How The Home Edit System Impacted My Writing Life and Writing Process for Good

By Jeanine Englert

I know I am quite late to The Home Edit organizational train, but I’d rather be late than never arrive to the party, right? In case you’ve never seen the “Get Organized with The Home Edit” show on Netflix, the concept the founders, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, have created is a simple, yet mind blowing approach to organizing your life, not just your belongings. It has helped me to organize not only my bookshelves, but also think a bit differently about my writing space and process as well.

The Home Edit marries form with function to make organizational ROYGBIV beauty, and well, I am sold. Their organizational process includes four tenets: Edit, Categorize, Contain, and Maintain. And while they are simple concepts, the act of moving from the start to the finish of the system is daunting. For me and my office space, even just the edit or deciding on whether I want “the item or the space” (a very popular mantra on the show as they help people purge belongings before categorizing), is overwhelming, especially when dealing with books, paper, and writing memories. I balked at first. Then, I started with an easier task: I tackled one singular bookshelf in our house, just one, because as you might imagine, I have many. I won’t even tell you how many. Now that I accomplished that, I know I can dive in to tackling the other bookshelves and eventually my office.

My First “Home Edited” Bookshelf

Organizing in this way reminded me of how I feel about different facets of the writing process as well. I always hedge at the edit while I draft my books: do I want to include this item (character, scene, plot event) or do I want to save that space for expanding deeper into another facet of the characters, scenes, and plot events I already have in the story? Then, how do I want to categorize that portion of the story? Is it part of the character’s core wound, goal, motivation, or conflict? How do I then want to contain it? Which beat of the story does it need to be housed in? Can I maintain what I’ve done when I begin to revise the story after I finish my first draft? And, finally, have I made the story beautiful, like they do in The Home Edit by utilizing the rainbow (ROYGBIV) color system?

Like, I said, I LOVE The Home Edit, and I am so glad I found them this summer as I rested and recuperated from the school year. Not only has it helped me to begin to organize and create new systems in my home and office, but it has added another layer to my writing process.

And as I have learned over the years, my writing process is never static. It changes, grows, and morphs with every story, every book, and as I change as a writer.

So, as you write, I challenge you to take a peek at The Home Edit (Welcome to The Home Edit) and see if it can help you too think a bit differently about your writing space and process. Is there anything you need to Edit, Categorize, Contain, and Maintain?

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. . . Feel free to drop me a comment below. Until next time . . .

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.

Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at

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3 Responses to How The Home Edit System Impacted My Writing Life and Writing Process for Good

  1. viola62 says:

    I know what you mean about editing your life. I try to edit space, especially books, but I always tell myself I’ll re-read some books one day. It probably won’t happen, but I try. I also try to edit my work as I go. I’m sometimes more successful at it selective times than all the time.

    • jeaninewrites says:

      I’m with you, Viola! Some days are more successful than others with my organizing and editing, but every time I try, I think that’s worth celebrating. I hope you do too!

      • Susan J Berger says:

        I edit it to say go and then I re-edit and then I re-edit again that’s before I even finish the book. Right now I’m stuck. I’m praying to find the answer to the end of it.

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