What is a Doom Box? The TikTok organization trend, explained

It ain't spooky, DW

A cardboard box on a rainbow background with thinking emojis around it
(Image credit: Future)

Have you spent hours scrolling on TikTok for organizing ideas, and see Doom Boxes come up on your FYP? Same, bestie. The app seems to have loads of Doom Box videos RN. These all have users showcasing boxes containing random items that have been stored together because they don't have their own place in the home yet.

The term Doom Box has been gradually circulating TikTok since the latter half of 2021 and has since continued to be a popular video topic.

If you've peeped this trend and you're a li'l confused about what exactly it means, I've got you. I've spoken to an expert to get to the bottom of it...


♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys - Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

What are Doom Boxes?

First of all, don't worry — these boxes aren't as spooky as they sound. Doom is actually an acronym, meaning Didn't Organize Only Moved. Phew.

Doom Boxes — whether created accidentally or on purpose — are a space to stash items together with the intention of organizing them later. While they may be part of an initial attempt to organize a bedroom, office, or living room, most Doom Boxes end up being used for years and years, and become the go-to storage place for old receipts, spare parts, and memorabilia.

Sounds familiar? While many of us can admit to having a Doom Box equivalent, they are actually seen as a common (and useful) tool for those organizing with ADHD. "A 'Doom Box' is a box where an ADHDer selects to host their belongings," says Katie Bowen, founder of ADHD Home TV. "People with ADHD are more likely to possess a Doom Box because they have strained executive function." She explains that this is the cognitive process responsible for essentially all self-regulation and can drastically impact one's organizational skills. 


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What is the purpose of Doom Boxes?

Doom Boxes are a def quick way to remove visual clutter and tidy up a room, without having to think about where to store items on a long-term basis. "The goal of a doom box is to have stuff put away, so why would we consider the next steps if they don't feel relevant? It's amazing how an ADHDer's 'all or nothing' mindset presents on a day-to-day basis," Bowen adds.

Doom Boxes may have become more popular due to the pandemic, which saw lots of people staying at home and wanting to stash items away quickly to make everything tidier. Many of us also started working from home, creating office spaces and storing random things together to make space — so you may have created a Doom Box without knowing. 

Don't want to live with a Doom Box? Don't stress. There's plenty of other storage solutions that will keep your kitchen, living space (AKA ottomans), and desk organized AF.

Why are Doom Boxes useful?

While some of us may prefer to find a permanent home for our possessions, Doom Boxes can absolutely be a simple solution to help your space feel more calming. Sure, everything in the Doom Box might not be where other people would store it — but if you know where to look for it, then that's the most important thing. "If someone has an established system, and their system has proven to streamline and improve their lives, who are we to call it negative?" says Bowen. Amen to that.

She finishes by saying that Doom Boxes are only negative if they are causing one to overspend, feel overwhelmed, or feel confused. "As long as someone can remember the reasoning behind the boxes, and what should be in them, the Doom Boxes are working!" Love that energy. So, if you've seen the trend and want to give it a go, don't be put off — you've gotta do what works for you, boo.

Up next: 5 easy steps to declutter your home

Katie Sims

Katie has recently joined Future's Ecommerce writing cohort after exploring different forms of digital writing in her Media and Journalism MA. Her love for being at home and creating an environment that is at once cozy, stylish, and practical means she's constantly browsing home decor sites online. Her current favorites are Anthropologie and H&M Home. For her next interior endeavor, she's looking to become a plant mom, in the hope that some greenery will refresh her home in time for spring. 

With contributions from