Join Us, Won’t You, in a Little Swedish Death Cleaning

Tuesday, July 19, 2022
'The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning' book cover

OK, Kansas City, let’s get going on some home decluttering and life affirmation.

(They’re related. You’ll see.)

The Kansas City Public Library is gearing up for the city’s starring role in the new streamed Peacock series The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, created by Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler and the team behind Netflix’s Queer Eye. Filming began this month. The Library is partnering with the city to ensure that the production engages and enriches the full community.

We’re giving away 100 free copies of the bestselling book on which the series is based, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter by Swedish artist Margareta Magnusson. Pick one up at your local Library location while supplies last.

Or you can check out a copy – again for free – with your library card. We’re bumping the number of print, audio, and eBook versions in the Library’s collection.

Find it in our catalog »    Borrow eBook or digital audiobook from OverDrive/Libby »

You’ll hear from us soon about special events linked to the book and the TV adaptation. And our librarians have put together a related recommended reading list, focusing on home reorganization and simplification.

Magnusson’s book, released in 2018, highlights the Swedish practice of döstädning – translation: death cleaning, or ridding your home of items that have accumulated during your life, so loved ones don’t have to do it when you die. It’s not only a physical decluttering but also an opportunity to relive and celebrate life’s accomplishments.

Poehler seized on the idea of a TV adaptation through her Paper Kite Productions, co-creating and now co-producing The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning with Scout Productions. Scout first saw Kansas City up close and personal in 2018, when it set seasons 3 and 4 of Queer Eye in the city. That November, near the end of filming, Queer Eye’s five stars took the stage at the Central Library for a memorable public discussion that drew a standing-room crowd of 820 people.

Like Queer Eye, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is a makeover series, revolving in this case around end-of-life planning. Each hourlong episode will feature a homeowner at some personal crossroads who is guided by a Swedish death cleaner in organizing home, relationships, and life – preparing for death while still enjoying life.

Per Peacock: “With their distinctly Swedish sensibility, [death cleaners] liberate each person from the clutter in their lives and allow them to pass on treasured mementos – 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, discover who they should be, and navigate how they want to be remembered.”

Poehler is an executive producer and will serve as the show’s narrator. It’s not yet clear if she’ll appear on camera. We’re also awaiting word on a series release date or window.

More about the series via KCUR »