The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

How to Free Yourself and your Family From A Lifetime of Clutter

Book - 2018
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A charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life.

In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called dostadning, do meaning "death" and stadning meaning "cleaning." This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning , artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming.

Margareta suggests which possessions you can easily get rid of (unworn clothes, unwanted presents, more plates than you'd ever use) and which you might want to keep (photographs, love letters, a few of your children's art projects). Digging into her late husband's tool shed, and her own secret drawer of vices, Margareta introduces an element of fun to a potentially daunting task. Along the way readers get a glimpse into her life in Sweden, and also become more comfortable with the idea of letting go.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, [2018]
ISBN: 9781501173240
Branch Call Number: 648.5 MAGN
Characteristics: ix, 117 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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Nov 21, 2018

This book was a good, quick read. While it isn't exactly eye-opening, it is enormously helpful to consider why we keep and accumulate what we do. I appreciate that she doesn't downsize for the sake of minimalism in and of its self. Oftentimes, there is an almost religious quality to minimalism books, as if you will eventually minimalize yourself into happiness. This author wants her items to serve her and not the other way around. She says she is between 80-100 years old and she seems like the sort of person who intends on living her remaining years well. You can't live well in the present or future if you are crippled by the culmination of the indecision of your past.

SPL_Sonya Oct 22, 2018

Please see Summary section for a full review of this book.

Sep 20, 2018

A rambling, disorganized book. Marie Kondo's book is more interesting to read and more useful for actually cleaning out your stuff.

Jul 31, 2018

A nice, short and simple book to read about reducing things in your home. Author Margareta gave some helpful tips such as how to start with the easiest things first and save difficult things like photographs and cards/letters to sort through later on. She said this kind of cleaning can take years to do, so it's best to start early if you can so you can make it easier on your loved ones when you pass away. It was nice to get to know Margareta a bit by the little things she shared about her life throughout the book. One thing that disturbed me was how they put down their dog, Taxes, because they were moving overseas and didn't think he could handle it plus spending months in quarantine. I understand he was an old dog with some health issues, but he still had more life left to live. Animals should never be put down unless it's absolutely necessary. They are sentient beings, not objects to be discarded (put down) when you're done with them. If your circumstances change, PLEASE rehome your pets instead of putting them down if they still have more life left to live.

ArapahoeMarla Jul 06, 2018

A truly gentle read on an inevitable topic. It will walk a person through the process of leaving your world's accumulations to your heirs in a thought out manner. Appreciation of your efforts now will replace the dread of them having to take their time to deal with all the stuff when you're gone.

Jun 20, 2018

I really enjoyed reading this book. It felt like a close friend talking to me. I liked how the author wrote of some of her personal events. I was sad about the dog Taxes. (who names their dog Taxes?). It also reminded me of some of the things I was going to go through and clean out. I would definately recommend reading this book.

Jun 12, 2018

Clearly, I’m secretly Swedish. I’ve been death cleaning all my life. Sadly, as I try to give things away, people don’t cherish them as much, and I end up keeping too many memories.

Jun 03, 2018

I enjoyed the sensibility of the author; no-nonsense, old-fashioned in a comforting way. I was happy to hear about the tidbits of her life. It reminds us that things are both just things and some are imbued with nice memories. Either way, it’s nice to give things their due then get rid of them. It’s inspired me to donate, gift, sell a bunch of stuff! Live light!

May 20, 2018

A rambling, anecdotal memoir of an elderly woman who has done several purgings and down-sizings. I was hoping for more suggestions, although there were a few of note like starting with the basement, attic, and closets; not photos and old letters. The best advice when downsizing for oneself is to ask: “What do I want to take with me?” rather than what should I get rid of?

May 01, 2018

This is a great book with some good concepts for tidying. It’s written very gently and has a sweet voice. I actually didn’t quite finish it because I found, what I thought to be, a more in-depth title about tidying “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Very similar approaches - although Death cleaning had a lot of charm!

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Jan 31, 2018

cherokeetears thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over


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SPL_Sonya Oct 31, 2018

In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, the author reminds us of the common courtesy of cleaning up after ourselves. In a frank but charming and humorous manner, Margaret Magnusson encourages and guides readers to rid themselves of unnecessary possessions to enhance their own lives while not leaving a burden for their loved ones.

In addition to making life easier, she sees the practice of death cleaning as an opportunity to start a conversation with loved ones about the inevitable and to address it with ourselves.

Her methods allow for the careful and thoughtful disposal of possessions. Once completed, it frees us up to spend more time with family and friends and the activities we enjoy.

She suggests that the practice takes time and ideally shouldn’t be rushed as a result of a crisis. She recommends starting with the large items in your home and finishing with the small. She provides advice on how to sort through clothes, photographs, books, letters, kitchen things and tools. She also stresses the importance of destroying secrets which might cause your loved ones unhappiness after you are gone.

Magnusson introduces the clever concept of a "throw-away box". It is a labelled box, no bigger than a shoe box, within which we can place items which have no value to anyone else but ourselves. It can simply be thrown away once we are gone.

The wisdom in this book is not only helpful to those in their later years. It is a philosophy which can be useful at any age. In the words of the author, "Life will become more pleasant and comfortable if we get rid of the abundance."


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