Meet Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, the women behind The Home Edit, a home-organizing service based in Nashville. We adore them for their concept—who doesn’t love a color-coded closet or an immaculate makeup drawer?—and their content, which is hilarious, relatable, covetably stylish, and totally addictive. (Just ask their almost-700K Instagram followers.) We traveled to Nashville to chat about their journey to professional clutter domination, what it means to be in business with your best friend, and why you should never—ever—touch the towels at Clea’s mom’s place.
What was the “aha” moment when you realized that organization could be a career?
Clea Shearer: It didn’t come as an “aha”—it was a slow, gradual progression. When I lived in Los Angeles, I was working on editing people’s closets and helping them resell their merchandise, then reorganizing it. I loved working with clients. The fun part was the purge, the, “Let’s go through and figure out what you actually want and what you don’t want.” I’ve always been a very neat and organized person to the point of obsession. I was going to start my own organizing company in Los Angeles, and then my husband and I found out that we were going to be moving to Nashville. I figured out I would let the dust settle and then start an organizing company in Nashville.
It was perfect for me—the “aha moment” of starting the company was a new life change. I wanted to really lean into that, and what better way to celebrate a whole new life than by “This is the time to make that leap.” I think when so many people tell you you’re good at something, you should listen to them. We’re all so self-deprecating, and it’s nice to feel like you’re good at one thing. You have to listen to that. I finally did, and I was like, “I think I can do this. I don’t know why I think I can, but I think I can.”
How did the two of you meet?
Joanna Teplin: I had been in Nashville about a year—I moved from San Francisco. When I was in San Francisco, I had a business doing creative projects for busy people. I was organizing, I was doing a little bit of design, a little bit of decorating. Personal assistant stuff, party planning, and then, when I moved to Nashville for my husband’s job, I decided I only wanted to do the organizing piece. So, I dropped the rest and just started focusing on the organizing.
And then a good friend of mine said that this girl had just moved here from California, she wants to do organizing, too, maybe you should do it together. I said “I don’t want a business partner, I’ve never had a business partner. I’ll meet her but I’m not going into business with her.” And Clea was, like, all ready to go into business together. I met her for lunch and just knew that we would be in business together. We literally started our business the day we met. That night we came up with the logo and the name.
So it was love at first sight?
Clea Shearer: I didn’t know much about Joanna when I decided to start a business with her. We had lunch—it was a four-hour lunch—and discussed worldwide organizing domination. The only thing I could really discern is that I felt like we had a similar work ethic; I felt like we were just as driven, just as motivated. I could tell that we didn’t do anything halfway. I got that gut feeling that we’re just the kind of people who go all in, and I was right. Could have gone terribly wrong, but it went well.
What’s it like being in business with your BFF?
Clea Shearer: I think that Joanna and I would agree on this—we were business partners first and ended up as best friends. Honestly, we’re not even best friends, we’re more like siblings. We really went from business partners to family, and I think because of that, we don’t have any of the pretenses of friendship. We don’t cuddle each other in that way, we’re not like, “Oh, I’m just trying to be a good friend.” It’s like, “No, I’m going to tell you like it is.” We share hotel rooms together all the time, we’re on the road all the time, we’re traveling all the time. It’s like being with your husband or something. We skipped the whole part that’s just friendship—we’re beyond that.
Why is home organizing so appealing?
Joanna Teplin: Everyone needs organization. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, it doesn’t matter if you live in a big space or a small space—you still need to maximize the utility of all your spaces. And we wanted to do something different. We didn’t want to just be total utility, we wanted it to be pretty. Like an extension of interior design.
What kind of space is the most satisfying to organize?
Joanna Teplin: It depends on the person we’re organizing for. If it’s somebody who works from home, sometimes it’s the home office, because that’s such an overwhelming space. But if it’s a mom—it’s the pantry, because what is better than a beautiful pantry where you know what you have? Even my husband—I feel like he’s satisfied. I mean, he doesn’t line up the bars, but the other day I caught him getting rid of the box and putting the bars in the bin because it’s easy.
Which parts of your own life are the most and least organized?
Clea Shearer: Every closet, drawer, and corner of my house is extremely organized. Literally nothing else in my life is. It ends there. I have to look at my calendar 12 times a day because there are so many moving parts—I don’t remember if it’s picture day or if I have a parent-teacher conference, or if I’m flying out that night. I mean, I literally live in chaos…but everything looks good.
And here’s the thing: for me, organization comes from a place of, number one, I never want to look for anything. You don’t have to look for anything in an organized house because there’s really only a certain place it could be—maybe two places. I find it very satisfying. It’s really a mental thing—I’m not comfortable in clutter, I can’t relax. From a very young age, I had to keep my room clean because I couldn’t settle in, I couldn’t do my homework, I couldn’t get comfortable at night if a bunch of things were out.
What’s the best part of having an organized space?
Joanna Teplin: You just feel in control of your day. To know what you have, where it is, not being in a hurry and wondering if you have clean clothes, or how many pairs of underwear you have left, or whatever it is. It’s the simplest thing and yet it’s so gratifying. I appreciate it on a daily basis.
Kids can be the antithesis of organization. How do you deal?
Clea Shearer: I have a light box in my playroom that says, Clean It Up. I tell my kids, “If you leave your stuff lying around, I will donate it. If you don’t put it away, I’m going to assume that you don’t value it, so think twice.” I give them two days, but honestly, the second they go to school, I start putting things in a donate bag. I know what they don’t care about.
Can we go deep and talk about the “towel incident” a few years back?
Clea Shearer: You mean Towelgate? Joanna and I stayed at my parents’ house on a work trip, and the next time we were in Los Angeles, my mother sat us down at the kitchen table and said, “Girls, I have something very important to talk to you about.” And we were like, “What?! What is it?” My dad was sitting there, too. We had no idea, almost like we were back in high school. And my mother showed me a picture on her phone, and she said, “Do you know what this is?” It was black and white, and she was redoing her kitchen, so I thought, “Did you pick out new marble for the kitchen counter?” And she said, “This is—or, this was—my fluffy white towel and someone—one of you—smudged your makeup all over it.” Joanna and I were somewhere between hysterically laughing and slightly remorseful, but we also didn’t know which one of us it was.
On one hand, Joanna’s mascara is always running because she laughs until she’s crying. So she could very easily have just wiped her face at night and not thought about it. I could also have been like, “Who cares? Roberta’s my mom. What, is she going to kick me out?” And just used her towel. Also, the towel rules have definitely changed at the house. We didn’t understand that we had to be walking on eggshells around towels, so honestly, either of us could have done it and the mystery remains unsolved.
So give us Roberta’s House Rules—the 2018 Holiday Edition.
Clea Shearer: Always turn the lights out when you leave the room. No shoes in the house—do not think about wearing shoes. And—this is so important—do not ever roll your suitcase on her floors. It had better be a light suitcase, you can carry it, or you need to unzip it in the entryway and unpack the clothing, take loads upstairs, then put the suitcase in the front hall closet, because if you are caught rolling the suitcase on the floor, heads will roll.
(Watch Joanna and Clea’s full Holiday House Rules video here.)
How do you keep your makeup and beauty products organized?
Joanna Teplin: I have a drawer dedicated to makeup and skin stuff. I actually have two drawers: one is just makeup and it has drawer inserts, and I have all the brushes in one section, the blushes in another, the eye shadows in another. Of course, I don’t know how to use any of them but they’re all there looking great. Then I have a daily drawer—we usually create these in people’s houses, too—with a toothbrush and skin stuff I put on my face every day.
What are your favorite Beautycounter products?
Clea Shearer: I feel like I have a very long list right now. The Cleansing Balm is a big win all the way around—I’m obsessed with the fact that it comes with its own wash cloth. That is a brilliant product, it’s like multitasking. Also, those makeup wipes are the best I have ever used. They actually lather. With a lot of makeup wipes, you feel like you’re cheating. I love the lipsticks—instead of drying, they feel nourishing. The romantic eyeshadow palette is like all of my favorite eyeshadow colors on one palette. I have the blush, the highlighter, the concealer…there are so many good products. That’s why I have a wheelbarrow of products.
How do you plan to come clean with your beauty routine in the new year?
Clea Shearer: I need to put my money where my mouth is and stop hoarding beauty products. That is truly my goal. I love a routine, of course—organizers love routine. Every time I go into a beauty store, I end up doing an entire new regimen. I’ve never been someone who can do a moisturizer from one company, and then an eye cream from another. I just want to go all-in to the brand.
Joanna Teplin: I’m always nervous about medicines and products having chemicals that are harmful in them. Knowing that Beautycounter products are already vetted, and I can just put on anything and know that it’s safer, is amazing.
Be the kind of guest who always receives an invite back—click here to watch Clea and Joanna’s Holiday House Rules video and to shop their gift picks. Find out more about Clea and Joanna’s full-service home-organizing company here and give them a follow on Instagram (if you aren’t following them already).