“Just two practical hints from THAT book — that’s all I need” wrote a friend after reading my blog posting: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death-Cleaning.

In her wise and humorous book about letting go of stuff in a way that uplifts and doesn't overwhelm, Margareta Magnusson offers two suggestions that appeal to me.

Begin letting go somewhere other than PHOTOS — or letters and personal papers. In fact, leave the sorting of photos until the end of your downsizing project. Start with the big items in your home (furniture you no longer need) and finish with the small (the personal stuff). Magnusson reminds us that in the sorting of photos and old letters, we can easily become lost walking down memory lane and never get around to clearing anything else. Locate or corral those photos all together on a book shelf or in sturdy waterproof totes and leave them for another day. Later this Fall, I will share ideas about creative ways to downsize photos. 

The second hint that appeals to me is Magnusson’s suggestion to create a “THROW AWAY Box”. I would call mine a “MEMORY BOX” with a sub-title of ‘throw away’ or ‘shred’. Magnusson suggests that this box is for personal items that you would save only for yourself. For me that would include personal papers such as my grade 3 report card with remarks from a favourite teacher, my first driving license, old love letters, a ticket or program from a wonderful theatre production, memories from travels, or an accolade from a work colleague. These are items with no value to anyone else, yet mean so much to me. And when I am gone, they can be easily shredded.  

How would you tweak the suggestion of a "THROW AWAY BOX’ to work for you?

Next week, I will be reviewing a second book — one that encourages us to leave the sorting to our children or executors! Quite a different view from ‘the gentle art of death-cleaning'!