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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > Swedish Death Cleaning Isn’t Really About Death, but Neither Is Estate Planning

Swedish Death Cleaning Isn’t Really About Death, but Neither Is Estate Planning


There are numerous good reasons to declutter your house.  Some people declutter in order to have a tidy environment where they feel less stressed than they do when surrounded by clutter.  Others find motivation in donating items they no longer need to secondhand stores where people who do need them can find them at an affordable price; many of us appreciate useful, affordable items even more now than we did before the pandemic.  Decluttering can be a rite of passage, such as when you freecycle the foosball table of your youth to make room for a crib for your new baby, or when you freecycle the crib to make room for a bed for the baby who has become a big kid.  Then there is the least fun decluttering of all, which is when soon to be estranged family members, each feeling that the probate court gave them a raw deal, sort through the possessions of a recently deceased family member.  The thought of your family having to go through such an ordeal is enough to make anyone contact a Bronx estate planning lawyer.

What Is Swedish Death Cleaning, and Can We Please Call It Something Else?

The Internet is abuzz these days with talk of Swedish death cleaning.  If you believe the hype, then you might think that Swedish death cleaning will not only remove your clutter and your fear of death but also render you as ageless as Ann-Margret or Bjorn Andresen.  You are too old to fall for all that Internet hype, though.  The basic idea behind Swedish death cleaning can be useful to retirees everywhere, even though its name could use a reboot.  Let’s call it Bronx retirement decluttering.

The principle behind Bronx retirement decluttering is that, now that you are retired, you can accept the fact that you have more stuff than you need, and you can start parting with it.  Decluttering should not be an uninterrupted process, as in “my house will be clutter-free by Labor Day,” but rather one modest decluttering project every few months.  The goal is to have substantially less clutter at age 70 than you had at age 65.

Don’t start with sentimental items like personal letters.  Your first decluttering project should be your closet.  Once you start decluttering your closet and dressers, you will realize how many clothing items you don’t need anymore.  You can get rid of the uncomfortable work clothes that you no longer have to wear now that you are out of the workforce.  The formal wear that you haven’t worn in decades can probably also go.  Keep the clothes that you still like, even though you haven’t worn them in a while.  By the end of a week, you will have much less clutter in your closet, as well as some insights about how you do and don’t want to spend your retirement.  Enjoy that feeling of clarity, and then, next season, repeat the process with another decluttering project.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Bronx Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning lawyer can help you make plans for the assets that are not mere clutter.  Contact Cavallo & Cavallo in the Bronx, New York to set up a consultation.



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