Downsize Now: Why You Should Start Death Cleaning Today
Okay, you've tidied, and you've organized, and you have a lot of cute bins, and you even fold your socks and underwear differently. But you want to declutter for good. You want a solution to over-accumulation that lasts.
Enter the Swedish art of death cleaning, or as they call it, döstädning. (Basically just pronounce everything, like you do with my last name.)
Contrary to your first impression, death cleaning isn't dark or morbid. It's a very practical way of tidying like there's no tomorrow, because someday there won't be.
Now, I hope you and I are going to live for many more years. And I'm certain that we're going to buy more stuff. But we have better things to do than box things up and shuffle them around, sort, clean, and spend way too much time organizing our sock drawers.
We aren't infinite.
Death cleaning is a mindset that helps you realize that you don't have forever to get your life in order. And if you don't do it – well, have you ever had to clean out an older relative's 80 years of accumulated "treasures"? I have, and let me tell you, you don't want your loved ones to forget how funny, generous, and all-around awesome you were when they see the horrendous burden of crud you left for them to deal with.
That's right – you want them to mourn your passing, not jump for joy when the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? truck shows up.
The bottom line is this: No one knows when it will be too late to figure out what makes you happy, remove what doesn't, and experience the joy of living with only what you need and want – and nothing more.
Humans like to think we can make plans and control the outcomes. We can't. But we can certainly take control of our stuff. And instead of just thinking "Do I need this?" or "Do I love this?" we can also start asking ourselves, "What will it be like to deal with this after I'm gone?"
You get all the benefits.
The whole idea behind death cleaning is that you deal with your stuff now so that people you care about don't have to do it later. But it's not a completely unselfish process. That's because the person who's going to gain the most from death cleaning is you. You get all the joy of a clutter-free, fresh start. You also get all the scientifically proven benefits of living without a load of useless baggage:
- less stress
- less cleaning and dusting (and fewer allergens)
- fewer arguments with housemates
- less indecision
- more ease in finding what you need
- more energy and focus
- more gratitude for all you have
- more time, more room, and more money for what matters most to you
... and more!
I don't mean to imply that you'll never declutter again. But it can be like tossing the day's junk mail, ditching a few well-worn tees and tennis shoes, and recycling your six-year-old iPhone when you buy a new one. Or it can be like calling that 800 number I mentioned earlier.
Doing your own death cleaning is so much better than leaving it for someone else after you've actually died.
Ready to get started?
Downsize Now: The Joy of Decluttering for a Fresh Start.*
* This blog is reader-supported. If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.
Whether you actually move from your current home into a smaller living space, or simply undertake a radical declutter, it's a challenge. But it's also a chance to reinvent yourself and carry just the essentials into your new life. By releasing decades'-worth of accumulated items, you can emerge with more energy and freedom, ready to look ahead, not back.
Downsizing can be hard, or it can be easier. Downsize Now will give you the tools and inspiration to get the job done so you can start enjoying all the benefits.