Do you roll your eyes and groan more than you laugh and smile when going through your various social media feeds? Then perhaps it’s time to clear out the social media clutter, Marie Kondo style.
Social media is often stressful. Following a lot of people is time-consuming, and it distracts you from the people and things that are truly important in your life. Your social media should bring you joy, whether it’s staying in touch with friends and family, learning new things you’re interested in, or just keeping up with your favorite celebrities or athletes. It shouldn’t be an endless feed of negative people, arguments, and things you don’t care about.
After all, if using social media doesn’t make you happy, then what’s the point of using it in the first place? Luckily, if you want to make a change, it’s possible, and Marie Kondo’s method for tidying up can help with that.
Who Is Marie Kondo?
If you haven’t noticed, decluttering has become a huge craze lately thanks to a new Netflix series called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” It features a new family every episode and documents their journeys of decluttering their homes to live happier lives.
Marie Kondo is a decluttering expert who has written several books on the art of organization and getting rid of stuff you don’t need. Using the KonMari method (created by Kondo herself), viewers and readers are told to go through each of their items one-by-one and only keep things that “spark joy.” Everything else is tossed out (after thanking it, of course).
It’s not just about freeing up physical space in your home. You dispose of objects that don’t bring you joy to focus on objects that do. Likewise, tidying up your social media will let you focus on the people you care about—the ones that bring you joy.
The KonMari method includes five categories: Books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and sentimental items. Declutterers go through each category in their home one-by-one to make it easier to chip away at all the clutter.
All of this is really aimed at physical items in your home taking up space, but you can easily apply the KonMari method to social media. It’s easy to think that digital clutter isn’t a problem because we can just follow a bunch of people without it taking up any physical space, but it does take up space on our screens and in our minds. Following a lot of people on social media can be distracting, stressful, and time-consuming—just like dealing with clutter in your home.
One of the first things that Kondo recommends people do is visualize their ideal lives to get them on track as they begin their decluttering journey. Try applying this same concept to social media.
Picture your ideal social media experience. As you go through your social media feeds from day to day, what feelings do you want to feel? How much time would you ideally want to spend on scrolling through posts? What kind of content do you most want to see in your feeds?
Perhaps you want to prioritize posts from your close friends and family? Maybe you want to focus more on your hobbies? At the very least, you might want to get rid of the negative people that you follow. Whatever it is that you want to get from social media, keep that in mind as you go through your digital decluttering.
So what would tidying up your social media feeds even entail? It’s not like social media contains things like books, papers, and random stuff sitting in your garage, but we can still translate these steps to our digital life. After all, Kondo will be publishing a new book next year discussing how to tidy up our digital clutter.
Instead of categories like books, papers, and komono, we can break up social media decluttering into categories of its own to make the process a bit easier.
Start by going through your Friends list on Facebook and the people you follow on Twitter and Instagram. From there, look at each one of your friends and followers one-by-one and ask yourself if you enjoy seeing the things they post. In other words, do these people spark joy whenever they post a new update or photo? If not, unfriend or unfollow them.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to be that harsh, you can “mute them”—you’ll still be following/friending them, but you won’t see any of their posts. It’s a little confusing on Facebook since they call this “unfollowing,” but you’ll still be Facebook friends. You can also “snooze” a Facebook friend for 30 days if you want to give it a trial run of sorts.
Don’t feel bad about this—the person you’re unfollowing (on Facebook) or muting (on Twitter or Instagram) won’t even know it.
Next, go through any Facebook Pages that you’ve “liked” and hashtags that you’re following on Instagram. Like your individual friends, there might be some Facebook Pages and hashtags that you followed a long time ago that you now mindlessly scroll past every time because it’s no longer interesting.
Sift through Facebook Groups, Instagram group chats, or any other communities that you’re a part of on social media. There have been plenty of times where I’ve joined a Facebook Group, and the discussion just wasn’t fruitful. But instead of leaving the group, I end up just ignoring it and scrolling past.
Now, with all the clutter gone, you can organize what’s left. For example, Facebook lets you pick certain friends to show first in your News Feed, as well as add friends to custom lists (like only friends that live in your city, or only close friends of yours).
On Twitter, you can also create custom lists and add certain users, even if you don’t follow them. This is a great way to clean up your main feed and separate everyone into organized, curated lists.
Decide if a specific social network is even worth using in the first place. While you’re going through your various social media accounts, there may be a point when you realize that there’s nothing (or very little) about it that sparks joy for you. There’s nothing wrong with deleting your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account if that’s something that would ultimately make you happy.
The bottom line is that using social media should be fun and entertaining. But ultimately, it should make you happy. If your social media feeds are only making you angry or annoyed, then what’s the point? Social media should spark joy, not frustration.