“Death Cleaning” is nowhere near as macabre as it sounds: the method is designed to help declutter, tidy up and sort out your possessions – so that someone else doesn’t have to do it one day and has more time for crazy time india.
In a time and society where many people own masses of unnecessary things, “decluttering” – which roughly translates to “decluttering” or “cleaning out” – is a sensible trend. There are various approaches to exactly how decluttering works most easily or effectively. “Death cleaning” or “Swedish death cleaning” is one of them.
WHAT IS BEHIND THIS TERM?
The mucking-out tactic and its somewhat morbid name originate from Sweden: “Döstädning” is a word creation from the Swedish words for “die” and “cleanliness” and has been translated into English as “Death Cleaning”.
It refers to the process of decluttering and sorting out the home before one’s own death. Behind this is the desire not to leave this process to the bereaved, but to create self-determined and conscious order.
However, “Death Cleaning” is not only intended to benefit people who are actually preparing for death. The trend can also help everyone else to get rid of accumulated clutter and lead a life without too much ballast.
The death-cleaning trend of recent years is based on a book by the Swedish Margareta Magnusson, which is called “Döstädning” in the original version and has been translated into English as “The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning”.
The book – and the clean-out method it describes – is about this:
“No matter what your age, Swedish Death Cleaning can be applied to help you declutter your life and take stock of what’s important.”
In a YouTube video worth watching, the author, who says she is between 80 and 100 years old, says, “I think it’s good to get rid of things you don’t need.” This, she says, is not sad, but “a relief.”
Magnusson believes you should start death cleaning as soon as you’re old enough to think about it. Her message:
“Don’t accumulate things you don’t want.”
Behind Magnusson’s philosophy is the simple notion that if I died tomorrow, someone would have to take care of all my clutter. The goal of Death Cleaning as a mindset and mucking-out tool is to minimize as much as possible the amount of possessions (and especially unnecessary stuff) that your survivors will one day have to deal with.
HOW IT WORKS
The Death Cleaning method has similarities with the basic idea of Marie Kondo’s bestseller “Magic Cleaning”, which introduces the KonMari method: What you don’t like and what you don’t use, you can dispose of.
“Keep only what you love and what makes you happy at the moment. It’s like Marie Kondo, but with an added awareness of the transience and nothingness of this mortal existence,” writes author Hannah-Rose Yee in an op-ed in the New York Post.
Yet for Death Cleaning author Margareta Magnusson, there’s nothing wrong with keeping things with sentimental value: She herself has a “throwaway box.” In it, for example, are letters, photos and other things that have meaning only to her personally and that her survivors can “just throw away without even looking inside” after her death.
Part of Magnusson’s method is to talk openly about death cleaning: with family members who could or will be affected in some way by the decluttering, but also with friends. After all, talking about your own decluttering plans can help you follow through.