Swedish Death Cleaning (a Serious Case for Decluttering)

swedish death cleaning decluttering

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On a scale of one to ten, how much stuff do you own? With two duffel bags, two laptop bags, Blendobi and a tent to our name, Sporty and I are on the lower end of the scale.

A little extreme perhaps, but right now it’s working for us.

But even when we were living in our apartment, we didn’t own that much. For us, it was a place to go home to when we still had office jobs, not a storing facility for stuff. Our extreme lifestyle experiment, which started as a bit of a joke, ended up working really well for us.

We were quite content with our two mugs, two bowls, two dessert spoons and two teaspoons. It’s amazing how you’ll find more than one use for something when that’s all you have.

Breadboards double as serving plates, teaspoons are great for spreading peanut butter on toast, mugs can be used for coffee, soup and even muesli. Easy peasy.

How Much Is Too Much?

swedish death cleaning

This question of how much is too much has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. We’ve been house-sitting for a while now and it’s given us a look at how other people live and what they think they need to live comfortably.

Spoiler: It’s a lot more than what we’re used to. A lot.

When last did you take a long, hard and honest look around your home? Maybe now’s the time to do a little stuff inventory to see where you fall on the clutter scale. If you find yourself edging to the higher end, then you’ve gots to get decluttering.

What is Swedish Death Cleaning?

It sounds macabre, I know, but hear me out. Swedish Death Cleaning is simply another way of telling you to declutter now, so your kids don’t have to. Nobody wants to think about dying, but let’s go there for a moment anyway.

If you were to pop your clogs (to use Sporty’s Mom’s favourite Aussie phrase) right now, how much work would you be leaving behind for your family?

Swedish Death CleaningMargareta Magnusson —author of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter— says that as soon as you reach the back end of middle age you need to get rid of the things you no longer use.

Putting your house (and your affairs) in order now, will make your life infinitely easier and more pleasant while you’re still around.

And given that you could easily live for another eleventeen years, that should be motivation enough to channel your inner-Swede and get decluttering.

But if it’s not, then think about what it’ll be like for your family to have to sift through your stuff when you’re gone. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s not fun. Besides, you might have some skeletons you’d rather they didn’t know about.

Remember Meryl Streep’s character in The Bridges of Madison County?

If you have too much stuff, Christmas is the perfect time to donate it to someone who’ll actually use it. (‘Tis the season to be generous, after all.) But if the thought of parting with your stuff makes you uncomfortable, maybe it’s time for a little Hero Training 101



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2 thoughts on “Swedish Death Cleaning (a Serious Case for Decluttering)

  1. Rev.Andrea Stoeckel

    Just an FYI: It’s “ The Bridges OF (not Across) Madison County”

    • Holy guacamole, it’s one of my favourite movies ever so I’m not sure how that mistake happened!? Of course I know it’s ‘of’! 🙂

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