One of the most interesting approaches to cleaning that I have ever heard is from Margareta Magnusson in her new book. "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved Ones' Lives Easier and Your Own Life More Pleasant." The title certainly got my attention and I think there is some real value in her approach which is to get rid of all the stuff you've accumulated that you don't need anymore- so that no one else has to do it for you after you pass. Magnusson writes,"Death cleaning is not about dusting or mopping up; it is about a permanent form of organization that makes your everyday life run more smoothly." She continues, "And you may even find the process itself enjoyable. It is a delight to go through things and remember their worth." This type of cleaning benefits both your loved ones and can create happiness and enjoyment for you. Even though the title is grim, there are some great takeaways.
- It is true that when there is less chaos on the outside, we're less likely to feel chaos on the inside. Multiple studies link clutter with stress and decreased productivity. Women who described their homes as chaotic had higher levels of the hormone cortisol and worse moods.
- Start in small batches. Getting rid of a few things at a time will probably give you less anxiety than if you got rid of a whole room.
- A tricky problem can be gifts that you don't like or will use given to you from important people in your life. My thought is recognize the receipt, take a picture of it and then donate. Do not clutter your life with things that don't please you or function.
- Make your life easier and store things like to like and label. When things are placed randomly, confusion follows.
- Organizing clutter can often make one feel in control and have a sense of power while others don't see the mess or view it as a problem. These different styles can create tension in a family. You need to jointly come up with goals and steps that everyone agrees to.
- Giving away heirlooms or sentimental things can be energizing and it's good to push yourself a little harder than you thought you could. Seeing your friends and family enjoying things that you are not using reinforces your decision. Also, it's a comfort to know that things are where you want them to be.
- I have been practicing "Swedish Death Cleaning" and have found that thinking about my "stuff" in such a different fashion has remarkably reduced my stress. Letting go is easier and it has been a joy seeing my daughter and granddaughters wear my mom's "good" gold jewelry.
excerpted from Better by Today Nov 2,2017