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Death Cleaning: Whatever you call it, you’ll be glad you did it

Death Cleaning: Whatever you call it, you’ll be glad you did it

I appreciate that this suggestion might be a little more enticing if it were called something else.

But as a Swede myself, I have to say that I find the Swedish concept of “death cleaning” – clearing out your home so the people you leave behind won’t have to — joyful and liberating.

If you find that difficult to believe, take a look at Margareta Magnusson’s helpful — and potentially life-changing — book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.

As Ms. Magnusson explains, we buy things because we think they will make us happy. But instead of enjoying those things, using them up and/or passing them on, we keep accumulating more. And then, we’ve got a problem.

Even worse, we’re creating problems for the people who have to clean up our stuff.

Ms. Magnusson suggests that we should want to make our loved ones’ memories of us nice – instead of awful. I agree!

Fortunately, it is actually rather easy to do:

  1. Keep what you use and or love. Let go of the rest.
  2. Find a place where things belong. Keep them there.
  3. Do a little at a time. Get started now.

Just for the record, you don’t have to be anywhere near death to start “death cleaning.” It’s motivated by awareness — not an age.

So if you agree that decluttering might be a good idea, but the idea that you’re “death cleaning,” makes you uncomfortable, call it something else. Tell yourself you’re working on increasing your personal environmental awareness, or that you’re demonstrating your extraordinary generosity.

Remind yourself that you’re creating more space for the things you love in your life – including the people you love who won’t have to clean up after you.

I can promise that you will feel like celebrating when you get it done. And if you’d like help, just let me know and we’ll get your party started!

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