Have the Swedes got it right with their view of helping to relieve the burdon on those left behind when we die by a process called “Death Cleaning”. The words are uncomfortable to listen to, but when you get your head around it, the idea is really very sensible and once you set your mind to it the easier it gets. So what is it all about?
In essence it is a process of decluttering as you near your final years and in so doing you are leaving less behind for others to deal with.
We all hold on to more than we truly need, from the “it might come in useful one day” to “I might fit into it one day”. We all have clothes we haven’t worn for months if not years or open a cupboard or drawer and are surprised by what’s in it that we had completely forgotten about. So why hold on to these things if we don’t really need to as it only leaves others to deal with it when we die.
In her book, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning : How to Free Yourself and Your Family From A Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson (now in her 80’s) she says a good time to start is when you reach 65. You can give things to friends and family, you can sell things you don’t think others would want to hold onto, then of course you could give items to charity shops and help the homeless
It’s not easy to start but when you do, you’re on a roll and you feel better in yourself, knowing you are making life easier for those left behind. If you can’t answer the question “Will anyone be happier if I save this?” with a “yes” then that’s something to consider in your decluttering process!
I’m sure we either know someone or it’s happened to us, that we’ve had to deal with a person’s Estate, that’s involved us in hours and hours of our time to empty the contents of a house or flat. It’s not only distressing, but going through someone else’s things can feel like prying or even worse things you come across trigger memories which can bring us to tears.
So there it is. Swedish death cleaning isn’t morbid nor sad, it’s just a thoughtful way to de-clutter your home and life for practical and caring reasons.