If you were to die tomorrow, how hard would it be for your loved ones to sort through your stuff?
When I first came across death cleaning all I could think of is cleaning until you die. Like cleaning so hard you just fall over and die. Crazy right?? Before we get into different ways to death clean, it’s important you understand what death cleaning is. Well I’m going to tell you!
Death cleaning is a practical way to deal with your stuff as you approach your wiser years which is based on the book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. I know that’s a hell of a long title. Death cleaning prevents the hardship of your family having to handle the things you leave behind after you die. The overall message from the book is to begin decluttering so your death isn’t such a burden for those you leave behind. Even though it sounds morbid, it’s important we look at death cleaning as a way of life rather than a preparation for death.
Okay, now that you know what death Cleaning is let get right into it.
No.1 - START NOW
Get rid of the unnecessary items in your life right now because honestly, you’re never to young to start. Before you begin death cleaning, you first need to decide on which space in your home you want to tackle first. Per Margareta you should start in areas like the closet, kitchen or storage unit first. With that said, go through your home and remove all items that have no meaning in your life today or in my words SHIT. You can go through your personal notes and photographs last since those ignite a lot of emotion.
No.2 - START A DEATH FUND
Similar to a will or even life insurance, a death fund will give your beneficiary access to your funds and give them the right to hire whom ever you want to get rid of all your stuff when you pass. If you will be alive when death cleaning, putting this fund away will help make the process of death cleaning less overwhelming and quicker since of course you’ll have help. In order to determine what the cost will be to hire a death cleaning specialist, which there are a lot of nowadays, do some research in your area to see what the average cost would be and set it aside for either when you’re ready or for after you pass on.
No.3 - CREATE A THROW AWAY BOX FILLED WITH ITEMS ONLY YOU LOVE
Create a box filled with items you love and only you will enjoy. Be selfish since its only you who will own it. In order to make the process of tossing this box easy when you pass, make sure you label it “throw away”, “burn it” or even “get rid of this shit” and make sure the font is large enough so anyone reading can follow its clear instructions. The goal is when you pass your family member will understand they can throw away the box without guilt. Because guilt is the main reason why we hold onto items therefore we feel guilty to get rid of them even if they have no meaning in our own lives.
Rather than looking at death cleaning as a chore or a selfish act, try looking at it as a relief from meaningless items. Because at the end of the day when you pass, you won’t be taking any of your items with you.
If you’re looking for a Professional Organizer to help you death clean or just have questions about how to properly death clean, get in touch with RMS today! I’m happy to help!