The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Bookshelves are awash with advice for those wishing to organize their living spaces.  Techniques vary from no-nonsense clutter-busting to thanking and discarding items that no longer spark joy.  Anyone who has had to clear out a relative's home will understand the practicality of the Swedish concept of death cleaning: the organizing of one's worldly goods before passing away.  The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning serves as a friendly guide to undertaking this admittedly gloomy-sounding project at any stage of life.

Making the book as much a memoir as motivation, Swedish artist Margareta Magnusson illustrates the process by describing her own death cleaning practices, including charming stories about her possessions.  Her eventual decision to sell a beloved family sailboat is somehow both sentimental and pragmatic.  She concludes that its value lay in happy memories, not in the physical object, which should go on to delight another family, rather than sit unused in storage.

A quick read, this is a warm and humorous approach to tidying that combines the life-changing magic of Marie Kondo with the cozy simplicity of Scandinavian hygge.

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--Brandy, Cataloging Librarian


Published by on September 22, 2020
Last Modified October 19, 2021