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10 Things to Know About Swedish Death Cleaning

Yes, the name Swedish Death Cleaning is off-putting but it's kind of meant to jar you into action to decrease the burden on your family. Find out what you need to know about Swedish Death Cleaning.

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What is Swedish Death Cleaning?

What is Swedish Death Cleaning?

The name Swedish Death Cleaning gets a lot of attention for good reason but once you learn about it, its a pretty sensible, practical way to deal with your possessions as you approach your later years. Its based on a book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutterby Margareta Magnusson. Its set to be released in January but its already generating a lot of buzz.Magnusson, an artist, embarked on the book after dealing with the deaths of her parents and husband and tried to figure out what to do with their possessions. Magnusson, a Swede, writes about the Swedish idea of dstdning, which translates to death cleaning. D means death in Swedish and stdning means cleaning. The thrust of the book is to slowly begin decluttering so your death isnt such a burden for those you leave behind.It's similar to other trendy thoughts on home organization and approaches to life, like hygge, which caught on last year.
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What to Hold on toGrand Warszawski/Shutterstock

What to Hold on to


You've kept certain items around the house as a reminder of an experience but you don't need to have the object to trigger a memory. Your mind still holds onto the trip or special day you had that led you to keep a souvenir.Take a look in kitchen cabinets and make a note of how many plates and glasses you keep. Chances are you don't need them all.
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Things to DocumentFamily Handyman

Things to Document


An important piece to Swedish Death Cleaning is involving others. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. For one, it will help keep you accountable if you tell others of your plan. It also becomes a good time to share with your family your wishes after you pass.Its during this process that you begin putting together a document that holds any login and password information for any financial institutions or other relevant information thats going to be tough to find after your death.Make sure your remaining items are packed and stored properly.
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Where to StartFamily Handyman

Where to Start


Magnusson says to stay away from photographs as the first entry point into Swedish Death Cleaning. Instead, try to start in the closet where youre sure to find items you no longer wear and things that just dont fit anymore.
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How to Give Things AwayKirsten Hinte/Shutterstock

How to Give Things Away


Hannah-Rose Yee wrote about Swedish Death Cleaning and tried it herself. It wasnt as easy as she thought itd be to give away some of her things. A friend wouldnt accept a scarf and Yee wanted books shed given away back within a couple of days.To avoid that problem, Magnusson suggestions bring your things to friends and family as presents. Instead of a bouquet of flowers, give your friend whatever item of yours theyve long admired.Get yourself started by cutting clutter.
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When to StartFamily Handyman

When to Start


Magnusson urges those 65 and older to start the process of shedding possessions. You can start by selling some of those items first. Yee sold a number her old things and earned around $500, she said. Once you get started, the purge becomes easier.Check out some of these ideas for kitchen storage that you can use to free up space.
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Make it Last

Make it Last


Taking a new approach to something is never easy. It takes on average two months form a new habit. So, along the way of Swedish Death Cleaning, Magnusson says its alright to reward yourself. But reward yourself in a new way as well. Go see a movie or grab a cupcake, just dont buy a bunch of new stuff.If your home office is out of control unorganized, try out these home office organization solutions.
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Will Anyone be Happier if I Save This?Family Handyman

Will Anyone be Happier if I Save This?


That note your crush passed you in middle school isnt going to mean anything to anyone other than you. One of the important questions Magnusson poses in her book is: Will anyone be happier if I save this? It's a good way to frame the inner monologue debate that will go on in your mind as you start to declutter. These easy storage ideas will help you find a spot for the things you want to keep.
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Nobody Wants Your StuffGUIDENOP/Shutterstock

Nobody Wants Your Stuff


The Christian Science Monitor reported in July that children of baby boomers arent itching to take possession of their parents home furnishings. In fact, theyd rather not.Its not only that children dont want their parents possessions, its that theres not a market for that old mahogany furniture pieces. The price of mahogany furniture has dropped considerably in the past few years as people have started to favor Mid-Century Modern designs and cheaper furniture from IKEA.Make your furniture last longer while you've got it with these tips.
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Being a Pack Rat has a Financial BurdenAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Being a Pack Rat has a Financial Burden


In a Forbes story, Richard Eisenberg had to unload an apartment full of his fathers possessions after he died in order to avoid paying an extra month of rent. Eisenberg pointed out there are liquidators who specialize in cleaning out estates. There are even move managers for seniors who downsize from their homes to a smaller condo. Some senior move managers charge between $2,500 to $3,000 and others will sell items at estate sales. Theyll take a cut of the proceeds of the estate sale, usually around 35 percent or so.Do some downsizing with these 12 tips.