Marie Kondo is living proof that keeping things neat and tidy can lead to not just a happy home, but also legions of social media followers and a Netflix series to boot. The Guardian reports that so-called “cleanfluencers” are taking the internet by storm, with the most notable personalities racking up millions of followers.
Kondo, the Japanese organization guru who 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.
Hashtags like #cleaningobsessed or #cleaningtime are a window into a whole world of organizational expertise and affirmation, where self-appointed cleaning experts share not only their tidying techniques, but their personal lives as well.
Sophie Hinchcliffe, known as Mrs. Hinch online, is among the most prominent in the category of cleaning enthusiasts not named Kondo. Hinchcliffe has 1.7 million followers on Instagram, where she shares myriad photos of her spotless home and talking her way through cleaning tasks that a previous generation might have dared consider mundane. She has developed a robust vocabulary all of her own, sprinkling verbs like “hinching” into videos directed to the #HinchArmy.
As is true on the cusp of any new social media scene, experts are weighing in on the social dynamics that have laid the groundwork for personalities like Kondo and Hinchcliffe to find and capitalize on this niche.
Kate Joynes-Burgess is the managing director of a public relations agency that works with digital influencers.
“The world of mega lifestyle influencers has been criticised as being on the cusp of an ‘authenticity crisis’ and potentially reaching a saturation point,” Joynes-Burgess says. “This has seemingly made way for more niche-focused influencers and conversations to blossom.”
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AD| Hello my Hinchers! Happy Thursday! How are we all? ????So who’s watched my little science experiment with my posh BRITA water on my story today? ???? Just call me professor Hinch mate ???????? I’ll be honest I didn’t quite see the point in these BRITA jugs , and was never overly fussed about them , but since having one its shown me just how many nasties are in tap water! I’ve been told I need to drink more water recently and this has really helped me. Maybe it’s because I just love the traffic light system on the jug but who cares ???? the led light will flash either red yellow or green when you pour to let you know if the filter is good to go! I wake up every morning and drink as much of this water as I can now, Delish! And just look at the difference it makes to my tea!! Also if you boil the filtered water in the kettle instead of tap water you won’t need to descale your Kimberly kettle as much apparently! So I’m going to see how that goes and I’ll keep you all updated! Have a wonderful evening guys and happy hinching ❤ @brita.uk
Dr Stephanie Baker, a sociology lecturer at the University of London, suggests that the trend is really just a new spin on an old standby, pointing out that as a society we have been obsessed with “domestic goddesses” for centuries. Online influencers, even “cleanflencers,” are simply the latest evolution of that movement, she says.
In a perhaps darker take, Baker also points out the tendency for people to create cleanliness and order when the world fees chaotic, perhaps as manifested in a world with headlines dominated by political turmoil in the United States and elsewhere.
“The preoccupation with order and self-management flourishes during uncertain times as a self-improvement strategy,” Baker says.