We Tried It: “The Home Edit” Kitchen Makeover (Budget: $100)

Inspired by Netflix’s hottest home organizing show, we cleaned, curated and classified my kitchen.
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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


It’s a new year and home harmony is on my mind. If history is any indication, this fired-up, organizational mindset will leave my body around Jan. 31 . So, while I’m still motivated, I took tips from Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit series on Netflix to declutter my tiny kitchen. Would I try this again? Short answer: Yes. Here’s why.


With help from our fearless and fun HONOLULU art director, Kayla Rivera, my kitchen is now my favorite room—and I don’t even cook that much. “I’m a huge fan,” Rivera says of The Home Edit show. She even has the book. I only recently binged The Home Edit series, and I was immediately hooked and inspired. If you’re already fans of Shearer and Teplin, you know that this charming twosome makes decluttering seem easy-ish.


Their approach is based on three seemingly simple steps: edit, categorize and contain. And what makes their efforts so mind-blowing is their rainbow aesthetic: On their show, their celebrity guests’ household items are neatly packed and categorized using ROYGBIV  hues. When the show’s hosts are done waving their magic wands, all of the guests’ closets, pantries and offices look bright, cheerful and welcoming.


If you’re attempting this solo, an efficient project crew won’t be there to help and there’s no Container Store nearby—so there’s that. My first step was hunting for containers. Full disclosure: I’m a single mom on a tight budget so, as I mentioned, I tried to stay under $100. Costco and Target must be piggybacking on the hype of The Home Edit trend because they have great storage options. Tip: I split the cost of Costco’s iDesign container set ($114.99) with Kayla.


If time is not an issue for you, order storage containers from Amazon. If budget is a concern, hunt around or wait for bargains at stores like Ross or T.J. Maxx. Simply Organized also has regular sales that are definitely worth checking out. Walmart carries a  Home Edit collection, but not all of the items can be found at local stores.


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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


Step 1: Edit

Because we chose to reorganize my kitchen, editing the pantry was an easy step—if we tried doing my closet, that would’ve taken days since every piece of clothing brings me joy. Right now I’m on a healthy-food kick, so we removed most (but not all) evil, I’m-PMS-ing snacks—including opened ones that I haven’t touched in a month. Unfortunately, most healthy foods have brown packaging, so unfortunately the rainbow treatment was a no-go, though I learned that throwing out food boxes and packaging really saves space.


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Everything that was in my pantry. Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


Step 2: Categorize

This step was hard. Not all your items can be easily categorized, so choose a unicorn bin or drawer for all your items that can’t neatly be grouped with others. Like, where the heck does instant miso soup go ? We had to create an Asian flavor section in my pantry that included rice, ramen and furikake packets. We also made a sweet-n-salty jar that holds li hing mui and similar snacks. Did I mention this is the Hawai‘i Home Edit?


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64-ounce glass jar, $6, Target; Brightroom 12” x 12” x 8” open storage bin, $12. Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


Step 3: Contain

Pantry items come in all different sizes—yet the shapes and sizes of containers are pretty limited. It’s a challenge to find containers for each category in your kitchen, and I discovered that fitting the containers on shelves can be a mind-draining puzzle. Pro tip: Overbuy on containers so you have enough to work with and then return what you don’t use. Fun tip: We needed some laughs, so we labeled my bins with humorous puns.  The labels can be removed and changed, so why not?


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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


That was just the pantry. Phew! Overall, my Home Edit project took about two hours—and the shelves cleaned up nicely. It definitely makes gathering ingredients easier and lets me know what I have stocked, so I don’t buy another jar of pasta sauce, even if it’s on sale. Next up, the utensil and dish towel drawers and dish organization, which were a piece of cake.


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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


We used long and slim rectangle pieces for these drawers. Some older dish towels went into a donation pile and I realized I own a lot of cloth napkins that I should use more often. Having everything  organized instead of piled on top of each other is an easy way to rotate kitchen necessities.


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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


On my windowsill, we added a few containers for kitchen tools, and removable paper spices up the jungalow theme threaded throughout my cottage. Tip: I used old vases and mason jars as containers.


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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


Last, but not least, we arranged my dishes by color. I’m a dish hoarder—I blame Marukai and Anthropologie. My dish cabinet is where color lives, so we got to apply the rainbow treatment here, although I don’t have violet or red plates (who does?), and my gray options were stored on a high shelf—kind of like gloomy clouds. We organized my glassware by height and my Tupperware snuggled next to each other up on top. The final result made me happy.


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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


PAU! The completed makeover. I went a little over budget and spent $132.99 in total.


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Photo Credit: Kayla Rivera


The Home Edit approach to decluttering was a challenge, but I would try this stylish method throughout my whole place with some small tweaks—similar to the way you might personalize an online recipe. What would be the ultimate thing? If Netflix creators Clea and Joanna would take a trip to Hawai‘i and help a sister out. That would be the best rainbow connection ever!


Other Target containers used:  Brightroom  12” x 12” x 8” storage bin, $12, Brightroom soda fridge and pantry organizer container, $14, 3-tier clear shelf, $10, Ello 10-piece food storage containers, (on sale now!) $39.99.  The Home Edit Life by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, Potter Publishing.