Everything You Need To Know About Swedish Death Cleaning

Angela | Arrow
by Angela | Arrow
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” by Margareta Magnusson

Let’s talk about Swedish death cleaning so we can learn how it’s done and how it works.

I wanted to learn more about it so I picked up a book called “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” by Margareta Magnusson.

In the book, she talks about cleaning your life and getting your affairs in order during your old age in preparation for death.

In Swedish culture, this is something people start doing around the age of 65, but really this can be done at any age. People often try to leave money or some type of inheritance for their loved ones, but it is important to think about all the rest of the things you are leaving behind for them to deal with.

Anything left behind risks becoming a barrier between your loved ones and their grief process. We all want to leave people with fond memories, not a burden of clutter to deal with.

That is why it is important to get rid of things you don’t need, keep track of what you have, and make decisions about what will come of your belongings.

This will alleviate the pressure from those who will be grieving your loss, and it will also make everything more manageable for you throughout your life.

Swedish death cleaning

The first thing Magnusson talks about in the book is why we hold on to things. We have a clutter instinct.

We want to make sure we are living a life of abundance. We don’t want to feel we are lacking in any way. We also have a hoarding instinct which stems from survival instincts.

String instruments

We tend to hold on to things because we are afraid of death. We fear that when we die all memories of us will disappear. We think the things we leave behind will serve as a reminder or proof of our existence.

When we are decluttering during Swedish death cleaning, we have to ask ourselves, in regard to each item, “Will anyone be happier if I keep this item?” In reality, a lot of our personal items are personal to us alone.

Just because it’s something you love, doesn’t mean it will be loved by somebody else. Consider this carefully when decluttering. If you have something you want to leave behind for someone, tell them about it and tell them why it is significant to you.

Let’s go over some of the different methods with which you can approach the gentle art of Swedish death cleaning.

Swedish death cleaning

1. Most private method

The most private method is to go through your things on your own. Donate or get rid of whatever you don’t need.

Then label the items you have decided to keep. Document why you decided to keep them, who you’d like them to go to, and what you would like to be done with them.

Swedish death cleaning

2. Help from family

The second method involves bringing in the entire family and having them help sort through things and make decisions together.

This can be very draining for everyone involved but it distributes the burden so it doesn’t all fall on one or two people.

Swedish death cleaning

3. Slow release

This method involves slowly distributing items as gifts over a long period of time. This doesn’t even have to be just for sentimental items. You can do this with things like appliances, furniture, or anything else that might be useful to your loved ones.

This method reduces the pressure of getting rid of everything at once. It allows you to move at a comfortable pace while you distribute what you can when you can.

Swedish death cleaning

The Swedish death cleaning is similar to decluttering and a minimalist mindset but it adds another level of importance and meaning.

It’s different from regular decluttering in that you’re not just thinking about yourself and your needs.

You’re thinking about your loved ones and being considerate of their ultimate responsibility for everything you leave behind.

Fabric patch

Swedish death cleaning

The Swedish death cleaning meaning is profound. It should be considered a special time in your life when you’re able to hold these items in your hands and relive the memories they bring up.

Cherish those memories and remember how blessed your life has been. If you frame it that way, this cleaning technique can be very beneficial for you and your loved ones.

If you have any experience with Swedish death cleaning I would love to hear about it. Even if you haven’t had any experience with this, if you have questions or ideas, drop a comment.

This is such an interesting topic. I’d love to meet you in the comments section to discuss.

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