In an apparent effort to torture me, TikTok keeps feeding hyper-organization videos to my For You page. If you haven’t seen one of these videos, here’s the gist: a sharply edited video of someone’s hands rapidly organizing household goods — a pantry, refrigerator, closet, or drawer — with machine-like precision. The result is always a pristine, supposedly deeply satisfying display of a once-chaotic space. All items height-matched and neatly stacked, labels facing out, no unsightly boxes or oddly shaped containers to disturb the perfection of the lines.
Organization videos typically come with a side of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) — rhythmic scraping sounds as containers are pushed around on shelves, the plastic “swoosh” of a jar lid twisting off, the “pop” of an air-tight container bursting open.
The comment sections of these videos explode with appreciation. “Sooooooo satisfying!” and “I literally could watch these ALL day” and “I’ve got to organize my pantry, STAT!”
These videos are meant to be satisfying. There’s a reason most of them include ASMR. And who doesn’t enjoy watching chaos transform to order?
Me. I don’t. At least, not like this. I enjoy a good #cleantok video or even watching a fence or driveway get pressure-washed. But when I watch this specific type of hyper-organization video, I get the same feeling I get when I see a video of hundreds of cockroaches scurrying from a hole, or watching a gymnast land wrong and snap their tibia. They make my chest tighten up and the hairs on my neck stand on end. It’s pure disgust.
But … why? Why do these videos make me so disgusted and irrationally angry?
For starters, I can’t help but wonder what happens to the leftovers when the various fancy containers can’t hold the entire amount from the original store-bought container. Where does the half empty store-bought container go? It has to be stored somewhere else, right? Where?? Is there a whole separate, sloppy pantry or garage storage area where all these unsightly bags and boxes go?
Doesn’t the very existence of this picture perfect storage area necessitate a second, unsightly one?
Then what is the fucking point?
I’m not the only one who has wondered this. TikTok user lsfield stitched an organization video and asked if there is a “cupboard of shame” somewhere.
A commenter to lsfield’s video asked if these people ever do takeout or have leftovers, and if so, how and where do they store it? It does seem like ordering Chinese could throw a wrench in this hyper-perfect system.
There is just something so pointless and tedious and wasteful about these videos. So much implied privilege and excess. Do these people not realize they only get one life? Do they not realize our days are limited? They really want to spend their limited time on this earth making sure all the labels in their pantry face the same direction and transferring cereal from the box it came in to a shiny expensive plastic container? Ugh, go take a nature walk. Hug a dog. Learn a language.
Some of the videos make flippant claims of OCD, as if the disorder is funny or a quirky but useful crutch. “Haha, sometimes OCD comes in handy!” People who struggle with actual, diagnosed OCD will tell you it is not funny or useful. If you don’t have OCD, don’t pretend that you do and that it’s your little helper. Yuck.
The woman below has 4.2 million followers.
Note she is “organizing her pantry” but keeps emptying the contents of bags that are presumably too ugly to take up space where human eyes might witness them into prettier containers to store in her pantry.
But … all of the ugly bags still have stuff in them. This requires an additional pantry. An ugly pantry. I think this is what bugs me most. The pure excess of having two separate storage spaces — one you can be smug about, and another hidden, ugly one.
From the same creator, this home office organization video has over 21 MILLION VIEWS:
It’s definitely the excess in this one that kills me. The unapologetic materialism. There are millions of people in the world who don’t have electricity or indoor plumbing or even just bodily safety, and this person has two different types of computers with fancy stands and separate keyboards and about 20 of the same exact pen to choose from. It’s grotesque.
In the video below, the detergent, which looks like sugar, goes into a jar that looks like the kind of jar where one might store sugar. Poison hazard, much? And as she restocks, she pours new product on top of old product. The old product sits on the bottom and never gets used.
She does rotate the food, but there’s about 20 Tide Pods that will never, ever get used because they’re perpetually on the bottom of that stupid fancy container.
Toward the end, she pours crushed red pepper from a McCormick jar labeled “crushed red pepper” into a clear glass jar and then she adds a label that says “crushed red pepper.”
Please, yeet me into the ocean.
And then there’s this one on freezer organization:
Why would any human want to create this much extra work for themselves?
So, yeah. I hate these fucking organization videos, but given how popular they are and how many followers these creators have, it’s probable that I’m in the minority. Just know, if you also happen to find these videos nauseating, at least you’re not the only one.