The term “death cleaning” can sound pretty ghastly, not to mention grisly. In Sweden, where the concept was conceived, it’s called “dostadning”. Do = Death. Standing = Cleaning.
Getting Rid of Your Stuff
Basically, it means getting rid of your Stuff so when it’s your turn to do the ultimate check out, your loved ones don’t have to do it for you. My sister and I dealt with our mother’s and grandmother’s Stuff when they passed and it wasn’t fun. Some nice memories may surface in the midst of packing and tossing, but essentially it’s a painful chore.
Several recent articles have noted a big reason why people don’t want to move when they’re rattling around an empty nest that is too big for them and too hard to manage. They don’t want to deal with choosing what Stuff to pack, give away or simply toss.
Fortunately, artist and Swedish grandmother Margareta Magnusson has written a book on how to put your home in order: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter. She encourages us that if we start the practice before we are at death’s door, it can be a more interesting process. And it also can be a good way to remember your happiest times. So what can you do about it? Watch the video below for one. Read the book. And then take a hard look at your Stuff.
And speaking of Stuff and to keep things in perspective, here is George Carlin’s classic and hilarious take on the concept.