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Why the Home Edit Method Is Perfect for 2021

Neatly organized pantry goods on a shelf, arranged by color.
The Home Edit

After many months of lockdown, staying in and organizing your home might seem like the last thing you’d want to do right now. However, The Home Edit method can actually provide a much-needed post-quarantine boost of comfort and happiness this year!

Through 2020 and early 2021, many people spent more time at home than ever before. While it wasn’t exactly good times, spending all that time inside certainly proved the importance of having a comfortable, functional space you enjoy being in. If the quarantine months left you feeling frustrated with your home, or just wishing for change, The Home Edit is a great way to address those issues. It’s time to reclaim your space and get that fresh start feeling.

What Is The Home Edit?

This home organization method is super popular, but in case you’re not familiar with the details, here’s a quick primer.

There are four essential steps to the method: edit, categorize, contain, and maintain.

Starting with the crucial “edit” step, you’ll pull everything out of each space in your home, sort through it, and decide what should stay and what should go. Whether you start with a single cupboard or an entire room, you’re going to take everything out of that space and figure out what to do with it. Some things will go back where they came from, some can be moved elsewhere, and some are for the trash or donation pile.

Next, you’ll categorize what you’re keeping in that space. Basically, put like items with like items. For example, if you’re a coffee drinker, all your coffee and coffee-making equipment should stay together in one easily accessible place.

The “contain” step simply means having a container to keep things logically organized when you put them back. Containers also make your space go farther, because you can stack them vertically. The Home Edit team swears by clear containers so you can see what’s inside. (That said, I didn’t buy a single clear container and the method still worked for me.)

Lastly, you’ll want to maintain your results. Instead of letting clutter pile up, get in the habit of carefully sorting through everything that enters your home, and having a designated space for each kind of item.

Of course, there are many more details and tips you can get into, especially if you watch The Home Edit show on Netflix or read the books. But you really only need the basics to start using the method—and benefiting from it.

Why Now Is the Time to Try the Home Edit Method

A tidy closet with clear containers and color-coordinated clothes.
The Home Edit

About halfway through 2020, I moved across the country, from Seattle to New Orleans. Moving mid-pandemic felt even more chaotic and stressful than usual, and having an organized home was far from my mind while I was unpacking. But earlier this summer, I realized I needed to take control of my messy cupboards and closets, and decided to try The Home Edit method.

As it turned out, I picked the perfect time for it. All that time at home in 2020 and 2021 really helped me see how I relate to my space and belongings, so I could organize in the most comfortable and effective ways. While I’m spending less time inside now, this project helped me value my space and see it as a home, rather than just a place to put stuff.

Although tackling a major home organization project as the world was reopening felt a little counterintuitive, I couldn’t be happier I did it. There are actually quite a few benefits of doing The Home Edit at this particular moment.

Clean Up Pandemic Messes

Even if you didn’t move cross-country mid-pandemic, circumstances probably led you to have a messier-than-usual house. Simply being at home for months on end can easily lead to buildups of clutter and mess. Plus, the lack of house guests means there’s been little motivation to keep things neat and organized for most of the past year and a half. On top of that you probably stockpiled some supplies here or there, and your home storage is a bit more chaotic than it was before the pandemic.

These days, many people are getting back to traveling, hosting, and visiting, which means it’s time to get those messes under control! Whether you’re planning to host a friend to catch up in person after all this time or you just want to get your space under control, you’ll feel much better about being in a nice clean home.

Organize All Those Quarantine Purchases

If shopping online was among your pandemic vices, you’re certainly not alone. When popping into your local store wasn’t an option, shopping online was … and many of us bought a whole lot of stuff online in the last year.

The Home Edit gives you the chance to find space for all your new clothes, games, baking equipment, or whatever else you indulged in. Feeling like your home is overflowing with stuff makes it hard to actually use and enjoy that stuff. However, if everything is organized with its own designated place, it’s both easy to use things and to clean up afterward.

Designate Spaces for Backstock

One of the tenets of The Home Edit is “backstock,” or useful extra stuff you store at home, like toothpaste, pantry goods, and of course, toilet paper. If there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that having those essentials on hand is way better than vying for them in a sold-out grocery store during times of emergency.

The Home Edit is about being organized, not minimalist. So, having a logical backstock system is a core part of the method. While we hope to see no more toilet paper shortages in the near future, now’s a good time to organize your home, create spaces for backstock, and always be prepared.

Provide a Personal Reset

If nothing else, we could all use the feeling of a fresh start after an incredibly difficult phase of life.

Organizing your home is an affordable, attainable way to get that feeling of starting over—without moving to another country, or even changing your hair. You’d be amazed at how reorganizing can make the same old space feel new and exciting again. Plus, you can also take the opportunity to deep clean and even redecorate while you’re at it.

Organize Your House in a More Practical Way

Spending extra time at home likely made you realize new things about how you use your space and your stuff. This knowledge can go a long way toward making your home more comfortable and practical for your needs.

For example, during the pandemic, I realized I tend to make tea far more than coffee when I’m home, even though I love ordering coffee when I’m out. So when I did my Home Edit, I moved the coffee supplies to an out-of-the-way location, while putting my tea stuff in easier reach. It was a small change, but made a very tangible impact in my daily life and ability to enjoy my space.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

You really can start with nothing at all (I didn’t buy anything before beginning The Home Edit method). Still, these items may make your life easier if you have them on hand before you begin.

The Home Edit Books

The covers of The Home Edit and The Home Edit Life books.
The Home Edit

While you don’t need to read The Home Edit books (or watch the show) before starting your Home Edit, the extra tips they provide can certainly help the process.

The two big Home Edit tomes are the original book, The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals, which is primarily focused on the kitchen and adjacent spaces, and the second book, The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything. The second book is focused, as the name implies, on wall-to-wall home organization across all your living spaces.

The Home Edit Life

This is the second book from the folks behind The Home Edit method and expands the scope of their method to help you organize your entire home.

If you really like to get hands-on and tactile with your planning, there’s even a Home Edit Workbook with charts, activities, and planning spaces.

They’ll be especially useful if you have a ton of stuff in a small space, or other particular organizational challenges to confront. The books will also help if you want a home that’s not just organized, but stunningly Instagram-worthy, since there’s a lot of focus on visual organization design.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning may not be an essential step of The Home Edit, but there’s no reason to miss out on this chance for a deep clean. Because you’ll be taking everything out of each space in your home, you can easily scrub out those areas while they’re devoid of stuff. Few things are more satisfying than arranging your perfectly organized belongings in a sparkling-clean space!

So, stock up on cleaning supplies before you get started. You don’t need anything fancy: Basics like baking soda, vinegar, and castile soap can go a long way. For some great deep cleaning tips, make sure to check out our spring cleaning series.

Bags or Boxes

Even though this method isn’t about minimalism, you might be surprised by how much you end up getting rid of. Something about pulling everything out of a space makes it really clear what’s junk and what’s not. Make sure to have extra trash bags or spare cardboard boxes around, so you can easily separate trash and donations from what you’d like to keep.

Storage Containers

The Home Edit team cleaning up a room before organizing it.
The Home Edit/Netflix

You might be tempted to run out and buy a stash of clear containers before you get started—especially if you follow The Home Edit on Instagram, where they always post the beautiful results of clear containers and color coordination. However, while you should keep these in mind as you organize, wait to actually buy them until you’re done with the “edit” step.

This allows you to see how much stuff you’re working with, and where you’re putting it, before you buy any containers. Then, you can measure your spaces, and choose containers and labels according to your new organization approach.

While the visual appeal of clear containers is integral to The Home Edit method, you can also work with containers you already have, or other designs that fit your aesthetic better. No matter how you do it, containing things will always be more organized than leaving them loose on a shelf. These open storage bins are a great place to start if clear containers aren’t your style.

It might seem odd to start organizing your home now, with the world no longer in lockdown, but in truth, there’s no better time to take control of your space.

Doing a Home Edit in 2021 lets you put what you learned during your lockdown experience into practice, so you can cultivate a comfortable, sustainable space for years to come. If you’re intimidated by the process, they also have an awesome 14-day mini edit to help you get started.

Want to take the opportunity to redecorate as well as reorganize? Check out these accent walls that can give your home a whole new look!

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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