What Is 'Swedish Death Cleaning?'


From Country Living

You probably already know about Hygge and Lagom-two popular lifestyles coined and created by the Scandinavians, but have you heard of Döstädning?

Döstädning, which means "death cleaning" in English, is a new method of downsizing and organizing from the Swedish author Margareta Magnusson. The approach makes it easy for folks over 50 to purge their home and organize their possessions in hopes that their children won't be overburdened by their belongings once they pass away, according to The Chronicle. Sure, it sounds morbid, but it's actually a pretty smart idea.

"Death cleaning isn't the story of death and its slow, ungainly inevitability," said Magnusson, "but rather the story of life, your life, the good memories and the bad. The good ones you keep. The bad you expunge." It isn't about getting rid of all your stuff, but rather streamlining your life so you're only holding onto what makes you happy.

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Magnusson wrote The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, which describes the practice with more details and easy steps to follow. You'll have to wait until January to read it, but here's what we know about the cleaning system so far.

1. Everyone should do it. Magnusson says every person should begin death cleaning after 50, but the idea can work for all ages. Anyone can simplify and organize their life with this new approach.

2. It should be a slow and ongoing process. This cleaning technique can't be started and finished in a day, week, or month. It's going to take time and should be seen as a lifestyle change-not a period of intense purging.

3. As you sort your home, you should think about your will, memorial service, and the inheritance you'll leave behind, too. The experience should be comprehensive and practical, helping you to be prepared and allowing you-not others-to make the big decisions.

4. You should vocalize your intentions. Tell your friends and family about your plans, so they will hold you accountable. This is a very important step Magnusson details in the book, according to Tree Hugger.

5. Gift your unwanted items. When you drop by a friends house, skip the flowers or food, and bring them a few books you no longer want. Begin the process of giving away your items to people who could use them or may want them.

6. Start with your closet. It's less emotionally taxing to get through, according to Magnusson. Begin there and you'll feel motivated to get through more.

7. It's very therapeutic. Death cleaning isn't about dying. It's about looking back at your life and keeping what's important. Through the process, you'll take stock of your many blessings, relive fond memories, and archive and sort your greatest treasures, according to Funeral Zone. It's a neat way to write your own narrative.

8. You should reward yourself, but not with more stuff. "Don't forget yourself," Magnusson writes. After you finish organizing an area or part of your life, treat yourself to a movie, manicure, or delicious meal.

(h/t The Chronicle)


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