Books

KC Library giving away ‘Swedish Death Cleaning’ books

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“Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation” alum Amy Poehler will co-produce and narrate “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” a reality series being filmed in Kansas City.  The producers of Netflix's “Queer Eye” are also involved.  The Kansas City Public Library is giving away free copies of the book that inspired the cleaning craze.

“Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation” alum Amy Poehler will co-produce and narrate “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” a reality series being filmed in Kansas City. The producers of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” are also involved. The Kansas City Public Library is giving away free copies of the book that inspired the cleaning craze.

Invision/AP

Something tells us the Swedish death cleaning trend is about to make a clean sweep of Kansas City, with an assist from the Kansas City Public Library.

The producers of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” are currently filming “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” here, a reality series inspired by the popular 2018 book by Swedish artist and mother of five Margareta Magnusson.

“Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation” alum Amy Poehler is a producer of the show and will narrate the series. She has called the show “a life-affirming project.” It will air on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock. No run date has been announced.

On Friday, Mayor Quinton Lucas will help the library give away free copies of the how-to book that put death decluttering on the map — “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter.”

The library plans to give away 100 copies among its 10 locations to get Kansas City excited about the show and hyped about the soul-searching cleaning Magnusson teaches.

Anticipating a rush of new minimalists in town, the library will bring in more copies — in print, audio and e-book format — and is planning special events tied to the reality show.

And, librarians have put together a reading list of other books about reorganizing and simplifying your home.

The Swedish philosophy of home keeping, like the Ikea style of decorating, is based on minimalism and efficiency.

Clutter: Bad.

The show will introduce viewers to the Swedish practice of “dostadning,” ridding your home of stuff you don’t want to saddle your loved ones with when you die — all those souvenir coffee mugs spring to mind — and contemplating your life as you do it. The process can take years and is typically started later in life.

When the book debuted, Vogue declared that death cleaning isn’t as scary Swedish as it sounds.

“After the long supremacy of Marie Kondo, Magnusson’s is the slow-food version of organizing,” wrote Eve MacSweeney. “Where Kondo advises an all-or-nothing approach, noting that clearing up bit by bit would take you the rest of your life, Magnusson appears to have the rest of her life to do it.

“Describing her own age as ‘between 80 and 100,’ she advocates a methodical, thoughtful process, perusing the contents of each room in your home at your own pace before deciding whether to gift, recycle, ditch, etc.”

In filming two seasons of “Queer Eye” in thte Kansas City area, Scout Productions has demonstrated that a compelling personal story makes good TV.

Each episode of the company’s new reality show, about an hour long, will focus on Kansas City area residents who have convinced producers that they need to get their lives and homes straight at a critical crossroads in their life.

Enter the “Swedish Death Cleaner,” who will “help organize and demystify homes, lives, and relationships, allowing us to prepare for death while we enjoy life,” Deadline reported in April.

“The Swedish Death Cleaner will turn each home upside down as they uncover and undo decades of collecting. With their distinctly Swedish sensibility, they liberate each person from the clutter in their lives, and allow them to pass on treasured moments—and the deeply personal stories behind them—to their family, friends, or neighbors.

“Along the way, viewers will go on a journey with each individual as they recall who they once were, who they should be, and navigate how they want to be remembered.”

Do you really want to be remembered for your collection of airplane barf bags?

Lucas is scheduled to be at the Kansas City Public Library’s Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., at 5:30 pm Friday, before a Friday Night Family Fun event at 6 pm with children’s entertainer Jim Cosgrove, aka Mr. Stinky Feet.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

Lisa Gutierrez writes about medical and health-related issues for The Kansas City Star. She is a Kansas native and veteran of five newsrooms. She was a caregiver for her husband, who had dementia, until he died in July 2019.

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