Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, the two indefatigable women behind the personal organizing business Home Edit, are obsessed with “zones.” A closet is not just a place to hold clothes, shoes, and ephemera—it is a tightly organized and strategic landscape of zones, a beautifully-merchandised, color-coded, retail-adjacent space where everything has its place. Perusing their immensely popular Instagram account, it is easy to see what they mean: a zone is another minute attempt at exerting control over the uncontrollable. If the women behind the Home Edit, which is now an eight-episode series on Netflix, have their way, Americans will reap the benefits of their dastardly system and spend the rest of their lives organizing their way into a better, more aesthetically pleasing life.
Get Organized With the Home Edit positions itself as a cheerier, more Pinterest-friendly version of Marie Kondo’s entire ethos: everyone could stand to be a bit more organized, and if someone is willing to help out, then great. Every episode features a regular family with the sort of regular-family disorganization—a messy garage, a disorganized kitchen—and then is enhanced by the guest appearances of extremely famous people, who certainly have the time and the means to organize their houses themselves. Watching the women gush over Reese Witherspoon’s costume archives or Rachel Zoe’s collection of Chanel bags is sycophancy at its finest. Celebrity’s messiness is only interesting if there is actual mess, and it’s hard to sympathize or feel inspired by a very rich woman asking two other women to organize her stuff so that she can better see all her things.
While I understand that the famous people are likely the draw, there’s nothing particularly interesting or exciting about watching famous people of means pay these two women and their assistants—an army of women who look like a sentient Christian Girl Autumn meme—to organize their designer goods inside a capacious walk-in closet. In the second episode, the women tackle the closet of celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, who has already benefitted from their services in the past, but has since gone astray. “I want to be able to move in my closet,” she says, even though as she says this, there are three women and a camera crew standing in the space with ease. The issue is not that her closet is disorganized, but that she has too much stuff—so much stuff that the women were able to eliminate an entire rack of clothing that she identified as her “Hamptons wardrobe” and clear enough space so that they could put an island in the middle of the closet so that the space would feel a little less empty.
Much more rewarding are the real-life families that the Home Edit women help, because watching those stories unfold is at least a little bit relatable. Everyone has a corner of their home that could use some help, but if you want to know how to fix your disaster of a garage, watching an episode of the show will not yield any actual tips or tricks. The women of the Home Edit treat organizing a messy space like one might merchandise an American Eagle, optimizing the space for prettiness first, and actual ease of use, second. This eliminates the true drama of any show of this nature, which is the process itself. One would think that if a messy bedroom or a closet were getting an entire overhaul, Clea and Joanna would have some sort of plan—and if they expect their show to be compelling beyond a human tendency towards lookie-looism, they would provide some actual tips. But the Home Edit is not about solving actual problems, it’s about creating problems that don’t exist and then coming up with a solution for them, for $250 hour, with a generous budget for incidentals.
The services the Home Edit provides are admittedly both expensive and largely unnecessary; having a system of perfectly-labeled acrylic bins to hold all of life’s general crap is not a must-have. But by including the civilian families, many of whom found the Home Edit through their very popular Instagram feed or through their work with famous-adjacent people like Eva Chen, the women are attempting to normalize their services, presenting them as a necessity for living a happy and well-organized life. The presence of celebrities on this show is clearly to draw in Netflix viewers interested in seeing the possibly-messy homes of the rich and famous. Unfortunately, all of the celebrity homes featured are tidy, spacious, and clean—more aspirational than inspirational.
Really, the show is nothing more than a well-produced infomercial for their services. Every episode features a clutch of their assistants hopping in the car and returning with bags full of product from the Container Store—acrylic bins, stackers, lazy Susans, and sweater boxes galore. Though the women never mention outright that they have their own curated collection of organizing bins at the Container Store, I have to assume that every clacking acrylic shelf divider or stacking pantry bin is one of their own. Consider the case of Khloé Kardashian, who brings in the women of the Home Edit to re-organize her previously-organized garage. The space needs to accommodate her art studio (?), the detritus of her various collaborations with her sisters, and daughter True’s small but impressive collection of child-sized luxury vehicles. Incredibly, the Home Edit women find enough space to make a mini parking garage for True’s vehicles in one section of the garage, while rearranging the boxes and zones they previously arranged for Khloé to better contain her life. Kardashian is immensely grateful for the Home Edit’s presence, for their ability to solve a problem of their own creation.
What the Home Edit women are really selling is control over hearth and home —that if your fridge is organized within an inch of its life, your other problems will disappear— with a generous helping of fantasy. Realistically, spending $266.85 for the Home Edit Fridge Storage Solution will give you a better chance of remaking your fridge into an approximation of Khloé Kardashian’s, but cramming a bunch of string cheese and some wilting kale into a plastic bin is not the same as stocking your fridge with rows upon rows of cottage cheese and GoGurts, as if curating a bespoke Costco or disaster prepping for the apocalypse. The difference is money. Khloé has it, and the rest of us, less so. But the quiet promise that winds its way through each episode is status: Having a Home Edit-organized garage is a luxury handbag, a brand-new Louis Vuitton Neverfull. There’s no way to organize your way out of one tax bracket and into another, but the Home Edit would love to convince you otherwise. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work.