The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
Funny, wise, and deeply practical, Swedish artist Margareta Magnusson offers advice on how to declutter your home and minimize your worldly possessions so your loved ones don’t have to do it for you.In Swedish there is a word for it: Döstädning, “dö” means “death” and “städning” means “cleaning.” The idea behind death cleaning is to remove unnecessary things and get your home in order as you become older. But this word also can be applied whenever you do a thorough cleaning, to make your life easier and more pleasant. It does not necessarily have to do with age or death. If you can hardly close your drawers or shut your closet doors, it is time to do something about your stuff. Margareta Magnusson death cleaned after the passing of her parents, then her in-laws, then her husband, and she happily downsized from a five-bedroom house on the West Coast of Sweden to a two-room apartment in the city. From the attic to the basement, kitchen to the bedroom, Margareta tackles the whole house in The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning and suggests what you can get rid of (unworn clothes, unwanted presents, more plates than you’d ever use) and what 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 brings humor and an element of fun to this potentially daunting task. Along the way readers get a glimpse into her life in Sweden, and also become more comfortable with the idea that “you can’t take it with you.” A practical book based on personal experience, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, like Marie Kondo’s bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming. This charming and unsentimental approach to putting your life in order—years or even decades before it becomes urgent—is infused with humor and celebrates the importance of living.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning Details

TitleThe Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 2nd, 2018
PublisherScribner
ISBN-139781501173240
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Death

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning Review

  • LK
    January 1, 1970
    Right. Well, first of all, you can't make available a galley of a book on my favorite guilty-pleasure topic (decluttering), call it "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning" and expect me NOT to download it. Secondly - would someone please call their band Swedish Death Cleaning? That cannot just be left on the table.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    "Funny, wise, and deeply practical..." Yes, yes, and yes! That last one may throw some people off, but if you're not discouraged by the title or thinking too deeply about mortality, this may be the right book for you. For anyone who is intrigued by the Marie Kondo method of tidying-up, but not on board with the "magic" and "life-changing" aspects, this book is probably a good fit for you if you're drawn to a more practical philosophy on why you should let go of the clutter.This book entered my l "Funny, wise, and deeply practical..." Yes, yes, and yes! That last one may throw some people off, but if you're not discouraged by the title or thinking too deeply about mortality, this may be the right book for you. For anyone who is intrigued by the Marie Kondo method of tidying-up, but not on board with the "magic" and "life-changing" aspects, this book is probably a good fit for you if you're drawn to a more practical philosophy on why you should let go of the clutter.This book entered my life at the perfect time. I received an advance copy for review, the resease date is not until January, 2018. My father passed away six months ago and I did the best I could to clean out his apartment, but I am forever haunted by the experience because it was like going through a museum about someone I loved dearly, and having to get rid of things that meant something to him in his lifetime. From family heirlooms to a pinecone in a pocket of his old winter coat, every reminder has equal value when you are in a state of grief. In this book, Margareta Magnusson tells you how to avoid leaving your loved ones with a burden in addition to losing you from your life. She's very straightforward in that we will all eventually die, and whatever we accumulate does not come with us. For our loved ones, for our own peace of mind, and for the environment and future generations, downsizing and living with less makes good sense. This is not a room by room guide telling you how to get rid of things. At times it feels a lot like just listening to an old lady tell you about her life in a no-nonsense way. From early in the book, I knew I could learn from this woman when she mentioned a bracelet she had inherited from her mother. The author has five children, she is over the age of 80 and she decided the best thing to do with the bracelet was to sell it. Then she told her adult children about it after the fact and they agreed it was the right thing for her to do. This is jaw-dropping stuff for me. If this were to happen in my family with a cherished heirloom, especially one of financial value, there would be pandemonium. Family heirlooms are to be kept until death, and then a rift is created among all family members as everyone argues about who should receive it, or accusations of theft and manipulation, as the family divides into teams based on their feelings about what should happen to that one valuable item. I've seen it happen so many times and the idea of selling the item and removing it from the covetous family while she was still alive seems like a heartbreaking thing. But admittedly, far less heartbreaking than family members not being on speaking terms with each other because someone else has to make that decision after she dies. It's not an easy thing and that's the point. Death is inevitable, so getting your affairs in order is one of the kindest things you can do for your loved ones who must carry on without you. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy for review.
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  • Bonny
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited when a great reading friend brought The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning to my attention. The title made me laugh, but it really does make sense. Döstädning is the Swedish word for the concept; dö is translated as death, and städning means cleaning. This can mean clearing out after a loved one has died, but it's so much more. Margareta Magnusson encourages people to downsize and begin to responsibly clear out their own things as they get older so relatives aren't stuck doing it I was excited when a great reading friend brought The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning to my attention. The title made me laugh, but it really does make sense. Döstädning is the Swedish word for the concept; dö is translated as death, and städning means cleaning. This can mean clearing out after a loved one has died, but it's so much more. Margareta Magnusson encourages people to downsize and begin to responsibly clear out their own things as they get older so relatives aren't stuck doing it all after they are gone.The author writes with a wise, kind, humorous, and upbeat voice about how to begin, how to deal with clothes, books, collections, photographs, even pets, and how to death clean any hidden or secret parts of your life. She includes plenty of personal stories and anecdotes from her own life, and I valued her voice of experience. I rolled my eyes through much of Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but not at all with this excellent book. While this isn't a handbook or how-to, Magnusson helps the reader begin to think about death cleaning, how to approach the process, and provides motivation and helpful ideas like the throw away box. It's not exactly what you might think, but you'll need to read the book and find out for yourself. I was originally interested in this book because of the six months and 17 dumpsters it took for my sister and me to clean out after my mother died. I was angry and resentful by the end, and swore I would not overwhelm my own kids in this way. Do not ever imagine that anyone will wish--or be able--to schedule time off to take care of what you didn't bother to take care of yourself. No matter how much they love you: don't leave this burden to them. I've made a start, but after reading this excellent little book, I have a much clearer idea of how to proceed, along with good reasons for carrying out my own death cleaning process. Death cleaning isn't about death. It's about the story of your life and all its wonderful and lovely memories.Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    "Save your favorite dildo--but throw away the other fifteen!" is a jarring bit of advice from this brief and rather charming book by Swedish granny who gives her age as "between eighty and one hundred years old." In it, she explains her philosophy of downsizing and giving things away to reduce the work (emotional and otherwise) of cleaning up after her death.I've never read the primary comp title for this book--The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up--because I am already a clean person and don't "Save your favorite dildo--but throw away the other fifteen!" is a jarring bit of advice from this brief and rather charming book by Swedish granny who gives her age as "between eighty and one hundred years old." In it, she explains her philosophy of downsizing and giving things away to reduce the work (emotional and otherwise) of cleaning up after her death.I've never read the primary comp title for this book--The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up--because I am already a clean person and don't feel I need the advice. But I probably do need the advice in this book, or at least my relatives do. One extreme example from my family was my grandmother, who was so convinced she would eventually come home from the nursing home that her house stayed as it was, waiting, for years before her death--and years after, since it was too big a project for anyone to cope with. Magnusson encourages us to face the situation boldly: downsize, recognize what is and isn't useful to your descendants, take joy from what's left, and avoid leaving a daunting project as your legacy. The tone of this book is fun; she looks back cheerfully at a full and interesting life, and when she considers the lifestyles of younger people it's with a mixture of adventure and a bit of winking crankiness. (She loves the internet but thinks people should write thank-you notes, ahem ahem.)As is often the case when I read about Scandinavia, I have to wonder if we Americans are enlightened enough to put their advice into practice. Her grandchildren seem willing to put re-using things above stylish decor, which my younger family members are not. Her new apartment building sounds more like heaven than a retirement home. Overall the author sounds content that things are happening as they should. I don't think you can blame Americans (not that she tries to) for not having as good an attitude about aging.My only complaint about this book is its slightness. I read more than half of it in one sitting on my deck. This probably isn't what the publisher wants me to say, but I'd get it from the library--unless you're brave enough to buy it for a relative.Review copy received from Edelweiss.
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  • Susan Underbrink
    January 1, 1970
    A big thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for the ARC for my honest review. The name may be off putting but it is well worth the quick read that it is. I had just gotten back from a trip to Sweden and the name caught my eye. What the heck? I have been to Sweden loads of times and have never heard of this...so curiosity aroused I requested it. I have just gone through an unwanted divorce and so am clearing and cleaning out my house. Not for the same reasons but sort of-I feel like its a sort of d A big thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for the ARC for my honest review. The name may be off putting but it is well worth the quick read that it is. I had just gotten back from a trip to Sweden and the name caught my eye. What the heck? I have been to Sweden loads of times and have never heard of this...so curiosity aroused I requested it. I have just gone through an unwanted divorce and so am clearing and cleaning out my house. Not for the same reasons but sort of-I feel like its a sort of death. This book has good tips is quick to read and is very interesting. I found it to be well written, with a lovely sentiment. It helped keep me motivated to continue in the cleaning of our house-which is a cleansing in itself. I have told multiple people about this book and the concept (I rarely tell people about what I read-it is usually my private pleasure). I would recommend this to everyone. Thanks for the great read and inspiration. Loved her attitude- I am somewhere between 80 and 100!!
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    This book is written like a grandmother telling her grandchild the important things to do as you age. It is not like the cleaning books that are very self centered about doing everything for yourself. This encourages you to not only thing about yourself but of those that are going to left behind to take care of all your items. I am not even middle aged yet and I really took a lot away from this book about how I live my life and the items that I hang on to and what they will mean in the future. T This book is written like a grandmother telling her grandchild the important things to do as you age. It is not like the cleaning books that are very self centered about doing everything for yourself. This encourages you to not only thing about yourself but of those that are going to left behind to take care of all your items. I am not even middle aged yet and I really took a lot away from this book about how I live my life and the items that I hang on to and what they will mean in the future. This book is going to help me in my life right now and I don't plan on dying any time soon. I highly recommend this book.
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  • Janelle
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a helpful, fun, quick read for anyone intrigued by the Kon-mari craze of "tidying up." I have watched my parents "death clean" after their parents and one of their siblings (although they did not use that term). They were overwhelmed by the tasks left to them and seemed determined not to let history repeat itself with their own belongings. Only time will tell if they succeed, however. It already seems that as each year passes, they become more attached to their belongings - or worse This book is a helpful, fun, quick read for anyone intrigued by the Kon-mari craze of "tidying up." I have watched my parents "death clean" after their parents and one of their siblings (although they did not use that term). They were overwhelmed by the tasks left to them and seemed determined not to let history repeat itself with their own belongings. Only time will tell if they succeed, however. It already seems that as each year passes, they become more attached to their belongings - or worse yet, to the idea that their attachment is somehow transferable to their children.I was hooked on these lines: "I have death cleaned so many times for others, I'll be damned if someone else has to death clean after me" (16) and "Do not ever imagine that anyone will wish - or be able - to schedule time off to take care of what you didn't bother to take care of yourself. No matter how much they love you: don't leave this burden to them" (17). YES! I could not agree more! But how does it work? The rest of the book is devoted to practical and philosophical advice for the death cleaner, such as: - start with large items and work your way down to small things (pictures, letters) - your loved ones wish to inherit nice things from you, not all things from you - your memories and your family's are not the same - what one person thinks is worth saving is different from the next person - start a "throw away" box of things that you value and wish to keep until you die, but which can be thrown away (with your explicit permission) after you go - death cleaning can be a pleasant experience for someone after age 65 or so - ask yourself: will anyone you know be happier if you save this? If not, send it away!This is a delightful little book. It's somehow light and deep at the same time. I am seriously considering giving it to my 75-year-old mother for Christmas... but I'm worried she'll be offended. Is anyone interested in some sets of china???Thanks to NetGalley for providing the e-ARC.
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  • Dianna
    January 1, 1970
    What will happen to all your stuff when you die? Will your spouse have to spend years mucking out all the junk in the house? Will your kids send it all off to a dump? Margareta Magnusson suggests a better way: take your own stuff into your own hands. Don't keep stuff you don't use anymore. Find good homes for the things you don't need. Make it easier for your family after you're gone.The author starts out by describing the cleaning she does after loved ones' deaths, and then outlines what she ha What will happen to all your stuff when you die? Will your spouse have to spend years mucking out all the junk in the house? Will your kids send it all off to a dump? Margareta Magnusson suggests a better way: take your own stuff into your own hands. Don't keep stuff you don't use anymore. Find good homes for the things you don't need. Make it easier for your family after you're gone.The author starts out by describing the cleaning she does after loved ones' deaths, and then outlines what she has done to make it easier on her family one day. If you've read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this book is another, more practical, take on the same idea. I'm not planning on dying for quite some time, but what Magnusson says still makes sense. Keep your life in order. Write down your passwords. Make a will. Pare down your belongings as your life phases change. Preserve the memories you want to pass on, and destroy the ones you don't. Not just because you'll die one day, but because you'll have a better life meanwhile if you keep things in order and you aren't drowning in excess objects.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Written in a chatty very down to earth style, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is part memoir, part how-to manual, part philosophy book and something of a cultural introduction to scandinavian customs and mores.Her writing style is humorous and wry and delightful. The author talks frankly about getting rid of things which tie us down and smother us in belongings/junk/stuff.In that manner, this book reminds me a lot of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Interestingly enough, both book Written in a chatty very down to earth style, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is part memoir, part how-to manual, part philosophy book and something of a cultural introduction to scandinavian customs and mores.Her writing style is humorous and wry and delightful. The author talks frankly about getting rid of things which tie us down and smother us in belongings/junk/stuff.In that manner, this book reminds me a lot of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Interestingly enough, both books seem to me to be indelibly imprinted with the culture and background of the authors. This book is peppered with words and concepts from Swedish just as TL-CMoTU has a lot of the character of Japanese living philosophy intertwined in it.Both books are more philosophy than hands-on 'how to' books. This one is a lot more down to earth and in my opinion more practical and includes less 'woo'/new age catchphrases. Speaking specifically of this book, the philosophy of facing head-on that, frankly, we're all going to shuffle off and die at some point and streamlining our stuff before that inevitability is just going to make us more relieved and our heirs happier is important. It could have been very dark and depressing, but Margareta (self stated age between 80 and 100 :) does it with wit and panache. She's fearless in her writing, for example talking about dealing with ones dildo collection (keep one favorite, get rid of the other 15).If I have a complaint, it's that the writing is a continuous stream of consciousness conversation, interspersed with personal reminiscences, and as a result is fairly choppy in some ways. The book is also fairly clearly written by an author whose first language isn't English. In this case, it suits the theme of the book and concepts which don't have clear equivalents in English are left with the Swedish word and a near-equivalent in English.I really enjoyed it a lot. Three and a half starsDisclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    This book was go fun! I started a death cleaning 10 years ago, way before this book. I wanted to get my affairs in order and de-clutter my house both for my sake and my daughters. Still have stuff to do, but this book will make it easier! Great book!
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    When a friend mentioned this book on her blog, I immediately wanted to read it and promptly requested the book from Net Galley! I found The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning an inspiring, get off your butt and get things done book! If you liked Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you will find this book a more direct and practical approach to the tidying, de-cluttering task! If you did not like Marie Kondo at all, I think you will find Margareta's advice and instruction a ref When a friend mentioned this book on her blog, I immediately wanted to read it and promptly requested the book from Net Galley! I found The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning an inspiring, get off your butt and get things done book! If you liked Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you will find this book a more direct and practical approach to the tidying, de-cluttering task! If you did not like Marie Kondo at all, I think you will find Margareta's advice and instruction a refreshing and easy to do. How easy you ask? Well, her inspiration started even before I finished her book! In one short weekend we had reorganized, sorted, and cleaned out 2 closets! I gave this book 4-stars, and if you, like me, struggle with stuff - this book is for you!Thanks to both Scribner and Net Galley for this advance copy to read!
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  • Romany
    January 1, 1970
    I was probably already a convert before reading this book. It seems to me that the more items we have, the less meaning each of them holds. Why not only keep the things that you are really attached to, and give away the rest? Discarding does have a relationship to death, and I would have liked to have read more about the psychology behind this connection. But really, it's not that kind of book. It's just a suggestion to sort your stuff about before you die. Excellent advice.
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  • Anna Zollinger
    January 1, 1970
    This review was made possible by NetGalley, who provided a Digital Advanced Release Copy for review (DARC); my review of the material may not wholly reflect the final product upon its publication.I've finished this title but haven't formulated a complete review of the material yet due to the nature of the book. When I do, I'll update this page to reflect my thoughts.
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  • Stina
    January 1, 1970
    Anmeldelsen kan læses på Bognørdenhttp://bognorden.blogspot.dk/2017/10/...
  • Christine Lussier
    January 1, 1970
    Received from NetGalley, will review closer to publication date
  • GONZA
    January 1, 1970
    REVIEW TO COME!
  • Mandi
    January 1, 1970
    A really interesting concept and process. With all things Swedish being so big right now I can see people really taking to this idea.I thought the book was well written in a lovely conversation style.However, this southern girl sort of felt like following it's advice would be tempting fate. Maybe I was just raised with too many superstitions for this to be for me. I'm all for decluttering and cleaning but doing it with my future death in mind just isn't something I'm willing to do. I think all o A really interesting concept and process. With all things Swedish being so big right now I can see people really taking to this idea.I thought the book was well written in a lovely conversation style.However, this southern girl sort of felt like following it's advice would be tempting fate. Maybe I was just raised with too many superstitions for this to be for me. I'm all for decluttering and cleaning but doing it with my future death in mind just isn't something I'm willing to do. I think all of my family would be highly offended if I gifted them a copy as well.Still. A really good read and very well written. It's always fascinating to see how things are done in other parts of the world.I received a free ebook from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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