’Til death us do part
Move over Marie Kondo, there’s a new decluttering philosophy sweeping through, writes Robyn Willis
If you’ve ever been given the difficult task of clearing out a deceased relative’s house, the latest decluttering movement will make perfect sense to you.
Swedish death cleaning works on the premise that anything you keep will need to be dealt with by your family after you’ve, ahem, moved on. This latest approach to living with less has been sparked by the release of a book, The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson.
The author, who describes herself as being between the ages of 80 and 100, says we all have too many things and it makes sense to steadily clear them out.
Keep it moving
Speaking with the authority of someone who has moved 17 times, the former artist says death cleaning should start once you hit your 50s, as you slowly clear out things you no longer need.
She suggests telling family and friends of your plans as a way of keeping yourself accountable and on track. Like most decluttering experts, including Japanese organisation guru Marie Kondo, Margareta has a ‘love it or lose it’ approach to helping you decide what to keep and what to toss.
In addition, she suggests thinking about what might — and might not — appeal to those who are left to clean up after you’re gone. Margareta has her own ‘throw away’ box, mostly full of old letters, that she expects will go straight into the bin on her passing.
The facts of life
While some might find it all a little morbid, Margareta reasons that death is just a part of life and decluttering now is a gift to your family later on. “When you are not around anymore, your family will have to clean up a lot of stuff and I don’t think that’s fair,” she says. And while most of us expect to live long and healthy lives, Margareta describes the relief of ridding yourself of things you no longer love or have a use for. For those struggling with the concept or finding it hard to let go, Margareta says planning something enjoyable to do is a great way of rewarding your decluttering efforts. Although a shopping spree is probably not the best option.