Maniac Book Club: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
Up for discussion in the Maniac Book Club: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson. Margareta Magnusson is a Swedish author who has lived all over the world. She graduated from Beckman College of Design and her artisitc works have been displayed around the world. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, a 2018 New York Times Bestseller, is her first book. The book focuses on how to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter.
“In Sweden there is a kind of decluttered called döstädning, dö meaning “death” and ständing meaning “cleaning.”
In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Margareta Magnusson offers practical advice in a light and humorous way. The advice is on how to deal with pairing down our stuff before we die, so that our loved ones won’t have to. After having to sort through the estates of her parents, her in-laws, and her husband, Magnusson discovered how difficult the process can be. She decided that she would be proactive in a way that would make things easier for her family in the future. For more than a year she embarked on a “death cleaning” of her own and shared her experiences with the reader.
Although the topic of death and losing loved ones is a very heavy and somber one, the idea of “death cleaning” doesn’t have to be. Instead of preparing for death, it can be thought of as a way to prepare one’s self to live. To live a life free of clutter and the weight of unwanted possessions can be liberating. Death cleaning can be done when someone is entering their 60’s or 70’s. It can certainly be done by someone in their 20’s who is wishing to simplify their life.
Magnusson recommends giving away items to people who will find meaning in them. Let them know you have something for them and give them a deadline to get it or it will go to charity. She also recognizes that we all own things that are valuable only to us. Magnussen suggests creating a “Throw Away” box. This box will contain memorabilia that is only special to you. You can bring it out and look at it as often as you wish. She suggests you label it “Throw Away” box and instruct your family to simply dispose of it when you die.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson is available on Amazon.
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