Reality TV has introduced us to Peter Walsh, Marie Kondo, “Hoarders”, “Clean Sweep”, The Minimalists. And now, it’s The Home Edit ladies – Clea and Joanna. Each show has introduced the world of professional organizing in its own way, highlighting different approaches, what the role of a Professional Organizer entails and most importantly a population of those looking to become “more organized”.
Through the years, there have been some interesting shifts in the world of organizing. There has been a nice marriage of function and aesthetics. When I first began my professional organizing career 17 years ago, if it was pretty, it wasn’t functional and if it was functional, it wasn’t pretty. Now we have patterned binders and file folders, attractive storage ottomans and more.
Home offices began taking over valuable real estate in our homes, even before COVID – but yes, even more so now. Social media and technology pull on our time and detract from our productivity, making time management skills needed more than ever. And now due to a pandemic, we are spending more time in our homes, reevaluating their functionality, cooking more, working and going to school from home, and recognizing that our spaces need to work better than ever. The timing for a new organizing reality TV show is ideal.
So, how does The Home Edit compare to the real world of organizing? For starters, I do feel that this show comes the closest to what I experience each and every day. I can completely commiserate with: my foot falling asleep while sorting on the floor, the struggle with getting pegs in and out and while trying to raise or lower a shelf, the excitement over something fitting into a space exactly as I had hoped and the frustration when it doesn’t, and of course the ever popular Tupperware matching game.
I also love the time they spend at the beginning of each project assessing the space with the client, asking lots of questions and setting goals. This is huge and rarely has this part of the process been highlighted. Without this step, the project will likely not succeed.
The Home Edit gives a much more realistic view of how much work is involved. They actually show a team of people, along with carpenters/handymen and LOTS of sorting, purging (or in their world, editing, but same difference), containing, labeling, installing and more – giving clients and those interested in the process a more realistic view of what these projects entail. Creating zones and categories is a universal part of the process as well, and I like that they mention the need for such in every episode. Even Clea and Joanna got stumped and frustrated at times!
And of course, I agree with their love of clear bins and labels!
So, what aspects are different? A few…
I guarantee that a lot of planning went into each reality tv episode that is not shown. They couldn’t have known what products to bring in without some pre-assessment, measurements, pictures, etc to guide them on what would be needed. I imagine there is a good amount that landed on the cutting room floor or purposely wasn’t included. If it were, it would make for an episode that is way too long to hold an audience’s attention and parts that would be none too exciting.
Many of my projects do not end up looking like a Container Store catalog. Yet, they still represent MAJOR progress. For any number of reasons, the end result may not be Pinterest worthy – budgets, space constraints, a client’s intentional desire to not look so perfect and then have pressure to keep it that way, some want to reuse products they already have versus all new, matching ones and for any number of other reasons. But at the end of the day, it is about what the client’s needs and goals are and how they can maintain it.
More times than not, I work best when the client is working alongside me so we can make decisions together, and I can continue to ask questions along the way. I also incorporate maintenance and habit changing into these discussions. Yes, there are times when it is best for the client to walk away and allow me to work my magic with a reveal at the end. I had that occasion last week in fact and sure enough I came home saying it was so much fun and I wish I had a camera crew with me. But day in and day out, the conversations that flow from working together are invaluable and allow me to really get to know my client and for them to get to know me as well.
That being said, The Home Edit is a reality TV show win! A win for clients everywhere to see how it is done and the benefits that come as a result. A win for us organizers, as in general we have the shared belief that any show, interview, magazine article or book that draws attention to the valuable services we offer is positive publicity.
And while I’m not much of a Kardashian fan, I have often said, “Happy clients make for happy organizers” which is similar to what Clea and Joanna said with Khloe Kardashian.
For further entertainment, watch this video by the ever-hilarious Holderness Family…