My dad has been dead for more than 20 years. My mom has been gone for a little bit more than five. Both of them lived long, impressive lives. They managed to raise six children who are all still married to their original spouses. Impressive, I think. I mean, statistically speaking, someone should have gotten a divorce by now. Those six children had 21 children. Those 21 children have managed to give birth to 29 and ¾ children. (We have one Fitzgerald due very soon thus the fraction). So many people all related to each other and no major spats. Oh sure, a snarky exchange or two, but perhaps we are the Waltons of this generation. (Sadly, we would not last on TV: not enough drama nor do we have the hook of growing up during the Great Depression.) I genuinely love my family. The whole lot of them.

Recently, I watched a new TV series produced by Amy Poehler (my favorite!) called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning on Peacock. An odd choice for someone who lost two brothers over the past 18 months. I was drawn to the series in part because of my love of Hoarders. I thought it would be another show where homes were stacked to the rafters with stuff and a team swoops in to save them. I could not have been more wrong. Sure, the show is about decluttering, but it is so much more. Most families hold on to things much too long. Old report cards, kids artwork, old clothing—we just have a bunch of THINGS. The idea of the show is to declutter our homes, so once you are dead no one has to do it for you.

Fortunately, or unfortunately—I am still not sure which—my mom was not particularly sentimental, and once something was no longer useful, off it went to either one of her kids, Goodwill or the trash. When my mom passed away, the clean up in her house was brief. The large Fitzgerald tribe came through—and took their favorite items. My mom had a few collections. One was of clowns. Scary, freaky, little things she insisted we put our initials on the bottom of so there would be no fight over them. Trust me when I say the fight was more ‘No, you take it’ then ‘Turn over that creepy clown and check the initials now!’ What was left was five tubs of stuff we didn’t know what to do with so they ended up in my basement.

During the past five years, I’ve tried to plow my way through them. But I can’t. I open one photo album and get no further. But this TV show and my sister’s willingness to help means I am going to do my very own ‘death cleaning.’ It is time for the remainder of the items to be tossed or distributed to my family members. (Luckily, there are a lot of them!) I doubt I will find anything earth shattering, though if I do I will tell you about it. I suspect this Irish woman is going to use her Swedish death cleaning as a chance to make sure everything finds its rightful place. No clowns, though, because they have all been rehomed. Peace my Peeps.