Whoever had the idea to use the start of a brand new year to premiere a show about the life changing magic of throwing useless crap out needs a promotion. Like everyone else, I love me some Marie Kondo. Her new Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, based around her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, takes us into the lives and homes of ordinary Americans whose clutter is legit just like the literal worst. They’re not hoarders though! These people just have too much stuff and nowhere to put it so everything ends up on the floor – #relatable.
I know the head honchos at Netflix HQ strategically planned to introduce the literal beam of sunshine that is everything Marie Kondo into our lives when the vast majority of us are a) still on holidays b) just now coming to terms with the gross consumerism that another Christmas has gifted us and c) have time to sit around, binge TV and grimace at all the junk cluttering our lives. However, my naive heart will continue to believe it’s just a satisfying AF coincidence, like when a new month starts on a Monday, or when your freshly sliced avocado is friggen flawless inside.
But what’s all this got to do with who you follow on social media? Let me finally get to my thesis. *clicks over to my next PowerPoint slide.*
Does this user spark joy?
Marie’s magic steps to tidying up revolves around one simple question – does this spark joy? This goes for anything; your clothes, books, sentimental items and everything else. After watching a couple episodes of Kondo goodness and physically witnessing my sister haul bags and bags of her joyless belongings out of her room (again, not hoarders, we’ve just never moved) it got me thinking about the digital clutter in my life, specifically what fills up my social media feeds.
I’m sure most of us follow a few (or a lot of) accounts on Instagram which honestly just don’t spark joy, at least not anymore. Maybe you’re following celebrities of the Kardashian kind who you hate (can’t relate) but still find yourself keeping up with anyway. Maybe there are certain influencers whose seemingly perfect lives just get under your skin, especially seeing their carefree posts on the commute home from another gruelling day at work (can relate). Maybe it’s the 40 supermodels you follow which are just too out of this world to be the norm anymore (BIG relate).
Whoever the user may be, whatever is being posted, we all have our vices.
But we don’t need to have those vices. We can unfollow them. And I think we forget that.
Well, at least I did.
In the middle of last year I felt like I wasn’t immersing myself enough in the blogging and influencer worlds of Instagram, so I went on a little following spree. I discovered new account which I genuinely loved and still do. But that little spree turned into a huge one because I suddenly felt like I needed to follow everyone in the industry, which is ridiculous when you write it down like that. Because Instagram is big business now, for months I felt like not following as many people as possible meant not connecting with enough people, which then felt like a bad business decision.
But I am not a business in the slightest. I am one person with one page just uploading posts I really like and hoping others do too.
And I need to keep reminding myself that.
Predictably, my Instagram felt incredibly cluttered. I didn’t have a personal connection to the accounts I was following, and while their posts were great, some just weren’t my cup of tea. They didn’t spark joy, and the content I did really want to see was getting lost.
Girl, use the mute button!
I’ve become well aquatinted with Instagram’s Mute button, whereby you can still be following someone but remove their Stories, posts or both from your feeds. It has its time and place, but it felt like a band-aid solution, plus it felt weird to have this little list of muted accounts on my phone just looking back at me.
Finally decluttering my social feeds felt like a weight had been lifted. Clicking that unfollow button is a small action, but it has such a healthy impact on your mental headspace. Looking at something and finally realising it didn’t bring me joy instead of continuing to feel weird about it was huge for me.
If too many supermodels are getting you down, unfollow them. If too many celebrities are making you angry, unfollow them. If too many influencers aren’t resonating with you, unfollow them. It seems obvious, but I think it’s healthy to be reminded.
Wise words from Margaret Zhang
When I met one of my all-time favourite creatives Margaret Zhang at an ELLE x H&M event, I asked her how she dealt with the ability to always be connected and the constant feelings of comparisons.
“I don’t follow anyone in my field,” she said simply. “Seriously, if you check my Instagram I’m following under 50 people I think, and they’re all hairdressers because I can’t do my hair. I just don’t worry about what others are doing and focus on my own work.”
When she said that, I was shook. And then I checked her account and she was right. Margaret Zhang, who just hit 1 million followers, is only following 48 hairdressers.
I will forever be thankful to Marie and Margaret.
To end on a positive, here are some of my favourite Instagram accounts.
diet_prada – No introduction needed, the ultimate fashion critics and designer watchdogs.
everyoutfitonsatc – A razor-sharp breakdown of exactly what it says on the tin, every outfit on Sex and the City.
ripannanicolesmith – memes made up of niche-academic references on top of images of Paris Hilton, Kim K, and cult movies. Way more fun that I can ever describe it.
ageofaquaria – My favourite drag queen who is always pushing her creative limits. Honestly every look she posts stops me in my tracks and inspires me, even if it just means wearing star shaped earrings that day.
lucygarland – One of the most incredible self taught makeup artists who I’ve adored for years. She’s now a contestant on American Beauty Star Season 2! She’s also Australian like myself and has such a down to earth personality too.
eholmes – After writing for the Wall Street Journal for 10 years, Elizabeth Holmes is now a roving reporter whose gained a following through her So Many Thoughts, which is her in-depth, insightful and positive commentary on what royals Kate and Megan are wearing.
And that’s that on that.