Tag Archives: throw away

‘Death Cleaning’

Be kind to future generations and throw out your junk.  Give away or sell what is usable and chuck the rest.  In all likelihood, your children or others will simply hire someone to come in get rid of your stuff – they don’t have time.  To me, it is selfish to saddle anyone with this chore.  If you are married into a family who has plenty of storage, then NOTHING is thrown away and there is machinery, furniture, plates, and other trinkets stored to the rafters of 4,5, and 6 generations.  It is honestly beyond ridiculous.  Stuff that could have had value and usefulness 50 or 60 years ago, sits in storage all this time and is now worthless.  Selfish and sad, very sad.

‘Death Cleaning’ Swedish Style

Decluttering helps you and loved ones downsize

attic trapdoor and clutter


“The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” explains this downsizing ritual.

The latest export from Sweden isn’t a sturdy station wagon or a funky furniture store, but rather it’s a way of life. More specifically, it’s a way of end-of-life. It’s called döstädning, which translates to “death cleaning.”

In the tough-minded ways of this Scandinavian culture, it’s a decluttering practice that’s more about relieving a burden on family than creating pleasant surroundings. Americans have taken note of the ritual, which can begin as early as one’s 50s.

Margareta Magnusson, the 80-plus author of the new book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, explains the phenomenon.

Q: What problems does keeping too much stuff cause your loved ones after you’re gone?

A: It’s very time-consuming. Why should my family take so much time — having jobs, families and everything else they have scheduled — to take care of my things?

Q: How do you decide what to keep or discard?

A: Talk about it with your family. It’s a delight to go through things and remember their worth. But if you don’t remember why a thing has meaning, then it has no worth, and it will be easier for you to part with.

Q: You write that you should get rid of “private” items — such as diaries. Why?

A: If you think a secret will cause your loved ones harm or unhappiness, then make sure to destroy such items. Make a bonfire, or shove them into a hungry shredder.

Q: How does cleaning help the cleaner?

A: The more I have focused on my cleaning, the braver I have become in discarding possessions. I have had a moment to reflect on the event or feeling, good or bad, and to know that it had been a part of my story and my life.