A delightful little book came to my attention recently – The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson.

It's not as morbid as it sounds. The basic premise is, if you're in the latter part of your anticipated life span, it's time to sort out your belongings before you 'pop your mortal coil' (to borrow a phrase from my 19th century ancestors).

Don't leave it for your nearest and dearest. You'd do pretty much anything for them while you're alive, so why leave them an overwhelming mess of complex decisions for when you're gone?

It makes perfect sense, don't you think? That way you're not leaving embarrassing heaps of possessions to others, you decide who gets what, saving acrimonious family disputes, and if you need to down-size accommodation later you'll find the job much easier.


Of course, we don't have to be in an older age bracket to start sorting out/death cleaning.

I'm a big fan on living as simply as possible at any age. It doesn't mean we have to reduce down to almost no possessions. It doesn't mean we have to deny ourselves nice things.

Rather, it's an encouragement to avoid irrelevant consumerism. To avoid clutter. To avoid unnecessary energy-sucking possessions that don't bring you joy. Instead, let's live with possessions that light us up and give us pleasure.

Clearing out is fun

My fourteen-year-old grandson Joel helped me sort out my garage loft not long ago. We had a great afternoon. And it was really fun learning who could get value from my unwanted stuff or help dispose of things in a responsible manner.



shredded a big 240l bin of obsolete paperwork for only $57.50. I delivered about eight boxes of papers to them and a lovely gentleman wheeled them away. So easy!

Electronic Waste take all manner of electronic things. They recycle the usable components if the product is not worth recycling in its entirety.

SPCA really appreciate old linen. They're always in need of bedding for abandoned pets.


Neighbourly was a most rewarding experience. I met some very nice locals and had the satisfaction of seeing a bunch of unwanted treasures find new homes.

Clothes have many possible homes, including Dress for Success who help people re-entering the workforce who can't afford new business attire.

Hospice Shops are everywhere and do a wonderful job in their communities.

And there's always Trade Me for bigger or more valuable items that are worth the effort to list and charge for.

If you're wanting a quick list of tips to help with your throw-away decisions, download What We Can Throw at gettingagrip.com/declutter-simplify/

Think of it this way: clearing your clutter is the fastest stress-reducer in town.