Is This New Way to De-Clutter a Useful Tool?by Jane Chitty
We are frequently urged to de-clutter with a variety of suggestions online or in print but now a new technique known as Swedish Death Cleaning is gaining popularity, helping you to look at your stuff and declutter.
It could just give you that added impetus to go for "less stuff, more happiness".
Even if we are not a hoarder, we might feel we have too much stuff but feel reticent to get rid of those things which often bring back memories.
What is this method known as Swedish Death Cleaning?
Swedish Death Cleaning comes from the Swedish word - döstädning. Do is death and stadning is cleaning. The aim is to remove unnecessary things to ensure your home is orderly well before you think the time is coming closer for you to leave this planet...
But it is not just applicable to those who are approaching old age as none of us know what is around the corner or it may be that you are a child or grandchild of someone who do with a little help in making the move.
The sad truth is we all have people in our lives that have a lot of stuff and if that stuff isn’t dealt with before they die, they the task passes to us. Such a task can be overwhelming when you are dealing with a bereavement..
This is the basic idea behind Swedish death cleaning is to deal with belongings before you die so that family members don't have the burden of doing so.
How to practice Swedish Death Cleaning
Unlike many decluttering methods this isn’t a method you do once and you are done. This is more of a lifestyle and mindset shift and it can be applicable to anyone whatever their age.
There is a mantra for practicing this method and that is:
“Will anyone I know, be happier if I save this?”
- Tell people you are doing it. It gives people the chance to ask for things they want. We also know this can help with accountability.
- Divide things into categories. Categories vary from person to person. Decide what categories make sense for you.
- Start with easier things. Don’t start with any category that holds a lot of sentimental things. You don’t want to get bogged down by memories or give up because it’s too hard before you even get started.
- Get help when needed. If you are struggling with what to do with some items ask a friend, someone that doesn’t hold any sentimental feelings about the items, to help.
- Don’t start with photographs, letters or personal papers. These items can be both fun and sad and often get you stuck on memory lane. They can also be tough to get rid of.
- Don’t assume others want your stuff. Giving your items to someone who doesn’t want it or who won't have space for it only moves your burden to them. Try to only ask if you truly think the item fits the recipient’s taste and home. It can be hard for people to say no.
- Don’t hold onto things just because they were gifts.
- Be honest. Remember that if someone offers you something because they are reducing their possessions, be honest if you don’t want it. Just moving items to another home (that doesn't want them) does not solve any problems.
- Have a throw-away box. This can be for those personal items you want to keep but would rather family didn’t see later or know they will hold no value to them such as personal letters. You don't have to throw them away now but that box can be labelled "to be thrown away". It releases family members from having to go through it and make decisions.
- Have donation box. This can be where you put everything that you do not use or that you family members do not wish to take on. You can then offer to friends, neighbours and others to come and help themselves - rather like a free yard sale.
The idea of decluttering while thinking about what you want to leave behind is not always easy but it can be powerful. We can see items we admire in shops, art galleries, other homes and museums but we don't have to own them to appreciate them.
Jane writes for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions as well as a range of beauty products. Apart from writing about those various conditions, she also covers general health, environmental and other subjects of interest. She has lived in Kenya as well as Cape Town, South Africa and spent time in San Diego, USA. She now lives in Somerset, England with regular visits from her far-flung children and grandchildren. She is a keen gardener and enjoys growing fresh fruit and vegetables with her husband on their joint allotment. As a result, there is something available to use in the kitchen virtually all year round. Her regular posts can be found on our blog.
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