Thursday, January 11, 2018

What I've Been Reading: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

It is not often that I find one book that captures so many of my core interests, but I hit the trifecta with The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson.  This little book hits on my key interests: one, it relates to my practice of estate planning and probate administration; two, it nourishes my frugal lifestyle; and three, it feeds my obsession with the Nordic way of life. 

Billed the next big fad to hit the US, Swedish Death Cleaning means to remove unnecessary things from your home, making the home orderly and nice at the time you depart Mother Earth.  At just over 100 pages, the book is a light-hearted memoir of the author’s later life when she “death cleaned” following the passing of loved ones.  Sprinkled throughout the book are suggestions for motivating yourself to get started and completing the act of taking control of your personal items to declare what is meaningful and purge the rest in creative and earth-friendly ways. 

I would add to Magnusson’s work two thoughts: one, death cleaning need not be reserved for those 65+, no age is immune to taking a final breath; and two, do not overlook the digital clutter you have accumulated -- digital photos, social media accounts, and countless megabytes of stored documents. 

If you are interested in learning more or discussing the idea of Swedish Death Cleaning, join me for a book talk on Saturday, February 10th, 2pm at the Cross Plains public library.  Library staff request pre-registration for this FREE event, which can be done online at

1 comment:

CJ said...

We all know it's easy to collect too much clutter. It seems like it would be better to think of it as happy American life cleaning. I like the concept. If I were aware I was likely to die soon, I'd probably go delete a bunch of old files and throw stuff out, nothing secret, but just stuff I don't want people to have to go through and throw out.