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Swedish Death Cleaning

Anticipating that my clients will ask me if I’ve seen the latest show on organizing, I tuned in to The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, now streaming on Peacock. The idea of “death cleaning” or “dostadning” was introduced to US readers in 2017 in the book by the same name, written by Margareta Magnusson. The show explores the Swedish tradition of decluttering and organizing one's possessions as a way of simplifying life and ensuring your loved ones don’t have to deal with your stuff after your gone.

Each episode follows The Death Cleaning Team (a psychologist, an organizer and a designer), as they work with clients struggling with the amount of clutter in their lives. Clients are encouraged to consider the relationship they have with their stuff and why they own it in the first place. This process can become quite emotional as the reason people hold onto things can be deeply rooted in guilt, fractured family dynamics, sentimentality, etc. The Team supports the client throughout the decision-making process, giving them the space to share their stories and using humor when the mood dictates.

I’m half-way through the 8-episode season and have both laughed and shed some tears along the way. Many of my organizing clients have faced similar challenges as those on the show and I’ve seen first-hand the toll that the burden of excess accumulation can have on one’s physical and mental well-being. I appreciate that the show encourages viewers to consider the benefits of decluttering and simplifying their own lives and being mindful of what is important and essential while making space in one’s life for living.

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