Bye Bye Konmari Method, Hello Swedish Death Cleaning

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Yes, you read that right. Swedish Death Cleaning. At first, you might think it’s just cleaning while blaring Swedish Death Metal on your speakers but it’s not that. It’s a lot more than that.

Similarities with the Konmari Method

Swedish Death Cleaning has so many similarities to the Konmari Method. First of all, this method also comes from a book,  The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson.

Like the KonMari Method, Swedish Death Cleaning is also a principle-based cleaning. The techniques you apply for cleaning comes from one core idea. Both also use those principles and make the method a lifestyle pattern as well.

That’s where the similarities end.

The principle of the Konmari method revolves around the question, “Does it spark joy?

Only the things that are really important to you and makes you happy should remain. It’s very simple but also a struggle. Death cleaning is also based on a simple idea.

The principle of Swedish Death Cleaning

It is based on the Swedish tradition “döstädning” which loosely translates to death cleaning.

You think about the things you own as something that might potentially burden someone when you die.

In this very candid video, Ms. Magnusson puts it adorably blunt. “Imagine, you can die tomorrow. I don’t think you will but who’s going to take care of all this crap?” Oh, Ms. Magnusson, you ask the right questions. Aside from having very different principles, both authors have cute personalities.

Differences From the Konmari Method

Instead of asking yourself, “Does this make me happy?”, you would ask, “Does this thing makes everyone else happier?” The question could be unpacked into more specific questions:

  • Would you be happier if you keep it?
  • Would your loved ones be happier if you keep it?
  • Would your loved ones be happier if they keep it if you pass?
  • Would your loved one be happier if you give it to them?
  • Would someone else be happier if you give it to them?

Although it’s focused on the joy of others, you would still feel joy and  emotional release letting go of things you don’t need. It gives a deeper appreciation to things you really need and makes you appreciate your loved ones more.

Swedish Death Cleaning is targeted to people 50 or above as this is truly the most applicable for them. But there is no rush. Ms. Magnusson says that it’s an ongoing process because you don’t know when you will die. You will keep on adding, removing and changing things as long as you’re alive.

So with both methods laid out, which one is the best?

The best method is the one you use

Both methods are only going to work if you get started.

Both books provide good tips when it comes to your state of mind when cleaning.

The Konmari method feels more positive as it seems easier to do and you can see what you have accomplished while the Swedish Death Cleaning method is a deeper, more solemn mood. The latter also involves you talking to everyone else about what they think of the things you have, which could also be super emotional. You also don’t get the satisfaction of accomplishment as you are never really done.

We still recommend that you try each method and read each book. You can even combine one method’s mindset with the opposite method’s tips.

What’s important is that you think of your things in a different way, with more appreciation that extends to your loved ones. And start cleaning your house. We’ll help you!


If you’ve got a specific cleaning challenge, we’d love to help you tackle it. Please get in touch with us.

02 8318 8006
13000 GRIME
17 / 108 Old Pittwater Road,
Brookvale NSW 2100
We service Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne

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