Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Cover Art
My family recently moved to a new home and in doing so had to sift through all of our belongings to make sure we were only packing up and moving things we really wanted to keep. During this process, I went through a phase of reading and listening to books about cleaning and minimalism.

"The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning" by Margareta Magnusson caught my eye as the title was fascinating, and I had to know what the phrase "death cleaning" referred to. It is a Swedish custom to clean up the detritus of your life rather than leaving your descendants to do it for you.

The book is loosely organized as a how-to guide for cleaning, but excels most at being a charming memoir that describes Magusson's experience sifting through her things. The best concept I gleaned from this book was the reminder that things are not your memories. You don't necessarily need to save physical items to remember the people and moments that are important to you, and it is better to share things with others when you are still alive so you can actually see them being enjoyed by their new owners.

If you enjoy reading about decluttering and minimalism, it is a good time to be alive. The abundance of books published in this subject area will keep you busy for quite some time. Some specific titles you might enjoy are "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo and "Unfuck Your Habitat: You're Better Than Your Mess" by Rachel Hoffman.

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