Death and Cleaning Do Go Together

For my entire life I have been a collector — of Disney, books, games and general memorabilia. In fact, hoarder might be a more accurate description. Now that I’m officially old, as into my seventh decade, I know all this stuff will have to be dealt with someday. My worst nightmare is knowing at some point there will probably be a huge dumpster in my driveway.

It’s somewhat comforting to realize I’m not the only one. A trend is developing around the idea of not waiting until it’s too late to declutter your home. The process is becoming known as death cleaning, after the Swedish dostadning, a hybrid word that literally combines death and cleaning. This way, you get to decide where your possessions go while simplifying the burden for your heirs.

The trend has progressed to the point where it now has its own “bible”: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson, a Swedish artist who says she’s somewhere between age 80 and 100. “Generally people have too many things in their homes,” says Magnusson in a YouTube video posted by the book’s publisher. “I think it’s a good thing to get rid of things you don’t need.” Magnusson says she’s always death cleaned, “because I want to have it nice around me, keep some order.”

Not that there is any urgency, but with the clutter I have, it’s never too early to start.

Taken from ” ‘Death Cleaning’ Is the Newest Way to Declutter. Here’s What to Know” by Amanda MacMillian (

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