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Have you done your Swedish death clean yet?

(107 Posts)
minimo Wed 11-Oct-17 11:12:53

Apparently from the age of 50 - I'm a bit overdue in that case grin - we should be slowly clearing out our possessions so we don't leave too much for our family members to sort through. I understand where this is coming from but really it would be so morbid to look around a totally minimalistic home with none of things that have made my life what it is.
What do the rest of you think?

maryeliza54 Wed 11-Oct-17 11:17:14

I don’t think you have to clear everything out - I’ve made a good start on paperwork for example but all my books, paintings, photographs for example ‘ clutter’ my home and will be sorted ( quite easily) by DD

gillybob Wed 11-Oct-17 11:18:42

Blimey what a thought. I am 55 and have no intention of getting rid of any of my treasures for a long time yet. Mind you with the exception of books and CD's I am not a great hoarder.

Greta Wed 11-Oct-17 11:26:07

Yes, I have started decluttering and been very open about it with my two grown-up children. I have told them what it is I am getting rid of and have asked them to take anything they like. In my experience children often don't want their parents' belongings. I am certainly not fanatical about the process but I do think it helps both me and my children.

Luckygirl Wed 11-Oct-17 11:44:03

We moved house last year and the rule was: is this something that our DC will not know what the heck to do with after we die? - if so, out with it!! Freecycle was the first port of call and there were several happy recipients, which was very satisfying.

JackyB Wed 11-Oct-17 11:55:34

This is something I have been putting off, too, mainly because the thought of doing it does feel as though you're preparing to jump in your coffin.

It has, however, been at the back of my mind since my husband's spinster aunt died just as my middle son (now 34) was born. My parents-in-law had a heck of a job with the stuff she left.

My FiL was fairly incapacitated by then and my MiL did her best to start clearing out his workshop and the cellar (he had had his own plumbing busness, taken over from his father, and the files of old invoices went back to 1945!)

Unfortunately my DH seems to have inherited the hoarding gene and his workshop is a huge junkshop, and has three of everything - his, his father's and my father's. Not to mention his study which hasn't been touched since he retired. Teaching languages involves tens of thousands of books and they're still all there!

My mother has cleared her home of all books and superfluous stuff and I go through a couple of cuboards every time I go there, throwing out and sorting through. She is happy to get rid of things and only uses a half a dozen things from one week to the next. Books she reads she gets from the library and returns them.

Teetime Wed 11-Oct-17 11:56:10

Yes we did our when we moved and we try to keep on top of it. After I read Mary Wesley's book Jumping the Queue some years ago I realised what a good idea it is. My parents left us loads to tidy up - miserable.

MaizieD Wed 11-Oct-17 12:16:42

I'm so conflicted! I keep looking at my hundreds of books and know that my children will want few, if any, of them but I couldn't bear to get rid of them.

I also come from a family of compulsive hoarders. I'm afraid my children will just have to bite the bullet... (As I & my DP have had to do in the past...)

Tegan2 Wed 11-Oct-17 12:56:54

Same here, Maizie. Trouble is, it's now getting me down. For some reason I moved a few things around a while back and now have piles of stuff everywhere...where had it been before?? I've just bought some cd units and have put my cd's in alphabetical order [which makes me feel good] but I've got cases of audio tapes/video tapes that I can't throw away. I'm beyond help, I think.

SueDonim Wed 11-Oct-17 12:57:48

I think my mother has been doing this since before I was born! grin

When my father died, I phoned my mother the day after funeral, to see if she was ok. 'Oh yes,' was the reply. 'I've been busy. I've cleared out all your father's clothes, they've gone to the charity shop.' shock

I do want to get rid of some things in our house, because I don't like being cluttered, although I must say, a generous percentage of it actually belongs to our children anyway. They're very welcome to take it away at any time!

merlotgran Wed 11-Oct-17 13:40:45

We de-cluttered two years ago when we downsized but I find myself regularly having a clear out because I don't want things to build up again and I don't want our kids to have to go through dealing with piles and piles of stuff.

I was still working when my mother went into care so most of the hard work involved in clearing out her bungalow fell to DH and I'm sure the stress contributed to his stroke.

Greyduster Wed 11-Oct-17 13:53:22

We were talking about getting rid of some of our stuff just this morning - CDs being a case in point. We have a large collection and don't play many of them now, but who wants them? Both my children have these remote music centres activated in any room from their phones and don't require collections of anything! And Tegan, I put my CDs in both genre and alphabetical order when my GS was about four. It took me a long time. I catalogued them all on my computer -fortunately. I came into the room one day to find GS had them all over the floor. He told me he was putting them in order, which turned out to be according to what pictures were on the covers!! "Look, Nanny, these have trees on, and these have ladies, and these are all blue ones.....”. So Pablo Casals was keeping company with Perry Como, and a CD of classical piano with The Chieftains and Oscar Peterson!🤦‍♀️

Alima Wed 11-Oct-17 15:06:48

I do like the sound of your GS's filing system Greyduster, I get the logic.
I had no idea that the Swedes had a name for this but yes, getting rid of "stuff" has been in the forefront of my mind recently. This has been prompted not only by health issues but also by a rumour that the local council was going to change from weekly black bin collections to once a fortnight. Panic!! Luckily the council has decided to keep the status quo for the next 8 years. And relax! Not that I intended to bin everything but you get my drift. Most things go to the charity shop or Freecycle. Luckily we aren't too badly off as regards "stuff" mostly due to moving 7 years ago and then a loft clear out a couple of years back. Recently we have been getting rid of books, DVD/CDs, clothes, curtains and toys the DGC have grown out of. (I did want to get rid of the music centre thingy and swop it for a radio/ CD player but DH was having none of it). We are now in a state of controlled "stuff" and there is even a chest of drawers ready to wing its way to DD1. Love the purged feeling after a sort out, can recommend it.

lemongrove Wed 11-Oct-17 15:09:06

Swedish Death Clean, what a ghastly idea.
Enjoy your lives and your ‘things’ while you can.

yggdrasil Wed 11-Oct-17 15:28:25

I downsized a year ago. A lot of stuff went then. I have asked my kids what they want, the answer seems to be' err nothing'.
It is time for another clear out, for one thing my cd system can go because I've been putting them on the computer and now Alexa plays them when I ask. :-)
Books are another matter. They are not expendable!

JackyB Wed 11-Oct-17 15:50:13

I have cleared out a lot, I suppose, but it's all in bin bags in the attic. Too good to throw away but there is no such thing as freecycle or charity shops here in Germany. There are huge bins on many street corners for used clothes for various charities but I think they just shred them.

Maybe I'll join e-bay and try to start selling some.

M0nica Wed 11-Oct-17 15:53:28

I am 74 and I'll be darned if I will start preparing for death now. I intend to enjoy all my possessions until the last available moment and my children will just have to deal with it once I have gone.

Having said that, I am not a hoarder. All we keep in the loft is suitcases and I have empty chest of drawers and wardrobes is several rooms, but our study....... full of books and papers.

When I look how much stuff DC have, I think it will do them good to have to clear our house.

BBbevan Wed 11-Oct-17 16:20:37

When we moved we had to clear out the loft which was choc-a-bloc. Never again will I put anything ' just in case' in our new loft. One thing DD and DS will not have to do

minimo Wed 11-Oct-17 16:21:14

Yes, I think there's one thing to be holding on to your dd's schoolbooks but surely perfectly acceptable to keep your own treasured knickknacks? I don't want to live in a home devoid of my loved possessions. That would send me to the knackers yard sooner than anything.

rockgran Wed 11-Oct-17 17:00:57

WE are entitled to a life too! We should be enjoying our lives not preparing to depart. I don't hoard too much as I know my son won't be interested in most of our stuff and I like to be tidy. However, when the time comes I shall leave enough money for a couple of skips and it will take him a few days to fill them. Job done. We did it for our parents and survived the ordeal.

maryeliza54 Wed 11-Oct-17 17:12:15

I’m enjoying my life fine but after several direct and indirect experiences of clearing out after deaths I feel better that I’m sorting out the things that don’t add to my enjoyment of life ( like my music books etc). Why do things get set up so dichotomously- it isn’t about enjoying your life or doing some sorting out - I’m finding it perfectly simple to do both

Nannacat Wed 11-Oct-17 18:09:34

Lordy !! How depressing .

Iam64 Wed 11-Oct-17 20:15:47

I started to try and declutter a few years ago, after we'd had to clear our own parents belongings. I had a good time shredding all my work stuff, old documents, pension plans etc. I have tried, not always successfully to introduce a one in one out approach to books. Several years ago I introduced the plan of going through my clothes and shoes in the spring and autumn. Anything not worn that year goes to the charity shop. So far so smug.
What about the four boxes of photographs? All the ornaments that came from my grandparents and parents/parents in laws homes. I enjoy having them around to remind me of loved ones but in truth, I know it's a bit cluttered. I'm just not a minimalist.
However - I do think that a bit of a clear out on a fairly regular basis is a Good Thing. I wouldn't like my children to be left with a 6 month task if we both feel out of the sky unexpectedly.

durhamjen Wed 11-Oct-17 20:29:43

You do realise you have to buy the book first before you start, don't you?

Tegan2 Wed 11-Oct-17 20:47:18

Is it in Swedish shock...?