What is Death Cleaning and Is It Right for Me?

There are as many trends to creating the perfect living space as there are stars in the sky it seems. The latest one of which we’ve heard about here at Elite Storage Units in Lafayette, CO, is “death cleaning.” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

What is death cleaning?

Some people have discovered the trend of death cleaning, which is based on a Swedish practice of reducing one’s belongings in later life. This allows for people to be in charge of their possessions and make decisions about where they should go. Many consider this practice as considerate to one’s surviving relatives since they will not be burdened by clearing out your estate. Additionally, it is easier for the elderly person to keep their home clean without as many things in the house.

How do you death clean without creeping everyone out?

We’re not necessarily a fan of the term “death cleaning.” It really sounds so morbid. Imagine calling your adult children and grandchildren and saying, “I’m starting my death clean. I need you to come over.” Yeah, we don’t know about you, but it wouldn’t go well with our families. Renaming the process may be enough.

Use online tools to facilitate communication between family members

One family created an inventory with a Google Drive Sheet and listed the items that needed a disposition. Each member of the family was able to weigh in on their preferences, as well as their parents. In the event of a conflict, family members could state the reason that they desired the item. Resolving such conflicts could be as simple as flipping a coin. Some families really struggle with dividing material goods, especially those that have perceived monetary value. Doing so with your input is far better, rather than leave it to grieving children to decide after you are no longer able to do so.

Goals of death cleaning purge

With the current trends towards extreme minimalism, it is important for everyone to be comfortable with their end result. Some people want to cut things to that level of living, while others may need to go more gradually for whatever reason. Remember that the goal of all of these programs and self helps is to improve your quality of living, not cause you more stress or result in you giving things away before you’ve finished your usable time with them.

It’s OK to have a holding place for items that you’re not sure about. We have many options for units; some of them are even temperature controlled storage, so you can protect your more fragile items from the vast annual fluctuations of temperatures in northern Colorado.


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