‘Swedish Death Cleaning’ sounds a little morbid, doesn’t it? It kinda sounds like a process of cleansing a dead body or embalming it… and that’s actually what many people mistake the term for.
But this is totally not what it is.
What is Swedish Death Cleaning?
Swedish Death Cleaning refers to the process of cleaning and decluttering your home and your possessions before you die. It is often an act that can help prepare for death, but it actually also has some incredible benefits you can enjoy while you’re still alive.
Where did the concept of Swedish Death Cleaning come from?
The concept has been around for a while – and many of us have practised the very art of Swedish Death Cleaning without really realising that there’s a name for it – but it has grown in popularity as a result of Margareta Magnusson’s book, ‘The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning’.
Magnusson wrote the book as a mother of five, and grandmother of eight. She has moved homes seventeen times, and writes about her experience with moving, decluttering and deciding on what to do with her possessions (both before and after death), in her book.
What are the benefits of Swedish Death Cleaning?
There are actually a lot of reasons to consider engaging in Swedish Death Cleaning, but most notably are the psychological benefits you’ll be privy to once you start sorting through your possessions and decluttering everything you’ve accumulated over the years.
Eliminating clutter has been proven to help you focus on the things that are most important to you. Many sociologists and psychologists agree that happiness comes from spending quality time with loved ones and prioritising important relationships (rather than buying ‘things’).
The process can help you come to terms with (and grow comfortable in talking about) your own mortality. If you or your family aren’t too great at chatting about all-things death, then this can be a helpful way to make the topic more palatable.
It can be comforting knowing you’re making decisions before the inevitable happens. We like to feel as though we’re in control of our own life and belongings, so making these decisions and clearing your possessions out before things become stressful (or you’re no longer able to declutter everything yourself) can feel empowering.
Research shows that the earlier you start cleaning, the better. We become much more reluctant to declutter as we age.
You’ll be able to ensure that all your possessions are accounted for in your Will, or you can even choose to distribute certain assets before you pass. This can be a beautiful way to provide gifts to your loved ones, as you’ll be able to watch them reap the benefits of your gifts.
How should I start the process of Swedish Death Cleaning?
If you’ve read this far, you’re likely keen to give Swedish Death Cleaning a red-hot crack. And good for you, if so. You probably won’t regret it.
Here are our top three tips on getting started:
1. Start whenever you feel ready
In fact, we’d recommend starting the process before you become old enough to find cleaning and decluttering a struggle. The earlier you start, the better, so if you’re feeling ready to give Swedish Death Cleaning a go? Do it. Like, tomorrow.
2. Tackle the big items first.
Have a particularly messy room? Haven’t sorted through your garage in years? Don’t remember the last time you opened that cupboard under the stairs… other than to shove random things inside it? We’d recommend tackling the ‘biggest’ rooms first so you can tick them off your list quick-smart.
3. Limit what you keep, and set your sentiment aside.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the time to be sentimental (unless it’s practical sentiment). Everything can be sentimental if we want it to be, so instead of dwelling over every single item as though it’s your most prized possession, make sure you remind yourself of what really matters here: decluttering. Get rid of anything that doesn’t feel super significant or important, and keep the items you and your loved ones will want to cherish forever.
Swedish Death Cleaning is a great way to sort through your belongings to declutter your home and possessions before you die. It allows you to maintain control over everything you own, while also providing you with the psychological benefits of more minimalistic living. And even more so than those plus-sides? You’ll be minimising your family’s stress when the inevitable does happen – because you would’ve already dealt with so much of your clutter and belongings already. It’s a win-win for everyone.
If you are ready to sort through your belongings in anticipation of your eventual passing, you might also like to consider prepaying your funeral. The team at Willed can assist. Click here for more informaition or contact our team on 1300945533 today.