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Who Inherits Your Clutter?

Posted on 3 m read

Today’s topic might sound a little morbid but I think it’s a valid one to discuss.

A couple of weeks ago I met a probate lawyer at a networking event. She was interested in speaking with me because one of her clients had recently past away. He’d made a will but she couldn’t find it in his house because he’d been a hoarder. She asked if I could support her because the will was required to find out his wishes around his body and what was to be done with his possessions.

Now that’s a bit of an unusual job for me – in more ways than one. However the house needed organising to turn up the information rather than just being cleared by a house clearance company.

I’ve spent the last few days decluttering the home and it was pretty full on. I have to say it made me grateful to be alive, healthy, mobile and living a life unoppressed by clutter.

Swedish Death Clearing

It got me thinking about a book I saw in Waterstones at Christmas, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter” which got me thinking about another networking event I went to.

At that event I met a very spritely 70 year old. She told me that despite the fact she found decluttering hard, she’d recently started doing quite a bit. I asked about her motivation and she said it was her children.

She’d realised that if she didn’t get on top of the clutter herself, it’d all be left for her children to sort out in the event of her untimely death.

Pressure on Others

This lady realised the job would be even harder emotionally for her children than for her. It would put a huge amount of pressure on them because she thought they’d feel guilty about getting rid of anything, thinking she must have loved it all.

The desire not to create this emotional turmoil for her family was stronger than her desire to avoid decluttering. It motivated her to start making more ruthless decisions and letting go of belongings more freely.

While most of us probably don’t enjoy contemplating our own death, it does throw up a valid question. Who would be left to sort out all your stuff? This isn’t meant to be a guilt-trip but it’s probably worth considering. What kind of pressure does, or could, our clutter, put on those closest to us?

In Sweden “death clearing” is an accepted thing. It’s not just about after death though but designed to make the twilight years easier too. When “empty-nesters” start to downsize, that’s basically what they’re doing. It makes sense since as we get older, we generally have less energy and strength to deal with clutter in the home. It’s harder to clamber over things and easier to misplace keys. It makes sense to streamline for an easier life as well for relatives later.

Improve Your Quality of Life Now

Maybe it’s not so easy to refer to it by name, but this kind of decluttering has got to be good for all concerned? Especially if it adds to your quality of life right now.

How does this make you feel, is it a perspective you’ve considered before? If this is something that’s been playing on your mind would it help you to have some support to organise your clutter? I’m enrolling now for my 10-week Live Your Decluttered Life programme where you’ll see some positive changes in your clutter (and yourself) by Easter.

You can find out what we cover and how it could help you on the Live Your Decluttered Life programme page. If you’d like to have a chat about whether it could help you just book yourself in for a call. If it’s not the right course for you, I’ll tell you.


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