We're going to ease into it. Start with these simple, refreshing fixes and you'll crave a major cleaning spree by day 5. Day 1: Fill one trash bag of junk from anywhere in the house. Then, toss or donate it. Day 2: Pick up 5-7 things that don't have a place, and find a place for them. These are things that you use daily, but don't have a home. Here's one of the biggest rules of an organized home: Everything should have a place.Day 3: Pick a counter and clear off all the junk. Another big organizing tip: Every flat surface should be clear of clutter.Day 4: Clear a shelf, any shelf. Keep five of your most display-worthy items, and donate the rest, or at least set them aside for storage (but keep in mind that you're aiming to simplify, not end up purchasing a storage unit).Day 5: Take this day to strategize. We're going to walk you through general ways to eliminate clutter in every room, but you've got to make note of your home's personal clutter "hot spots." The table by the back door? Your bathroom counter? Your desk? All of the above? Make note of the spaces you want to declutter, and set deadlines for getting organized. Make boxes for keeping, donating, and storing – these will come in handy. If you're prone to separation anxiety, make a box called "maybe" – when you can't quite make yourself throw something away, store it here. After 6 months, pull it back out – if you haven't so much as thought about an item, that means you should throw it out.
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This article originally appeared on People

In Sweden, decluttering is a life and death situation. Get organized in life, so your stuff isn't a burden when you go.

That's the ethos behind the Scandinavian cleaning ritual of döstädning — a combination of the Swedish words for death and cleaning — laid out in a new home organization guide by Margareta Magnusson. The 80-something artist's book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, will be released in the U.S. in January and lays out the somewhat morbid process that's already common in her home country.

Essentially, you go through all your belongings and get rid of anything that isn't essential or sentimental. Her instructions suggest ditching things like unworn clothes, unwanted presents and "more plates than you'd ever use," first. Items you should keep include sentimental items like photographs, love letters and children's art projects, as well as any necessities for day-to-day living.

According to Magnusson, death cleaning should begin around age 65, but it's never too soon to get started.

WATCH: 5 Things to Throw Out Of Your House Right Now

A few of her tips include keeping a book of passwords that will be useful to living relations, and compiling a "throwaway box" of things that matter only to you, with a note to toss it out after you go.

Karin Olofsdotter, 51, the Swedish ambassador to the United States, told the Washington Post that her mother and father, who are in their 80s, are in the middle of whittling down their worldly possessions. "My parents and their friends are death cleaning, and we all kind of joke about it," Olofsdotter says. "It's almost like a biological thing to do." She notes that living independently and never being a burden is part of Swedish culture.

Magnusson, who has outlived her parents, in-laws and husband, says after her spouse died, it took almost a year of cleaning and organizing before she could downsize to a two-room apartment. She's been doing her own death cleaning as an ongoing process ever since.

Japanese organization guru Marie Kondo's The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up sparked an extreme decluttering trend in 2014, and How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Tripby Hitha Palepu applies the minimalist method to travel.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is available for pre-order, and will be released in the U.S. January 2.