Do you know who Margareta Magnusson is? If you haven’t already heard of her, perhaps you should consider reading her book. The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning is making waves – and changing lives. Why? Because you can now embrace minimalism for the sake of those you leave behind when you pass on. And as an entrepreneur, your legacy includes more than just your personal possessions.
You might not be familiar with the uniquely Swedish version of curating your own estate, but that’s about to change. The book – and her philosophy – has triggered growing global awareness of this practical tradition.
Who is Margareta Magnusson?
Margareta Magnusson is 83, but she says you don’t have to worry too much about age or numbers. What is important, she says, is to recognize your mortality and to make provision for your departure – before you go.
Margareta was born on New Year’s Eve in Gothenburg, Sweden, and has enjoyed an extraordinary life. She graduated from Beckham’s College of Design in Stockholm and began her career as a fashion and advert designer. Magnusson then took up painting and held her first exhibition in 1979. She also held exhibits across Sweden as well as international shows in Hong Kong and Singapore. Margareta has always pursued her passion, refusing to be pigeonholed, and has moved no less than 17 times within Sweden.
She says this gives her a unique perspective and adds: “I should know what I’m talking about when it comes to deciding what to keep and what to throw away.”
What is Swedish Death Cleaning?
In the same way that Marie Kondo became the iconic face of the modern decluttering movement, Margareta Magnusson is best known for her groundbreaking book. Swedish Death Cleaning, like the KonMari method, is also a process of decluttering – with a different objective:
- Your goal is not to declutter your life for your own benefit, but to declutter what you leave behind so that your relatives aren’t saddled with the physical and emotional burden after you pass on. This also means deciding how to distribute your business assets – and beginning the process before someone else has to do it for you.
- By doing this, you also gain tremendous peace of mind and the assurance that there will be no confusion or misinterpretation of your wishes.
- You can begin or continue the Swedish Death Cleaning process at any stage of your life – which means it’s not something you have to do all at once. And if you’re not great at organizing your life, there are scientifically proven productivity hacks that can help you get started.
Why Margareta Magnusson’s Approach Matters
Margareta points out that Swedish Death Cleaning is about more than just ‘getting your affairs in order’. You are consciously making decisions about what is truly valuable – and saving your relatives or business partners a great deal of emotional stress by doing so. But there’s more to Death Cleaning – or Döstädning, as it’s known in Sweden – than just minimalism.
You’re able to use it as a life-enhancing opportunity:
- You can relive beautiful memories as you discover items that have nostalgic meaning to you. You can also evaluate which elements of your business should outlive you.
- You’re afforded the opportunity to give your belongings to those you love, as well as those who may be in need.
- The process enables you to communicate your wishes clearly and meaningfully to your relatives and business associates.
In a way, you have the opportunity to practically apply your ‘living will’ and to shape the memory you want to leave for those who will outlive you.
What Swedish Death Cleaning Really Means
You might think ‘Death Cleaning’ sounds morbid, but in reality, it’s no more daunting than arranging a life insurance policy. Both ways, you’re leaving something behind for those you love – and in terms of organizing your business, providing for the financial wellbeing of your family too.
You also have the opportunity to do a high-level appraisal of your life. There are priorities you might not have considered, which means you get to make positive life changes or business decisions about what you really want. In short, you shouldn’t view Death Cleaning as something somber or negative: you can use it as a powerful way of ensuring continuity and clarity..
Is Margareta Magnusson a Modern-Day Stoic?
If you’re into philosophy, you might be familiar with the work of the Stoics. These were Greek and Roman philosophers who taught simplicity, non-attachment, and the value of meeting life’s events with a calm mind.
By being aware of the temporary nature of life and physical possessions, you’re able to establish your goals and values with far greater clarity. One of the central concepts of Stoicism is maintaining an internal locus of control, and by engaging in Swedish Death Cleaning, you’re actually doing exactly that. And, by taking direct control over the things you can, you also become calmer, more focused, and more able to ensure a meaningful ‘why’ for your business.
How to Make Your Own Swedish Death Cleaning Workbook
A great starting point is for you to draw up a Swedish Death Cleaning workbook of your own. You don’t have to make it complicated – and it shouldn’t be – but it can act as a necessary checklist of things to focus on. Also, you can make this a long-term project, so it’s helpful to have a reminder at hand so you can be consistent with your intentions and actions.
Communicate Your Intentions to Your Loved Ones
You should try to include your family and business partners in your thought process. This way they’ll understand why you’re making changes. In addition to putting them at ease, you can also enlist their help. Especially with making key changes or attending to admin on your behalf – if you want to. And if the process feels overwhelming, you might consider outsourcing. If you’re constantly bogged down by other business commitments, you could make use of a virtual secretary service to help you with lists, records, and administration.
Work From the Outside In
Margareta Magnusson recommends beginning with items or considerations that aren’t all that important to you. Begin by practicing making objective decisions without stress. This way, when you evaluate sentimental items, it’ll be easier to decide what’s truly valuable and worth keeping.
Take a Gradual Approach to Discarding or Gifting
You also don’t want to experience regret by giving something away impetuously. Only to discover later that you really wanted to keep it. So make a start by only getting rid of one or two items. Then take the time to see how that impacts your life. In business, be prudent with safeguarding your intellectual property too.
Donating Helps Others, Too
Donate the items you’re not giving away to family or friends, to worthy causes. Why make them wait until you’re gone?
Once you’ve decided to donate an item (or several), act on your decision. Remove the temptation to keep these items, simply by offloading them immediately!
Establish a Hierarchy of Importance
You’ll know which items or business activities are most important to you or have sentimental value. You can maintain them, but understand that they might not have the same sentimental value to those you leave behind. So, deciding what to discard after you pass on it makes sense. By listing these items or business assets for disposal, makes it simpler for others.
You may also consider better ways of storing memories. For example, you could digitize your old photos and letters. This way there’s no physical clutter for relatives to deal with. It also creates permanent memories they can access from anywhere. The same goes for business memorabilia or milestones you’d want preserved.
Margareta Magnusson Aims To Make Life as Simple as Possible
According to Margareta Magnusson, the goal of Swedish Death Cleaning is simplicity. You want to be able to live free of hassle and complication, so that your family can do the same. And if it feels like you need assistance – there are many options.
Book a discovery call today and discover just how a virtual assistant can help you stay on track, save you time and energy, and help you live an easier, more orderly life.