‘Death cleaning’ or more stuff? It’s a tough choice

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Here’s my dilemma: every time I think about downsizing I am bombarded with information about new products, some of which seem too good to pass up. Then, like the dog whose attention is diverted to chasing the nearest cat, I’m off and running, poring over the details of the latest innovative products that will make my life easier, better and way cooler.

This is not to say I’ve given up on downsizing. I was considering which one of dozens of books on the market will help me the most in whittling down my life’s possessions. “Moving On,” “Let It Go,” “The Upside of Downsizing,” “Living With Less,” and “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” were among the top choices.

Given my Scandinavian background, I was particularly intrigued with the Swedish “death cleaning” book. The bottom line of this book appears to be, get rid of your crap before you die, but the marketing description is somewhat less abrupt. “A charming, practical and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life,” the book pushers declare. “Artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism.”

I’ll let you know how my death cleaning goes. But first I have to focus my attention away from articles that blatantly tempt a person’s inner consumerism. “Sixteen Cool Inventions That Will Take You to the Future” was an article that recently popped up online.

Topping the list was a portable toaster. This is a knife that heats up, enabling a person to toast a slice a bread any time, anywhere. The pitch: “You could take this time-saving, easy-to-clean gadget anywhere and not spend a ton on toast in hotels.” I know I always worry about overspending on toast when I’m on a trip. This was an easy gadget to reject.

On this same list of new products is a scanner that can determine food composition. This TellSpec lets you determine what’s in a dish, be it Tater Tot casserole or bean dip. It sends a list of ingredients and information about the nutritional value of the food to a special phone app. I’m guessing this contraption isn’t going to win you any friends at the church potluck.

The Water Walker & Spa might have possibilities. It’s a treadmill inside a self-contained bathtub. And perhaps the coolest invention on this particular list is the levitating desk lamp. Flyte is a wireless light bulb that floats in the air above a small wooden base equipped with magnets to keep the bulb in place. Why do I need a floating light bulb? I have no idea, except it could be a great conversation piece.

There’s no end to the emails I get touting trends aimed at persuading you to buy stuff that will make you fashionable. The most ridiculous trend of the week is ankle scarves. An article on socialnewsdaily.com titled “Ankle Scarves are the Newest Trend No One Asked For,” reveals there are now tiny knitted scarves people can wrap around their ankles, “since you can’t take your blanket everywhere.” It shows a photo of a hipster wearing loafers and skinny jeans, with bright pink scarves wrapped around each bare ankle. Apparently the fashion-conscious have forgotten there’s already a remedy for cold ankles — they’re called socks!

I’m ready to get serious about death cleaning, but there’s another serious diversion at hand: Valentine’s Day. I got an email pitch this morning from a public relations firm that advised, “If you don’t want to disappoint with another pair of socks” for a Valentine’s gift for your beloved (apparently this product pitcher hasn’t heard about ankle scarves), “I have a great list of ideas that includes one-of-a-kind…robotic gadgets.”

Oh darn, I’ve already ordered the levitating light bulb.

News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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