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Swedish Death Cleaning; No Death Required!



Holy cow! What the heck is Swedish Death Cleaning???? It sounds horrible and depressing! Well, it really isn't. It's actually a very thoughtful and respectful thing for you to do for your family.


In a nutshell, Swedish Death Cleaning (SDC) is getting your affairs in order through decluttering and organizing, so when that time comes for you to depart, your family is not left with a huge burden of unraveling your life on top of grieving your passing. Although SDC is geared toward the empty nester, younger generations can take the philosophy to streamline their own lives.


The first step in SDC is to let your family know that is what you are doing, so they don't think something is wrong. Ask your family if they would like anything particular in your home and gift it to them if you no longer need, use or love it. If someone mentions something that you are not ready to part with, start of list of who you would like to receive your treasures down the road. Do not force or push what you think is important for them to have because it might not have the same emotional meaning to them or they might prefer something less obvious to you.


Next, start decluttering non emotional things. Two good places to look at are your closet and the kitchen. If you no longer need these items, pass them on to friends or make a donation. If the kids say they don't want something, trust them and let it go.


After that, start decluttering by size. Large pieces of furniture that are just taking up space are much easier to make decisions on than the box of your grandparent's mementos...save that sentimental chore for last. Keep a small mementos box of your most meaningful items and share the stories of why they hold such importance to you.


Decluttering and organizing your digital life is also very important. Create a place where all your important information is stored like passwords, important documents, financial information, lock box keys etc that your family will need if you become incapacitated or sadly, die. Bills will continue to come due, rent or mortgage will still have to be paid so make it as easy for them to do so as you can. Trust me, you'd rather have your family members remember the good times after you pass than be angry with the amount of detective work that has been dumped in their lap that they need to unwind. Now that your aware, it's not very loving to make your family members clean up a "mess" that you weren't bothered to take care of yourself...harsh words, but it's true.


When you are done SDC, you'll be surrounded by items that you truly enjoy and not a bunch of random and meaningless things that you have acquired along the way. You'll also have peace of mind that your family won't struggle with your worldly possessions when your gone. Enjoy your decluttered and organized space and spending time creating wonderful memories with your family and feel confident that you are leaving them a meaningful (and manageable) legacy and not a mess.



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