The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of CluttereBook - 2018
In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö meaning "death" and städning meaning "cleaning." This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming.
Margareta suggests which possessions you can easily get rid of (unworn clothes, unwanted presents, more plates than you'd ever use) and which you might want to keep (photographs, love letters, a few of your children's art projects). Digging into her late husband's tool shed, and her own secret drawer of vices, Margareta introduces an element of fun to a potentially daunting task. Along the way readers get a glimpse into her life in Sweden, and also become more comfortable with the idea of letting go.
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In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, the author reminds us of the common courtesy of cleaning up after ourselves. In a frank but charming and humorous manner, Margaret Magnusson encourages and guides readers to rid themselves of unnecessary possessions to enhance their own lives while not leaving a burden for their loved ones.
In addition to making life easier, she sees the practice of death cleaning as an opportunity to start a conversation with loved ones about the inevitable and to address it with ourselves.
Her methods allow for the careful and thoughtful disposal of possessions. Once completed, it frees us up to spend more time with family and friends and the activities we enjoy.
She suggests that the practice takes time and ideally shouldn’t be rushed as a result of a crisis. She recommends starting with the large items in your home and finishing with the small. She provides advice on how to sort through clothes, photographs, books, letters, kitchen things and tools. She also stresses the importance of destroying secrets which might cause your loved ones unhappiness after you are gone.
Magnusson introduces the clever concept of a "throw-away box". It is a labelled box, no bigger than a shoe box, within which we can place items which have no value to anyone else but ourselves. It can simply be thrown away once we are gone.
The wisdom in this book is not only helpful to those in their later years. It is a philosophy which can be useful at any age. In the words of the author, "Life will become more pleasant and comfortable if we get rid of the abundance."
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