Spark Joy? Compulsory Happiness and the Feminist Politics of Decluttering


  • Laurie Ouellette University of Minnesota



Marie Kondo, happiness, clutter, over-consumption, neoliberalism, post-feminism, housework, danshari


This essay analyzes the Marie Kondo brand as a set of neoliberal techniques for managing cultural anxieties around over-consumption, clutter and the family. Drawing from critical discussions of consumer culture and waste, as well as feminist scholarship on compulsory happiness and women’s labor in the home, it argues that Marie Kondo’s “joyful” approach to “tidying up” presents pared-down, curated consumption as a lifestyle choice that depends on women’s work, even as it promises to mitigate the stresses of daily life and facilitate greater well-being.


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How to Cite

Ouellette, L. (2019) “Spark Joy? Compulsory Happiness and the Feminist Politics of Decluttering”, Culture Unbound, 11(3-4), pp. 534–550. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.191108.