Dostadning: the Swedish Method of Organizing Your House Before You Die

Do you want to die and leave your family with a mess? If you're answer is "no", then dostadning is the solution.
Dostadning: the Swedish Method of Organizing Your House Before You Die

Last update: 06 December, 2020

Maybe it sounds a little bit macabre, but, have you thought about what will happen when you’re no longer here? There’s nothing better than to leave everything in order. So follow the Dostadning method of organization.

It may sound somewhat morbid, but if you really think about it, doing this is an act of generosity for those who love you. Besides, it’ll help you to live a more organized life. This is called dostadning, a Swedish method that suggests that you rid yourself of things you don’t want before you die.

Some of the questions that this philosophy addresses relate to material things that you’re willing to leave behind when you depart from this world. In addition, it focuses on facilitating the steps that your loved ones will take at that time. Do you want to learn more about this?

What is dostadning?

Packing folded jeans into a box, example of dostadning

Photo of Karolina Grabowska in Pexels

In order to learn about this method, you need to understand its etymology. This Swedish word originates from do, which means death, and stadning, which means clean and translates into something similar to “cleaning before death”.

Margareta Magnusson is the author of a book entitled The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter.

The author wrote this book after the death of her husband. At this time she became aware of everything she had to do and the indecision of having to figure out what to do with all of his possessions.

For Magnusson, it’s an act of generosity for your family. Not surprisingly, she’s known as the Marie Kondo for death. With her method, besides learning to organize better, you’ll also reflect and have a more balanced life. In addition, it’ll make getting older an easier and more loving process.

Just like the Japanese Guru of order, she’s certain that getting rid of unnecessary things will make you happy. In fact, it’s a concept that is gaining more and more acceptance in the world and is as popular as hygge.

Dostadning in 5 steps

A person taping up a cardboard box, organization to show distadning

From more to less

This cleanup for death states that size is important and invites you to begin with the largest items such as furniture. When you’ve finished with those, it’s simpler to continue with smaller things such as photos, letters, and memorabilia.

This has a purpose. According to the author, if you start with letters, you can spend hours and hours immersed in memories and not move ahead. On the other hand, by starting with large items, the feeling of progress will be better and will motivate you.

Share with others

It’s important to tell those close to you what you’re doing and explain to them the concept of dostadning. Then they’ll be able to help you and you won’t surprise them when you ask if they’re interested in that lovely little table in your living room.

A motto to keep in mind

One of the teachings of this Swedish idea is a motto: if you don’t like it, don’t keep it. If you don’t use it, don’t keep it. This also applies to something that is new and you’ve just used or if you’ve had it a long time and stored it for many years. Now’s the time time to say goodbye to old treasures.

Old itmes that are not used like a phone, balls, etc. Dostadning says to get rid of them

Dostadning for the most reluctant people

If it’s hard for you to get rid of things, one idea is to ask for help from someone close to you. The reason is that they’ll give you their point of view about all of your possessions.

Another tip would be to ask yourself if the object in question is something that a friend or family member would like or would have a use for. This makes the process simpler.

Not accumulating

You must learn not to accumulate. Margareta suggests that you don’t keep things for the next generation since you’ll never know if they’re interested. In reality, you’re leaving them with a pain in the neck. Never give someone something that they don’t want.

Even though it may surprise you, dostadning is already established in Nordic countries. It’s a logical concept. Why make others deal with the belongings that you leave behind?

Clear out as you go along and stop accumulating things that don’t make sense and that don’t contribute anything positive to your life.