The Home Edit Says: Your Kids Are Lying to You About Their 'Inability' to Clean Up

The Home Edit creators Clea and Joanna share tips on organizing everything—from medicine cabinet to kids toys—and spill on their new podcast, 'Best Friend Energy.'


Courtesy of The Home Edit

From the outside, The Home Edit house looks like any other nice new build in an unassuming Nashville neighborhood. The inside, however, is a super-organized, rainbow-hued wonderland—just what you'd expect from business owners and best friends Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, who have taken the nation (and Netflix) by storm, leaving a trail of of color-coded shelves and meticulously labeled clear containers in their wake.

These days, Shearer and Teplin's original home organization business has blossomed into a TV show, a new podcast, a fun and functional product line, and most recently a partnership with Abbott and COVID-19 test makers BinaxNOW. The Home Edit invited Parents over to celebrate the latter—and share tips on how to organize a family medicine cabinet in the best way for both adult access and kid safety, (And a little color-coding never hurt, either.)

But as extremely Home Edit as the Home Edit house is, Shearer and Teplin don't actually live here; it's a staged-home office for work meetings, photo shoots, and more—and there are delights in every corner, from a color-coded closet to a candy wall. "There are all sorts of things like Christmas trees," Shearer said as she led us up the stairs. "We call it the house of lies, because every corner is 'propped' in its own way."

And speaking of lies, the Home Edit pair also had some excellent (and hilarious) tips to share about when kids lie to us parents—plus how to motivate little ones to clean up and chip in. Read on for the advice Clea and Joanna shared with me on how busy parents can best organize our homes (from the aforementioned medicine cabinet to the ever-expanding repertoire of kids toys), pack for holiday travel, and more.


Courtesy of Amelia Edelman

Why are you focusing on the medicine cabinet as the home organizational space du jour?

Clea: Cold and flu season is a crazy time, and with COVID cases of course coupled with that, it's just really important to keep everyone safe, to keep your friends and family and loved ones healthy. And having your organized cold and flu and COVID supplies at the ready makes it just that much easier. We organized a medicine cabinet here, but of course it can be a cart, or any kind of station that puts your health and wellness at the forefront. It's also almost holiday season which means everyone is goin to be traveling—

Joanna: Right, and visiting, like, your elders...

Clea: Elders?

Joanna: Well, okay, my parents probably wouldn't appreciate that [laughs].

Clea: Yes, if you're visiting AN ELDER this holiday season make sure you pack your COVID tests! The thing about COVID specifically, but cold and flu season in general, is everyone is so susceptible. As I've been going through my cancer treatment, it was so imperative that I test everyone around me, and that I test myself all the time. It's just really critical, and honestly, Binax Now, the tests, made it really easy. So now we have these testing stations—I have this station in my house as well.

What about when you're packing to travel?

Clea: It's really nice to pack a kind of a travel companion—we use little clear, rectangular packing bags. It's so cute and you can take one of everything. It's nice to have a main station, and then you can create kind of a travel pack for on the go. Having a main health hub at home makes it super simple to pack your items and know what you need to stock up on.

Joanna: We love the packing squares, anything that's labeled and clear and you can see what's in there—for a plane, for a driving trip, anything.

Clea: We're big on pouches. Especially if you're on a plane and you need to make sure you have snacks at the ready, any plane games, just having everything easily accessible and visible is key. There's nothing like a screaming baby when you're trying to root through your things. Cold and flu season just makes it that much trickier.

Can you explain the logic behind color-coding everything? Does it help the organization or just look amazing?

Clea: We rainbow-fy everything.

Joana: It makes you motivated to keep the organization up. It's just that little extra push you need to stay inspired to keep your spaces organized.

Do you recommend adult and kid organization zones all over the house?

Clea: Absolutely. Zones are our friend.

Joanna: I love a zone.

Clea: It is really important to break apart all your medicines, specifically because of kids. So having kid supplies that are nontoxic lower down, and having adult medicines higher—having it separate so you don't accidentally grab for Tylenol that's for adults instead of kids.

Joanna: And that's where the labels come in handy, too; you can specify what goes where and for whom.

Clea: This goes for toys, too; there is not a single toy allowed downstairs. Except my puppy's! I've ruined my life by getting a puppy. But, before him, no toys were allowed downstairs. Kids, they have a playroom, and they have their own room. And they respect that space. It's different zones, and they respect it. They are allowed in the living room, they can read a book or watch a movie; their toys are not.


Courtesy of Amelia Edelman

Does organizing in that way help kids be more self-sufficient too? Having their toothbrushes etc. visible and within reach?

Joanna: Absolutely. As soon as you can teach them to do something themselves, that's a win as a parent. Right from the start, as early as you can, get kids involved in organizing and taking ownership. They're going to be that much more motivated to maintain that going forward.

Clea: We're bing on course-correcting. You want to give kids the autonomy to try and do things themselves. Joanna and I always like to reference the fact that it's really important for our kids to make their beds every day, but then we go in and remake them because they do a terrible job. But that's just because we want it to look a certain way. It's really important that they have that ownership and autonomy over their space. And to be a responsible member of the household!

Joanna: Teach good home habits from an early age. You might as well learn young! It's like a language: the earlier you start, the more ingrained it is and the easier it is to continue going forward. My daughter went to a friend's house and was showing her friend how to organize her room. She was like, "Kaylee, we need to edit, you have too many things, and then we contain it!" It was so cute.

So your kids are actually organized—these systems really work in your daily lives.

Clea: Most kids do know how to clean and organize. They are just fooling their parents. Whenever a parent tells us, "I don't think my kids are going to be able to keep it up," I always remind them: In preschool, in kindergarten, you think the teacher is just cleaning up after every child? Absolutely not. Kids understand systems; they know how to put things away. There's a whole song about cleaning up. They know how to do it. And the second kids come home, they're just like, shrug, IDK where things go. That's a lie! They do know where they go, and they can put things away themselves.

Joanna: Organization matters to my daughter; she is proud of her room. I need to nudge her sometimes, but she knows what to do.

Clea: I have to nudge, too, but the systems are smart. They're baked in. Smart organizational systems should be plug-and-play, and it's easy for a household to maintain it. Sometimes kids, it's like they don't see an item, it doesn't affect their brain! I walk in a room and I'm like, "Why is all this stuff out?" and you know, they'll do it. They know where things go; you create simple systems. If there's a toy on the floor and one of my children says "It doesn't bother me," I'm like, "well, you don't own this house, so pick it up, or, you know, move out." [Laughs.]

Joanna: Or, also, "If it's not that important to you, I'm happy to give it to a child that it would be very important to!" You know. We're really fun moms! [Laughs!]

What's next for the Home Edit?

Clea: We just launched a podcast called Best Friend Energy, which we have in spades! We realized that we've really created a community of best friends. We just wanted another format where we could connect with everyone.

Joanna: And laugh! And have fun.

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