Yeah, ok, we’ll admit that name sounds intense. Swedish Death Cleaning? The BIOClean Team is here to help unpack this new trend sweeping the world, what it means and whether or not it might have something of value to you.
First, the name.
Swedish Death Cleaning takes its name from the 2018 book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. The idea isn’t native to that book though, in Swedish it’s called döstädning, literally “death cleaning.”
So what is it?
Like Marie Kondo’s book and Netflix show, the idea behind Swedish Death Cleaning is decluttering your home, in a livable way. Based on the name alone you might have thought it was specifically for cleaning up following the passing of a family member or loved one but that’s not (always) the case. Anyone can do Swedish Death Cleaning, it might help the home from devolving into a hoarding situation, which in turn could be a huge help to those who might survive you. We’ve all had that experience of cleaning out a relative’s home and finding just how many forks they had! So, prevent that with some Swedish Death Cleaning.
How To Do It?
There’s a whole book on just this subject and if you’re like a more robust rundown of it we’d recommend looking there. The basics are this: Start with your closet, and work your way through your home. Get rid of excess belongings that you don’t use or need and that won’t be wanted after you pass. That’s one of the key components is knowing that you’re decluttering now to take the burden off your loved ones later. So look in your kitchen cabinets, how many plates and mugs do you need right now? The rest of those get rid of. Garage sale, donate, whatever you have to do. What you might hold on to now because maybe you’ll need can become a burden on your son or daughter who thinks ‘Mom held onto these plates for a reason, I should too.’
While you’re going through everything and decluttering, consider what items your loved ones might want to hold on to or treasure. Document it all. All of this will make the time after you pass less stressful and easier to handle – and that’s what this is all about: taking care of yourself as much as possible, and easing the burden on others.
Benefits of Swedish Death Cleaning
So, aside from paring down your belongings what are the benefits of the process?
It Just Might Make You Happier!
Swedish Death Cleaning is another style of cleaning that works with the whole idea of minimalism. Minimalism, psychologically speaking is all about the idea that joy doesn’t from things but from experiences and relationships. For many people, those things are tied closely together this thing from that trip or this thing from this friend. As that jumbles the idea that things are what makes us happy spreads. But it’s not necessarily the case! When you cut down on the excessive clutter, you become better able to focus on the real things that bring you joy. That’s the idea anyway. Some people are drawn to this, they want to live in tiny houses, have their homes organized by color, that sort of thing.
Paring down and streamlining can also decrease feelings of stress or being overwhelmed! For many people, we live complicated lives full of choices, and decisions, and products, and on and on and on it goes. That stress can be amplified when the home is full of stuff. Studies have shown a link between increased cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and the perception of cluttered homes.
Is this going to be true for everyone? No, of course not. But if you’re looking up the topic of Scandinavian cleaning methods, you are probably bothered by the clutter, at least a little bit, so it may be worth the effort.
Reckon with Mortality
This seems to be one of the bigger components of the whole process. As you go through your home and declutter down to absolute essentials and what you’d like to pass on, you will naturally begin to come to grips with mortality. That you, as will all others, will pass on and leave behind a legacy. In Swedish Death Cleaning, the process is helping you prune that legacy into exactly what you’d like to leave behind.
If you have a situation that has passed the point of decluttering or need help in cleaning a hoarding situation give us at The BIOClean Team a call. Our professional, caring team is standing by to assist in any situation.