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The Swedish Secret to a Decluttered Life

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An easy path from the author of the bestselling Swedish Death Cleaning.

A very clever woman I know—or knew, as she passed away some time ago—had a natural tidiness about her.

Her name was Birgitta, and she was the owner of the Gothenburg art gallery where I had my first exhibition in the late 1970s.

People were always dropping in and out to look at her artists’ works.

To the left of the entrance to Birgitta’s art space there was a big table made of light brown marble looking like toasted meringue, a table around which the cultural celebrities of Gothenburg (there were not many; Gothenburg is not a big city) would gather to have coffee, drink sherry, talk art, and argue politics all through the day and night.

I did not participate in the nighttime sessions—I was a square with five children—but I do know that Birgitta had a slogan she would softly shout at anyone who stood up to go to the bathroom, or to go to her little kitchen to get a snack or more sherry: “Don’t leave empty-handed [Gå inte tomhänt]!”

“Don’t leave empty-handed [Gå inte tomhänt]!”

Birgitta was not instructing her guests to pluck pieces of art from the walls and take them home.

She simply wanted everyone to help clean the table bit by bit as the day turned into night.

Since they were going inside anyway, they could help by taking something with them.

Her gentle order was simple, friendly logic.

She said it to everyone, from the CEO of Volvo to the head of the Gothenburg art museum, from her interns to her artists.

All were asked. Nobody protested. Everyone helped.

I saw how her slogan was very effective, and so I started practicing her technique with my children at home.

In no time at all, it was part of our daily routine—and it wasn’t just for clearing the dinner table.

I think the principle of not leaving empty-handed can be applied everywhere you go in life.

If there are dirty clothes on your bedroom floor and you pass the laundry basket empty-handed, that is not clever.

The pile will only get bigger. Don’t leave empty-handed.

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Deering Estate Hosts A Valentine’s Day Concert Under The Stars

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Photo: Deering Estate (in the daytime)

The “Moonlight & Music” Valentine’s Day Concert at the Deering Estate offers couples and friends the opportunity to celebrate their love at an outdoor concert under the stars on Tuesday evening, February 14, 2023.

Guests can pack a picnic, preorder food or purchase food when they arrive, then settle into their lawn chair or cozy up on a blanket and enjoy the sounds of this year’s featured artist, contemporary Jazz Singer Bianca Rosarrio with an opening performance by Nikki Kidd.

The concert starts at 8 p.m.

Guests are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs and small picnic baskets.

Please note that the following items are not permitted: pets, large coolers, open flames/candles, balloons and pop-up tents.

Pre-ordered food and picnic baskets from Joanna’s Marketplace will be available for pick up at the concert.

Please call the catering department at 305-661-5777 to place your order by Friday, February 10th at 12 p.m.

Limited refreshments and food will be available for purchase at the concert.

Guests can choose General Admission or Private Balcony seating.

General admission

General admission open seating is available on the front lawn, in front of the two Historic House Museums, in the Royal Palm Grove and on the Boat Basin Jetties.

General admission tickets are … [ keep reading and get your tickets, before they sell out, at MiamiDade.gov ]

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