With over 13 billion collective views on TikTok, #restock and #refill videos have taken the app by storm — and it looks like the trend won’t be getting shelved anytime soon.
But what exactly are these niche housekeeping videos, and why do TikTokers find them so fascinating?
The answer may lie in the ASMR phenomenon, in humans’ love for repetition and perhaps in the videos’ aspirational aesthetic.
According to TikTok’s official blog, the #restock trend is a “perfect combination of oddly satisfying visuals and aspirational home decor.”
Most digital consumers are likely familiar with the phenomenon known as “oddly satisfying.” With the subreddit r/OddlySatisfying having made its debut in 2013, and the first video featuring “oddly satisfying” in its title hitting YouTube even earlier, in 2010, millions have encountered the genre in some form or another.
Soap carving, power washing, domino stacking, sponge cutting — the digital landscape is dotted with these hypnotic videos, like so many stars in our night sky.
Thanks to the human brain’s strong preference for symmetry, patterns and repetition, it’s no wonder the “oddly satisfying” movement has gained such traction online.
But what is it about #restock videos that puts them in an “oddly satisfying” category of their own? The secret sauce could be a mixture of the trend’s unique ASMR element and its aspirational housekeeping voyeurism.
ASMR — or autonomous sensory meridian response — is defined as a tingling sensation that begins at the scalp and moves down the back of the neck or upper spine. This “low-grade euphoria” is thought to be caused by pleasing auditory or visual stimuli.
With over 285 billion views on TikTok alone, #ASMR has become a dominating force across digital media — and its combination with #restock seems to be a match made in heaven.
The subtle but soothing sounds of applesauce containers being neatly lined up in a plastic bin, or sesame seeds falling through a funnel into an empty jar, or chocolate milk boxes taking their place on a fridge shelf, like so many proud little soldiers — the #restock trend is an auditory smorgasbord for ASMR fans.
But it’s not just the sights and sounds of #restock trend that have viewers hooked.
Journey into the comments section of any of these viral videos, and one can’t help but wonder if the #restock hashtag might be a breeding ground for comparison culture.
“She just told me to get my life together without telling me to get my life together,” one parent commented.
“When your kitchen is more organized than my life,” another parent wrote.
“I strive to be this organized on a daily basis,” one parent said.
“Thanks. I feel like I was productive just laying in bed,” commented another parent.
With its perfectly organized refrigerators, adorably labeled canisters and even alphabetized spice drawers, the #restock trend seems to have viewers wriggling on its aspirational hook — and brands have taken notice.
Since products and brand names are so front-and-center, and each video has the potential of gaining millions of views, it’s no wonder that companies would be eager to capitalize on the trend.
But for content creators, such a lucrative trend is a great way to turn ordinary housework into a second source of income. And, luckily for them, the trend is showing no signs of losing steam.
In fact, #restock videos seem to have made the jump to long-form content on YouTube, combining with the ever-popular “haul” videos. Now viewers can see what products content creators have purchased, then watch as they put them all away.
But perhaps the trend’s popularity can’t be explained by its satisfying sounds or aspirational housekeeping. Perhaps there’s a sort of comfort to be found in life’s banal tasks becoming a shared experience.
After all, we all purchase groceries, bring them home and put them away on empty shelves. Why not share that quiet, repetitive task with another human, and create a sense of connectivity from that tedium?
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