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I stumbled across a TV show whose name I recognized from the same-titled book that came out about five years ago. Because I’m fascinated by all things clutter, I was compelled to watch it. And by the end of the week, I had binged all the episodes.
You’ve likely heard of it, too.
The book — and now show — is called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.
While it may sound morbid, this concept offers a fresh perspective on decluttering. And one aspect that I really liked about the show is how they speak of death with such ease.
After all, it needn’t be this big, heavy, depressing topic. We’re all going to die. Any reluctance to speak of it only contributes to the tendency to turn a blind eye to life (and death) planning and right-sizing your life.
Swedish Death Cleaning, or “döstädning” in Swedish, is all about streamlining your belongings and preserving your life’s legacy.
By being selective about what is worthy of staying in your life, you intentionally curate the things that reflect who you are. You also create a meaningful collection that captures your journey in this life.
Imagine your loved ones sorting your items as their hearts swell with memories of you. What types of things do you want them to be going through, handling, and making decisions on?
By practicing Swedish Death Cleaning while you’re still around, you’re actually doing them a huge favor.
Clearing out someone’s possessions after they’ve passed can be emotionally draining and time-consuming. But by taking charge and decluttering ahead of time, you give your family and friends the space and time they need to properly grieve, without the added stress of handling your stuff. It’s an incredible act of kindness.
Then there are your perks of embracing a lighter, simpler life. Things like:
- Reduced Stress: Clutter and excessive belongings can make us feel overwhelmed and stressed out. But when you declutter and live with only what truly matters, you create a peaceful and harmonious environment.
- Enhanced Focus and Clarity: Have you ever noticed how physical clutter easily leads to mental clutter? By letting go of unnecessary possessions, you clear up mental space, allowing you to focus and think more clearly. It’s like a breath of fresh air for your mind!
- Increased Productivity: Say goodbye to distractions! A clutter-free space provides the perfect backdrop for increased productivity. With fewer things vying for your attention, you can channel your energy into the tasks and activities that truly light you up.
- Improved Well-being: Simplifying your lifestyle has a positive impact on your overall well-being. Surrounding yourself with objects that bring you joy and align with your values nurtures your emotional and mental health. It’s like creating your own little sanctuary of happiness.
- Financial Freedom: Living with less can actually save you money. By being more mindful of your purchases and focusing on quality over quantity, you can free up your finances, reduce debt, and prioritize experiences over material possessions. Hello, financial freedom!
I know what a big job decluttering can be. Just remember this: it’s all about getting good at getting started. You can experience some of the above perks just by doing one Pomodoro round (25 minutes) on some stubborn clutter.
Here are a few suggestions of small things you can do that will likely have a big impact on your mood and energy:
- Paperwork. Grab a reasonably-sized stack of and sort the papers into one of two piles: Keep and Recycle. Anything you’re certain you can get rid of goes into the recycle pile. Anything you need or want to keep as well as anything you’re unsure of, into the Keep pile they go. That is what getting started looks like.
- Spices. Go through all of your spices and toss anything that’s expired.
- Junk drawer. Empty your junk drawer onto the floor or a table and go on a trash treasure hunt. What in that pile can be tossed? Then put the rest back.
While those suggestions might not be a top priority in your clutter-clearing mission, each is something doable to give you the taste of success. Consider it a warm up for the tougher stuff!
One of the goals here is for you to curate a life that lights you up by eliminating anything (or anyone!) that dims your spark.
And if you want to check out the TV show, you’ll find it for free on Peacock here in the U.S.