Döstädning. Aka “death cleaning”. It’s a Swedish concept that has been likened a little to Spring cleaning (decluttering in time for Summer), but in this case it’s decluttering for… Well, you know… Before you head on out of here. And it’s the latest trend for people over 50.
If you’ve ever felt odd about the things that you collect, ever had to sweep things away before having guests (or family) around, or been overwhelmed at the sheer amount of “stuff” that you’ve collected over the years, then Döstädning could be a welcome task – no matter if you feel like you’re inching closer to the other side, or you’re just concerned about your privacy.
While it might seem a little morbid, it makes sense to do a pre-death clean up. Do you really want relatives to have to go through all your things when you cross over? Those underwear that are so holey they are like Swiss cheese and should’ve been thrown out about 5 years ago? Your pantry that is stocked to the brim but you haven’t had a clean out in years and so half of it’s probably past its used by date? What about all those clothes from the 80s you hoarded under the house in the hopes your kids would like them when 80s fashion rolled around again (but they didn’t)?
You can liken the Döstädning as similar when you leave an old job, an old office. Would you really want your coworkers going through all your old stuff, even if you really liked them? And hey, wouldn’t they have better things to do than to clean up after you’ve left? The same goes with the big clean when you’re entering your latter years – it’d be weird someone else going through everything of yours, and not only that, it’s rude to lump such a big task on them.
It also pays to do a digital clean up, as well as a physical clean up. If you intend on handing over control of your personal accounts after you pass (as many people do these days), you can go in and give these accounts a clean, removing any materials you wouldn’t want anyone to uncover. Go through your computer, digital camera, tablet, phone, etc. and delete files and history that you wouldn’t want others to see.
Whether you think the end might be near, sort-of-near, or nowhere-near-even-really-near, a declutter both of your real life as well as your digital life can make you feel more comfortable and at ease – especially should anyone else have to unexpectedly dive into the depths of it at any time soon.