Thursday, March 23, 2023


I stumbled across an article a few months ago about a concept called "cluttercore." The article was entitled "Cluttercore Is the Trend Many Parents Need Right Now." The subheadline read, "Think you should get rid of all the stuff in your home? The trending aesthetic of cluttercore says parents can celebrate the chaos instead."

What caught my eye, however, was not the headline so much as the photo that accompanied it. Feast your eyes on this:

This, let me point out, is a kitchen – a place of functional food preparation, as well as a place requiring daily cleaning. It's also a place where oil, grease, and regular spills occur. How in tarnation is this kitchen cleaned?

"The design [cluttercore] trend gives a name to a child-like aesthetic most parents already have in their homes," explains the article. "The gorgeous chaos of trinkets, bits, and baubles, like the pages of an I Spy book come to life. Cluttercore is the celebration of things. For parents who battle the explosion of stuff that babies and kids can bring into the house, the design trend is like a dream come true because it means your clutter is trendy now."

For the family profiled in the article, the wife felt a rush of relief when she saw "cluttercore" trending on social media. "I felt both seen and accepted," she says. "I didn't know someone had come up with a name for my way of keeping house."

Later in the article, it says: "Pre-pandemic, home décor was all about minimalism, with an emphasis on decluttering – and let's be honest, sometimes rage cleaning – to conform to restrictive ideas of what living spaces should look like. For families with children, living in a minimalist house can feel like waging a war with waves of stuff."

I kinda get what these folks are saying. Sometimes it's easier to embrace stuff than fight it. If things are well organized, stuff can bring great joy (such as our collection of books).

Yet images like the photo above and the one below don't fill me with joy. They fill me with...something else.

(Just one word: Dusting.)

Now of course, I realize these photos are at the extreme end of the spectrum. I also realize that in the grand scheme of things, there are worse things than "cluttercore" homes. There's certainly something to be said about family members respecting each other's collections of cherished items.

"Parent culture and retailers often encourage the accumulation of kid stuff, then decluttering gurus and services tell parents they can help them get rid of the stuff," notes the article. "It's a vicious cycle from which cluttercore could offer a way out. 'I do think that it is a positive way to change the narrative around a 'messy home,'' says Dr. Espinoza. 'Cluttercore can relieve families of the pressure to keep an immaculate living space, especially when that expectation is made impossible by small children. By allowing parents to embrace the messiness of their lives, they can spend less time worrying about tidying up and more time living in the moment and connecting with their children and partner.'"

But, I dunno, it also seems like a line is crossed at some point, doesn't it?

I suppose, like hoarding, that line is crossed when the function of a room is impaired. No one can cook in the kitchen pictured above. No one can eat in the dining room pictured above.

However a quick search for the term "cluttercore" on Google Images reveals plenty of perfectly functional, if crowded, rooms.

So, while I'll admit "cluttercore" is not my cup of tea, I'm in no position to criticize. Ahem.


  1. As the old saying goes 'Books furnish a room.' I would never call a book collection 'cluttercore.' :)

    1. Agreed. This is organized and neatly stored. Not cluttered in the least. The rest of the pictures to me just seem like a moderately controlled hoard, teetering on the verge of unmanageable.


  2. I agree, books in neatly placed bookshelves is not clutter. I liked that plant room but I can't imagine watering those plants on the window sill by having to get on the bed first. Knowing me, it would be splash city. The photos you provided like the kitchen and the dining room look more like a store display than a place to live.

  3. Oh my, NO! Those photos (except yours, Patrice) look like some Victorian wannabe's rooms. Unless you have a full staff of servants to take care of all of it, well, no, just no. Especially the kitchen! Unless, of course, you never really cook, just use the microwave, and throw away the paper plates or something. And don't invite any children into that dining room or something is bound to get knocked and broken.
    Your lovely bookshelves tell a different story. Inviting, accessible, and appropriate.
    I haven't adopted trends in the past and I'm not about to now, especially not "cluttercore".

  4. Ugh. I would find all those rooms very stressful to be in. And I'm no minimalist. I just like everything stored neatly away so I know where it is and I don't have to look at it. The only "clutter" I'd like to have is houseplants - which I don't have now because the cats and dogs would make short work of them. I think I need to go vacuum something after viewing those pics...

  5. Your books and bookshelves are NOT clutter but I think my blood pressure went up just a bit looking at the other photos. Way to much stuff for me.

  6. You know, "A place for everything and everything in its place". My mother would not have a 'dust catcher' in her house. Those pictures (except for yours) make me feel hemmed in and anxious. I have orderly clutter, I think.

  7. 100% agreement on the dusting plus there's nowhere for the eye to rest. While not minimalist, those pictures almost make my palms sweat. I always wonder about spiders mixed in with everything, too. Just saying - ha!

  8. Your bookshelf wall is lovely. We've just reduced our quantity of books by half (got rid of a lot of modern fiction, older foreign language textbooks, polisci, econ, etc.) and most of what we've kept (classic literature, history, art books, and pre-1970 children's books) will still have to remain in boxes for the foreseeable future. I've always hated dusting and packing to move has revealed tons of it on the walls behind every picture and photo and plate we hung. New place, besides being quite small and not having much blank wall space, will feature far less 'stuff.'

    I'm also greatly looking forward to dealing with minisplits. I feel our central air system - along with now older, blown-in cellulose insulation - has been the cause of the constant dust in the house we're selling, and will not miss it at all. All the various collectibles and accumulation of life and travels will remain in boxes which I plan to unpack verrrry gradually, forcing my husband to decide what we're giving to whom and what we're selling or donating and what we absolutely must keep, before I will consider moving on to another box. In a few years' time I hope to have it well whittled down.

    Although most public examples of hoarders are women, it seems more than a few men are also sentimentally attached to mementos.

  9. I have known a couple of dear souls who had found a means of keeping and enjoying all of their stored treasures.
    It was all stored and rotated in and out with seasons, holidays, occasions, or fits of redecorating. Both these ladies were well to do and had ample storage space as well as other houses. Alas, I have neither, except such fond memories a lot of things evoke.
    All of my furniture came down to me through family. I love the old mahogany, but nowadays the younger people prefer new. The cost of wood furniture has skyrocketed like other things, but I can't bear the thought of parting with it.
    Same for too many sets of dishes, from grandparents. If anyone in the family was interested in these things I would gladly gift them over. But they aren't interested. They would check to see the monetary value then sell them promptly.
    My mother's mother collected a lot of old glassware. Someone offered my mother $100 to haul it all off when that grandmother died, and my mother took the money. A large truck came in, they packed it up and hauled it off. Later my mother realized a lot of valuable stuff was lost, monetarily.
    When I'm gone it'll all be sold. It might be a good idea to write the stories of these things to go with them so someone can know the love they came from. But Christ may return first so maybe a testimony should be included.
    When old people wind up going to some sort of home late in life, much of their disorientation comes from moving to an unfamiliar environment. It isn't just that it's unfamiliar, it's that their home and things touched many moments of love they could remember and feel daily. Moving to a blank slate in old age can really accelerate their decline.
    So whatever others may feel about the clutter, I say just live and let live. Life is too short and there are more important things to be concerned with.

  10. I love a home filled with personality and interesting things to look at and I feel my home reflects that, however it gets messy-looking very quickly, the more that is sitting out and that is stressful. 😲 The degree of clutter in those pictures is enough to make me hyperventilate! Your books are calming and not cluttered because of the nice way they are displayed.

  11. I live on a working farm with a husband, 3 kids & spouses, 6 grandkids, cats, dogs, & livestock. I also have a degree in home economics with a concentration in interior design. My philosophy has always been "clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be a home". There is NO way anyone could function in those spaces. Can you imagine trying to cook in that kitchen- much less can or make bread or do anything? Gives me a knot in the pit of my stomach!!!

  12. The kitchen looks staged. If those open shelves were cabinets with doors, it would look less cluttered. Why is there food everywhere in dishes and plates? Are they eating on the stove?
    Who needs so many tables as the dining room has? It appears that person will run out of space soon since the extra tiny tables are hemming in the dining table.
    I love this trend, but like any trend, some people take it too far.
    I would need a maid to maintain these rooms. However. I hate minimalism since there is no personality present, just a dust-free space.

  13. The first four pictures above might very well have been taken in an antique store located a few miles from my home. Your bookshelf, however, is not clutter - it's a warm invitation to sit down and relax, because this is a good place to be.

    One "Anonymous" post above mentions men becoming emotionally attached to stuff. Guilty. Men, however, have a corollary from Murphy's Law to bolster their behavior: "An item will never be needed until two weeks after you get rid of it." Having been raised on a farm, I can testify to its veracity.

    1. Paul D: I can understand and deal with the 'needing something two weeks after you get rid of it.' I cannot reasonably function, however, with keeping everything because someday someone might need or want it. Nor with keeping everything out and instantly accessible (i.e. storage cabinets exist for a reason; not everything belongs out on a countertop at all times). I love many of our decorative objects but if I have to carefully move numerous things in order to dust or clean any surface, either some of the objects go or the dusting/cleaning is not going to happen!

  14. I live on a working farm with a husband, 3 kids & spouses, 6 grandkids, cats, dogs' etc- all running through my house. I have a degree in home economics with a concentration in interior design. My philosophy has always been "clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be a home." I can't imagine trying to cook or can or anything in that kitchen. Our home reflects our personality & is filled with things we love - our family, books, family heirlooms, photos, etc. It's a HOME, not a showpiece!!!!

  15. After dealing with our parents accumulation of stuff, I have slowly begun going through my pile and either, keep, donate or trash. I’ve been in my current home for 20 years, it’s amazing how much you accumulate!
    Books tho…..don’t touch them!

  16. All I can say is "Clutter belongs in the barn." I know, there's ALWAYS a certain amount of clutter in a working home, but those pictures make me want to be the bull in those china shops!

    A well-stocked book shelf is NOT clutter, Patrice! Especially these days with history being "redefined" and all!

  17. After my sister’s death her kids and grandkids all wanted various pieces of furniture and some of her collections of dishes and glass. I was frequently questioned about which were family pieces and the stories for each. They drew for the order to choose things to be fair. Sometimes less monetarily valuable were passed over several times for things they had always loved.

  18. Those rooms do look like sections of an antique store. For whatever reason all storage is happening inside that funny kitchen. If you zoom in you'll see chests stored above the cabinets on the right. The stove is smooth top electric and there's a dishwasher to the left of the sink.
    Some junk dealers have an old house with as much stuff as the kitchen and dining room in these pictures that people can browse through then negotiate for price. They usually live next door.
    The bedroom looks legit. There are lots of plants and stuffed animals and what seems to be a serape at the foot of the bed. It might not even be in this country.

    1. The pictures are definitely staged. Saw a commercial for an indoor flea market last night and the "rooms" of individual vendors were remarkably similar to to the kitchen and dining room.
      Estate sales pre-sell to antique dealers and junk dealers frequently before the more public sale. The estate sales themselves are a great place to find tools and all sorts of things.

  19. This. Is. Horrible.

    Signed By
    A Parent Trying to Keep Cluttercore At Bay

  20. Anxiety inducing

  21. I would rather have your kind of clutter!!! Neither myself or my husband like clutter, thankfully neither did the kids!