by Diana DeVaul
I came across The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margaretta Magnusson as advertised by one of my favorite little bookstores. Of course the name caught my attention and being that I was in a cleaning mode, I gave it a try. The author is charming and straightforward. It was a quick read, some of which I did not find to have practical applications, but it did give me a few nuggets of wisdom that have been helpful. Below are a few of my favorite excerpts, but I encourage you to read the entire book if these strike a chord with you.
“Life will become more pleasant and comfortable if we get rid of some of the abundance.”
I find this to be true. Even though giving away my things can be painful, once I am through, I feel lighter and my home looks better. There is less to take care and less to manage so clearing clutter becomes the ultimate time-saver. Organizing is also much easier when there is less to organize.
“In my opinion, all garments in a closet should look good together, and you should be able to mix and exchange them with one another.”
This has been my goal regarding the clothes in my closet. The ultimate resource for learning how to make the most of fewer pieces is by signing up for a Get Your Pretty On Style Challenge (GYPO). I am into my second year of an annual GYPO membership which includes four seasonal challenges, and my closet has been happily transformed. In addition, I have learned how to effortlessly polish off each outfit I create with tips on trends and accessories. You can also learn how to curate a stylish wardrobe with GYPO’s Closet Staples Wardrobe Builder. You might even surprise yourself with how many of these pieces you already own. With the wonderful support of the GYPO community, I now have a solid base of classic basics that wonderfully mix and match and make choosing my daily style easy.
“When you live in a big city where people seem to replace their kitchen and bathroom fixtures as often as I replace an old sweater, you will see huge dumpsters on the sidewalks filled with bathtubs, sinks and toilets. When the next owner wants to put their personal stamp on the apartment, everything is changed again; it may be one year or two!”
Here the author is making the point about our culture of consumption. This was impactful to me because I have been wanting to renovate our home for quite some time. It made me reconsider how much in my home actually needed to be changed. My home is functional and beautiful even though it may be considered outdated. I plan to eventually update the paint colors, add some new rugs and/or pillows and only change out what I absolutely have to (namely carpet that has seen better days, no amount of accessorizing can make that pretty), and leave the rest. Not only will this save me time and money, but there is less waste.
“A loved one wishes to inherit nice things from you. Not all things.”
For some reason, this hit home. Maybe it is because I remember how hard it was to clean out my parents’ house after my mom passed away, with much of the burden falling on my sister and dad since I lived out of state. Maybe it is the realization that my things mostly have value only to me. My kids are not going to want every journal I have written in, or keep every card I have ever received in my lifetime. It is better, not always easy, but better to go through things as they arrive and let them go before someone we love has to do it for us.
Remember, we are more than our things. We are loving and loved, kindness given and received, but mostly, what we carry in our hearts is all we ever truly need.
Diana is a stay at home mom to two remarkable boys, J.R and Keaton. She is immensely grateful to the Cubs baseball organization for finally winning a World Series in her lifetime, and for hosting her very first date with her husband, John (married 14 years). She is also a freelance blogger who writes intentionally that others may find hope in her words. You can learn more about her life and family on her personal blog Writes For All Mommies.