While the name may sound like the newest horror flick, Swedish Death Cleaning is a way to deal with your family’s possessions. Based on the book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. The book was written to help those in advanced years deal with all that they have accumulated over the course of their lives and get rid of it before they die. But if your family is like mine and could use some help in the declutter arena, this book is for you.
You Don’t Need to Hold On to It All
Some of us like to keep special items around the house as a reminder of an experience. But you don’t need to have a memento to trigger a memory. Those fantastic family trips or special days with your spouse won’t be forgotten. Our minds will hold on to the memories without the souvenir. I know I am guilty of this. I have a box filled with all kinds of things stashed all over the house. My kids found a box of wedding bouquets yesterday. Not sure why I need a box of dried flowers from ten years ago to help me remember friends’ weddings, but I have it.
The process of Swedish Death Cleaning suggests starting room by room. For example, look in your kitchen cabinets and make a note of how many plates and glasses you keep. Chances are you don’t need four different styles of place settings for eight.
Make It a Family Affair
An essential piece to Swedish Death Cleaning is including others. This is important for a couple of reasons. For one, it will help keep you accountable if you tell others about your idea. If you are helping aging parents declutter their home, it’s a good time for them to share with your family their wishes after they pass. It’s during this process that it is helpful to begin putting together a document for any login and password information for any financial institutions or other relevant information that’s going to be tough to find after your loved one’s death.
Where to Start?
While the process can feel overwhelming. Which is why my kid’s playroom and bedrooms currently look like their closets and drawers threw up everything they have on the floor. The book suggests starting with the closest is the best way to get started. The reason being, it’s easy to get rid of clothes that no longer fit.
When to Start?
While the book is meant for those 65 or older to start shedding their possession, younger couples and families can benefit from the principals in the book. Now is as good of a time as any. I am not joking when I say my upstairs is currently a stage five disaster zone. But life currently has me in the weeds. So maybe after the kids go back to school, I can start the cleansing. Getting rid of the clutter can be liberating. It’s hard because we want to hold on to those “just in case” items. But how often do you need three different zoodle makers?
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