The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning

Posted at 4:16 PM, May 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 16:59:09-04

In America, death is a topic that's kind of taboo... a subject we sidestep whenever possible. Other countries have a different attitude though. In Sweden, they embrace a tradition called 'death cleaning,' which helps your loved ones deal with less stress once you pass. And it can also help you while you're still alive. A new Peacock show called "The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning’ — inspired by a best selling book — demonstrates its principles on Americans in their homes -- and shows us how and how it can make your life easier.

So first of all... 'what is Swedish Death Cleaning?'

The basic principle is, if you can't keep track of your things, you have too many. 'Death cleaning' is the process of decluttering and organizing everything in your home. It's a self-editing system of actually living your life on purpose and don't have too much stuff.

In addition to organizing your home... Death cleaning can also clear your mind and calm your mood.

Swedes have been death cleaning for ages — in fact, it’s deeply rooted in the culture. And it doesn’t matter what age you are — it’s just all about doing a clean sweep and getting a fresh start. On the show, psychologist Katarina and interior designer Johan show American families how it’s done, and how they can benefit.

So how do you start a Swedish death cleaning session?

The first step is figuring out what items are really necessary, and serving a purpose in your life. The organizer starts by setting all their belongings out and grouping similar items into piles. There are a lot of tough decisions — sentimental attachments and the like. Do these items have a home space, or do they not fit in? Katarina and Johan love the moment when a homeowner lets go of something they thought they were attached to -- and they realize how liberating it is.

The toughest things to part with can be items you inherited — even if you really don’t want them.

One woman on the show struggled with giving up a table her mom left her. But then, Katarina and Johan talked to her about the table. It turns out the reason her mother gave her the table is because she hoped the woman would have a wonderful, stable, safe home. But it turns out, her mother gave her that gift without the table! As the woman said, “ I'm already living my best life. And that's my best way to honor my mom.” So goodbye ugly table, hello airspace! The Swedes hope this show inspires Americans of all ages to free themself from clutter — for the benefit of the next generation, and yourself!