“Clustering” Is The New, Effortless Form of Cluttercore, According To TikTok

published Feb 14, 2023
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Clutter, typically seen as a distracting mess, has been rebranded and embraced in the last year, thanks to TikTok’s cluttercore aesthetic. In case you’re unfamiliar, it is an organized yet chaotic style (somewhat similar to maximalism) popularized via TikTok.

TikTok user Avery Claire pinpointed the cluttered yet “effortlessly beautiful” style of a room as clustering, usually depicted in the apartment of a female main character of a rom-com (think “Uptown Girls“). 

“Clustering is an art form,” she said. “And it’s hard to pull off because if you do it wrong, it can veer toward [being] messy. It’s the art of taking your things and putting them on display in little corners of your apartment.”

She describes her take on the practice, otherwise known as creating vignettes, which includes hard-to-decorate spaces like the bathroom and kitchen. While showing a photo of a kitchen sink, the area — which Claire deemed to be full of personality — appears to have minimal empty space as photo booth strips and postcards decorate the wall.

According to Claire, these personal mementos “tell a story of who you are” and bring a warm environment to your space. As one commenter described it: it proves that your home is lived in and loved in. After showing what clustering looks like in her home, Claire provided a tutorial for those interested in replicating it in their own space.

She personally uses books and magazines as the base for a “clusterfication” moment, and it’s easy to replicate by taking a stack of unused literature and placing a couple of candles or a lamp on top. Have a stack of untouched coffee table books or a collection of magazines that you’ve hidden away in a box? Time to place them throughout your home, but don’t forget to add your trinkets on top.

“You can get the same vibe with trays — I just feel like with my style and my apartment, books and magazines kind of fit in better,” she said.

One commenter mentioned that they didn’t always resonate with the maximalism label, but clustering provides them with the opportunity to make their space look like a game of “I Spy,” which is a colorful way to look at the trend.

If you’ve also never resonated with cluttercore or maximalism, perhaps clustering your treasured mementos with a stack of books will be just the thing your space was missing.