Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter
By Margareta Mangusson
Scribner, 2018. 117 pages. Nonfiction

Mangusson explains how going through your possessions before the end of life helps to both relieve you from the obligation of caring for them in your final years and relieves your family from having to make decisions about those items after you are gone.  While it may sound a bit morbid, Mangusson indeed handles the subject gently as the title suggests.  However, this book isn't just for those in their later years.  Her instructions are applicable for those in any time of life, especially readers who may need a  little motivation for freeing themselves from the burden of too many possessions.  When you consider your things from the perspective of not being able to take them with you after this life, it casts them in a different light and makes letting go a little easier.

Fans of Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up will find renewed inspiration from reading this short but sweet book.  Mangusson mixes sensible advice with personal examples of items that she had tender memories of and yet in the end sent on to new, more practical homes.  These stories both illustrate her points and gently help readers find a way to let go of their own cherished items if it's not practical to keep them any longer.  I listened to the audiobook and the narrator's voice has the perfect mix of quiet dignity and tenderness that turns an uncomfortable subject to one of acceptance and peace.


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