To Discard or to Accumulate: That is The Question

Main Article Content

Tomás Errázuriz
Ricardo Greene
Daniel Berczeller



In recent years, minimalist home maintenance trends have gained strength with the well-renown Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo standing out among its ambassadors. Kondo promotes the construction of ideal homes through the evaluation of each domestic object, keeping those that would ‘spark joy’ while discarding the rest. Based on research carried out in Santiago, this article reflects on the various ways in which objects are kept, valued and arranged in Chilean homes. The relevance and pertinence of these new minimalist trends are discussed, since the results suggest that households are more frequently guided by an ethic of care and conservation, valuing the temporal and dynamic condition of their objects, as well as their participation in an ‘ecology of things’.

Article Details

How to Cite
Errázuriz, T., Greene, R., & Berczeller, D. (2020). To Discard or to Accumulate: That is The Question. Diseña, (17), 182–203.
Original articles
Author Biographies

Tomás Errázuriz, Universidad Andrés Bello, Campus Creativo


Historian, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), PhD in Architecture, PUC. He is an Associate Professor in the Campus Creativo at Universidad Andrés Bello. He is co-director of Editorial Bifurcaciones; and co-founder of Cosas Maravillosas, a collective that studies and promotes daily practices that circumvent the obsolescence of consumer objects. He researches the relationships between daily life and the environment created in domestic and mobility spaces. His most recent publications include ‘«Till Death Do Us Part»’: The Making of Home Through Holding onto Objects’ (in F. Martínez and P. Laviolette, eds; Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough: Ethnographic Responses, Berghahn, 2019) and ‘Everything in Place: Peace and Harmony in an Overcrowded Home’ (Visual Communication, Vol. 18, N° 4). He currently leads a Regular Fondecyt project on the relationship between repair, reuse, and affects in the domestic space.

Ricardo Greene, Independent Researcher, Santiago, Chile


Sociologist, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC). MA in Urban Development, PUC. PhD in Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London. He is editor of the journal Bifurcaciones and Editorial Bifurcaciones, director of the audiovisual platform ‘CinEducación’ and the chrono-photographic project ‘Esto es Talca’. He is a member of the collective Cosas Maravillosas. He addresses issues of urban culture, imagery, domestic employment, elites, racism, experimental cinema, and everyday objects through research. He is the author of Conocer la ciudad (Bifurcaciones, 2018) and En la Vereda (Bifurcaciones, 2016). He recently published ‘Long Live my Objects: Silent Practices to Avoid Obsolescence’ (with T. Errázuriz and D. Berczeller; IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science, Vol. 503, N° 1). His latest audiovisual piece is The Absence (JAF, 2018).

Daniel Berczeller, Universidad Andrés Bello, Campus Creativo

Designer, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, MA in Journalistic Design, Pompeu Fabra University. He is active in strategic design, cultural management, and teaching. He is the Director of the Graphic Design career at Universidad Andrés Bello. His most recent publication is ‘Long Live my Objects: Silent Practices to Avoid Obsolescence’ (with T. Errázuriz and R. Greene; IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science, Vol. 503, N° 1). He received the 2016 ‘Sello de Excelencia al Diseño’ from the Chilean Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage, and the Gold Graphics Award in the Theobaldo de Nigris 2013 contest.


ARIZTÍA, T., AGLONI, N., & PELLANDINI‐SIMÁNYI, L. (2018). Ethical Living: Relinking Ethics and Consumption through Care in Chile and Brazil. The British Journal of Sociology, 69(2), 391-411.

BECKER, J. (2018). The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life. WaterBrook.

CARDELL, K. (2017). Modern Memory-Making: Marie Kondo, Online Journaling, and the Excavation, Curation, and Control of Personal Digital Data. a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, 32(3), 499-517.

CASSINGER, C. (2010). Retailing Retold: Unfolding the Process of Image Construction in Everyday Practice. Lund Studies in Economics and Management.

CWERNER, S. B., & METCALFE, A. (2003). Storage and Clutter: Discourses and Practices of Order in the Domestic World. Journal of Design History, 16(3), 229-239.

DION, D., SABRI, O., & GUILLARD, V. (2014). Home Sweet Messy Home: Managing Symbolic Pollution. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(3), 565-589.

DOMÍNGUEZ RUBIO, F. (2016). On the Discrepancy between Objects and Things: An Ecological Approach: Journal of Material Culture, 21(1), 59–86.

DOUGLAS, M. (1973). Pureza y peligro. Un análisis de los conceptos de contaminación y tabú. Siglo XXI.

EDENSOR, T. (2005). Waste Matter—The Debris of Industrial Ruins and the Disordering of the Material World: Journal of Material Culture, 10(3), 311-332.

ERRÁZURIZ, T. (2018). Estación Terminal. La vida de las cosas en la vivienda rural. In F. Alarcón (Ed.), Vivienda Rural en el Valle Central (pp. 106-113). ARQ.

ERRÁZURIZ, T. (2019). “Till Death Do Us Part”: The Making of Home Through Holding onto Objects. In F. Martínez & P. Laviolette (Eds.), Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough: Ethnographic Responses (pp. 45-66). Berghahn.

GFK CHILE. (2019). Estilos de vida de los grupos socioeconómicos en Chile.

GREENE, R. (2020). A Line in the Sand. Racism, Elite and Comfort in Argentine Gated Communities [Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of London].

GREGSON, N., METCALFE, A., & CREWE, L. (2009). Practices of Object Maintenance and Repair: How Consumers Attend to Consumer Objects within the Home. Journal of Consumer Culture, 9(2), 248–272.

HARRIS, E., & NOWICKI, M. (2020). “GET SMALLER”? Emerging Geographies of Micro-living. Area, 00(1), 1-9.

KILROY-MARAC, K. (2016). A Magical Reorientation of the Modern: Professional Organizers and Thingly Care in Contemporary North America. Cultural Anthropology, 31(3), 438-457.

KONDO, M. (2014). The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Random House.

KONDO, M. (2016). Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. Ten Speed Press.

KONDO, M. (2020). KonMari Is Not Minimalism. KonMari | The Official Website of Marie Kondo.

LESLIE, D., & REIMER, S. (2003). Gender, Modern Design, and Home Consumption: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 21(3), 293–316.

LEWIS, T., & POTTER, E. (2011). Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction. Routledge.

LÖFGREN, O. (2017). Mess: On Domestic Overflows. Consumption Markets & Culture, 20(1), 1-6.

LOREAU, D. (2016). L’art de la Simplicité: How to Live More with Less. St. Martin’s Griffin.

LURY, C. (2011). Consumer Culture. Polity.

MAYCROFT, N. (2009). Not Moving Things Along: Hoarding, Clutter and other Ambiguous Matter. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 8(6), 354-364.

MILLBURN, J. F., & NICODEMUS, R. (2011). Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. Asymmetrical Press.

MURPHY, E. (2018). Less is More Work: A Governmentality Analysis of Authenticity Within Minimalism Discourse [Doctoral Dissertation, Carleton University].

OUELLETTE, L. (2019). Spark Joy? Compulsory Happiness and the Feminist Politics of Decluttering. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, 11(3-4), 534-550.

PENN, B. (2017). The Little Book of Tidying: Declutter your Home and your Life. Gaia.

RUBIN, G. (2019). Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness. Harmony.

SOUKUP, R. (2016). Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul. Zondervan.

STRASSER, S. (1999). Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. Metropolitan.

WEINSWIG, D. (2017). Is Minimalism the New Normal? Marie Kondo Is Expanding KonMari To Organize the World. Forbes.

ZALEWSKA, J., & COBEL-TOKARSKA, M. (2016). Rationalization of Pleasure and Emotions: The Analysis of the Blogs of Polish Minimalists. Polish Sociological Review, 196(4), 495-412.

Most read articles by the same author(s)