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Is Swedish Death Cleaning the Next Marie Kondo Method?

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There are countless methods to go about cleaning and organizing your space, but there’s a new trend making waves – Swedish Death Cleaning. No, it’s not a heavy metal band, and initially the concept may even seem a little depressing, but if you’re looking to live a minimalist life, you need to give Death Cleaning a go.

Those of us who have Netflix (isn’t that everyone at this point?) are more than aware that Marie Kondo has a new show based on her smash hit organizing book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And if you’ve ever asked yourself if something in your life “sparks joy,” thank Marie for coining the term (it was the title for her follow-up book). You may have even tried the KonMari method yourself. Many people swear by her techniques while others just don’t get it. If you feel more than a little awkward saying “thank you” to your socks, and are looking to go minimalist, Death Cleaning is your answer.

Swedish Death Cleaning is not as grim as it may sound. Literally translating from the word ‘döstädning’ as death (dö) cleaning (städning), the concept does force you to think about your own mortality. But that’s not the whole philosophy behind the practice. In Sweden, people of a certain age will slowly begin to downsize their belongings, keeping only the most meaningful pieces. This is intended to make things easier for their children once they die. Rather than having to go through a lifetime of objects, your children will know that everything left in your home once you’re gone had meaning for you.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
Image used with permission by copyright holder

But what if you don’t have kids? Or what if you aren’t even close to being “of a certain age?” You can still apply the Death Cleaning concept to your home right now, without it being a way to plan for your end days. It’s as simple as tackling one storage area at a time over the next few weeks and purging the things you don’t use, don’t need, or haven’t seen in the last ten years.

The point of Death Cleaning, and in turn minimalism, is not to prove how few earthly possessions you can get by with. It is about only having items that mean something to you, are useful, and let you live in peace. Being surrounded by junk (even if that junk is neatly organized) is an unconscious stressor you don’t need in this hectic world of constant stimulation.

For more information on the normal, everyday type of cleaning (unrelated to your future demise), check out this guide on how to clean your house in less than 30 minutes.

Kelsey Machado
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kelsey is a professional interior designer with over a decade of experience in the design field. With a passion for…
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