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Extreme Uncluttering

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Extreme Uncluttering

To simplify daily life, people are shedding their excess “stuff,” seeking pared-down experiences and even ways to unclutter their digital identities.

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You may have noticed the steady rise in a cottage industry of organizational “experts.” Most famous among them is Marie Kondo, the Japanese author of the bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (who we wrote about in the 2017 edition of this book). Kondo advises people to only keep those items that “spark joy,” and get rid of the rest. Similarly, Swedish author Margareta Magnusson offers a more unusual take on the importance of decluttering. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, she builds on the Swedish principle of döstädning (dö meaning “death,” and städning meaning “cleaning”)—the act of cleaning or uncluttering as you become old in order to unburden your heirs of this task when you eventually die.

The trend toward simplifying our lives has morphed over the years, starting with the desire to declutter our excess stuff. As people become more conscious and aware of the things they want around them, they are developing an overwhelming sense of clutter in their daily lives, which is driving them to reduce the amount of stuff in their lives, live more mindfully, reduce life’s distractions, and rid themselves of relationships that do not serve them.

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