Ok, so we know that homemaking isn’t a new thing – were you even a good 1950s housewife if you didn’t have a spotless, immaculate home? Home organising ALSO isn’t a new – we all grew up with our mums heading to Tupperware parties and label makers reigning supreme.
But the last few years have certainly seen a huge rise in the home organisation trend, from Instagram-perfect pantries and beautifully arranged bathrooms. The years we’ve been stuck at home as the pandemic raged, plus the rise of the ‘mummy blogger’ and lifestyle influencer have merged to create a wildly popular craze whereby it’s suddenly not ok to have anything in its original packaging in your pantry.
Organising has officially hit the mainstream and it’s not just homemakers or mums taking part – rather, it’s a trend being fueled my millennials and Gen-Zers searching for the *perfect aesthetic* as they aim for the perfect amount of clutter elimination (can you IMAGINE your 20-year-old self staying at home on a Saturday night to organise a linen closet!?)
What is Home Organising?
If you’re a newbie and you’re just entering the chat, you’re probably going to start by organising your pantry with clear plastic or glass containers, complete with a fancy label in scripty writing. There is no room for plastic packets with pegs, stale crackers and crumbs anymore, kids. This vibe continues to the fridge where the lazy Susan sauce station reigns supreme, supported by stackable containers for all your pre-cut fruit and veggies, before being rounded out in the laundry, featuring laundry power containers and shelf dividers aplenty.
But don’t stop there – it’s kids’ rooms with woven storage baskets, bathrooms with tiered acrylic shelving for skincare and vaccum-sealed bags for out-of-season blankets and duvets.
But why are we all of a sudden so obsessed with having the ‘perfect home?’
Well, there’s one word for it, according to the experts – control. During Covid especially, we experienced a serious lack of it, so a lot of us looked inward – literally, like into our homes – and focused on what we could control. Our homes became havens and, for some reason, our pantries became projections of order in a chaotic world, one cupboard at a time.
We were introduced to Marie Kondo – a mildly terrifying cult organising consultant, TV presenter and author of four best-selling books on the ‘joy’ of organising, which have sold millions of copies as she taught us how to get rid of things that didn’t ‘spark joy’.
The Netflix show ‘Get Organized With The Home Edit’ took us inside the homes of celebrities including Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, and how can ANYONE forget Khloe Kardashian’s next-level (insane?!) pantry, complete with curated, stacked biscuit jars?
Psychologist Dr Ruth Jillings quotes happiness writer Gretchen Rubin when I ask her why we’ve become obsessed with the perfect home: “Outer order contributes to inner calm.”
“If you live in a home that’s in chaos, that increases general life stress,” she tells. “We know that minor stressors have an effect on wearing down our mental health.
“There’s a subset of people who take great pleasure in beautifying their environments. Another subset aren’t as bothered but feel an obligation to keep up with others and social media, as that’s how you show some of your worth.”
Ruth explains there’s a contagion effect which results in the thought, “My pantry, that’s been workable for me for 15 years, now needs to be pimped out.”
Social media and comparison is a contributor and so was the pandemic, she nods. “In recent times we felt more out of control. When things are out of control, we see that all of the time, people look to control what they can.”
Lifestyle content and mummy bloggers on social media have played a huge part in the increase in popularity of The Great Organise, with audiences being able to copy similar setups in their own homes. Audiences have begun to eschew content from celebrities and instead are now embracing the vibe of the every-mum, who in and of themselves are the new wave of lifestyle celeb and now share shoppable links to their hauls and storefronts.
The proof is in the hashtag pudding – home organising hashtags have gathered billions of views with everyday people adding their videos to the masses, online offering inspiration to fellow organising enthusiasts.
#organisation has 7.9 billion views
#organizingtiktok has 3.7 billion views
#organisationtiktok has 495.5 million views
The Dangers of a Well-Organised Home
And while we’re all searching for a little bit of calm in the chaos, there’s also the huge serotonin hit in completing a task. But, Ruth warns, it also comes with the pressure to ‘succeed’.
“Home decorating and home organising has always been a thing, that hasn’t changed. What’s changed is on your computer screen – you can see 100 organised kitchens. Previously you may have only seen your friends, and now there can be a sense that you’re failing.
“If you’ve got good mental health and you aren’t going too deep into it. home organising is fine. But if you are struggling, that can be one more thing to feel down about. For mums of young kids it’s unrealistic. If you’re working, and you have kids ripping around with their toys. [but you’re] trying to keep a perfectly organised home, someone’s suffering.
“If you take it to extremes it can be maladaptive if it’s pushing you out of your financial comfort zone and you’re spending money you don’t have or instead of other ways that could enhance your life more. You can never curate it like Instagram can, it’s a perfectionist’s nightmare, and also isolate people by not feeling good enough to invite friends over.”
An Organisation Lover’s Guide to, Well, Organisation
I’ve been on the side of organisation for as long as I can remember and while I like to keep a tidy home, it wasn’t until last year when my partner and I moved into our own place that I bought containers and labels to organise our pantry. Each product has its own place and it has instantly brought calm into my life – how satisfyingly sad!
As someone who consumes lifestyle vlog content daily on social media I’m definitely influenced by creators with tidy homes. While I’ve always been the cleaning type, when I’ve watched one of my favourite creators’ cleaning videos, it’s influenced me many times to get stuck into organising the bathroom cupboards or sorting through my beauty products. And while my organising has extended throughout the house, it’s not to the extreme. It allowed us to declutter after I moved out of much larger flat and make the most of our space as we prepare for the next stage of our adult life, which will probably involve a lot more stuff and a lot less tidy spaces and that’s ok.
Bottom line? Your worth isn’t defined by how tidy your home is, even if the beige homes on Instagram make you think otherwise.
Want to organise your home (calmly and healthily? Here’s where to start:
When you search ‘home organisation’ on kmart.co.nz there are 716 results (?!). You’ll find everything from draw dividers, storage bags and containers for your pantry, bathroom, laundry and wardrobe.
Set or tea & coffee canisters $15
Set of six herb glass jars $18
SPLURGE: Simplify My Home
Simplify My Home have an online shop of all of your neutral-toned organisation goods, and also offer an in-home organising service for anyone who feels overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to start.