The Internet loves a good decluttering trend: We’ve long extolled the value of KonMari-ing your stuff, for instance, keeping only the things that “Spark Joy” and discarding the rest. But this year the latest big thing in cleaning and organizing philosophies has taken a decidedly darker tone: Swedish Death Cleaning. Perhaps it’s our more somber national tone, the aging boomer generation, or maybe it’s just the natural evolution of things, but Swedish Death Cleaning really struck a chord this year.
So, what the FRAKTA is it? Lisa Freedman provided an intro over on Kitchn earlier this year and offered up this handy definition for Swedish Death Cleaning, aka Dostadning (a Swedish hybrid word that means death and cleaning):
The idea is to remove unnecessary things and get your home in order as you get older. To minimize the amount of stuff (junk, clutter, things you don’t need, etc.) that you will end up leaving behind for others to deal with.
As folks are less and less interested in inheriting furniture and other cumbersome heirlooms, living your life with only the essentials and saving your relatives the hassle of throwing away all your tapes and old wrapping paper, does seem to make sense. You get to live your best, most organized life and your family will remember you as the thoughtful and efficient person you are.
But the philosophy isn’t all austerity and estate planning. Margareta Magnusson, author of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, advocates for giving away those possessions you and your family don’t want while you’re alive. Much like attending your own wake, passing things on (to those who actually want them) to friends and acquaintances while you are around to see it adds a layer of life to death cleaning.
Still curious? You can read more over at Time.