Decluttering: Swedish death cleaning

Great article. It’s not about Death rock though 🙂

 “The ultimate purpose of death cleaning is to minimize the amount of stuff, especially meaningless clutter, that you leave behind for others to deal with.”

I never had kids, and I often wonder, what will happen to all my stuff? And to my Mom’s stuff?  When I started studying Feng Shui years ago, that was always the first assignment. Same with any occult practice: you can’t welcome peace, love and good fortune into a cluttered house! It just doesn’t work properly. Every object we own, big or small, has an agreement with us on an energy level, and ties up our energy with it. The strongest bonds are with unfinished projects, little scraps of notes, broken objects, old “to do” lists, unpaid bills, and clothes that don’t fit anymore. These things really drag our energy down or backwards.
I get such a freeing feeling when I deal with one of these thought relics – usually just one at a time. How fast you do it isn’t important, it’s just doing it. I try to deal with a piece of clutter everyday – just one – and I find I make good progress.

The time to declutter our stuff is now.

“Swedish death cleaning’ is the new decluttering trend

By Katherine Martinko (@feistyredhair), October 9, 2017

It’s not what it sounds like.

My mother used to be addicted to the thrift store. She went every week for no purpose other than to browse for deals. Of course she found deals, being the shrewd and careful shopper that she is — gold earrings, fine china sets, silverware, high-quality linens, kitchen appliances, to name a few. The problem was that these deals came home. They filled the house, packing shelves and occupying counter space, to the point of feeling cramped.

Several years ago, I said to my mother in frustration, “It would be a nightmare to have to deal with all this stuff if you died tomorrow.” She looked at me, stunned. Up until then, I suspect she’d assumed that everyone appreciated her junk-treasures as much as she did. What ensued, mercifully, was a house purge. Mom removed much of her stuff and ceased her weekly pilgrimages to the thrift store, avoiding temptation.

That conversation revealed to me the importance of discussing the long-term intentions for one’s belongings. If I hadn’t said anything, I suspect it would have been decades before my 50-something-year-old mother realized what a burden her stuff would be on the family someday — and just think of all the additional things she could’ve accumulated in that time. It makes me shiver.

Enter “Swedish Death Cleaning.” (I’m not joking. This is for real.)

The first time I heard the term, I thought it meant some kind of hardcore Scandinavian house-cleaning routine (they take a lot of things seriously there), where you scour your home from top to bottom to the point of physical collapse, as in “working yourself to the bone.” Well, I was wrong.

In Swedish, the word is “dostadning” and it refers to the act of slowly and steadily decluttering as the years go by, ideally beginning in your fifties (or at any point in life) and going until the day you kick the bucket. The ultimate purpose of death cleaning is to minimize the amount of stuff, especially meaningless clutter, that you leave behind for others to deal with.

A woman by the name of Margareta Magnusson, who says she’s between 80 and 100, has written a book titled “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter.” She says she has moved house 17 times over the course of her lifetime, which is why “I should know what I am talking about when it comes to deciding what to keep and what to throw away”. Reviewer Hannah-Rose Yee, who practiced some Swedish death cleaning herself, describes it as being “like Marie Kondo, but with an added sense of the transience and futility of this mortal existence.”

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