If you read last week’s article you were introduced to Swedish Death Cleaning. My Swedish death cleaning experience was a fun adventure and I highly recommend it. I would say it’s never too late to start your Swedish death cleaning. And that doesn’t mean you are going to die; it just means you have such love, concern, and respect for your family and friends that you’re not going to leave them to sort through and figure out what to do with all your stuff.
The beauty of Swedish death cleaning is you get to go through your stuff and decide who you’d like to give it to, what is to throw away, what to donate and of course, you’ll have a few keeps. In my Swedish death cleaning experience I did a great deal of throw, a generous amount of donating, and some keeps.
Start with something easy
I decided I needed to pick a room to start. I knew from reading Margareta’s book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself, that:
- You should not Swedish death clean directly after a death or traumatic event. This may not be possible depending on your situation/timeline, but do your best to avoid it- give it time.
- Do not start with pictures and letters- things will get too emotional and you’ll spend hours reminiscing.
- Grab four boxes and mark “keep”, “throw”, “donate”, “gift”.
- When looking at an item ask yourself: Am I really making use of it or do I just possess it? Does it make me happy? Do I feel guilted into keeping an item? Would this item make someone else happy?
- Be ready to get emotionally stuck on a few items. Find a box to “hold” them, and return another day when you’re feeling less emotional.
- Remember, there may be letters, pictures, items you WOULD’NT want other people to see or to know about. Be wise and consider what damage may be done by them finding these things and properly dispose of them.
This looks like a good place to start
The room I chose to start my Swedish death cleaning experience was in my bedroom. My plan of attack was to begin in the drawers and then work my way into the closets. I brought trash bags and boxes. I must be honest and tell you I do enjoy cleaning and I am an organizational nut. This was right up my alley and I was anxious to start.
I knew what drawers to tackle first. Opening the drawer where letters and cards lived I grabbed them did a quick sort and kept a few meaningful cards and a letter from my mother and quickly trashed the rest. Not wanting there to be any “may I should just…” I hastily walked to the fireplace, open the door, and threw them in. In seconds the flames consumed them and there was no going back.
Working through the drawers I sorted out old socks, pantyhose (who wears them anymore?), slips (ya, these too?). Then I moved up to my Grandma Westra’s old jewelry case and sorted out all the jewelry I no longer wear and put that in the thrift box. Next to Mr. B’s side of the bureau. Pretty simple to do, he isn’t a hoarder of stuff. Found some holey socks and got rid of them into the fireplace as well.
Closets were next
Closets seem to have lots of hidden places for junk. I made the work of sorting through old sweatshirts, jeans, shirts, sweaters, and T-shirts. The box for thrift/rummage was quickly filling. I began to feel a sense of accomplishment watching the hangers pile up on the bed. The closet shelves were unloaded and I determined that most of that was too sentimental to make a decision on, but I would return in one month to give it another go.
Onto the nightstand drawers. Once again Mr. B had very little to sort through so that was quick and then onto my drawer. I tend to hoard pens and elastic hair bands. Sorting through the drawer I pulled out a treasure trove of elastic hair bands and returned them to the bathroom and the pens to the kitchen.
The linen closet was by far the most fun in my Swedish death cleaning experience. Sorting through all the old bedding, comforters, and sheets. I took stock of what I did need for guest beds and the rest went to the thrift/rummage pile which was steadily growing.
Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.