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The Swedish Secret to a Decluttered Life

Oprah Daily



Photo: Oprah Daily

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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There are many great vacuum cleaners available in the market, and choosing the best one depends on your specific needs and preferences.

However, based on various sources and expert reviews, these are the top 8 most powerful and effective vacuums for picking up human hair from short rugs:

1. Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute:

This cordless vacuum is known for its powerful suction, long battery life, and versatility. It comes with multiple tools and attachments for different surfaces and cleaning needs, including a motorized brush for carpets and rugs. However, it’s expensive and may not be suitable for large cleaning jobs.

2. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional:

This upright vacuum is a budget-friendly option that’s effective at picking up pet hair and debris from carpets and floors. It has a detachable canister for easy cleaning and comes with a pet power brush. However, it can be heavy and bulky to maneuver.

3. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus:

This handheld vacuum is designed specifically for pet hair and features a motorized brush roll that works well on short carpets and rugs. It’s lightweight and easy to use, with a crevice tool and dusting brush included. However, it has a short battery life and small dustbin.

4. Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog:

This canister vacuum is ideal for pet owners with its powerful suction and air filtration system. It has an electrobrush that adjusts to different carpet heights and a self-cleaning filter. However, it’s expensive and may be heavy to move around.

5. Hoover WindTunnel T-Series:

This bagless upright vacuum is affordable and has a strong suction power, making it effective for picking up pet hair and debris from short rugs. It comes with various attachments for versatile cleaning and has a large capacity dustbin. However, it can be noisy and difficult to clean.

6. iRobot Roomba i7+:

This robot vacuum is convenient and effective for cleaning short rugs and carpets. It has powerful suction and mapping technology that navigates around obstacles and adapts to different surfaces. It also features a self-emptying dustbin. However, it’s expensive and may miss spots in some areas.

7. Eureka PowerSpeed:

This lightweight and affordable vacuum is designed for quick and easy cleaning of short rugs and carpets. It has a large dustbin and various attachments, including a pet tool. However, it may struggle with tougher debris and has a shorter power cord.

8. Shark APEX DuoClean:

This upright vacuum has a dual brush roll system that picks up pet hair and debris from carpets and floors. It has a detachable canister and LED headlights for improved visibility. However, it can be heavy and loud, and some users report issues with durability.

Note that prices may vary depending on the retailer, promotions, and location.

We find that Walmart and Amazon generally have the best prices (and offer fast and free shipping).

It’s important to consider your cleaning needs, budget, and preferences before choosing the best vacuum for your home.


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Here are some tips for growing and caring for air plants:

1. Watering:

Air plants absorb water and nutrients through their leaves, so mist them with a spray bottle 2-3 times a week or soak them in water for 30 minutes once a week. Make sure to shake off any excess water afterward to prevent rot.

2. Lighting:

Air plants prefer bright, indirect light, but can also tolerate some direct sunlight. Avoid placing them in low-light areas or near heating or cooling vents.

3. Temperature:

Air plants prefer temperatures between 50-90°F (10-32°C), so keep them away from drafts and extreme temperature changes.

4. Fertilizer:

Air plants don’t require fertilizer, but you can feed them with a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

5. Display:

Air plants can be displayed in a variety of ways, such as in a terrarium, mounted on a piece of driftwood or attached to a wire frame. They also make great additions to vertical gardens.

6. Maintenance:

Trim off any brown or dead leaves with a pair of scissors to keep the plant looking healthy. You can also propagate air plants by removing the offsets that grow at the base of the parent plant.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy the unique beauty of air plants for years to come.

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