Doing the Swedish Death Purge

A friend of mine is Swedish, and she told me about Döstädning. I have no idea how to say it, but it means death purge for those turning sixty.

The idea is simple – clean out your house before you die so that your kids don’t have to do it. But saying it and doing it are two different things. Of course I want to be organized and have like with like stored together. Having gotten divorced, having moved and having closed a business in a few short months, I had stuff strewn across two houses two hours apart.

I stored my youngest child’s stuff. I stored my son’s stuff. I had store inventory that I kept for who-knows-what reason. Ten years went by rather quickly. 

The only good to come out of the pandemic is finally time to set my two houses right. That, plus lots of time to write.

As I’ve mentioned before I work best with a schedule. Depending on what time of day it is, I either need to be writing, cleaning, sorting, eating, or socializing, and I use the last term loosely. When living alone, Facebook can fall under socializing, as does a phone call from any relative, friend, or acquaintance.

I had already planned to go to Monterey to finish disposing of several tree limbs that my handy woman cut down and let them fall where they may. She didn’t chop them up, sweep them into a pile or anything in the way of organizing them. Limbs were in front of my front fence, across my front yard, and lying on top of other plants. I’d barely made a dent with the yard waste pick-up the week before.

So when my younger sister called and asked if they could evacuate to my beach house since the Santa Cruz fire was too close for comfort to their home, I said yes. My mom, my BIL, their big fluffy dog and Sis.

“Bring the chainsaw!” I said.

I decided to go down anyway, since I hadn’t exactly left he place guest-ready. There were dolls on the bed, piles on the long dining room table, and tubs in the front room. At least I’d washed the dishes, swept the floor, and scrubbed the bathroom.

When I got there, my two dogs added to the chaos, and soon fluffy white dog and smooth black dog were best buds. Freaked-out Jack Russell finally warmed up to the big fluffy dog but not my BIL’s raised voice when fluffy dog disobeyed. That would send Jack Russell to my temporary bed in the front room, where she would cower and shiver. Memories of an ex-owner, perhaps?

I stayed for five nights, the days filled with BIL doing one more job on my honey-do list. He made fast work of the limbs with his chainsaw and even removed a wide stump that my handy woman couldn’t cut with her smaller tools.

He fixed light fixtures and sink stoppers. He hauled my purged items to the thrift store with his truck. He labeled all my breakers in the electrical subpanel. We went to the hardware store half a dozen times.

Everyone got along. Everyone practiced social distancing as much as one can while sharing a house. The Jack Russell even tried to play a time or two when the other two dogs were wrestling. 

I left to get back home in time to receive my new laptop.  It didn’t come. FedEx says the tracking number is invalid. Dell Computer is closed on the weekend. But that’s another post for another day.

Today is all about the evacuation and the purge.


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