• drannetta

Flat-pack Your End Of Life Zen - The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

The cover is picturesque in a pastel way

My wonderful local independent bookseller Book Bazaar Umina Beach is always on the lookout for new books that might interest me, so when The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning came out, Mandi snagged a copy for me right away. I'm not a fan of pastels, but the title intrigued me, so I took it home and read it straight away. As this book came out in 2017 you may wonder at the time elapsed between my reading it and this review...

I tried very hard to like this book, I truly did - I put it down and returned to it several times, however I have not yet found anything unique or special about it. The fourth reading gleaned exactly the same response as the first: this is a basic general decluttering guide (see any household tips magazine or lifestyle program) that attempts to marry IKEA/Scandi chic with Zen admonishments to live an attachment-free life. If you are not sure of what Western takes on Zen might look like then I urge you to watch the Absolutely Fabulous White Box episode from 2004...

As many of my Gentle Readers know, I am a researcher as well as an EOL Doula, so I tried to research this "Swedish Death Cleaning" term, but it appears (and I may very well be quite wrong about this, please email me if I am in error) that the author just made the term up for the purposes of the book, capitalising on the English-speaking world's current love affair with mash-ups which appears to be holding steady so far. Bringing minimalism and the much-lauded Scandinavian interior design restraint to the arena of things to do at end of life makes good fiscal sense - many people bought the book, however I don't wonder that it's popularity seems to be a bit of a bubble.

In fairness, this is a well-presented book with clear sections, and a wealth of small-scale categories to consider; so if you like very basic how-to guides and you want to begin to shed some of your belongings (and you haven't a genuine clue where your animal charity shops are) then this is probably a sensible choice for you. However, I personally recommend trying to work out what is important to you in your life on your own, without resorting to a niche style guide of this kind if you can.

#books #bookreview

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