Get Your House In Order

Learn to live as though you are facing death at all times, and you’ll become bolder and more open. If you live life fully, you won’t have any last wishes. You will have lived them every moment.

—Michael Singer from The Untethered Soul

For some people, hearing “get your house in order” scares them as they think their death is imminent. And maybe it is. For others, they don’t clear their clutter-the belongings they don’t need, use, love- because they have the belief that if they do so, they will die. Well, here’s what I know. We are all going to die. And you might die right after clearing your clutter. And you might not. Is dying your greatest fear? Or is living full out with love bursting from your heart, gratitude exuding from your being, and joy dancing in your toes your greatest fear?

What I know is there are plenty of people who live vibrantly alive with very little clutter. Maybe you are one of those people! Some of those folks can be a bit uptight as they may not have gotten their hearts/souls clean and clear of past hurts/pains/insecurities/harsh criticisms. They don’t want you touching anything in their space. They’ve roped off the pristine living room. Others who live with little or no clutter have found great alignment in living clearer outside and inside. They may live to 105 years old or die in three days. We don’t know.

I also have observed that some people who live with a lot of clutter have gotten stuck. For those who feel a bit stagnant in their lives, the clutter may have a suffocating impact. They may wonder why they feel kind of “meh,” lifeless, numb, or a “going through the motions” existence. People living in clear spaces may also have this challenge because the experience of life comes from the inside of you. The transformation can happen when you recognize death as your favorite teacher, that the most important shift takes place from your inner wakeful noticing of the miracle of being alive. And the belongings likely will outlive you.

What if you really did have only a week to live? Would you shift your actions? Would you finally speak what your heart has wanted to say all your life? Would you stop complaining about the rain and feel excited to be getting soaking wet because it meant you were alive? Would you host a gratitude/give away party for all those unused belongings that could now be enjoyed by your neighbors, friends, and family who will go on living?

I received a phone call two weeks ago that the owner is selling this property. I may have to move from this beautiful house because the new owner may or may not lease the building. This uncertainty opens my heart to savoring all the moments in this space, to appreciate the funky black/white paisley wallpaper in the half bathroom and the dark baby poop brown on the walls of the dining and living room, the many windows that face the living artwork of trees, sky, mountains, birds, squirrels, rabbits, butterflies, and black bears.

Every single day of my life now feels more precious than the one before.

I’m enjoying searching for a new place to live. There are friends convinced the Universe wants me to live in an even better space. I actually don’t know. Mostly, I’ve concluded that home remains inside the very core of my being, that awakened place that watches this lively movie of my life, that anticipates with curiosity the next adventure. Living amongst the mountains continues to nourish my soul. Every single day of my life now feels more precious than the one before. All the cells of my body/mind/heart/spirit understand that life is now, that I will leave this planet in the middle of the movie even though I want to see it to the very happy, beloved ones laughing, dancing, hugging, celebrating, singing in a field of sunflowers next to the mountains glorious ending.

Can you even imagine not being able to taste that first sip of coffee or tea or orange juice? Can you imagine not being able to look into the eyes of your beloved ones, of hugging them, of telling them with your own voice, “I love you with all my heart!!”? Can you imagine not ever holding hands with the deliciousness of this life? What are you doing to savor each and every moment of your most precious, beautiful life?

For me “get your house in order” is a wake up invitation to appreciate from the very core of your being as many moments of your life as you can, to celebrate that you have an abundance of belongings (for those of you who have this!) –that’s one way you chose to express a rich life, that you can take new actions in this moment to live like it matters, that you can breathe, that you can unburden your heart of all that never wanted to permanently reside there. And if you are so inspired, you can clear your physical space of all those items that belong in the hands of those who would really appreciate them. You can begin or continue a joyful release/expansion/dance of your inner and outer world because you want to live free, unburdened, awake, alive right now and for as many days as you are fortunate to be on this planet swirling through the galaxies.


Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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  1. Laura, this is an insightful and relevant article. It also resonates with me as I can identify with clearing out the clutter in our lives. A couple of years ago, my husband and I set out on a mission to de-clutter our living space; which is small. We initially started because we needed to make room for an heirloom piece of furniture, and it expanded from there.

    The process, especially for me, was so freeing. I was at a pivotal point in my career, also where I needed to leave a toxic work environment. There was a significant confluence of factors that came together. When I look back and connect the dots, I realize that the act of decluttering opened up space – and not just in a physical sense. From that point, things started to shift, and within a few months, I resigned from my job and started on a new trajectory. It was as if removing the clutter helped me remove clutter from within myself too. Even my thought processes improved.
    Thanks so much for sharing your insight. I love this one!

    • I’m so grateful this one resonated with your life experiences, Laura. I appreciate your meaningful sharing of that liberation when you actually let go of what no longer served your life-both outside of you-the belongings-and the internal “clutter.” As you’ve clearly described, this process becomes a transformation of how you see life, the possibilities that open up, the freedom to pursue an unrecognizable pathway-unburdened. Thank you so much for all you’ve bravely cleared and created in your life-for describing this with such enthusiasm.

  2. Thank you so much for these thoughtful reflections about this topic, Lynn Forrester-Pitocco! (For some reason I was unable to click the “reply” box.) Death is the great equalizer. No matter what has transpired in our lives, no matter our belongings, where we have lived, what we wore on our bodies, said, did, or created, we will die. I love how Wayne Dyer often encouraged people to give generously of their lives, their energy, being, their loving presence in our world. I appreciate your taking the time to offer your thoughts about the Prince and his castles. And it is absolutely accurate that we come in with nothing and we leave this world with nothing. (I have not ever seen a U-haul behind a hearse.)

  3. Thank you Laura for this insightful article. When we are born we come into this world with nothing and when we leave we leave all we have known and gathered behind and it is that we leave this world with nothing. A Prince once said that having all the castles I have to choose from to live in, when death comes it will make no difference for I will not have access to them. I’d like to think if he had his house in order, he could decided for the better of others with all his wealth and then enjoy the fruits of his labor.