The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

How to Make Your Loved Ones' Lives Easier and Your Own Life More Pleasant

Margareta Magnusson

160 pages October 2017 copies in English Personal Development

An international and immediate New York Times bestseller

A charming approach to putting your life in order so your loved ones won’t have to. There’s a word for this in Swedish: Dostadning, literally, “death cleaning.”

From clothes and books to stuff you just can’t get rid of, stuff that only matters to you. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning offers indispensable advice on questions you will inevitably face: How do you deal with your secrets? Sort through photographs and letters? Avoid heirs fighting over your belongings after you are gone? A practical book based on personal experience and anecdotes, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning will also guide you in making the process uplifting rather than overwhelming: it focuses on the importance of living – even through death cleaning.

Swedish-born Margareta Magnusson is, by her own admission, aged between 80 and 100. She has death cleaned for herself, and for several family members after their passing. When her husband died, she had to downsize her home: the experience forced her to recognize the power of “death-cleaning” and the concerns that must be addressed to do it with thought and care. Done well, the approach not only makes things easier for your loved ones later on, it allows you to revisit the lifetime of memories accumulated with your things.


“…oh, how right Magnusson is.” — The New York Times Book Review

“Move over Marie Kondo, there’s a new decluttering guru in town.” — Real Simple

“A fond and wise little book…Magnusson is good company on the page…this one I will keep.” — Dwight Garner, The New York Time

“This guide to embracing minimalism is at once witty, useful, and oddly profound.” — Entertainment Weekly

“A good way for families to discuss sensitive issues that might otherwise be hard to bring up.” — Time

“After the long supremacy of Marie Kondo, Magnusson’s is the slow-food version of organizing.” — Vogue

“Packed with positive and practical suggestions, this slim volume could change your life.” — Juliet Stevenson, actress

“Over the course of 38 very short chapters…Magnusson sets out her pragmatic and upbeat approach to mortality.” — The Guardian