If this is the first time that you heard the term, the concept of döstädning, or “death cleaning”, is not morbid at all. In fact, it is not limited to end-of-life activities but occurs at intervals throughout the lifetimes of many Swedish individuals.
In Sweden, it is considered a kindness to do regular purges of possessions and clutter to make clearing out your personal effects easier on your loved ones after you pass. Below is some additional information to help you decide whether Swedish death cleaning is appropriate for you.
You can see how loved ones enjoy your mementos
When you pass your possessions to your loved ones as part of your estate, you don’t get the opportunity to see the joy it gives them to share a cherished memento or heirloom. Gifting items during your lifetime to those who will enjoy them can serve dual purposes. Just be aware of the tax ramifications of any expensive art, jewelry or other significant assets.
You will also benefit from a streamlined environment
Old paperwork collects dust and can even encourage infestations. Record digital copies of important familial documents and personal effects like photos and other artifacts. Give away originals to those who might want them and toss what remains.
Tweak your existing estate plan
While you are putting the finishing touches on your new minimalist physical environment, meet with your estate-planning professional to determine whether your estate plan needs any additions, modifications or adjustments. Continue to conduct these periodic reviews after all life and circumstance changes to stay up to date.