Swedish Death Cleaning

Today, I spent the day clearing my desk. It never ceases to amaze me as to what I find on the day I clear my desk. Since I have been busy building a house in a house and frustrating myself with a floor installation that is over my head, my desk has piled high with junk mail mixed with bills(or is that junk mail too?), and lots of Lions Club notes and agenda’s. You name it and it’s piled high on my desk.

I finished reading “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson and decided that it was time to put it into practice. For those of you who don’t know what death cleaning is I’ll give you the short version, it is getting rid of your stuff before you die. As I cleared my desk I needed places to put papers that I am not ready to part with. I opened a file drawer, and tried to squeeze a single sheet of paper into a file jacket. Here was a drawer a full eighteen inches in depth, and it was stuffed tight. Aha! I started to look into the files. Most of it was junk, and without looking very hard I decided it was time to part with hand fulls of it. In a mere thirty seconds I had cleared enough space for more recent things that I might need again. I didn’t stop, I was like a mad-man possessed with a strong desire to clear my life of clutter, and needless stuff. When I finished one file drawer, I opened another. Aha again, I put my hand on three inches of old Lions Club notes. Pull, Joe. One hard tug and the files eased upward and came out of the stuffed drawer. The remaining jackets took a deep breath. and I had more space to file precious papers off my cluttered desk. I will sleep better tonight knowing that my kids will not have to work very hard clearing shit after my demise.

Actually, I could have written the book myself. I have been on a purge mission for the last three years. Ever since my wife Peggy died I have been on a project to empty the house. I did a pretty good job too, I might add. I might have downsized and moved into a smaller space had the desired apartment become available. I have been on the waiting list for four years, and a unit became available while Peggy was still alive. I was not ready to move while she continued to breath.

Two years later it happened, again, I fell for a new lady. Now, she is bringing her stuff into the house, and I am back at square one. When it comes to choosing between a lady and clearing my stuff, death cleaning merely amounts to a reset.

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