Ever since becoming a mom, I have found myself mindlessly scrolling up and down my Facebook feed, liking what all my mommy friends are doing, reading through their updates, and marking new ideas on to-do wishlists. As moms, we can spend a lot of time online: we shop, plan meals, find ideas for birthday parties, and search for inspiration on everything from home décor to parenting techniques. You name it, and we can search for it and pin it.
But how often do social media feeds make us feel like we are not doing enough? A mother’s update of her two-and-a-half-year-old son being able to read surely gave me jitters—and made me wonder what I am doing wrong with my child, who is not as interested in learning as he is in playing superheroes.
Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant and #1 New York Times best-selling author. She is the founder of the KonMari™ method and has forever changed the way we think about tidying up. (Here is a Power of Moms review of her book.) Her message is amazingly simple: choose things that bring joy and discard everything else. What an absolutely mindful way to declutter! Marie Kondo’s question, “Does it spark joy?” makes so much sense, especially when applied to our digital lives.
How I Decluttered Facebook. After I read Marie Kondo’s book, I started by asking myself one question: Am I enjoying what I am reading on Facebook? If I found that I was not, I asked more questions specifically for “friends” on Facebook, such as,
- Is this someone (other than my close friends or family) that I would be okay not keeping in touch with?
- Have I met with this person recently? Would their absence on my feed matter to me at all?
- Do their posts spark joy?
Based on my answers, I decided if I should unfriend the person on Facebook. If I was concerned it might hurt the person’s feelings, I “unfollowed” the person instead of “unfriending.” That way I could be in touch if I wanted to but didn’t have to see posts that weren’t bringing me joy.
Rather than spend a lot of time weeding through all of my Facebook friends at once, I developed another ritual to break up the process; whenever it is a friend’s birthday, Facebook prompts me to wish them a happy birthday. I use this time to decide whether to keep being friends with them, mute them, or to say goodbye.
This decluttering may sound harsh, but I felt like I would be doing a disservice to myself by letting negativity hang around. I used the same basic premise to take myself out of Facebook groups that I didn’t care about. And I started turning off ads that did not matter to me.
Other Ways to Declutter. Here are some additional ways you could apply Marie Kondo’s advice:
- Emails: Take an inventory of all your email subscriptions. If they don’t spark joy, it is time to unsubscribe.
- Pinterest: Do your pins spark joy? Or are they adding a burden to your to-do list? Are you pinning projects and attempting them because you want to or because you want to “fit in”? Keep all pins that make you happy. Remove any pins from your feed that make you sad.
- Instagram: Just like you did with your emails, unfollow all Instagram feeds that make you unhappy.
- Time spent online: Declutter your total time spent online by being mindful of online usage versus time spent offline, especially when someone is directly communicating with you. By evaluating and acting on what matters most to you, you will find greater joy in life.
Digital Decluttering is Part of Our Self-care. Sometimes we spend time online thinking we are using that time for ourselves when, in reality, we’re letting our digital world overwhelm us. True self-care is about taking care of the mind, body, and spirit. And digital decluttering helps with the mind part.
Motherhood is lonely sometimes, and connecting with others—including online—can be important. But for our sanity, we need to make sure our digital surroundings are positive and useful.
QUESTION: What aspect of your digital surroundings is in need of decluttering?
CHALLENGE: This week find five things in your digital feed that do not bring you joy and mute them. Or even better, spend extra time off social media doing something that brings you true joy!
- Want to clear your email inbox to zero and learn how to easily manage future emails? Check out this post by April Perry on Learn Do Become.
- For more information on the Konmari method, check out this book review of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
- For ideas on decluttering all aspects of your life, sign up for our free Master the Whirlwind e-course.
Edited by Briana Heinonen, Katie Carter, and Sarah Monson.
Image from Shutterstock; graphics by Anna Jenkins.