Spark Joy and Slow Acquisition: the KonMari Method and its Impact on Moments of Consumption
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Circular economy (CE) models and practices have grown in influence and popularity over the last few years, particularly with respect to business and policy. The remit of the consumer however has been somewhat neglected, and yet when it comes to product lifetimes and obsolescence it is usually consumers who decide the lifetime of a product, often by discarding it whilst it is still serviceable. Moreover there is to date very little research that explicitly connects the concept of sufficiency with the ‘slowing’ or reduction of consumption that is implied by most CE frameworks. In this study we compare research conducted in Sweden and the UK & Ireland with practitioners of the KonMari method of decluttering. The KonMari method was created in Japan and has been exported around the world in the form of books and more recently a Netflix series. Through our surveys and qualitative analysis of our interviews we investigate the relationship between KonMari decluttering practices and ‘moments’ of consumption as characterised by Evans (2018). We show that the ritualised KonMari method seems to not only speed up devaluation, divestment and disposal but also to reinforce appropriation and appreciation, and perhaps most importantly to reduce acquisition. By becoming more aware of what brings them joy (both in terms of favoured possessions and a tidier home environment), participants tend to reduce their purchasing activities and simultaneously make time for more fulfilling activities.