Review: ‘The Home Edit’ reality show makes organization lavish

The Netflix original series "Get Organized with The Home Edit" became available to stream on September 9. The reality series follows Clea and Joanna as they organize the homes of regular families and celebrities. Photo courtesy by Netflix

By Madalyn Watson | Editor-in-Chief

Netflix released “Get Organized with The Home Edit” Sept. 9 just in time to capitalize off the home improvement craze elevated by coronavirus-induced social distancing. If only the series was more self-aware.

I am the kind of person who will cancel plans to reorganize my cupboards. I am the kind of person who watches “Extreme Declutter” and “Get Organized with Me” videos on YouTube religiously. I am the kind of person who peruses Pinterest for aesthetically organized closets and cleared off kitchen counter tops to calm myself down when I can’t sleep.

Therefore, I am the kind of person “Get Organized with The Home Edit” was created to cater to, but the series falls short in many ways.

Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin started their home organization company called “The Home Edit” in 2015. Since then, their business has skyrocketed. With tons of celebrity clients and a rainbow Instagram feed, the duo has made an imprint in pop culture with their niche interests.

They published their first book “The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals” in 2019 which is a “guide to establishing order in your home.”

After their reality show became available to stream on Netflix, they published their second book on September 15. This book is titled “The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything” — a title so long just saying it leaves me gasping for air.

In addition to their books, the professional organizers partnered up with the Container Store to produce their product line. The Home Edit has its own acrylic bins, shelf dividers and premade labels which are all prominently featured in their new series as well as all over their social media profiles.

All of this background is necessary because I have an insane amount of respect for Shearer and Teplin. In fact, there is a huge part of me that wants to drop all my current goals and aspirations to join “The Home Edit” crew.

However, the reality series “Get Organized with The Home Edit” is unapologetically privileged. The series is less of the uber satisfying, organization I wanted and more of a not-so-humble brag mixed with an infomercial for their products.

Each episode follows a similar structure like most reality and home improvement shows. “The Home Edit” crew organizes a room of a celebrity (which is a room that usually contains that celebrities merchandise or memorabilia from highlights of their career) and then, they take pity on a cluttered commoner.

From Reese Witherspoon and Khloé Kardashian to Neil Patrick Harris and Retta, the organizing duo organizes the closets of the talented, rich and famous. They even handle their expensive or collectible items from Reese Witherspoon’s bubblegum pink wardrobe from “Legally Blonde” or two-year-old True Thompson’s collection of miniature sports cars.

In the other part of each episode, Shearer and Teplin organize the cereal boxes and messy file cabinets of regular people. Of course, the organizers (as well as the audience) are significantly less impressed with the messes made by nameless families.

Something about putting an appointment with a celebrity in all eight of forty minute episodes feels cheap and as if the only way they can get people to watch their organization series is the big names. It feels like the Shearer and Teplin don’t have faith in themselves or their work because they have to rely on recognizable faces.

But they should. They’ve made an organizing empire — a phrase that would have made even less sense before Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and Netflix special “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” became cultural touchstones and your mother’s favorite conversation topic.

Add the regular celebrity cameos to the endless parade of products in “Getting Organized with The Home Edit,” and an advertisement is created. Every single episode, some of the younger women that work for Shearer and Teplin drive up to the home with a van filled with shopping bags from the Container Store.

I get it. The women made a successful business and they’re just continuing to do their jobs. The combination of celebrity power and branded items makes the organization feel inaccessible to those who aren’t rolling in the wealth of sponsorship deals and fame.

Organizing and cleaning my home is something I do when I feel like the world is out of my control, and one of those stressors that push me off my axis is money. When I’m not sure how I’m going to pay for next month’s rent or combine the items in the back of my cupboard to make a meal, I know I can organize what I already own at the very least.

I could be reading too far into this, of course. No matter what “Get Organized with The Home Edit” is mind numbing, easy watching reality television for the escapist in all of us.

Even though the series follows an annoying structure and feels like it would be more entertaining shortened into an eight minute YouTube video, “Get Organized with The Home Edit” is still a show that will let you turn off your brain and pretend you’re improving your lifestyle.