Swedish Death Cleaning



Have you ever heard of it? No, it is not some heavy metal band from Sweden or something that happened and you missed it on the Vikings TV show. It is a cultural concept embedded in the psyche of the Scandinavian country of Sweden. There it is known as dostadning, which translates to “do” (death) and “standing” (cleaning). It is a concept from a culture that values order, cleanliness and individual responsibility, leading to a person completing their life cycle and not being a burden to their family and descendants. The thrust of this philosophy is to de-clutter your life physically and mentally.

EG Helping Hand Services LLC is here to assist you in applying the gentle art of Swedish Death Cleaning to jar you into action. This will help you make your life’s circumstances more efficient and effectively free you from mental and physical constants to live fuller and more rewarding years.

So how does this concept work in the everyday American life? Simply put, we assist you in the basic but powerful directive of What Do I Hold Onto. This starting point is where we all must begin. For example, we’ve all kept certain items around the house as a reminder of an experience, but we really don’t need to have the object to trigger a memory. Your mind still holds onto the trip or special day you had that led you to keep a souvenir. Those items are a good starting point in the de-cluttering process. Another simple one is to look in your kitchen and see how many plates and glasses you keep. Chances are, you don’t need them all.

You may be saying, “But that souvenir is from a trip with my brother, sister, etc.” That is where another concept in the Swedish Death Cleaning philosophy arises: Involve Others. The philosophy stresses accountability of one’s life and actions. By involving others, you not only document the items and events but include them in your cleaning plan.

You are, in essence, doing it the opposite of the traditional American way of leaving all the items and having the family sort it all out after you are no longer there. The Swedish way incorporates the family unit in a sharing way, which adds value to life’s backstretch and improves mental health of people.

We should apply this sharing and documentation process to not only heirlooms and mementos but financial, property and legal documentation. Just a reminder: don’t forget those crazy passwords you have setup to access computer files and accounts.

If all this seems too overwhelming or you are not sure where to start, go to the closet. We all have items we no longer wear or that don’t fit. This is an easy first step to get the de-cluttering process going.

Elaine Gerwin owns EG Helping Hand Services, LLC, which makes it easy for anyone to start a de-cluttering plan and stick with it. Her services are designed on an individual basis to meet clients’ goals. Connect at 520-471-5077, email EGHelpingHandServices@gmail.com or visit EGHelpingHandServices.com. See ad,
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