We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.


written by  SHANI SILVER photography by  JOHN SHEARER

When we think of home organizing, it’s always when we’re nice and settled in, and we realize things have somehow gotten out of hand. But here’s an idea: What if organization started before you moved in? Clea Shearer, Co-Founder of The

Home Edit

 and Joanna Teplin, Co-Founder of

The Home Edit

were kind enough to walk us through some organizing basics that we never think of before we move. Through Clea’s process of moving her own (5 bedroom!) home and unpacking it in just 48 hours, we learned that a little bit of pre-move effort can make everything more manageable, long after you break down the boxes!

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A VOICE FOR “HOME ORGANIZING”? Joanna and I started The Home Edit with the goal of reinventing traditional organizing. We wanted to move away from label makers and plastic storage bins, and essentially merge organization with interior styling. The field of organizing has been around for a long time, but only recently has it become a branch of home decor and design. So while we spend a lot of time coming up with functional systems that can be maintained for the long term, we are equally as driven to create a stylized aesthetic that transforms the space visually.

FURNITURE Pottery Barn ACCESSORIES White’s Mercantile, FLWR Shop, Pottery Barn, West Elm

WHAT HOME ORGANIZING ADVICE DO YOU FIND YOURSELF GIVING OVER AND OVER AGAIN? We are asked EVERY DAY how to organize a pantry – so much so that we just released a DIY pantry kit (THE pantry kit) to teach some of our tips and tricks. Pantries seem to be an extra source of frustration for people since it’s a space that quickly gets out of control, and it’s a space you need to interact with several times a day. Some of our core pantry principles include: Edit out anything expired, old, or un-liked; take a quick inventory of what you have on-hand before going to the grocery store to prevent over-buying; put any duplicate items in a backstock bin so it doesn’t occupy valuable shelf space.

ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES White’s Mercantile, West Elm, Williams Sonoma, Target

FURNITURE Restoration Hardware

WHAT IS ONE ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT? The single most important organizing principle is that you can have the space, or you can have the item, but you can’t have both. You need to find the balance between how much space you want to have, versus how much stuff you want to hold on to. If you’re realistic about what fits comfortably in your home, you should be able to maintain a clutter-free environment.

FURNITURE Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Pottery Barn, vintage finds

ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES West Elm, Crate and Barrel, vintage finds

FURNITURE West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Home Goods ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES White’s Mercantile, FLWR Shop, Landmark Booksellers, Target

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST HOME ORGANIZING MISTAKE (OR MESS) YOU SEE MOST OFTEN? The biggest mistake people make is to confuse cleaning-up with organizing. If you just clean-up a room, it goes right back to being a mess. But if you spend the time to put systems in place, you can sustain the organization long term. For instance, if you are organizing your home office, and you take a minute to think through where you put down your mail, or where you like to sort through important papers – you can create a system of bins or files to avoid the inevitable piles of paper on your desk.

ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES The Organizing Store, The Container Store, West Elm

TELL US A BIT ABOUT THIS PROJECT. My husband and I moved our family to Nashville (from Los Angeles) exactly 1 year ago. We didn’t know anything about Nashville at the time, and we ended-up buying a house in a neighborhood that was further out than we wanted to be. After 7 months of long commutes, we decided we had to move into the city. It was a daunting thought.. 2 huge moves in 1 year with 2 kids in tow. But I knew I could do it as long as Joanna helped me put everything away and set-up the new house. As soon as the moving trucks arrived, we basically worked around the clock, but we were able to set-up my 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom home within 48 hours.

FURNITURE Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware Child, Land of Nod, and Ikea ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES West Elm, Land of Nod, Restoration Hardware Child, Ice Cream Social


There is no denying that moving is exhausting and hard work. But with the right organizational systems in place, it can also be seamless and not stressful. Some of our basic principles would be:


    We believe so firmly in editing that we even put it in our name. It is the first and most important step in getting organized. Before packing a single box, do a sweep through each room (opening each closet, cabinet, and drawer) and purge anything you no longer want or need. Moving into a new house with only items you value, saves a lot of time and energy while unpacking.



    All of your items should live in some sort of bin, basket, or container. Whether it’s a drawer insert, or a bin under your kitchen sink – you can easily pack and unpack the bin along with all of its components. Free-floating items are not easily transferable and often end up jumbled in the box.


    Along with having all your items contained, you also want to make sure everything is categorized and grouped together. For instance, if you your bathroom drawers have inserts, make sure they are only holding items that belong in your bathroom. That way, you can place all the contents into the box labeled “bathroom” and put them right into your new bathroom drawer on moving day.

ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES Turkish T, Valleybrink Road, Target, The Container Store


    If your new home has a closet, kitchen cabinets, or pantry that varies significantly from your current home, try to measure the spaces in advance and buy new containers before moving in. It will be much easier to have the supplies on-hand rather than having to interrupt your unpacking with a shopping trip.


    Before unpacking a room, step back and think about where things should go. You don’t want to start unpacking your dishes into one cabinet only to realize it made more sense on the other side of the kitchen. Try to map-out a logical set-up – and If the space is really large, use sticky notes on the cabinets to help you remember!

FURNITURE AND BEDDING Pottery Barn Kids ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES Pillowfort for Target, Ice Cream Social Shoppe, The Sweet Fox, The Container Store

FURNITURE Pottery Barn Kids, vintage finds ACCESSORIES AND ORGANIZING SUPPLIES Restoration Hardware Child, Pillowfort for Target, The Sweet Fox, Kidkraft