Death cleaning is the latest trend taking off – thanks to celebrity fan Nigella Lawson

There's nothing better than a celeb following to cement an up-and-coming trend

There's a new Swedish trend in town, and it's a tad more morbid than previous ones. Döstädning – also known as Swedish Death Cleaning – involves people nearing later life clearing out their unnecessary belongings, making the task easier for their family after they die.

As morbid as the premise may sound, it's a logical storage solution, and already gaining a celeb following.

An early adopter to the new trend is celebrity chef and food writer Nigella Lawson.

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Nigella's take on Swedish Death Cleaning

room with wooden floor and storage boxs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Bob Smith)

Nigella shared her fondness for the new trend with her readers at The Times.

She writes, ’I’m rather warming to the Swedish notion of dostadning, or “death cleaning”, in which you start sloughing off the piles of tat that you unthinkingly acquire over the years, so as not to be a burden to your children after you’ve keeled over.'

While it's aimed at older generations, new research, by sliding wardrobe company Spaceslide, found 25 per cent of over 55s dislike getting rid of their belongings. With a further 23 per cent refusing to get rid of sentimental items.

In contrast only 13 per cent of less sentimental millennials said they didn’t like getting rid of belongings.

It’s a similar pattern across the age groups. Overall only 14 per cent of under 44s dislike clearing out old items on average, compared with 23 per cent of over 44s.

grey wall witih storage boxes

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

London-based decluttering practitioner Sal Walford, who helps people of all ages clear clutter, says, 'The older generation struggle most of the time with their possessions, as they are part of a generation that had to keep hold of things and reuse. While to me this is a wonderful ethic, knowing what to keep and what not to is the key.'

She goes on to explain. 'My parents downsized considerably and when they did, they gave me a vast amount of boxes of things they had collected for me over the years – ranging from school reports to a set of my own baby teeth! It’s important to let go of things so that the family doesn’t have to sift through piles of stuff.'

'Debating over whether an item meant the world to someone or not, at what is undoubtedly a difficult time. The new wave of death cleaning is a movement that hopefully, like decluttering, will catch on.'

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Unsettling or sensible, what are your thoughts on this new trend?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.