What Is Swedish Death Cleaning And Why It Might Be A Good Idea?

Last updated on June 28th, 2022

You start to clean, find something that you really don’t know where to put, and quietly shove it in your ‘junk’ drawer (which by now has become a ticking clutter bomb, ready to explode!)
Sound familiar? Well if it does, you’ve got to read this!

There’s actually a Swedish trend that’s fast catching on, that’s meant for situations just like these. Morbid as it may sound, it is called the Swedish Death Cleaning Method, and can be quite a life-saver, if you know how to do it right! Read on to know more.

Swedish Death Cleaning In A Nutshell

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Bestselling author Margareta Magnusson made this method popular the world over with her book The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning. The Swedish word for it is ‘dostadning’, with ‘do’ meaning death and ‘stadning’ that means cleaning.
The basic thought behind ‘Dostadning’ is to get rid of the unnecessary clutter from your home and organize your life, so that as you get older, you don’t end up leaving behind a mountain of mess for your loved ones to deal with. The idea might seem a little macabre, but it makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t just make your every day life easier to handle, but also helps you surround yourself with only those things that are meaningful, which is something we all definitely stand to benefit from.

When to Start

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Death cleaning (get used to the word already!) isn’t something that you do at one go. It’s something that you do over many years, slowly, but steadily. And there isn’t a perfect time to start. It’s a life-altering journey, with no good time to begin. But it should be a must-do, if you’re nearing 65.

What To Start With

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Don’t make the mistake of starting with your old photographs. Look inside your closet instead and start to remove things that you haven’t touched for a year or ones that don’t fit you any longer. Another good place to start could be your attic or garage. Also, it might be a good idea to let friends and family know so that they can take what they like before you begin donating things.

Knowing That Others May Not Want Your Stuff

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It’s important to understand that what might hold a lot of value in your eyes, may mean nothing to others, so saving things for the next generation might be a pointless exercise. It’s also equally important to dispose of any items that may be embarrassing or upsetting for your family to find.

Giving Your Things Away

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At first giving your prized possessions away might seem very tough. Magnusson suggests that you offer your things to friends and family as presents, instead of giving them flowers or chocolates. Give them what they’ve always admired. This is a great way to know that what you love will continue to be cherished in a new home.

Documenting Things

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One of the most important aspects of Swedish Death Cleaning is involving others in the process. Leave notes explaining what you would like to be done with your things after you. It helps your loved ones to understand your wishes in the event that something happens to you.
It’s also a good idea to start documenting passwords and other such information that might concern financial institutions and that your family may have no way of knowing after your death.

Creating A ‘Throw Away’ Box

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There must be a ton of things in your home that hold immense meaning to you but might mean nothing to someone else. Start putting them all in a box. This box could have things like old love letters, souvenirs from your travel or your old collections. The idea behind having this box is, that you get to enjoy it while you’re around, but once you’re no more, your friends or family, have your permission to get rid of the things inside.

Rewarding Yourself

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Changing your age-old ways of doing things isn’t an easy task. It takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit. Magnusson suggests that we reward ourselves for every little thing that we accomplish on our new path to decluttering. But we must remember to not reward ourselves by buying something new and adding more clutter to be dealt with. Treat yourself to a dessert you love or go catch that new flick.

How about a day at the spa?