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Swedish fine art of decluttering

October 18, 2017

The concept of decluttering before you die, “dostadning”, which is part of Swedish culture, may seem morbid, but the trend is spreading, writes Jura Koncius in ‘The Washington Post’.


Eighty-year-old artist Margareta Magnusson has written a pocket book titled ‘The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning’. Straightforward and unsentimental, the key message in the book is: Take responsibility for your items and don’t leave them as a burden for family and friends. It’s not fair.


“If your family doesn’t want your stuff when you’re alive, they sure won’t want it when you’re dead,” she says.

Magnusson suggests that age 65 is a good time to start death cleaning, but the process is freeing at any age. She says women often end up doing the death cleaning.


After her husband died, Magnusson had to declutter their house, which took her almost a year. She says that although it felt overwhelming, she is glad she did it herself, as her husband would have wanted to keep everything and her kids would have disagreed about what to keep and what to toss. Now she continues to do it on a regular basis.


 Representational image from the movie 'Clutter'



Tips to declutter from the book:

  • Keep things that evoke good memories

  • Don’t start with your photos, as you’ll get bogged down in your memories and never accomplish anything

  • Make sure you keep a book of passwords for your heirs

  • Give away nice things you don’t want as gifts, such as china or table linens or books

  • Keep a separate box of things that matter only to you, and label it to be tossed upon your death










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