Swedish death cleaningWhat will become of all the possessions we have accumulated over our lifetime? 

With  Minimalism in vogue these days, Swedish Death Cleaning, or “Döstädning”,  has rapidly garnered interest all over the world.  It’s not a new Swedish phenomenon.  And despite the ominous sounding name, it is not just about cleaning or dusting before one dies. 

Instead, it refers to a national steadfast approach to streamlining your stuff when you’re in the latter half of your life.

It is actually considered to be a joyful process.  You retain things embedded with the best memories and release items associated with negative experiences.

Is it a movement that makes sense for us?  Margareta Magnusson, renowned author of “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” thinks so! 

In fact, here are three actions she recommends to enhance anyone’s space clearing efforts.

Announce your Decluttering Intentions

It creates accountability for your follow through. 

Swedish death cleaning

Just like boldly stating New year’s intentions to shed a few pounds, share your plans to begin the döstädning process.  And as you progress, your everyday life feels smoother and more efficient.  This provides momentum

Moreover, the resulting byproduct of a simpler and better organized life is not reserved for just those over 50.  Folks of all ages are encouraged to adopt the decluttering practice!  The sooner you take stock of what you’ve accumulated, the quicker you hone in on what matters now.

Embrace Your Swedish Death Cleaning Phase


Understand that this is a slow, deliberate process. Swedish death cleaning


This is not a marathon!  It should not be rushed.

The Swedish Death Cleaning process is really a revisiting of your life.  You are examining what gave joy and what caused sorrow; what is meaningful now and what is no longer relevant.

By taking your time while examining your possessions, you honor your past.  You reflect on what has shaped you thus far.  And you begin to formulate where you want to go in the future.  In a way, you can think about the process as an ongoing personal retreat with therapeutic benefits! 

Reward Yourself Frequently

Because this is not a race, your Swedish Death Cleaning sessions should be reasonably short.Swedish death cleaning

Allot a specific amount of time.  Focus on a particular small area, such as a drawer or a closet.  Then immediately follow your session with a favorite activity.  For example, every 60 minute clearing session might precede 30 minutes of reading or knitting or walking.

The point is to remain upbeat and energized after your sorting sessions.  After all, you’re still in your prime years when you start the process.  There is time to rewrite your narrative if you so decide.

In other words, you can change your direction.  You can be more in control than ever with the legacy you leave to your loved ones…how empowering is that?!

The Wrap

For more about the Swedish Death Cleaning process, here is Margareta herself!:


Or listen to this short definition from a professional organizer:


What’s your take on Swedish Death Cleaning? Swedish death cleaning

Have you started examining your own lifetime possessions?

Drop us a line below and share your thoughts…and thanks for stopping by!