What is “Swedish Death Cleaning”?

May 2018

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning - What is “Swedish Death Cleaning”? - Total StorageIf you are like most people, you may have never heard of the term, Swedish Death Cleaning. However, for some, getting to know the subject can assist and be helpful when caring for a loved one’s home, after they pass. Developed from the book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter” by Margareta Magnusson, the method of cleaning helps individuals learn how to deal with death and possessions.

In the book, Mrs. Magnusson discusses how she dealt with the death of her parents and husband. She had to figure out how to deal with their passing as well as their possessions after the fact. The book discusses, döstädning, the Swedish idea which translates into death cleaning. The idea is to learn how to remove clutter so that your death does not become a burden to loved ones you leave behind.

How can you start Swedish Death Cleaning?

Start the process of Swedish Death Cleaning with your closests - What is “Swedish Death Cleaning”? - Total StorageSo, how do you get started? To begin, you have to learn what to hold on to. To summarize from the book – if you have kept certain items in the home based on a memory or feeling, but you don’t need the object, this is something you are holding on to that you no longer need. The process of Swedish Death Cleaning is to learn how to hold on to what you need. But, also to be critical as to not keep what you don’t need, just based on sentimental value. As the book suggests, a good place to start the cleaning process of your home in closets. Most use the their closest space as storage space in the home. Many closets contain items that are not being used or needed.

Involve your family with your Swedish Death Cleaning

Involving your family is also important. Perhaps, you have items that you are saving and storing to give to loved ones once you pass. By involving your family in the cleaning out process, you can document what you want to go to who, showing loved ones where items are and discussing your final wishes.

When should you start Swedish Death Cleaning?

Process of Swedish Death Cleaning - What is “Swedish Death Cleaning”? - Total StorageThe process of Swedish Death Cleaning should begin at around the age of 65 or older. Possessions should be shed to avoid leaving loved ones with a pile of possessions that they have no idea what to do with. Seniors can start selling items or giving items away, via donations or giving to family members. Once you start this process and have the end goal in mind, it becomes much easier to get rid of extra items.

How can Self Storage play into Swedish Death Cleaning?

Renting a self storage unit can help kick-start your Swedish Death Cleaning process. The storage unit can act as a halfway point. You can transfer your belongings from your home to your storage unit. Then, when you are ready to tackle this task, you can simply visit your storage unit and complete all of your sorting there. This will prevent your home from being cluttered or obstructed with your belongings as you work through the process.

The introduction of a storage unit can give you freedom and additional time to focus on your Swedish Death Cleaning process, without feeling rushed. If you’re interested in starting this process for yourself, talk to us about a self storage unit today!

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