Comment: Who’s up for a bit of Swedish death cleaning?

PUBLISHED: 07:25 07 February 2018

When you think the time is coming close for you to leave the planet... - dont leave your old junk behind.

When you think the time is coming close for you to leave the planet... - dont leave your old junk behind.


We’ve had The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying courtesy of Marie Condo, she of the neatly-folded pants and socks, and now it’s time for the rather bleaker-sounding craze that is Swedish death cleaning.

Yes, Swedish death cleaning. Brings to mind images of blonde people in white jumpsuits mopping up pools of blood, right? Thankfully it’s a bit less macabre than that.

Margareta Magnusson says her book, The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning, is basically about removing unnecessary things from your home “when you think the time is coming close for you to leave the planet”.

After all, the time after a loved one dies is painful enough for those that are left behind without the burden of sorting through excessive amounts of stuff.

It’s nearly nine years since my amazing grandma died, and my mum is still WhatsApping me photos of barometers and woodland animal pictures that she can’t quite bring herself to part with, even though she doesn’t have the room for them in her own home.

Margareta is all in favour of passing things on to friends and family, something that makes decluttering easier to manage for someone like me, with my ridiculous sentimental attachment to inanimate objects.

When it comes to her own stuff, my mum is way ahead of the game and has already binned her diaries for fear of posthumous mortification.

Margareta would probably consider that a step too far: she advocates use of a “throw-away box” – a place to park the precious personal items you can’t bear to part with but would prefer no one else to see, asking family to throw them away on your behalf once you’re no longer around to appreciate them.

I intend to label my box of cringey teenage diaries thus, despite the fact that I can’t currently bring myself to even open them.

And I said yes to the barometer, of course.

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