Interview: Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin.
Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are friends and business partners. They started "The Home Edit" to reinvent traditional organizing and merge it with design and interior styling.
The Home Edit service will organize every space in the home, from bedrooms and kitchens, to closets and pantries. Every project receives meticulous attention to detail, carefully considered systems, and a signature aesthetic. They can come to you—even if you're in a different state—or work online.
This team serves as the organizers to the stars, including huge celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon.
Their new book just hit the shelves: The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals.
As you can imagine, I couldn't wait to hear them discuss their views on clutter, organization, habits, and happiness. More outer order for all!
Gretchen: What’s a simple activity or habit that consistently makes you happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative?
Clea and Joanna: Can we say organizing or is that too obvious? But, seriously—an efficient and beautiful space gives us peace of mind and streamlines our routines. When you know what you have and where it is, it’s the simplest thing and yet so gratifying.
What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
As two people who’ve now made a living off of their type-A (or let’s be honest, neurotic) personalities, we’ve come to learn that following your intuition and passion is worth the risk—even if it scares the hell out of you at first. In fact, we didn’t know much about each other when we decided to start a business together. We had lunch—a four-hour lunch—and discussed worldwide organizing domination. The only thing we could really discern is that we felt like we had a similar work ethic and that we didn’t do anything halfway. We got that gut feeling that we’re just the kind of people who go all in—and thankfully, we did.
Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?
As organizers, we’re the first to say that routine is everything. And when it comes to making or breaking a habit, we believe that it comes down to being honest with yourself and creating systems that simplify and ease you into the process. For instance, I hate working out and I’m constantly making excuses for why I need to skip. So I started packing a gym bag and putting it in my trunk. The fact that I didn’t have to do the extra step of choosing what clothes to wear or having to go home to change was what I needed to jumpstart the habit, without me even realizing I was doing it.
Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits or your happiness? (e.g. travel, parties, email)
We travel a lot—especially now that we’re on our book tour. We’ve both woken up on multiple occasions and completely forgotten what city we’re in. We literally have to remind each other. In order to stay sane and not lose our routine, we’ve become better about prioritizing our time and commitments—and not feeling guilty for it.
Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”)
We have two particular mottos that we live by that have actually become parallel to our brand—Surviving Not Thriving and Low Bar Lifestyle. It’s all about setting the bar just low enough that you can accomplish all kinds of bite-size victories because life is too short to feel residual guilt about not wearing real pants or making it to the gym every day. We feel the same way about organizing. There’s nothing wrong with starting with a smaller project, then taking the confidence and knowledge you gain from that and applying it to something larger.
In your field, is there a common misperception or incorrect assumption that you’d like to correct?
We find that people tend to view organizing as extremely overwhelming or near impossible. The truth is that if we can do it, you can do it. It’s why we decided to write our book in the first place—to give people the tools and a step-by-step guide to creating efficient and beautiful spaces in their own homes. The other common misperception is that an organized space will take a ton of effort to maintain. The truth is that when you create systems that work seamlessly with your space and lifestyle, maintenance is as simple as putting things where they belong and setting aside time each month for a mini edit. Labeling and color-coding with ROYGBIV are methods we use that act as instructions (or a guilt mechanism) to put things back in their designated home.
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