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The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

(98 Posts)
NotAGran55 Tue 14-Sep-21 06:30:06

Have you consciously done this , or considered the idea but rejected it ?

I have a minimalist house, I don’t like clutter or buy ‘stuff’ for the sake of it , but do have a lot of paperwork , and books etc going back donkeys years .
No doubt it will take me longer than expected to sort through it as I go down Memory Lane but I’m going to make a start today.

FannyCornforth Tue 14-Sep-21 07:11:37

What on earth is it?!
I definitely need to ‘declutter’ (for want of a much better word)

Mrst1405 Tue 14-Sep-21 07:22:43

I read about this some time ago and it's basically leaving your house as you would want your relatives to find it when you die. They don't want to sort through piles of school reports, old birthday cards etc etc. Just chuck it all and put you stuff in order. I understand its a Swedish way of saving further distress to their families.

FannyCornforth Tue 14-Sep-21 07:30:19

Oh, okay, thank you.
That’s quite odd because I’ve been thinking about this myself.
Nothing personal, but I think that I will probably have to hide the thread, as I need no encouragement to be maudlin at the moment!

halfpint1 Tue 14-Sep-21 07:31:40

Every winter I have a de-clutter when I can't go out in the garden and I chuck out loads but there's still more to go at and I'm really not a 'hoarder'. Its a bit depressing really

LullyDully Tue 14-Sep-21 07:34:32

I don't plan to die yet....but who knows when that will be.
I plan to keep my bits around me to enjoy thank you very much , while I'm still alive.

Let them sort it out, I have moved so many times so some clutter has already gone.

Here's to another 20 years of promising my self to cull the photos.

Grandmabatty Tue 14-Sep-21 07:38:58

I did it when I downsized. I gave away all the family photographs to my children, threw out lots of stuff and have a minimal amount of ornaments. If I buy a book, I give one away. It was very cathartic. Now I have a clear out every winter.

Daisymae Tue 14-Sep-21 07:40:54

I have been trying, but it goes against the grain. I think that I may need a skip!

BigBertha1 Tue 14-Sep-21 07:44:55

Yes we did it last year and then we moved house so everything is in order and would be easy for our daughter when we go. We are hoping to get our exits planned to. Hopefully there will be a law allowing it and we won't have to go abroad for it.

M0nica Tue 14-Sep-21 07:47:29

I would need to know when I was likely to die first.

Imagine death cleaning your house - and then living for another 30 years.

Urmstongran Tue 14-Sep-21 07:51:32

Same here Grandmabatty but that was 11y ago for me and stuff is accumulating! I plan to be ruthless this winter and pare things right back. Clothes, shoes, lipsticks, handbags - too much choice is daunting I think. I wish I could be like someone I know who will get rid of anything she hasn’t worn this summer and then do the same for winter clothes next spring. Sounds ruthless, but she said you end up with clothes you really love and wear instead of just looking at them on the hangers in the wardrobe. As she says, they’re not being chosen for a reason!

Grannynannywanny Tue 14-Sep-21 07:54:57

I’ve never heard the term but it is something I made a half hearted attempt at doing at the start of the pandemic. I’ve been thinking recently I need to give it another go but be more ruthless this time. I’ve inherited my Mum’s tendency to hold onto things “just in case they might be handy”

JackyB Tue 14-Sep-21 08:03:47

Before I heard the expression I was thinking about clearing out in retirement. Somehow I haven't got very far with it yet.

There are loads of videos in YouTube showing you how and what to declutter. I have no problem with that, but here in Germany we don't have charity shops or Freecycle and throwing more away than your designated amount via the refuse collectors costs extra. So it's the actual throwing away that is the problem. I have dozens of binbags full of stuff I have cleared out, but only very tedious or expensive ways to dispose or them.

Also, (even before I had heard of the Swedish death clean) I thought that once I had cleared everything out, what would there be left for me to do but die.

Then the other day I had an epiphany: I shouldn't look on it as an end to things, but as a beginning! Once I've cleared my life of everything superfluous, I can start to live as a free spirit.

So now I have more incentive to look into ways of disposing of stuff. Let's see what I can get done by Christmas.

BlueSky Tue 14-Sep-21 08:06:11

We occasional do it but we call it ‘in case we move to a retirement apartment’ it sounds less final! I’m in charge of the paperwork, I know it’s got to be made easy for DH to find documents, so I try to keep it streamlined, but I still find old useless papers!

BlueBelle Tue 14-Sep-21 08:10:48

What a horrible term death cleaning
I have a large house that is pretty full I do try to keep in in check but there is a huge amount and with two of my children living overseas I am conscious that it will fall to one
It is my intent ( and remember the road to hell) to log everything of any value I have some old things from my Nan that are still in use and then the rest that is precious to me won’t be precious to anyone else so can just go to the nearest charity shop
I have already boxed all relevant photos for each child and families I have asked for my box of family history and photos to be kept and passed on by someone (no one showed any interest up to now) and hopefully they ll keep my art work and poetry And the rest can go

Urmstongran Tue 14-Sep-21 08:29:24

I don’t know what I’m concerned about! Just look at this man’s kitchen! Imagine saying ‘pass me a knife’ ...

LtEve Tue 14-Sep-21 08:31:03

I read this book a few months ago and found it very interesting and not in the slightest bit morbid. Having cleared my parents and other relatives houses I really don’t want to leave that task to anyone else and my recent move to a slightly smaller house has provided me with the incentive to tackle the clutter. I’m not expecting to shuffle off this mortal coil for another 25 years or so but one never knows what’s around the corner and I would at least like to have necessary paperwork in order.
I’m trying to gradually sort FILs paperwork as he inches into dementia aged 93. I’m not sure he’s ever thrown anything away and clearing his house is going to be a task and a half.

Grammaretto Tue 14-Sep-21 08:42:15

Not another book grin

JaneJudge Tue 14-Sep-21 08:45:04

My Mum is doing this atm, the I don't want you to have to sort it out when I die business whilst dumping half her stuff that she doesn't want me to sort through ROUND MY HOUSE hmm which in turn, I have to go through and then take to the charity shop!

Grammaretto Tue 14-Sep-21 08:48:12

I am slowly trying to go through the clutter of centuries. I had my DB to "help" me last week. He got bored and tired after a couple of hours and couldn't understand why I wasn't just piling it all into a bucket!!
I cried at that point because of all the memories much of it holds.
Then he found an old school magazine of his and was suddenly delighted and disappeared for the next hour or two giggling his way down memory lane.

threexnanny Tue 14-Sep-21 08:53:33

I know someone who took this to extremes and it looked like she had already died. All the books and ornaments were gone and the few bits remaining were in cardboard boxes.

JaneJudge Tue 14-Sep-21 08:53:54

I don't want to generalise but I think men are less emotionally attached to things. I have witnessed it in my own friends and family through death and how men just dispose of things without as much thought. I don't know whether it's just coping mechanism though. Whereas, I find it upsetting looking at old photographs and can only do it in short bursts

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 14-Sep-21 08:59:13

I have a clear out each winter when it’s cool enough to go into the loft, this year the DDs have promised to take all of their stuff too. But I don’t throw away anything to do with Family History.
The DDs both have CDs with all the old family photos downloaded on them and over the years I have often put stuff on the table, taken a photograph and sent it to them asking what they want and what can go to the Charity shops, that way nothing has built up, plus we’ve moved so often that things were jettisoned before we moved.
Plus everything’s is in ‘It’s place’ so not scattered around the house.
How odd that they don’t have charity shops in Germany?

Grandma70s Tue 14-Sep-21 09:01:22

When I had to go into sheltered accommodation three years ago my sons sorted out my house, where I had lived for forty years - and believe me, it was full of stuff. They did a brilliant job and didn’t seem to mind at all. I only have the basics here, some furniture, many but not all of my books and pictures, some favourite ornaments. My sons have kept some things in their own houses (one of them has plenty of space), so I know they are still in the family. Plenty has been thrown out, but only with my permission. When I do finally die, there won’t be much to do. It’s a good feeling.

travelsafar Tue 14-Sep-21 09:18:22

I have been busy since DH died this year sorting out the upstairs in our house. Everything movable was taken out of two of the bedrooms and placed in the largest back bedroom. Then decoraters came in, and carpets laid in the two empty rooms. I was very selective about what was put back into them and my plan is this Autumn and Winter...... when i can't get into the garden.... is to go through every thing left in the 3rd room and have a serious declutter. It will all be binned, donated to charity shops or burnt i am fed up with having so much 'stuff' just in case or because of memories. I and my husband never looked at these things whenn he was a live so i certainly wont. My memories are stored in my head. Like many of you i dont want my kids to have mountain of things to go through when my life is over. My will has been done, plot in the cemetary bought and funeral paid for, hoping it will all be easy for them.