Friday, November 3, 2017

Swedish Death Cleaning - Round 1

Last week I had half an hour before a scheduled work conference call, so I sat down to knit. My knitting chair faces a glass-front cupboard in the living room, and while I look at it every day, I really noticed it this time. I put my knitting down, set a timer, and started to see if I could accomplish The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning this cupboard in 30 minutes.


The top shelf had parts of a tea set that were my mother's as a child, along with other little bits and pieces. I remembered that Margareta Magnusson cautioned that what you consider a treasure may be a burden to others. "I often ask myself, 'Will anyone I know be happier if I save this?'" My mother had saved these things, but they weren't especially meaningful to me, and surely wouldn't evoke good feelings in my children, so they were culled. 


 I did keep the little teapot, glued the lid on, and it's now a Christmas tree decoration.


The next shelf had salt cellars and knife rests that my mother had collected. These did mean something to me, so I dusted the shelf and put them back. I do think that when I have a chance to ask the boys if they might want them someday, I will be able to get rid of them if the answer is no. The Steiff stuffed animals below are a mingling of mine and my mother's so they are staying.


I cleaned out all the cassette tapes, old headphones, and a vinyl recording of my high school chorus singing The Messiah in 1971
(not tough to part with at all).



Now I just need to convince John that we should get rid of the turntable, cassette deck, CD player, and tuner. They were our first big purchases (and possibly our first fight because we used wedding present money and I wanted to save it instead). If I had known we would be in intense negotiations to get rid of them 36 years later, I might have fought harder for saving our wedding gift money in the bank. 


It's not a lot, but I did get rid of four boxes of stuff, and it's a start. More to follow!

Since it's NaBloPoMo, I'll be back here tomorrow (and Sunday, and all the days through November). Hope to see you here, too!

17 comments:

  1. Since reading Death Cleaning, I hear Margareta's voice in my head in almost every room - some more urgently than others. But, she is the best of cheerleaders! And, I love your Steiff animals!

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  2. A start is always a good thing. Nice work!

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  3. Good job - what a great result from just 30 minutes! I really need to read that book.

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  4. We still have our stereo equipment, too. But . . . we actually use it from time to time. (There's really something to be said about listening to music on vinyl!) (Plus the nostalgia is intoxicating.) Brian is really into vintage turntables and vinyl recordings. He pores over our extensive album collection every time he comes home (and has "borrowed" a few for his own collection.) So . . . at least I know that someone is interested in that dinosaur. (At least for now. . . )

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  5. That book is on my reading list, but it might be the death of me!
    My husband cleans and sorts all the time, it drives me batty, sometimes, and I have to admit it has worked out. Though sometimes he wonders where he put something which he probably threw out.
    I have four of those same salt cellars, the middle pink ones, from my mother-in-law. The china cupboard is mine - nobody touches it. Right.

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    1. My husband like to save almost everything, but sometimes too much "stuff" just feels overwhelming to me and it feels better to clear things out. Of course, it does seem that almost as soon as I get rid of something I find I might have needed it. (Luckily, it hasn't been anything really important so far!)

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  6. I need to read this book since I have not done this in a while. I don't have any problem culling items from my house, but I find I have to be in the right mood. I have found over the years that I don't miss a thing that I have purged from my life, so I believe in the value of getting rid of things. You were very effective in just a few minutes! And as usual, Bonny, you have been an inspiration! I will try to look at things in my house with new eyes this week and see what happens.

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    1. It works the same way for me; if I'm in the right mood I can get rid of loads of stuff. If I'm not in the right frame of my mind, I can get teary-eyed going through my kids' books and not get rid of a thing! I think part of what worked for me that day was that I was limited to 30 minutes so I knew it was going to be quick. I may not be quite as effective when I get to more difficult stuff!

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  7. Your tuner, etc. looks quite a bit like ours. I love listening to my CD collection, but we got rid of the turntable and vinyl years ago and the cassettes years before that. There is a certain satisfaction in clearing away bric-a-brak and other ephemera, at least I find it so. Your 30 minutes was well spent.

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  8. I need to read that book too. I've got "things" that I know no one will want because they won't know the significance. I have things from my Grandmother that mean the world to me (like the little china boots from Ireland she used to put plant cuttings in) that I know will just get thrown. Heck...at least I won't know! You did some good work in 30 minutes!

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  9. I've pre-ordered that book and look forward to its arrival in the new year!!

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  10. I want to read that book too. I'm way too sentimental over foolish things. I have done a great job (I think) of paring down clothing and shoes and purses, but I can't throw out stuff that Colin made in kindergarten! Oy. I think your 30 minutes were very well spent.

    We did get rid of our turntable and speakers years ago...and our vinyl. I miss it now. We have tons of cassettes and nothing to play them on - those should be the first to go. We do listen to our CDs daily.

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  11. well done! I cannot get rid of any stereo stuff because my husband is an audio nut and uses them...however it's downstairs in his space and I don't have to look at it.

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  12. Well done, you! When I get in the mood, a lot of stuff gets gone. Sadly, I don't get in that mood often enough. My husband, after 40 years of saving EVERY FRICKIN' THING*, has finally mended his ways and is slowly Getting Rid Of Stuff. I am especially glad whenever a car goes (he is not down to single digits yet, but at least the *collection* is < 20 (I think). That book is in my Goodreads "want to read" list, which I slowly working my way through.

    * For "parts", as in when he need to repair something.

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  13. Congratulations on making some hard choices! (And for making a great new Christmas ornament!)

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  14. The teapot ornament is perfect ... and I'm wondering if the boys might actually like the vintage music equipment? I think you made great use of just 30 minutes (I would've just kept on knitting :-)

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