Swedish Death Cleaning and Peaceful Living

If you find yourself eager to organize closets and dust crevices, you might realize it’s that time of year again: spring cleaning. But if you can’t relate to that feeling, there are plenty of books out there to give you guidance and motivation.

Margareta Magnusson’s short text, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, offers one approach related to the popular values of minimalism and tidiness. The concept of death cleaning comes from the Swedish practice of sifting through possessions and determining what to do with them next, and Magnusson particularly emphasizes passing certain objects on to those who might enjoy them. This process is intentionally done to avoid burdening family or friends with such an overwhelming task after one passes away, although the method is equally beneficial in reducing excess belongings for any particular reason. While an orderly home is certainly a main focus, Magnusson also notes how the process can help one feel more comfortable with the idea of dying.

Swedish death cleaning, or any form of decluttering, might be worth considering if you are on the quest for more joy and less stress. Eliminating the frustration of mess and the burden of too much stuff might allow you to focus more on things like gratitude and living in the moment. Besides those organized closets and dusted crevices, spring cleaning might just lead you to a more peaceful life.

Magnusson, Margareta. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter. Scribbner, 2018.

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