Do you get as much joy from rolling up a pair of socks as Marie Kondo does? This should be our new goal in life. The new Netflix series, Tidying up with Maria Kondo has taken over our homes and Instagram feeds and we are not mad about it. Marie Kondo is living proof that keeping things neat and tidy can lead to a happy home.
Kondo rose to prominence with her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, has since become an icon in her own right, paving the way for legions of would-be experts to follow in her footsteps to social media fame and fortune. The Guardian reports that so-called “cleanfluencers” are taking the internet by storm, with the most notable personalities racking up millions of followers.
From last few years, we have seen a huge rise in hashtags like #cleaningobsessed or #cleaningtime on social media. Marie Kondo isn’t the only one who made her way to the popularity and success, there are other cleanfluencers too.
A ‘cleaning mad’ woman whose routine is sweeping the world has gained an army of fans who cannot wait to get their feather dusters and rubber gloves out. Sophie Hinchcliffe – known as Mrs Hinch – had no idea her tips would prove so popular and gain her hundreds and thousands of followers around the world. She has now sparked a frenzy of people stockpiling cleaning products to make their homes spotless – with some items selling out and going on eBay for triple the price.
The 28-year-old hairdresser created her profile @MrsHinchHome_X_when her now-husband Jamie began to decorate the home they bought two years ago. She started sharing pictures of her immaculate home as well as chatty videos of herself disinfecting her bins and scrubbing her sink. She also developed a whole branded vocabulary around tidying up – cleaning is “hinching”; buying products is a “hinch haul”. At first, she was getting 300 to 500 followers a month but she became so popular that at one point she started getting 35,000 followers a day. She currently has 1.6 million followers on Instagram.
“The world of mega lifestyle influencers has been criticised as being on the cusp of an ‘authenticity crisis’ and potentially reaching a saturation point,” says Kate Joynes-Burgess who is the Managing Director of BCW, a PR agency that works with influencers. The world has become tired with celebrities and pretty faces posing in fabulous outfits with photogenic friends. It is more relatable when a message comes from someone from the mass. This has seemingly made way for more niche-focused influencers and conversations to blossom.
“Influencer” is one of the biggest buzzwords in marketing and brands are paying influencers big money to bring attention to their products or services. No wonder when Mrs Hinch sponsored Minky M Cloth antibacterial cleaning pad on her Instagram, the whole website of Minky crashed because of heavy traffic. The company said there has been a significant increase in their brand awareness and sales for which they are very grateful to the influencer.
But there is another aspect to this cleaning influencer ideology too. A constant debate on it suggests that it reinforces gender stereotype. Since almost all best-known cleaning influencers are women and so are their followers, it perpetuates the idea that cleaning is women’s work. A cleaning influencer says that she regularly shares videos of her sons washing dishes in the dishwasher and her husband does his own ironing. She says that she has expressed her message with every member of the family that cleaning is teamwork.
Even if the cleanfluencers are not helping the people to get away from the gender stereotype, we cannot say that they are not helping the society. There is a lot of research which shows that messy places can lead to depression and fatigue. One of the most outspoken cleaning influencers, Crombie speaks from her personal experience. After her marriage when her twins were born prematurely, she was struggling to rebuild her life. She found her solace in cleaning which gave her something to hold on to. “If I hadn’t cleaned, I would have stayed in bed all day,” she says, grimly. Her new book How to Clean Your House And Tidy Up Your Life will be published this year in March.
A new wave of influencers are taking over social media, but instead of plugging their favourite lipsticks they’re sharing their tips for squeaky-clean surfaces.
Source – mirror.co.uk, inquisitor.com, walesonline.co.uk, theguardian.com