Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Earlier this year, Ikea’s head of sustainability said at a Guardian Sustainable Business event that consumers in the developed world had reached “peak stuff”. The success of Japanese de-cluttering icon and best-selling author Marie Kondo suggests he’s not the only one who thinks so.
The praise and enthusiasm for the KonMari method, which is Kondo’s approach of only keeping items that “spark joy”, signal that attitudes in an increasingly disposable world are shifting. On Instagram and Twitter her devotees post pictures of the clothes and items they’re getting rid of, often with glowing endorsements of her method’s effects on wellbeing.
However, its popularity also raises important sustainability questions. Where are we sending all these joyless garments once we’re done with them? And alongside our fervour to rid our lives of excess, are we addressing our patterns of accumulation at the source?