NFDA’s new campaign, Preserving Your Legacy, One Piece At A Time, taps “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” star to help Americans simplify and declutter
Brookfield, Wis. (October 3, 2023) – Happiness psychologist and mental wellbeing expert Katarina Blom is joining forces with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) to bring the transformative Swedish practice of death cleaning to more Americans.
As part of the association’s new Preserving Your Legacy, One Piece at a Time campaign, Blom, co-host of Peacock’s hit show “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” is sharing guidance on how to help a loved one evaluate their personal possessions to decide what to keep, sell or give away – all while processing the memories behind meaningful items to help their legacy live on for generations.
“For many, especially older individuals, it’s challenging to clean and declutter their own space because they’ve formed emotional attachments to physical items,” said Blom. “Death cleaning provides an opportunity to spend time with your aging loved ones to better understand the meaning and memories that make a personal possession important. Together, you can preserve their legacy while they are alive so you can keep them close when they are gone.”
Together with NFDA’s consumer resource Remembering A Life, Blom is encouraging families to schedule time this October – Family History Month – to “memorialize in place” with their aging loved ones by decluttering and organizing possessions to simplify their current environment or formally prepare for the end of life.
Blom offers up expert-approved ways to help an aging loved one organize personal items throughout their home to not only declutter, but also capture the stories behind their most treasured possessions, including:
- Where Do We Begin? Collect ten items in a box that carry emotional value to them. Once that is done you can sit down, have a traditional Swedish Fika break with coffee and a cinnamon bun and start going through those ten items.
- The Family Legacy: What was it that parents or grandparents wanted to give to the next generation through these items – a sense of security, beauty or craftsmanship? Now that it is your loved one’s turn to pass them on, what are the hopes that these heirlooms will give to the next generation? Walk around and write notes on the history of each item, what it stands for and why it is being given to the next generation. Attach each note to each heirloom.
- The Dilemma Box: Take a box, write “Dilemma Box” on it, and put in the items that you are unsure about, as well as a date – preferably one month ahead of today. Wait for the month to pass and check in with yourself: can you remember what you put in the box? If not, it is probably okay to get rid of it.
“I’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact that sorting belongings and letting go of things that no longer serve a purpose has on families – it helps them understand what was truly valuable to them and in turn they feel more alive and more connected to family and friends,” added Blom. “Understanding the significance of our loved one’s possessions and incorporating them into their funeral or memorial service makes the service more meaningful. And, when the service is over, those objects can provide comfort and healing through times of grief and help create a legacy of their own.”
As the trusted leader and worldwide resource for the funeral service profession, NFDA lists Remembering A Life among their top resources providing helpful information about planning a meaningful service, as well as resources to help people understand their own and others' grief and loss.
Blom encourages consumers to connect with a local NFDA-member funeral director in their community using the Remembering A Life Find A Funeral Home search tool. Families and individuals can also learn more about end-of-life planning and honoring a loved one in meaningful ways by visiting RememberingALife.com and following @rememberingalife on Instagram.
About Katarina Blom
Katarina Blom has been a psychologist for more than 10 years, focusing on the psychology of happiness and relationships. She is a renowned international speaker and her TEDx-talk has been viewed close to five million times. She has written three books on the topics of happiness, emotions and relationships. This year she is the host of Peacock’s new hit-show "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning", where she facilitates conversations on topics such as death, grief, love and letting go between family members and friends who are facing death in different ways.
About National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA)
NFDA is the world's leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please contact 800-228-6332 or visit https://www.nfda.org/.
About Remembering A Life
Remembering A Life helps individuals and families remember their loved ones in meaningful ways, helping to keep the memory of loved ones alive and assisting family members and friends in moving forward in their grief. Remembering A Life educates families about the value of a funeral and helps them find an NFDA-member funeral director (RememberingALife.com/FindAFuneralHome) to help them create a meaningful service. The initiative also helps them as they begin the grief journey following the death of a loved one. Resources include the Remembering A Life website (RememberingALife.com), a podcast, book club, blog, conversation cards and thoughtful gifts for grieving family members and friends. Remembering A Life is a consumer education initiative of the National Funeral Directors Association. Follow Remembering A Life on Facebook and Instagram.
- Funeral Service Trade Press: Jessica Koth, NFDA, firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-814-1536
- Consumer Media: Kate Glending, Agency H5 (for NFDA), 312-374-8584, email@example.com