Swedish Death Cleaning: What Is It?

    Have you ever heard of Swedish death cleaning? It’s a concept I just learned about that I’m considering implementing into my spring cleaning this year. It comes from a belief in Swedish culture that you should lighten your load, declutter and get rid of the things you’ve accumulated before you die, so you don’t leave the task to your loved ones once you’re gone. It might sound kind of morbid, but it can actually be practical.

    The idea is once you’ve reached middle aged or beyond, you get rid of all your extra stuff. However, I’m thinking starting Swedish death cleaning sooner, rather than later sounds like a good idea. I mean, why not let other people get joy out of the things you no longer use while you’re still around to see it, instead of after you’ve passed?

    So, lets break it down. Why Swedish death cleaning? Well, while it’s intention is to remove the burden from your friends and family of sorting through your things, it can also have a positive effect on you. Margareta Magnusson, the author of, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved Ones’ Lives Easier and Your Own Life More Pleasant, explains that “life will become more pleasant and comfortable if we get rid of some of the abundance. Mess is an unnecessary source of irritation.”

    Minimalism has been a trend for several years, allowing people to focus on what’s truly important in life, beyond the material things. Swedish death cleaning pairs in with that trend; getting rid of your excess stuff gives you the chance to identify what’s really brings you pleasure in life. The way I see it, why wait until death is knocking on your door to take advantage of the enjoyment lightening your load may bring.


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