Swedish Death Cleaning At The Cabin

Whoa!…. That title sounds kinda scary, doesn’t it? Well, it shouldn’t as the Swedish concept of döstädning, “death cleaning”, or “one last sweep”, is actually something that can be quite wonderful. I know from some of my past experiences with decluttering that getting rid of stuff can make you feel so much better. You can even invite your friends and family to help and use this as a bonding experience.

Last summer we did a big decluttering session here and the house felt so much better afterward. Well, that feeling has since worn off as we’ve had Christmas and birthdays which brought in more clutter as well as the fact that other clutter has found its way in the house as well.

With 600 square feet and as many people as we have, things can get quite cluttered quite quickly. When my mom-mom died last year and we went to visit the family I saw that she had done some major decluttering herself. The house still looked the same in many ways but many things that we remembered had been gifted or removed by her before she died.

I can understand how important that decluttering can be for someone as many times we surround ourselves with so much stuff that we don’t even notice how cluttered things have become. Who will be responsible for taking care of the STUFF when we are gone? That’s not something that I want to leave for my kids to do.

I have read a little bit here and there about this Swedish Death Cleaning and there are a ton of books on Amazon about the Swedish Death Cleaning. There are also a ton of blog posts and articles about the subject that you can look into for more information.

This month, starting today, I plan to do our own version of the Swedish Death Cleaning here in our little cabin. Like I said before it is a very small home and with this many people, it gets cluttered very easily.

I’ve really tried to limit the number of things I personally bring into the house but I can’t always control the number of things that come in and our house has become a little bit uncomfortable with all of this clutter.

Not to mention that we have been extraordinarily busy with different things going on and some of the clutter has resulted just from ‘dumping’ things in places that they don’t belong. Much of our homeschool stuff was recently relocated to the shed where it was organized but we do have a good bit of school stuff still in the house as well as books… yeah, we have lots of books which I know will be one of my hardest areas.

There are a lot of strategies to get started with as some suggest going from top to bottom (attic to the basement) while others suggest going room by room, Some suggest starting with the larger items first and working your way down to the smaller more meaningful items for last. Some suggest doing it all at once while others suggest doing a little at a time. The main concept is to sort through your belonging and get rid of the unnecessary stuff.

This is also a good time to get your personal affairs in order and put them somewhere safe. Be sure to include items such as:

  • passwords
  • financial information
  • wills
  • insurance information
  • burial plans
  • other important information

The three most important questions to ask yourself while doing this cleaning are:

  • Will I ever need this again?
  • Will someone else need it?
  • Will anyone be happier if I save this?

When going through this process it would probably be best to have a couple of bins or piles for ‘Throwaway‘, ‘Keep‘, and/or ‘Donate‘. A good idea to keep in mind is that some of the sentimental items could possibly be regifted to a friend or family member who would really appreciate them.

Occasionally you will come across an item that you realize may cause problems between family members if it is ‘left’ for one and not the other. I have read that it is suggested to take care of it beforehand, maybe even selling it, to eliminate these kinds of issues after you pass.

Another thing that you should take care of would be personal and private items. If you have any of these that you can’t get rid of right now you should put them in a container and label it with something like:

Do Not Open

Personal and Private

Please dispose of IMMEDIATELY!

-or-

Throw Away Without Opening

Doing these things will not only help you with the clutter in your life but it will help your loved ones later on when the time comes for them to sort through the belongings you have left behind. This should give you a sense of peace knowing that your loved ones will have an easier time going through your stuff.

Remember that this is likely not to be a one time purge that will never need repeating but if you do regular mini sessions you can stay on top of it and not need to do a major purge later on. This can also be an emotional process so go at your own pace and get others to help whenever you can.

We’ve had another death in the family recently and we still need to go through the sheds full of belongings which are taking some time to get started on as this happened quite unexpectedly. I’m sure there will be a lot of emotions and choices to make when we do get around to doing it though.

We have a different reason for this major decluttering that we will be doing and it will not be as thorough as a traditional ‘death cleaning’ but it will be quite helpful for us in the near future. When it comes to my personal belongings I probably will go ahead a get rid of some things as I know I things that I’ve just held onto for no particular reason.

Have you tried the Swedish Death Cleaning Method? How did it help you?

Be sure to follow along with our blog for updates on how our decluttering is going.

** This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use.


 

Hey, while you’re cleaning out stuff why don’t you go ahead and get rid of all those chemical cleaners in your home as well!

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Make Your Home a Chemical Free Zone Today!

Simplify Your Life: Step 5 Get Organized

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

Step 5 Get Organized

Whoa! I know this one may be not be easy for some but you can do it! I know you can. Did you that the average person spends about 12 days every year looking for things? I think a Momma spends twice that amount. That’s at least 30-45 minutes a day wasted because you aren’t organized!

Imagine how much money you could save if you had a system for organizing your bills and getting them paid on time! This tip goes along with Step #6 and should come after you have completed Step #4.

Please don’t try to organize until you’ve declutter because it may get too overwhelming. I recently decluttered and organized our whole house and let me tell you that it has made a HUGE difference in our lives! Everyone can find anything at any time and everything has a place.

Getting organized can include things like setting reminders for birthdays, appointments, paying bills, or important events. We have reminders set for just about everything else like library due dates, semi annual bills, some chores, etc. I even have reminders for the due dates for our club’s newsletters and updates.

The easiest tool I have found to keep me organized is my Cozi calendar. I have it on my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. I have also installed it on Mr. Awesome’s phone and my ex husband has access to our calendar as well. That way everyone knows when we have upcoming appointments and events. Cozi even sends out email reminders!

This makes my life so much simpler as I don’t have to worry about forgetting important things, as long as I have remembered to enter them into the calendar. I also use Cozi for my meal planning so I if I forget my grocery list, or if I forget to make one, I can quickly check my phone for what I need to get. Cozi also has so many other great (FREE) resources to help you organize and simplify your life.

If you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to install another app you can still use most phones to set reminders. You can also use paper and pencil, post its, or find a nice planner to help you organized. I used to carry a small one around in my purse but now I just use my phone which can be aggravating if the service isn’t great.

For keeping our homeschool schedules straight I like to use Homeschool Manager which I believe is coming out with a mobile app. This has helped so much with keeping track of what needs to be done and what has been done. Not too mention the fact that we can instantly print our attendance reports and report cards which is great. So simple and easy!

These ideas may seem like I am contradicting Step #2 but I think that technology is a great thing if used correctly.

In addition to these ideas you may want to work on setting up systems/routines for handling the following:

  • mail/paperwork
  • housework
  • filing
  • bill paying

Keep your systems simple and work on them to make them easy and efficient. Being organized can keep you from forgetting things and save you so much time and money! This can help to reduce your stress and simplify your life. The next step will have more about routines. 

Need ideas to get started? Check out these books here and here. You can also get my FREE printable bill organization spreadsheet by clicking on the link provided.

You can also check out Make Over Your Year for more ideas.

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

Click for Step 6.

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Simplify Your Life: Step 4 Declutter Your Closet (and your house)

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

If you are really wanting some motivation to make these changes check out 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life.

4. Declutter Your Closet (and your house)

Go with the ‘less is more’ philosophy and get rid of those clothes that your don’t like and the ones that just don’t fit. This simple task will make life so much easier… trust me, I know as I just did this last month and I’m so happy I did.

Kids always complaining that they have nothing to wear? Declutter their wardrobe as well. I try to make sure everyone has enough clean undies and socks for a couple of weeks and at least 10-20 bottoms. They also have about the same number of tops and a few sweaters. That way they have plenty of things to mix and match and always look like they have a new outfit.


If your don’t mind them wearing the same thing again and again you could get rid of more, just make sure that the laundry stays caught up. You can also buy ‘uniform‘ style clothing. My special needs son actually prefers this as he isn’t really big on changes and I have found that the uniform pants and polos seem to hold up better than other things he has had in the past.

After you’ve decluttered your closet take a look around your house and see what else you might want to get rid off. Make sure everything you have in your home is useful and has a purpose. Decluttering can save you time and money in regards to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs not to mention how much time we spend looking for things that we can’t find because of all the clutter. Remember — Less is More!

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

Click here to go to Step 5.

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Too Much Stuff

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as we did here. We’ve already taken down our tree and put away all the decorations. A little bit of a cleaning bug hit me and I decided we needed to declutter our playroom a bit more than we had before Christmas.

My kids, as you can read in Remember The Reason For The Season and So Much More Than A Basketball, were doubly blessed with gifts this year. That doesn’t include the gifts they received from their older siblings and their father. So when they were instructed to ‘put away’ their toys it became apparent that we had not gotten rid of enough things before Christmas. The following are some picks of what we had going on:

The book cases were overflowing, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but we couldn’t fit any more books on the shelves. The toys piling up in front of the chalkboard were a problem though. As well as the other toys and baskets being piled on top of things and hidden inside of cabinets. Then there was there problem of not being able to find their new favorite toys because of all the clutter.

It was stressful for me just to walk in there, not too mention trying to clean around everything. It was such a chore to pick up this to vacuum, then pick up something else and hope you didn’t knock something else down. Trying to dust was almost impossible and there were so many little things getting vacuumed up I was afraid I was going to kill the vacuum.

I grabbed a couple of trash bags, a laundry basket, and a tote. Big sister and I started in one corner of the room and went around it in a full circle. Every area was taken apart, dumped out, and sorted through. If there was an item that didn’t belong in that area it was placed into the laundry basket so it could be put away properly.

Some of the items that were seasonal, like some sensory bins and activities for Fall, were placed into the tote. Broken toys were thrown away and toys that they had outgrown or no longer played with were put into another bag to donate.

When we finished we had several small bags of books to donate and two trash bags of toys to bless others with. There was a bag of broken toys and other items to be thrown away. Then the seasonal items were put away for later in the upcoming year. Some of the toys and books were passed along to their little cousin. The TV that had been in the cabinet was passed along to big brother and the cabinet now holds the laptops and chargers plus a couple of items for younger kids to play with when we have visitors.

Below are some pictures of the results:

The kids are much happier now that they have the toys organized. There are also some empty bins for new things that Momma may pull out of the closets later on. We were able to set up some individual areas for magnet/dry erase play, dinosaurs and legos, and an area for the kitchen and food play. They have their dinosaur skeleton on display and they can easily look at it. There is also a space where they can play with the Spielgaben set and/or the light panel that we have.

The bookshelves are so much better looking now and they actually have an area where they can sit and read. The storage table now holds their dress up and the new race car sets that they got for Christmas. The top of the table turns over and has a flat surface that they can set the race tracks up on so it works out great.

So far the only downside was that I moved the storage bench out and now I can’t reach the calendar to change out the month or days. Sigh, the constant struggles of being short. Luckily I have a kitchen stool that works just fine and I did get the calendar switched out.

My kids were happy to pass along some blessings to other kids that may not have gotten quite as much for Christmas. There were actually a couple of new toys that I passed along as well as I knew the kids would not play with them. This is something that we do every couple of months and sometimes they will actually bring me something that they no longer play with and ask me to pass it along to someone else.

I am slowly trying to pare down our belongings as the more stuff you have, the more clutter you have, and ultimately the more stress you have from keeping up with it and cleaning it. In the end it frees up some of my time also by not having to clean it, move it, or take care of it. Do you have something that you aren’t using? Why don’t you pass it along to someone who can use it. You’ll feel so much better.