In January 2020, Pattern, a business that develops new brands, launched Open Spaces, a home organization label that aims to help burned out millennials sort out their spaces with bins, racks, and baskets.
At the time, only a few months out from the pandemic, staying indoors around the clock was far from our minds. But soon our focus shifted from the outside world to our immediate environment – our homes.
In the year since, millennials have taken home improvement to a whole new level, with 81% taking on new DIY projects since March 2020. To do so, millennials turned to a new crop of brands to help them get their lives in order, in style.
Tidy space, tidy mind
Psychologists say tidying up can increase our self-confidence and impart a sense of control over our environment. (This feeling, which drives annual spring cleaning binges, had a pronounced impact on consumers during the pandemic.) Feeling disorganized and having too much clutter around the house, on the other hand, can reduce our ability to focus.
Now synonymous with the art of getting organized, Marie Kondo brought this topic into the mainstream with her 2019 Netflix sensation "Tidying up with Marie Kondo." She now sells her own range of storage items under her brand KonMari. In October 2020, she launched an exclusive collection with The Container Store. Her 2011 book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," has sold over 11 million copies worldwide. It has been credited with repositioning decluttering and spring cleaning from dull-but-necessary activities to forms of self-care.
Brands are tackling reorganization from a number of different angles. Outside our bedrooms and closets, Silo, Stasher Bag, and Stojo aim to help us declutter our fridges and reduce food waste. Cadence is doing the same for personal care supplies and household items.
Others are tackling cannabis organization. Ally, a Canadian brand which launched its minimalist, lockable boxes in February to help keep cannabis products from kids and pets, has since filled other organizational needs for consumers. “People are getting creative,” says Dalia Shankman, one of Ally's cofounders. “We had one buyer tell us that she brought it for her IVF needles.”
“We had a father say he used it at the dinner table for his kids’ cellphones,” adds Lisa Trudeau Weir, Ally’s other cofounder. “I have friends who use it for jewelry."
The minimalist aesthetic
There is, undeniably, an aesthetic appeal to the products helping us calm our minds and get our items in order. The reason millennials prefer a $138 rack from Open Spaces compared to a cheaper one from Target? It’s simple: one is far better looking than the other. Social media plays a role, says Ally's Shankman, in how we curate our home.
“With Instagram, TikTok, all of these platforms where it’s about taking photos and videos, everyone is now so concerned about how their space looks,” she adds. “Every surface and every corner has to be ready for a photo.”
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