Sure, sure. We all probably know about Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The problem? Everything we own probably brings us joy. We’re also all too familiar with the concept of minimalist living, except well… we like pretty things. Besides, ‘minimalism’ is a very subjective term.
So we’re slightly skeptical of the latest fad: Swedish death cleaning. The concept has been making headlines this week now that a book called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, written by Margareta Magnusson, is available for pre-order. And it might make you see clutter in a whole new way.
At its core, döstädning (which literally translates into “death cleaning”), embraces the idea that when you’re in your 50s, you should get rid of any unneeded objects so that when you die your kids or loved ones won’t have to go through your old (and potentially embarrassing) stuff while they grieve. The Swedish philosophy is one that people have been following for years, but Magnusson’s book is popularizing it for a North American culture with its catchy name and by breaking down it’s practicality.
The practice is extremely applicable in today’s society considering our penchant for buying all the cool things we see. That means you don’t necessarily have to be in your 50s to follow the method if you feel like you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. In fact, you could even start in your twenties or thirties if you want to bring more peace and order to your home life.
“Sometimes you just realize that you can hardly close your drawers or barely shut your closet door. When that happens, it is definitely time to do something, even if you are only in your thirties,” Magnusson explained.
In that case, how does one even begin to go about decluttering?
Magnusson recommends starting with the non-sentimental stuff, like clothing and accessories. Books and magazines that you’ve been holding onto are great items to start with as well, since they’re less likely than photos and journals to dredge up old memories and set back your process.
“My motto is, if you don’t love it, lose it. If you don’t use it, lose it,” Magnusson told The Chronicle. “Save your favourite dildo, but throw away the other 15!”
Okay so sex toys aside, this sounds pretty similar to Marie Kondo, except it also includes some talk about death. And Magnusson is all about the death talk — she also advises you to tell people in your life what you’re doing so that they can hold you accountable. And probably so that they can also claim any items you may be getting rid of that they secretly want.
It still sounds a bit morbid, but hey, any excuse to declutter is a good one in our books, so it might be worth a try. Speaking of which, it might be time to tackle those dusty stacks of books. After all, they could be the death of us.