A lifetime of accumulation

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson

I recently had the opportunity to read Margareta Magnusson’s The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning[1]. The book is about clearing out unnecessary belongings before you leave it to family members as well as getting your affairs in order.

With a matter of fact approach and humour she tackles difficult family conversations and how wonderful it is to embrace minimalism.  It’s a tiny book that packs a lot of great information that is definitely worth the read.   I started to look around my own house and the amount of stuff that my husband and I had accumulated and asked myself what is it really worth?

I think I am a bit like my Dad in the sense that I can let things go fairly easily and pass it along for someone else to enjoy after I’m done with it.  I do it quite regularly, tire of things and pass them along, through donation, on-line sale site or the occasional garage sale. Dave (my husband)just shakes his head…here she goes again!

I sometimes think if something were to happen to me today – what would that mean to those I left behind, especially since we are from blended families.  After all most of my belongings are just silly things that I have bought or received as gifts over the years with the exception of a few pieces of furniture, family pictures, jewelry and a few mementos.

I took a few minutes to walk around the house and actually reflect on the amount of ‘stuff’ I still have even though I’m pretty good at purging.  I wondered how those left behind would find important paperwork if they had to, like my will or birth certificate.  I also thought about a few other items that were never meant to be seen by anyone other than me or my husband, oh my!

This little book made us sit down and figure those things out. We had wills that required updating, we made plans for our funerals, we had some emotional conversations with each other and with Dave’s kids, and they now know where to locate important paperwork if they need to.  The last, which will most likely be ongoing for a long time is continuing to purge those items that we enjoyed at one time but are no longer needed. They have no emotional attachment and frankly take up room or need dusting.

This was an incredibly emotional process for Dave and me – more than I thought it would actually be because we had to think about things that were not pleasant, but I can tell you I have an incredible sense of relief and feel like a massive weight has been lifted.  As hard as it was I am glad we did it. Now we can get on and enjoy life!  – thanks Margareta Magnusson!

[1] The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson ISBN978-1-5011-7324-0

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