You may already know about hygge and lagom — two popular lifestyle trends coined and popularized by the Scandinavians, but have you heard of döstädning?
Döstädning, which means "death cleaning" in English, is a new method of downsizing and organizing from the Swedish author and artist Margareta Magnusson. The approach is designed as an easy way for folks over 50 to purge their homes and organize their possessions in hopes that their children won't be overburdened by their belongings once they pass away, according to The Chronicle. Sure, it sounds morbid, but it's actually a pretty smart idea.
Death cleaning isn't about getting rid of all your stuff, but rather streamlining your life so you're only holding onto what makes you happy. "Death cleaning is not about dusting or mopping up," Magnusson told The Chronicle. "It is about a permanent form of organization that makes your everyday life run more smoothly."
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Magnusson is the author of the upcoming book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, which describes the practice in detail. You'll have to wait until January to get your hands on a copy, but here's what we know about the cleaning system so far:
1. It's not just for people over 50.
Magnusson says every person should begin death cleaning after 50, but the idea can work for all ages — truly, the approach is helpful for anyone who wants to simplify and organize their life.
2. It should be a slow and ongoing process.
This cleaning technique can't be started and finished in a day, week, or month. It's going to take time and should be seen as a lifestyle change — not a period of intense purging.
3. As you sort your home, you should think about your will, memorial service and the inheritance you'll leave behind, too.
The experience should be comprehensive and practical, helping you to be prepared for the end of your life, allowing you — not others — to make the big decisions.
4. You should vocalize your intentions.
Tell your friends and family about your plans, so they can hold you accountable. In the book, Magnusson stresses that this is a very important step, according to Tree Hugger.
5. Gift your unwanted items.
When you drop by a friend's house, skip the flowers or food, and bring them a few books you no longer want. Or, gift your grandchild with a treasured item you want him or her to have. Begin the process of giving away your items to people who could use them or may want them.
6. Start with your closet.
It's less emotionally taxing to get through, according to Magnusson. Begin there and perhaps you'll feel motivated to tackle the attic.
7. It's very therapeutic.
Death cleaning isn't about dying. It's about looking back on your life and only keeping what's important. Through the process, you'll take stock of your many blessings, relive fond memories, and be able to archive your greatest treasures, according to Funeral Zone. It's actually a pretty neat way to write your own narrative.
8. You should reward yourself, but not with more stuff.
"Don't forget yourself," Magnusson writes. After you finish organizing an area or part of your life, treat yourself to a movie, manicure, or delicious meal – not a trip to your favorite store.
(h/t The Chronicle)