A charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life.
In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming.
Margareta suggests which possessions you can easily get rid of (unworn clothes, unwanted presents, more plates than you’d ever use) and which you might want to keep (photographs, love letters, a few of your children’s art projects). Digging into her late husband’s tool shed, and her own secret drawer of vices, Margareta introduces an element of fun to a potentially daunting task. Along the way readers get a glimpse into her life in Sweden, and also become more comfortable with the idea of letting go.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Margareta Magnusson brings Scandinavian pragmatism to domestic decluttering. Instead of wondering whether an item sparks joy in your heart, she suggests asking whether it’ll be remotely useful after you kick the bucket. The Stockholm artist, who puts her age at “somewhere between 80 and 100,” speaks from experience, having spent a year after her husband’s death ditching everything that wasn’t essential or sentimental. Magnusson’s tough love is a treat; her whimsical line drawings are sprinkled throughout the book, and she has a wicked sense of humour.
Guide might be a misnomer
If you are expecting steps to declutter or minimize this is not your book. For me somewhere between 60 and 100 ( author is between 80 and 100) this helps me find a way to let go of stuff and not buy more. One phrase resonates go look at stuff doesn’t mean you have to buy it. I’ll start now giving away stuff to visitors ( if they want- we gave airline first class amenities bags to our last visitors we still have at least a dozen!) hopefully in 5-10 years when we downsize our home it will be less of a chore.
Book is a good quick read not morbid, look around your home do you really want someone else to decide what to do with all your stuff?
Not what I was looking for
Disappointed in the content. There was some cute stories from the writers like, but it didn’t have substance in the way I was I expecting (was looking for more guidance/self-help/how-to…
You will be happy you did your own cleaning
She is a wise and practical person, even on my thirties I am doing my own death cleaning and loving it. It’s been also a nice way to chat to my parents about it