Swedish Death Clearing July 2023

A friend of mine lost his mum recently and was left her collection of Lladró ornaments. From the China shepherdess to the pair of Golfers in their cute outfits, these expensive ornaments, loving collected over decades, were unwanted and unappreciated by this bewildered and ungrateful relative. More clutter for his already cluttered life. Many of us have cupboards and lofts filled with sentimental items given to us by loved ones or passed down through the generations. Items we are loathe to get rid of because we feel guilty.  According to Forbes, more than 10% of USA households rent storage space to hold their extra stuff. Families who use them spend as much as USD $1,000 a year on storage. And, Forbes again, the average American woman owns thirty outfits, one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine.

Clutter clogs energy and clutter held through guilt clogs up those energy channels even more. And when you die, someone has to sort through that clutter. Enter the concept of Swedish Death Clearing, made famous by the book of the same name written by Margareta Magnusson. Once you reach the end of middle age (or sooner if you feel like it), you 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. In Margareta’s words: “Some people can’t wrap their heads around death. And these people leave a mess after them. Did they think they were immortal?”.

Its a very yogic concept, this death clearing. Yogis for the most part are reconciled to the fact that we will all die sometime (unlike the Western World’s Disney wannabees who want to live forever) and a yogic life is one filled with truth, space and light. Yogis like to confront the gaps, there’s usually some wisdom in the gaps which would never be revealed if those gaps were filled with stuff.  Materialism, constant shopping and clutter is bad for us and studies show that people who are more focused on materialistic pursuits, like getting rich and buying stuff, are at higher risk of becoming unhappy, anxious, having low self-esteem and even developing problems with intimacy.

Decluttering will bring about an immediate energy shift. Your space will feel lighter and calmer. The positive chi or good energy will flow, making you more energetic and enthusiastic about doing your work. You will also find it easier to relax at the end of every day. And Swedish death cleaning can occur many times throughout one’s life:  at the end of a relationship, when the kids leave home, when moving house or downsizing, or taking care of what remains after a family member’s death. A decluttered life is an energised life.

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