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The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
4 out of 5 stars (225 ratings)

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Summary

Döstädning, or the art of death cleaning, is a Swedish phenomenon by which the elderly and their families set their affairs in order.

Whether it's sorting the family heirlooms from the junk, downsizing to a smaller place, or setting up a system to help you stop misplacing your keys, death cleaning gives us the chance to make the later years of our lives as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Whatever your age, Swedish death cleaning can be used to help you de-clutter your life, and take stock of what's important.

Margareta Magnusson has death cleaned for herself and for many others. Radical and joyous, her guide is an invigorating, touching and surprising process that can help you or someone you love immeasurably, and offers the chance to celebrate and reflect on all the tiny joys that make up a long life along the way.

©2017 Margareta Magnusson (P)2017 Canongate Books Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I laughed, cried and got on with the task at hand.

I listened to this as I tried to solve the waves of clutter that have built up in my house over the years and found it a strangely moving and practical book. It was recommended to me by a poet friend. It is aimed at the over 65s who are gently encouraged to think about what will become of their stuff when they are no longer around. I don't fit this age bracket -- I am in my 40s -- but I thought this was an unusual book that was so refreshing to find in the midst of the dumbed down 'get a trash bag and a donate box and begin' field of offerings. Not at all boring as one review suggested but rather meditative and philosophical about the practicalities of preparing for the leaving of life and for the ongoing renegotiation of how to live with less. The writer is a really interesting person and her background as an artist and mother underpins her insights, stories and suggestions. She deals well with how to negotiate the minefield of personal possessions such as photos and letters. She writes thoughtfully about the giving of gifts across generations. It is also a memoir concerning her own loss and this thread that runs through the whole makes this an intense and moving experience to listen to. She is so astute on the relationship of a life to ones possessions. She gently reminds us they are not the same! I laughed, cried and got on with the task at hand. Compelling narration by Juliet Stevenson.

53 people found this helpful

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Just what I needed to encourage me to clean for my death

With the threat of breast cancer I feel I need to put my house in order out of love for my husband and daughters. I feel reassured after reading this book that this is not morbid but the right and loving thing to do.
Thanks Juliet, you have brought to the fore many of the worries I already had about leaving a big mess behind.

32 people found this helpful

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Awesome book!

A very enjoyable book. I definitely gleaned much wisdom from it! Author is funny and narrator is engaging.

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting but a little dull.

Although 'gentle' it was also somewhat maiden aunt - possibly due to style of narration.

4 people found this helpful

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I'm glad I read it

I would recommend everyone at every age to read this book. Thankyou to the author.

4 people found this helpful

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A tad boring

I was hoping for some inspiration but found it a very boring book. The premise of the book is excellent but simply too anecdotal and not very engaging.

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent...

Exceptional book. A pleasure to read and listen. Beautiful advice for everyday living. Thank you.

4 people found this helpful

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Difficult to review

Not an easy book to review as I can see why some people find the book enchanting and others boring. Juliet Stevenson’s narration is perfect for this slow, moving, gentle, thoughtful book. Other reviewers have said the book is pretty obvious - and it is - so don’t expect to get lots of innovative ideas about what to do with your ‘stuff’. Rather the author gives permission to get working on decluttering in a sensible, practical way. However, it is the glimpses of the author’s own life, memories and experiences which made this a book worth listening to for me. I felt that Margarita would be an interesting person to spend some time with. It depends on the stage the listener is in in their own life as to which bits of the book will resonate, thinking about my own mother and father made me sad in parts, but there was a laugh out loud section relating to things you won’t want your family to find after you are gone! I’m about to start trying to de clutter our house and the book is definitely going to be in the back of my mind.

2 people found this helpful

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Quirky little book about pre-death de-cluttering

Since the bestselling Little Book on Hygge (cosiness) by Meik Wiking and the various follow ups on Lykke (happiness) and Lagom (balanced living) ,we have all gone mad for anything Scandi. We also have Mrs Hinch and her tribe of disciples who believe that the best way to cleanse your soul is to cleanse your house from clutter (how exactly buying yet another book helps you clear your house I don't know).
Enter stage left Margareta Magnusson who has ingeniously combined the current obsession with all things Scandi with all things do to with cleaning and, throw in a bit of end of life contemplation and we have this quirky little book about the art of Swedish Death Cleaning. Now, if you are like me, the words Swedish and Death are usually followed by the word Metal and it conjures up images of banded such as Entombed, At the Gates and Opeth. This little book could not be further from this world if it trying. It is a charming little volume about de-cluttering your life ahead of the final curtain to ensure that your loved ones do not have to do this when you are gone.

1 person found this helpful

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a book for real life

beautiful and real- passed on this recommendation to others too- great stuff, I have put some of this to practice

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Rimvyde Lu
  • Rimvyde Lu
  • 27-06-19

Liked it

It was interesting to find out about this tradition in Sweden. And there were a lot of good ideas how to manage stuff.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Elizabeth Skroeder Soerensen
  • Elizabeth Skroeder Soerensen
  • 28-06-18

useful when cleaning!

I loved listening to it while cleaning. my livingroom is now clean! and I'm halfway done with my bedroom that is hiding all the clutter we didn't want the public to see

1 person found this helpful