What is Swedish Death Cleaning and Should You Consider It?

There is an old way of cleaning that is currently becoming a trend with more people. It’s called Swedish Death Cleaning. It’s not quite as ghoulish as it sounds. It’s a way to help you get organized so your life is far more functional and de-cluttered. Here is everything you need to know about Swedish Death Cleaning and why it’s something that you should consider doing for yourself. Most of us have accumulated a lot of “stuff” throughout our lives. Some of us even have storage units where we keep the overflow of things that may one day have a use. Closets may be packed with boxes of items that sit there for months or even years. Swedish Death Cleaning involves going through everything in your house or if applicable, storage units and making decisions.

It’s a practical approach to de-cluttering your premises and getting rid of things that are not useful. It’s called Death Cleaning because the practice involves thinking about what would happen if you died, and who would be responsible for dealing with all the things you leave behind. If you have items that are not practical and if they do not spark a hint of joy when you see them, you simply get rid of them. Donate the usable items and throw out the rest. It’s a cleaning exercise that in old Swedish culture is something that you do in preparation for death, but you don’t need to be terminally ill to recognize its value. A book was written on the topic by Mari Kondo titled “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved Ones’ Lives Easier and Your Own Life More Pleasant.”

Dostadning: a method for de-cluttering

Dostadning is a Swedish word that combines death and cleaning but what it really means is decluttering and unloading. It is a process that involves cleaning your house prior to your death so others in the family won’t have to complete these difficult tasks. Most of us have far too much clutter in our homes and there are many items that are not useful to you or to anyone else. If loved ones are faced with the task of dealing with each of these items, it could be overwhelming. Death cleaning is a great way to get organized so you can get the most out of the space that you have and get rid of extraneous items that are not doing you any good. It’s something that can be done at any age and it’s a great way to prevent a buildup of junk around your place. You keep the things that you love and enjoy having around you, but you get rid of everything else that is not useful to you. The author of the book even keeps a box that she has labeled as her “throw away” box. She places items that she knows will only be special to her inside and it is clearly marked as something that the kids can just toss out without even looking through it. This is a thoughtful way of organizing one’s home and life and it will cut down on the work that is required after your death.

Benefits of Swedish Death Cleaning

Regardless of your age, the practice of Swedish Death Cleaning gives you a sense of control over your space and over the things that are your possessions. It is an empowering practice that lets you assume full control of the space that you occupy while you are still living. Reducing clutter can help to reduce stress levels and it can also help you to become more productive in your space. It can open up the rooms in your home and also eliminate tripping hazards as you get older and your physical body becomes more fragile.

It’s an ongoing process

Swedish Death Cleaning isn’t the last hurrah or the final project that you will complete. It’s more of a method for organizing your living space while you are here and in control of it. Although it is intended to make life easier on your loved ones after your passing, it is something that can drastically improve the quality of your life while you’re still alive. This is an ongoing process and you may practice Swedish Death Cleaning for years or even decades of your life.

Organization of things for everyone’s benefit

To get the most out of Swedish Death Cleaning, you throw away things you don’t want to keep or give away some items that you want to go to family members, but you don’t have to clear out your entire house. The things that you know you won’t be using anytime soon can be placed in plastic totes and clearly labeled. You still have access to them as needed, but if you pass suddenly, your family will see the labels and know what the tote contains. If you want to donate all your clothing, you can also leave this is a document that is sealed in a tote that is marked important documents and papers. Make sure to distinguish between items to donate or give away, things to get thrown out, and things that might be important for the family such as documents and pictures.


Swedish Death Cleaning is a great method for de-cluttering your home. It’s also a way to make sure that your loved ones have it a bit easier after your passing. It’s a new trend in cleaning that can be used by people of all ages. Although it’s been around as a Swedish tradition for a long time, it’s something that people are looking at as a valuable tool to help make their lives easier and more productive. A clean house that is well-organized is a lot easier to navigate than one that is crammed with years’ worth of accumulation. These are a few reasons why you should consider adopting Swedish Death Cleaning practices.

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