What is Swedish Grandma Organizing? vs Death Cleaning

You may have heard of Swedish Death Cleaning and I think the name is just awful. The concept however is a good one. It’s about cleaning up a lifetime of clutter so your family members don’t have to deal with it when you’re gone. The book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson shares the concept with you. Magnusson’s book is about the act of love and kindness for your family by decluttering your home of stuff.

Having recently become a grandmother and it has changed not only my place in the big scheme of the circle of life but also my perspective on so many things

Since I don’t like the name and I have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon, I’m officially changing the name to Swedish Grandma Organizing.

No matter what your age, you can follow my steps for Swedish Grandma Organizing to get your home clean and create a permanent form of organization. 

a photo of my clean and organized kitchen during swedish grandma cleaning challenge

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Getting Organized in 2024

Every year in February and September I organize with many of my readers. Working together just seems to make the project easier and it keeps us accountable. 

After I take down the Christmas decorations, I like to take this time to purge, deep clean, and organize. 

This year I’m going on a major decluttering journey. 

I’m a collector of vintage and while I love it, I’m craving to update my style a bit to a more modern, grandma coastal vibe.

I want my house to be cozy and casual. I also want it to have a few of my favorite vintage collections. The reality is I have stuff that I don’t even like but I’ve saved it for vintage vignettes. That all changes this year.

I will be selling lots of my vintage collection using my 30-day rule and if it doesn’t sell then I will donate it.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tiding Up” by Marie Kondo

When I read this book by Marie Kondo, I thought the Konmari method was a great way to look at organizing. 

Marie’s philosophy is that I something doesn’t bring you joy, you should let go of it. My thought process went a little deeper. I look at something and decide if I truly love the item and have a use for it in my life. Looking at it that way has made it much easier to let go of things, I don’t even really like that are taking up space.

Organizing

What is Swedish Grandma Organizing?

  • Clear each space. (Shelve, Cabinet, Drawer, Closet, etc.) 
  • Deep Cleaning each space as you work through the different areas of your home. 
  • Sort your items and decide if you are keeping them, throwing them, donating them, or selling them. 
  • Put the things you’re keeping back in an organized way and then get the rest out of your house. 

There are a few things that I think people have a problem with when it comes to purging items:

  1. Sentimental Items: If it’s something that you have an emotional attachment to and you love and use it, then keep it. If you don’t love it or use it but just feel that you are obligated to keep it then there are ways to get over that hurdle. If it’s china or crystal just keep one piece. Hang it on a wall or use a saucer for a soap dish. Use a water glass as a toothbrush holder in a bathroom. Take a picture of the item and frame it or put it in an album. With clothing, keep a square to use in any number of ways. You can frame it, or make a quilt out of fabric squares. The same is true with personal mementos, take a picture and save it in an album.
  2. Guilt: Many people feel guilty about having spent money on items and therefore think they need to keep them. This is when the mindset of do you love it and use it needs to kick in. You also need to think that this can bring someone else happiness and will give you space in both your home and your mind. I’ve given away clothes that still have the tags on them because I don’t love them and/or it doesn’t fit me. It’s a perfect donation for a women’s shelter.
  3. Keeping it for Your Kids: This is a big one. Unless your children have specifically said that they would love to someday have that item, they aren’t going to want it later. When you come to terms with that reality, it’s easier to let things go.
  4. I’ll need this someday: This is something that “Handy” suffers from. He keeps every little screw and old outdated cords because he might need it at some point. He has never in our 30-year marriage said “Eureka, I knew I would need this someday”. He forgets what he has and he always buys what he needs when he needs it. I secretly throw all of this stuff away. He has never noticed!
  5. Selling Items: If you think that your possessions have value and you want to sell them, by all means, do that. I have sold many things on Facebook Marketplace and have had success but I’ve also had things that don’t sell. I give things a time frame (30 days is my date) if the item doesn’t sell, I donate it no matter what the value.
a picture of the table next to my bed with flowers after cleaning

Are you Ready to Organize?

If you’re ready to start the organizing process, join us! What you can expect is:

  • A weekly Organizing Blog Post
  • Weekly emails just for the organizing group with exclusive information
  • Access to a private Facebook Group
  • **NEW** A Zoom call with me to kick off the Organizing Event
  • FREE Organizing E-Book and Organizing Printables

Conclusion

We will begin on Monday, February 5th, and end the week of February 26th. I always start with my kitchen because it’s the heart of the home but this program is designed in such a way that you can use the principles to work in any space in your home. 

The program is designed for you to minimize the amount of things that take up space in your home. Once you have a proper space for all of the items in your home and you put things away on a day-to-day basis, your home will stay organized. 

If you are ready to clear your home and your mind, come with me on this Swedish Grandma Cleaning Journey. I take age-old wisdom and combine it with modern tidying hacks. Let this Swedish Grandma inspire you to have a cleaner, cozier space for you and your loved ones.

Peace and Love,

Meet Me

I’m an Interior Designer, Professional Organizer, and Party Planner who lives in the suburbs of Chicago in a 1,300 sq., ft., home with my “Handy” husband, Keith.

I’m an open book about my life on my blog. Find out more about me by tapping the button below.

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4 Comments

  1. I am in! I need to downsize some things that I am holding on to because I spent money on them and I don’t need them anymore!
    It’s so hard!

    1. It’s tough! But the reality is the mental space it clears out for you to way more precious. I’m there for you my friend!

  2. I’m in! My problem: my mil gave me about 15 Bing and Grondahl figurines throughout the years. She died several years ago. When I mentioned to my hubs that I don’t want them anymore, he looked disappointed. How do I handle this? Thanks!

    1. This is a tough one but my suggestion would be to see if you both can decide on one that you will keep and then sell the rest and buy something that will remind both of you of her that fits with our home. “Handy” had ski trophies that he didn’t want to part with so he took them to his office. It’s works perfectly for both of us 🙂