Millennials are gushing, for good reason, over two “designing Jewish women” Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, who wrote “The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals.” Riding on the crest of the wave promulgated by Marie Kondo’s popular Asian style KonMari organization and storage solutions, “The Home Edit” authors will appear April 11 at the Marcus JCC. The Instagram stars have the winning formula because the book is easy to read and use. Open any page and get a function, solution, photo and summary.
The dreaded junk drawer, handling the emotion of getting rid of things, labeling, the utility room, dealing with kids’ clutter are all covered in 247 magazine-like pages.
So how did two Nashville moms make the leap to organizing stars’ homes such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Mandy Moore? You can view their spaces in the book.
The book flap description delivers what’s inside: “It’s like having your best friend at your side to help turn the chaos into calm … a master class and lookbook in one.”
This is a signature approach to decluttering. And how does one organize “Jewish stuff”? Find out what Shearer and Teplin have to say:
Jaffe: Connect the dots. … How did two women from Tennessee get together and make this leap?
Shearer: When I first moved to Nashville from LA in 2015, I knew absolutely no one except my husband and my two kids. I ended up meeting a new friend on Instagram (yes, I know!) named Leah and we quickly decided to get breakfast together. As we talked, she mentioned that she had a friend named Joanna who, like me, was new to Nashville from California, has two kids, a husband in the music industry, is Jewish, and wants to start an organizing company, too. It seemed like too much of a coincidence, so we ended up meeting up for coffee. Four hours later, we were business partners. That same night, we came up with our company name, designed our logo, bought our domain, and registered our LLC. Organizers are nothing if not efficient. Looking back, it’s probably ill-advised to essentially get married after a matter of hours, but when it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
Jaffe: How did growing up Jewish affect your energy?
Shearer: I don’t want to cater to stereotypes, by any means, but being raised by a Jewish mother (Roberta) definitely bred my tendency for detail. There’s something to be said about that, but in the best way possible.
Jaffe: Did the initial buzz about Marie Kondo somehow lay the groundwork for what you created?
Teplin: Organization has definitely been growing buzz over the past few years, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. It allows us to showcase our passion and change people’s mindset about what it takes to create and maintain an edited space.
Jaffe: Expound on your organizational “code” ROYGBIV?
Shearer: ROYGBIV stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet — aka the rainbow. We don’t use this method of color-coding just because it looks aesthetically pleasing. It also happens to be a pattern that our brains innately recognize and helps us make sense of where things belong.
Jaffe: Your demographic is women 25 to 40?
Teplin: We definitely consider our demographic to be women from 25 to 40, but at the same time, an organized home is beneficial for any age group or gender. We strive to change the way people think about organizing and show how when you have a system in place, an efficient and aesthetically pleasing space is attainable for anyone. But we’ll admit that our demographic is a direct result of using Instagram as the perfect tool to visually explain, share and promote our exact kind of business. We were the first to really use social media as a strong tool to grow our business and quickly came to realize that pictures of beautifully organized spaces seem to elicit a visceral sense of calm. When Instagram stories came along, which documents our “surviving not thriving” lives as moms, business owners, etc., it gives us a chance to show a clear, honest contrast from our beautifully curated Instagram feed.
Jaffe: How can we do cardio by getting organized?
Shearer: One of the biggest mistakes people make when organizing is stopping and restarting a project. It’s how people tend to lose interest and confidence —and then give up altogether. The key to success is just keep moving. By the end of it, you’ll have an edited space you are proud of, and because of the calories you burned by moving and purging items, you’ll have an excuse to pour that extra glass of champagne or handful of candy.
Jaffe: What do you mean by “an extra layer of pixie dust”?
Shearer: We believe that organizing spaces shouldn’t just be about putting things in their place. Nor should it just be about how the space looks. The magic happens where form meets function, when spaces are efficient, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing all at once. The extra layer of pixie dust, such as color-coding in ROYGBIV and labeling in our signature script, not only makes sections of the home more enjoyable to look at, but we’ve also found that it inspires people to maintain their organized spaces, which is the whole point!
Jaffe: What lessons can we learn about letting go of emotionally attached things that take up space?
Teplin: Our rule of thumb is that you can have the item or you can have the space, but you can’t have both. For sentimental items, it comes down to how important it really is to you. For instance, there may be a difference between your grandmother’s china and a piece of artwork your preschooler made you at school. It’s okay to hold onto things that are sentimental, as long as it’s not taking up your everyday living space. If it is, then it’s time to make the decision about whether it should be donated, tossed, or stored elsewhere. It’s okay to get rid of things that no longer serve you.
Jaffe: Balance aesthetic versus organized, you are each other’s right and left brains?
Teplin: I am the function; Clea is the form. We balance each other in terms of style and utility, especially because we both believe in how important being organized is for a home to operate effectively and efficiently, and how crucial it is for peace of mind. We also keep each other in line. Whenever I get frustrated, Clea yells at me. If Clea starts getting distracted, I yell at her. You know, just your typical business partners!
Jaffe: In your wildest dreams:
Shearer: We’re excited to finally share that we will be launching an exclusive collection of products we designed with iDesign, which will be available ONLY at The Container Store in May!
Jaffe: Have you even been to Atlanta before? How would you describe our vibe?
Teplin: We love Atlanta, and always look forward to going to AmericasMart together. It’s similar to Nashville with its friendly vibe, delicious food, and beautiful neighborhoods. So we feel at home there!
Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin will have their talk and signing at 7:30 p.m. April 11 at the MJCCA.