As we begin the long process of sorting through my in-laws' house, I once again sit back and wonder about our end of life. I'm not worried so much about who will want my stuff. I don't expect anyone will want it - and I'm okay with that. But who will clean up after us, in the way we are cleaning up after my in-laws? I look around our messiest room - the one I'm in at the moment - and think how awful it would be for someone to go through! I'
There's a thing called Swedish Death Cleaning. I can't remember where I first read about it, but it effectively means people in their retirement cleaning out their houses, getting rid of all their junk, and only keeping the relevant papers, and things that they need to live their lives. My mother did it. She didn't know she was doing Swedish Death Cleaning. But she sorted through all her closets and threw out clothes she no longer wore. She sorted through her papers, and (sometimes before I could stop her) was ruthless about what she kept and what she didn't. It made life easier for my sisters and I when she died - her small house still had plenty of stuff in it. But it was much easier to sort through. There was relatively little that needed to be thrown away.
I'm barely retired (I prefer unemployed, as it implies I am still employable!), but I need to do this. Seriously. Let's face it - if I had kids, I would still need to do it. We live in a four bedroom house that is full of our stuff. When there is space, it seems we spread out to fill it up. There are hundreds of books and papers that need to go. And clothes that I keep "just in case." Yes, maybe I need to do a Kondo number on my house. Or maybe I just need a spring clean - clean it up AND clear it out. This has always been the case, and so it isn't really Swedish Death Cleaning. But with cleaning out the in-laws' house it has become more obvious now that this is a job that will need to be done at some stage, and preferably (for my own peace of mind) sooner than later. I need to do as I say. Because this office is a bit of a dump!