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Image / Living / Interiors

Is Netflix’s The Home Edit encouraging us to be wasteful?


by Megan Burns
06th Oct 2020
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Organisation can bring a sense of calm to our homes, but there’s something about The Home Edit’s made-for-Instagram methods that doesn’t sit well.


I initially became aware of how popular Netflix’s recent show, Get Organized with The Home Edit was by the influx of perspex containers that have appeared on my Instagram feed.

Friends proudly show off their beauty products sectioned into rotating caddies. Wardrobes with their contents hung in rainbow colour order appear on my discover page. My mother sent me a picture of her freezer, with labelled boxes replacing the usual jumble of packets.

I love a well-organised space as much as the next Pinterest user. My wardrobe has been organised by category and colour for years, and I decant dry goods into glass jars because I like the way they look. I was therefore curious to see if the show had any tips to up my organisation game.

The answer to this was, unfortunately, a resounding no. The organisation is oddly one of the least remarkable things about Get Organized with The Home Edit. The Home Edit‘s co-founders, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, have no revelatory methods: things in the same category are stored together, they label things, and like to organise by colour. Nothing new there.

But what I was surprised by was the way the show really leans into excess, and the wastefulness that comes with that. When they are given a space to organise, the duo and their team usually ask what items can be discarded or donated, but they are always still left with a shocking amount of both stuff, and space to store it in.

Walk-in-wardrobes the size of my apartment are used to house one person’s collection of clothes. Huge garages are used as dumping grounds for everything from toys to gym equipment, and families are pleasantly surprised that they can use this space once it doesn’t have so much stuff in it.

The Home Edit have many celebrity clients, and some impressive names including Reece Witherspoon and Khloé Kardashian actually appear on the show. These are people who don’t have to think twice about dedicating a whole room to shoes, or to paying the company’s roughly $200-an-hour fee for their services, but this breezy attitude to resources pervades through the whole show, even when the clients are ‘normal’ people.

A main aspect of The Home Edit’s process involves (without a hint of irony), buying a mountain of plastic boxes, in varying sizes, to store everything from scarves to cereal. It’s also a business tactic, as they sell these containers on their website. While this in itself is wasteful, the whole process seems to celebrate excess on a much deeper level than the one-off purchase of some boxes.

It turns your possessions into a feature, a display, in the way that we might use art or photographs to add personality to a space. The style of display is undoubtedly Instagram-centric, with colour-coordination and white space between objects helping everything to pop nicely on a screen, encouraging us to show them off to others.

When Clea and Joanna enter a celebrity’s home, they never bat an eyelid at the obscene amounts of possessions they are asked to organise. They don’t wonder why Khloé Kardashian’s three year old has an electric toy car collection worth more than many people’s actual car, or why fashion designer Rachel Zoe needs so many seemingly identical designer items.

They instead revel in it, compliment the client on having such amazing things, wish they could spend more time among their amazing things. The whole show is an exercise in celebrating materialism. There’s no need to think about buying less things, or more considered things, as long as you have a house big enough to display them all.

There’s nothing wrong with taking joy from possessions you truly love, but by elevating them to this status can only encourage consumption. Traditionally, decluttering shows tend to stress how bad the ‘before’ was: lingering on chaotic shots of cluttered spaces, taking time to learn how this is affecting the people in question, and emphasising the need to keep only the things we require.

Here, things are quickly tidied away into perspex boxes, talking only about the great ‘systems’ that they’re creating, so we can spend time revelling in the rainbow-coloured result, and of course, getting the right angle for the Instagram post. While Marie Kondo wanted our possessions to spark joy, here they only serve to gain likes.

Featured image: The Home Edit


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