Swedish Death Cleaning

Swedish WHAT cleaning? Death Cleaning. Yes… you read that right. And no… it has nothing to do with the cleaning of dead bodies. It’s the Scandinavian art of shedding unnecessary things to make our lives as joyful as possible, at any age.

“Despite its somewhat ominous title, death cleaning is neither morbid nor sad. Sure, it entails dealing with all of your “stuff” yourself before you die and saving your relatives and/or friends from having much at all to clean, donate, or discard. But, in fact, it places emphasis on appreciating each object before getting rid of it and on the joys of sharing your most treasured possessions with friends, relatives, and charities while you are still alive.”


Give things away while you’re still alive, or keep it organised and gift wrapped for when you are gone.

The internet is awash with books, articles, and helpful tips if you wish to do this on your own or with your loved ones. Just Google ‘Swedish Death Cleaning’.

Alternatively, I can help.

I’d love to. I always knew there was a reason I had a friend who was a hoarder. It honed my organisation skills and helped me to understand people’s deep connection to things which others might consider junk. Better yet, I love doing it. Not only because it’s meaningful to those I help and can be loads of fun, but because I have seen how beneficial it can be and have witnessed the inner peace it brings.

Image from Pinterest

There’s more! I can also help you to sell the things you no longer want or need. You get the lion’s share of 60% and I get the balance for my efforts. The first consultation is free. No obligations whatsoever. Contact me today on 0769424477 or lee@eolmatters.co.za to set up an appointment.

Professional Organizer Patti Eickhoff, right, from Practical Solutions, USA

Some great tips from the Doyenne of Death Cleaning herself:

In terms of the actual process of death cleaning, Magnusson has a lot of advice on how to do it:

• Death cleaning doesn’t have to be done in one go. It’s something to slowly chip away at over the years.

• Begin with the things you have in storage, hidden away in attics or garages. She suggests telling your friends and family when you’re starting the process so they can feel free to come and claim things before you throw them away or donate them to charity.

• Shred or throw away anything that could be upsetting, hurtful, or embarrassing for your family to find. “Save your favorite dildo — but throw away the other 15!” she says.

• Leave your photographs, letters, and journals until last. As anyone who has ever tried to de-clutter can attest, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a vortex of nostalgia and procrastinate from getting any actual tidying done.

• If you know what you’d like to be done with certain belongings after you die, tell someone or leave a note. When Magnusson’s mother passed away, she found notes attached to clothes and other belongings, explaining what should be done with them — like a will but for books that should be returned to their original owners, and a jacket that belonged in a museum.

• Death cleaning is a great chance to actually ask people if they want your stuff. “To know something will be well used and have a new home is a joy,” she says.