The ultimate guide to Swedish death cleaning

This article explains how to do Swedish death cleaning and integrate it into your daily life.

Updated

Moving in boxes on blue sofa

The art of Swedish death cleaning involves decluttering your home ahead of your death to save friends and relatives the hassle of going through what's worth keeping and what can be binned. You needn't be at death's door to get on with your death cleaning, though – it's actually a very good decluttering strategy in general, leaving you with a tidy home and a sense of control over what's left. Here’s everything you need to know about the Swedish death decluttering trend and how to implement it into your own life.

Swedish decluttering is about involving other people in your decluttering process, so set a date and get the whole family involved.

What is Swedish death cleaning?

  • Combining Scandi lifestyle trends (don’t forget about hygge) and Marie Kondo-style house clearing methods, death cleaning is the Swedish decluttering process that you do ahead of your death to prevent friends or relatives having to do it afterwards.
  • It’s not about extreme minimalist living or getting rid of everything you own. Instead this Swedish cleaning technique is about thinking through exactly what you own and working out what’s valuable enough to keep and what’s just stuff that you can get rid of now, saving someone else the trouble in the future.

How to do Swedish death cleaning

Convinced this could be a worthwhile project? Here are some Swedish death cleaning tips:

  1. Go through your house in stages. Don’t try to tackle everything at once and don’t expect to get it all done in a day.
  2. Be prepared for the emotional impact – even things you want to get rid of may have been meaningful in your life at some point. Swedish death decluttering is about acknowledging how emotional it can be to go through all your possessions.
  3. Unlike other decluttering strategies, this kind of Swedish cleaning plan is about involving others. Ask those who are likely to inherit your things to help and give their advice on what you should keep or throw away. 

Swedish death cleaning tips for keeping your house clutter-free long term

So you’ve thrown out lots of things and probably feel somewhat relieved. But how to do Swedish death cleaning long term and stop more objects building up in your home?

  • Before you buy any item, think about how it will be used in your life and beyond. If you can’t see it truly contributing to your life or those of the people around you, don’t buy it.
  • Swedish death decluttering isn’t a one-off process. Repeat your death cleaning at least once a year to keep your space calm and clear.

Key steps

To declutter your home Scandi style, follow these simple tips:

  1. Sort through each room one by one.
  2. Leave sentimental items to the end – they’re likely to take the longest and make you feel the most emotional.
  3. If you’re unsure whether to throw something out, put it in a maybe pile and ask your friends/relatives for their thoughts.

Originally published