Decluttering gender with Marie Kondo


Originally published at:


What an excellent application of the principle.


I’m decluttering right now.


@beschizza thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve been going through a very similar journey this year, but in the other direction. Not so much a de-cluttering as an exchange of clothing and self-perception. Gone are most of my ‘dressy’ Carharts and shirts with buttons and collars, making way for work-appropriate skirts (with pockets!), leggings and flowy tunics. In the day-to-day it feels oddly transgressive (especially for someone who’s been an out queer activist for 25+ years) but also incredibly true and comfortable.


I grumble at the trendiness of de-cluttering, though that said i do know that i have slowly collected and held onto things that i never needed or no longer need and really need to go through my things and size down what i have.

I do plan to move by July this year so i need to take a look at what i can get rid of and slowly make space. Definitely would hate to get rid of some of my books though ]:


Get over here then, because I could really use a hand!

Start with all the weird cables and legacied hardware and testing that stack of hard drives. And I need you test and re-end, re-crimp this pile of legacy Cat-5 ether cables because none of us here have upgraded to Cat-7 or Cat-8 (ffs! 8? we’re up to 8 now?).


A nice read, thanks for the post.


Decluttering my dad’s stuff (we’re keeping the house, so we’re not just getting rid of everything) has been an excellent reminder that I don’t want my kids to have to do the same Herculean job some day. That realization has helped, tremendously, in moving forward on the process in my own home. Don’t know if it’s a good kickstarter for you, but there it is.


Really - shouldn’t we be decluttering masculinity?


I was a little nervous about the article being against femininity when I read the excerpt. It turned out it’s a personal journey. The genders in the story could have just as easily been reversed if it had happened to be that way.


Decluttering Masculinity sounds like the title of punk rock album.

I want to listen to it.


Y’know, it’s weird.

There are all sorts of objects that are marketed to men based on the idea that they’ll make them “more manly”, and the use of masculinity as a marketing ploy is very well established, but I don’t think I’ve observed anything like as much possession-shaming in that gender.

Women who don’t have any makeup, or any heels, or [insert totem object here] get flack for that, for supposedly not being feminine enough, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than a bare handful of analogous remarks directed at men. Like, I might once have seen someone contend that you’re not a real man unless you have a drill or some other DIY tool, but that’s about the extent of it.


Men aren’t shamed for not having masculine things, but the shame directed towards men for having feminine things is intense.

If a man is asked to hold a purse while a woman goes to the bathroom/changeroom/whatever, they hold it away from their body to make sure everyone knows: I’m holding this, it isn’t mine. Try getting a man to wear something in their hair. Women can get looks for not wearing makeup, but nothing like the looks men can get for wearing makeup.

I think it’s a symptom of having a cultural idea of a default person who is a white, cisgender, heterosexual male person. So there are gay things and women’s things and things for black people, but everything that isn’t specifically so labelled is assumed to be for the default person. There is never need to prove you are default, so long as you don’t signal that you aren’t.


Try wearing something pink as a small boy…


Try wearing something pink as a middle school boy.


Really, fuck society and the endless limitations it puts on people.

My 3 year old is already telling my wife and I what colors we can and cannot wear being a girl/boy. And that’s with us actively try to raise her in a progressive and inclusive way.

Stories like this make me happy until I realize why they are needed.


It’s frustrating how gendered everything is. Fortunately if your kid tells you that you can’t wear pink it’s easy to prove them wrong. But these messages are so deeply implanted in our brains that people like the author of this piece can’t even hear their own feelings that run contrary to the messages.

My hope is that while it seems like things for kids are even more gendered than they used to be, it also seems like the penalty for not conforming is getting less and less. Then again, maybe that’s just where I live.


Article keeps crashing. ARRRRRGH.


I still think it’s exciting that people like the writer are starting see and live lives that reflect their true selves.

Thankfully, it seems that a lot of people just don’t care about the penalties. My 12 year old is a case in point- she wears a buzzcut and blazers and slacks instead of dresses-which isn’t terribly shocking to me, but in my tween years it would have been pretty transgressive.


Arguably the problem with masculinity is that it suffers from being too decluttered. Poofy sleeves, tights, pointy shoes, wigs, makeup, and jewellery used to be manly, and men who could afford to do so strove to outdo each other sartorially, like a bunch of peacocks.

Then about 200 years ago a dandy who couldn’t afford all that expensive stuff brainwashed all his peers into thinking that only the plainest, most boring fashions were suitable for men, and male fashion has been frozen in amber ever since.