The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter

A charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life.

In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming.

Margareta suggests which possessions you can easily get rid of (unworn clothes, unwanted presents, more plates than you’d ever use) and which 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 introduces an element of fun to a potentially daunting task. Along the way readers get a glimpse into her life in Sweden, and also become more comfortable with the idea of letting go.

Title:The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781501173240
Format Type:

About Margareta Magnusson

Margareta Magnusson is, in her own words, aged between 80 and 100. Born in Sweden, she has lived all over the world. Margareta graduated from Beckman's College of Design and her art has been exhibited in galleries from Hong Kong to Singapore. She has five children and lives in Stockholm. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is her first book.


    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter Reviews

  • LK

    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 down...

  • Kathleen

    "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 ri...

  • Sheri

    A nice reminder to occasionally pare down your possessions and discard those that no longer have value. In short, be considerate of those who will have to deal with your things once you’re gone. At ...

  • Lisa

    Other than being utterly adorable, this book doesn't offer much insight beyond "get rid of your stuff before you die." My two favorite quotes from the book:"Life will become more pleasant and comforta...

  • Vivian

    Alrighty, so not what I was looking for. This is a gentle nudge about getting your house together with basic breakdowns of clothing, furniture, knickknacks, and personal items. Unfortunately, either I...

  • Erin

    Upon spying me talk about this book on Instagram and Facebook, my mother asked if she should be worried. I was like "Mom, take this as advanced notice that you and Dad need to declutter the basement, ...

  • Bonny

    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...

  • Diane

    This is a quick and gentle read on ways to declutter your home, with the spirit of making it easier for your loved ones to deal with your possessions after you die. I was a bit anxious about reading t...

  • Emily

    "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...

  • Trish

    I read about this in the New York Times awhile ago and it sounded like it might be the right thing for members of my family. Margareta is a friendly guide but she can be refreshingly tart. She’s com...