This New Scandinavian Lifestyle Trend Is 2020’s Answer to Marie Kondo

We have the Scandinavians to thank for the majority of popular home trends from the last couple of decades. From the cosy, Danish hygge to the all-encompassing 'Scandi' which is now cemented in interior decorating history, the clean and sustainable stylings of these Nordic countries are set to continue this year. The newest and most fascinating trend to hit our shores is about to be 2020's answer to Marie Kondo's joy-sparking reign. Swedish death cleaning or döstädning is exactly what its name suggests but it's not as morbid as it sounds, I promise. Yes, it's based on decluttering your life and contents to streamline your life prior to taking your eternal vacation, but it's also a super-effective way to take stock of your life right now. 

In Margareta Magnussen's 2017 book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, she explains that this organisational method is much more permanent than just tidying up. It's all about streamlining your life right now to assess what objects and belongings actually hold significant meaning to you and which are just taking up space in the wardrobe. While it's aimed at those who've had the privilege of living a long and fulfilling life, döstädning is something we should all be thinking about. Here's why.

You'll discover what's important 

Death is, unfortunately, inevitable. What Magnussen aims to express is less about planning or preparing for death, but actively and purposely creating an environment where you're surrounded by only things that actually make you feel happy and promote creativity. It's no mean feat, and taking a microscope to our own lives can be confronting, to say the least. The goal is to craft a life and home that accurately represents you as a person, so spending time assessing every single item in your home is necessary. Anything that you're indifferent about or that doesn't play a part in your legacy should be donated, sold or gifted.

Your family will thank you

Bear with me while I get deep for a second. When you pass, your loved ones will naturally be in a state of mourning and the idea of sorting through a life's worth of clutter could simply be too much to handle. When they decide that it's time to handle your belongings, you'll have already done the difficult work of deciphering what's important and what's not, and they'll be left with only things that were important to you. Not only is that a comforting thought for them but they'll also be able to celebrate the items that you did decide to keep because they will be able to recognise their intrinsic value to your life. 

You'll feel great, right now

I've got to say, there's something specific about the feeling you get after a good clean. Organising your clothes for the week, washing your bed linen and resetting is the perfect Sunday activity in my opinion. The same goes for this Swedish lifestyle trend, even though it may take a little bit longer than your usual spruce. While it's aimed at promoting a decluttered and streamlined collection of belongings for when you're gone, the benefits of keeping a clean and tidy environment are endless. Knowing where everything is and exactly what you have gives you mental clarity and a clear sense of who you are and where you're going. So, don't wait until you're eighty to sort out your life. Get started this weekend. 

Loved this? Read about what happens to your brain when you declutter.

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