Today I want to share about a kind of crazy method for decluttering. The first time I heard about this I thought it sounded a little bit out there, but the more I investigated and learned, the more helpful I found it to be.
It’s called….are you ready for it?….. Swedish Death Cleaning.
Now, I didn’t come up with this. This concept comes from the book called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning I’ve read the book, it’s a super easy read, and I want to share my biggest takeaways with you.
So, what IS Swedish Death Cleaning? In a nutshelll, it’s decluttering in preparation for death. It’s a realization that you won’t be on this earth forever, and when you do pass, you’re going to leave stuff behind. I know at first it sounds a little shocking, but it’s actually a super insightful method of decluttering.
I don’t know about you, but I have seen so many situations where a loved one passes away and in the midst of dealing with the grief and changes that come with death, the family is also left to deal with loads and loads of stuff. It can be a lot of work, there are so many decisions that have to be made, and it can cost money to get rid of all the stuff.
Swedish Death Cleaning thinks ahead and prepares to not leave a house full of stuff behind to be dealt with and sorted through. But, it’s not just a benefit to your loved ones who will come after you, it’s also a benefit to you right now! Because by decluttering now, you get to enjoy living in a decluttered space.
You see, if you have something sitting there that you’re never going to touch and you’re not enjoying, why should you leave it sitting there, cluttering up your space, only to one day pass it on to someone else who is going to have to deal with the hassle of getting rid of it. By going ahead and decluttering that item today, you’re giving yourself and your loved ones more peace of mind.
Swedish Death Cleaning helps you decide what’s truly important for you, and it gives you the opportunity to go ahead and pass things along to loved ones and actually see them enjoy them.
It might seem like this method of cleaning would work better for older people, but it’s great for people of all ages because you want that benefit of getting a less cluttered life now – and that’s something anyone of any age can enjoy!
So, here are my three biggest takeaways from the book:
1. Order Matters
Start with decluttering the easiest item. If you’re not sure where to start, clothes are often a pretty quick win. Seasons of life change, and with it your wardrobe changes. Maybe you used to need a lot of a certain kind of clothing, but now you don’t.
After clothes you may want to move on to bigger items – appliances and furniture. End with sentimental items, because those can be very tricky. This order is very similar to what Marie Kondo recommends in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Lots of experts recommend starting with something easy and saving sentimental items for last, so there really seems to be something to that!
2. Ask the Magic Question
Will keeping this item make anyone happier? If it’s not going to make YOU happier, and it’s not going to make someone else happier, then it’s not worth keeping. I love to ask myself this question with the flood of artwork I get from my children on a daily basis. It’s so sweet to watch them create things, and I’m tempted to keep all of it. But, realistically, my children do not want me to pass on twelve 20-pound totes of artwork when they move out. Putting it in perspective helps me pair down to a small collection that can actually be enjoyed.
3. Involve Others in your Decluttering Process
If you think someone you know might enjoy something, just ask them! And don’t be afraid of them saying no. It’s possible a loved one has admired your china doll collection, but they don’t actually want to have the whole collection for themselves. Maybe they’d enjoy having just one doll to proudly display. But, by asking loved ones now what they might like to have and enjoy, you get to clear our clutter and watch your loved ones enjoy your long-treasured possessions.
Swedish Death Cleaning is a process of going through each item in your home and deciding what you ultimately want to have happen to it, and, when you think of it like that, it’s easier to part with things.
I hope this has helped to give you a fresh perspective on decluttering, and if you need even more help, you can sign up for my free ec-ourse Get Organized Once and For All.
Organization that actually sticks for busy, happy lives.
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