5 simple spring cleaning tips for your Facebook account

For many people, spring cleaning is an annual tradition that helps you get your house in shape for the rest of the year. After a long winter spent crammed indoors, your house could probably use it.

To help you out, I’ve rounded up sites that tell you how to clean anything you might encounter, and you should also know that you can make money on the items in your closet. However, spring cleaning isn’t only a good idea for your house.

Your online accounts could benefit from a good cleaning as well, and today I’m going to focus on Facebook. You might not realize it, but over time Facebook can get cluttered and crammed just as badly as your garage. Fortunately, it’s a lot less work to clean out and there are fewer spiders.

Whether you only have a few minutes to spare or an hour, here are some handy tricks you can use to make Facebook more secure and nicer to use. I’ll also tell you how to find information hidden away you might not realize you had. Between us, if you only do one tip from the list, make sure it’s number 5.

Few places on Facebook are as cluttered as your news feed. It combines posts from friends, shared articles, photos, videos, ads, updates from apps your friends are using, and more. Actually seeing things you want to see can become a chore.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to tweak your news feed so you see more posts that are important to you. Click here for the detailed instructions on hiding, unfollowing, changing ads and creating lists.

You can also clean out your friends list. Instead of doing it all at once, though, which could take a while, check out this clever alternative.

Chances are you’ve had your Facebook account for a number of years, and you’ve probably posted more status updates and pictures than you can remember. How many of them are things you wouldn’t post today?

Maybe your taste in humor has improved, you weren’t concerned about privacy before or you have lots of posts about an ex floating around you don’t want your new squeeze to see. Before the wrong person sees those old posts, you might want to get rid of them. Click here to learn simple steps to review and delete Facebook posts so they don’t come back to haunt you.

OK, this one isn’t technically “cleaning,” but it will keep a hacker from making your Facebook profile as mess. If you haven’t changed your Facebook password in a while, or ever, it might be a good idea to do so.

Most likely when you originally made it you were thinking about convenience not security. But your Facebook profile is now a big tempting target for hackers and snoops, so you want to be as secure as possible.

To change your password, open up your Facebook page. Click the downward triangle in the upper-right corner and select Settings. On the “General Account Settings” page, find the “Password” line and click the Edit link on the far right. Enter your current password and then your new password

Want to improve your security even more? Click here to turn on two-factor authentication and then adjust two more Facebook security settings you don›t want to miss.

Facebook adds, removes and merges privacy settings regularly. If you haven’t taken a look at yours recently, you really should. Otherwise you might be sharing information with the world you didn’t intend to. Click here for step-by-step instructions to lock down your Facebook profile.

For a quick overview, you can run a Privacy Checkup. Go to Facebook and click the padlock icon in the upper-right corner, then click “Privacy Checkup.”

You’ll go through a three-step checkup that lets you set who can see your posts, what apps are linked to your Facebook and who can see your profile information. Pay special attention to the apps, because it’s a good bet you don’t use most of them, and they could be siphoning your information.

On the Privacy Checkup app page, you can click the “App settings” link to visit the App Settings page. From this page, you can turn off apps completely, set them to always run anonymously so they don’t get your Facebook information and control what information of yours gets shared through your friend’s apps (hint: you want to make sure everything is unchecked).

Not sure you want to keep an app? You can use the MyPermissions download to see exactly what information the app is using.

One of Facebook’s best-kept secrets is the “Other” inbox. This is where messages go from people who aren’t your friends, or that Facebook thinks aren’t as urgent like event invites and group messages.

That shows you what Facebook knows. When I’ve talked about this hidden inbox in the past, people have found messages from long-lost friends and relatives that had been sitting there for years, or other must-have correspondence.

Thankfully this “Other” inbox is hiding in plain sight. In the top bar of your Facebook profile, click the messages icon (the one that looks like two speech bubbles).

Next to “Inbox,” click “Other.” You might find dozens or hundreds of messages hiding there.

When you’re spring cleaning, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get rid of everything. If you find that you never use Facebook, then it’s a good idea to just get rid of the account entirely. It’s one less way for hackers, scammers and spammers to worm their way into your life.

On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.