoning.
As you can tell from my “who is this NOT for” section, I don’t necessarily think this is for everyone. But, I also see how most people could enjoy The Home Edit and get something of value from it.
I love that they included plenty of pictures (some more inspiring than others) as examples of what’s possible. There are some organizing books that don’t have any pictures at all. I just read one, recently, and it was funny, but very very wordy, and I would have enjoyed some pictures, to break things up. So, their inclusion of pictures in this book makes it really stand out.
I also love that they focus on aesthetics, as well as creating order, when tackling a space. In the show, Clea said something about her desire to elevate organizing, so that it’s seen as being part of interior design, rather than separated from it. That ideal really spoke to me and it is carried through this book, as well.
I will leave you with this section (below) about the kind of person who would really enjoy and most benefit from reading The Home Edit.
Who is the Book For?
You will probably like The Home Edit, if you:
- want the peace of mind + time-saving + lowered stress levels that (eventually) comes from giving every item a home that it can live in and return to
- enjoy Clea and Joanna’s fun and delightful personalities and want more of that, accessible every single day, in book form
- love looking at pretty pictures of organized spaces
- have the time, money, energy, and inclination to do things THE (The Home Edit) way
- live near a Container store (Walmart.com carries THE products, but they don’t have measurements on their website, so that seems like an exercise in frustration) or are willing to have stuff shipped to your door
- need hand-holding and step-by-step instructions (there’s no shame in that!), in order to effectively organize a space or a drawer or whatever
- want some guidance and encouragement re: editing (decluttering), as well as some permission to let go of stuff, when doing so would otherwise make you feel guilty
- generally enjoy having a clean, orderly, and beautiful space and while you may not LOVE every step of the process, you’re quite happy to do it and maintain said space(s)
- have kids and want to teach them to be more self-sufficient in cleaning up after themselves or getting the supplies they need for their various projects or play dates
- enjoy sorting things according to the colors of the rainbow, because you “get” that ROYGBIV automatically trumps every other organizing system known to man…including the alphabetical one, LOL (hi, Lisa 🙂 )
Love and Blessings!