What Is “Swedish Death Cleaning” and How It Can Transform Your Home

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Online shopping might’ve gotten the best of you lately. You only noticed now how much stuff you have everywhere. Before you buy anything else, maybe you want to consider a lifestyle that sounds a bit gloomy, like Swedish Death Cleaning. This is about how you can begin managing your possessions before you settle into your senior years and eventual passing, but it’s more than that.

Read on to learn about Swedish Death Cleaning and how it can transform your home.

First of All, What Is Swedish Death Cleaning?

The idea came from the Swedish concept of Döstädning, which means death cleaning (dö means death, and städning means cleaning). It emerged when Margareta Magnusson wrote about how she arranged for her parents and husband’s belongings after they died.

Her book, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” promotes the concept of decluttering your life when you turn 65. That’s because you might not be able to do it yourself once you get old. The task will then get passed on to a loved one.

This approach was born to lessen the burden on your family during that time.

The Checklist of Swedish Death Cleaning

Swedish Death Cleaning is no easy task; it can take a few months to a few years. Thankfully, there’s a checklist for all of the steps you need to do. Here we go!

Tell Your Loved Ones

This is an undertaking, and it won’t be a fast one. A tactic like telling your loved ones about your plans for this process makes them tangible and authentic, so much so that it’ll push you to go through with them. They need to know because they might get some of your stuff after you sort them out.

Swedish Death Cleaning is nostalgic with every decision you need to make. What better way to reminisce about the good old days than with the ones you love?

Manage Your Storage

Your storage possessions are most likely those you haven’t seen or used in a while. So it would be easier for you to look through them first. Plus, it’s better to lead with the bulky stuff like furniture and those big boxes stuck in your garage or attic.

Use the list below as a guide:

  • Keep a pile (for things you use all the time)
  • Gift pile (for stuff you own but not sure why you have them)
  • Donation or Sell Pile (things that don’t feel like you anymore)
  • Discard pile (items that are damaged)

Take a Peek at Your Closet

If you are having trouble with which items to keep and let go of, look through the clothes in your closet. Which ones haven’t you worn in a while and will probably not wear again? Which ones do you still want to keep? Once you answer all the necessary questions, add each garment to the correct pile!

Gift Your Stuff Away

After sorting through some of your belongings, you can slowly give away the stuff in your gift pile. These items are still important to you, but you use them sparingly. So, you’ll want particular people to have them because you know they’ll cherish them as you did.

Sell, Donate, and Throw Away

Once you got all of your piles sorted out, time to deal with the piles you have left. Throw out whatever you can’t salvage anymore. Sell what you think is good enough to sell, and donate what you think will be of most help.

Go Through Your Digital Files

Do this periodically to eliminate the unnecessary buildup of your files. This is also when you can compile your essential information, like bank details and passwords. It can be a hassle to go through your files now, so imagine how your future loved ones will do.

Why Consider Swedish Death Cleaning

Even if it’s literally in the name, it doesn’t have to be about death. This practice can be done several times in your lifetime, like in your early 20s.

It will help you and your home in several different ways:

Prepares You for the Existence of Death

There’s no easy way to talk about death, especially your own. Yet, the process gives you a reason to open up the conversation to your loved ones and yourself.

Keeps Your Home Tidy

No one likes clutter, right? Doing this every so often lessens the amount of stuff that clutters your home. It keeps you as organized as possible.

Aids With Your Productivity

Having more stuff than you need is not always a good thing. Removing your belongings can help you prioritize what’s important instead of just accumulating more and more stuff. People are more productive in a less cluttered place with no distractions to occupy them.


This article discussed Swedish Death Cleaning and how it can transform your home and life. With this method, you can remove what’s not useful for you, walk down memory lane, and make other people happy in only a few months.

Decluttering in this way helps you figure out what matters. Your stuff might not be yours anymore, but the memories and experiences will stay with you forever.

About Emily Leake

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