Friday, November 30, 2018

Quiet time- holiday life saver

My mom taught me a life enriching practice when I was little.
At the time she was a young wife, with 3 young kids.  I imagine she was feeling overwhelmed. To save her sanity my mom instilled what came to be known as quiet time.   After lunch, we all had to be quiet for 1 hour. My older brothers and I could pretty much could do anything we wanted, if we were quiet.  The only rules were: be quiet, stay inside and be safe. We didn't have to nap or do anything specific.   We were free to play and be.

My mom tells me, that first summer, we all balked at quiet time, but the next summer we asked for it.  Beyond, saving my mom's sanity, she says we were all happier and more at ease.  There was less bickering and irritable kids.

I'm all grown up and then some and yet I still crave quiet time.  Time to wonder, ponder, play, nap, run, sit and just be.  As we head into the holidays, you might like to add quiet time, the freedom to do nothing into your day too.  I usually give myself quiet time, first thing in the morning when the house is quiet and day hasn't got legs.

From our family to yours, may your holidays be happy, healthy and easy


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thanksgiving day celebration for busy families

 Thanksgiving comes early at our house- we call it fake turkey day.  The second Saturday of November is our big day.  Three 8 foot folding tables and one ping pong table transform our living, kitchen into a giant eating space. Last Saturday, November 10th, we celebrated with 28 two legged family members and 2 four legged.

Since this holiday is still fresh in my thoughts, I thought I would reflect a bit and share those 20-20 hindsight tips to you

Reflecting on Thanksgiving a week later...

     Naps are beneficial no matter how old you are
     Go outside, walk or run around the neighborhood before company arrives
              Breathe! enjoy nature, look for beauty, get out of your own brain
     Welcoming your guest with warmth and happiness is better than a perfect house!
     Pre cooking the turkey and deboning it the day before turkey day is a huge de-stressor
             I would rather spend time chatting than messing with a turkey when I'm tired
     Having 28 people coming to your house is highly motivating to do extra cleaning and organizing
             ride this wave and get things done... hint: look at your home as if you are a guess
     Sharing the cooking around: Many hands make quick and easy work
     Eat dessert first, finish with tea and light foods
     Take a walk after dinner- it helps you unwind and improves your digestion
     A good nap, fresh air and light eating the next day is priceless!
And finally, consider scheduling your holidays on offbeat days.  More people can join you, there is less stress and more freedom in your celebrations.  We started this early tradition to help our family who was in retail. We continue it because it is brilliant!!!

From our home to yours- Happy Thanksgiving,


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Prune your chores = Increased Happiness

Cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands etc... our chores will expand in our lives until we start pruning. Without a bit of clutter clearing our freedom is squished and smashed.  Our chores and habits are closely related they silently and quietly move into our lives talking up our time and energy until we are exhausted and bogged down by life..

    The laws of money say your expenses will match and exceed your income unless you create intentional boundaries and awareness to stop the over spending.    The same is true of our chores.  Our in boxes, to do lists and daily chores can become time clutter.   Our lists of daily, weekly  and seasonal responsibilities needs periodic pruning.  Before the holidays appear, downsize your chores, giving yourself breathing room to play and celebrate.

This week I came across a study... How buying time promotes happiness  The study tested the hypothesis of how spending money on material goods would compare to spending money on activities that saved time on our chores.  It turns our we are significantly happier spending money on saving time on our chores than on new stuff.

5 tips to Pruning your Autumn Chores
 Start slashing, cutting and simplifying your chores- get your knife sharp and mind clear 

    1)  Become aware...Pay attention to what you are doing each day- how much time and energy you spend on chores??

    2)  Unclutter your self imposed work!  How have your chores expanded over time?
            How many grocery stores do you go to each week?
            Do you have more stuff to dust around.
            Can your meals be simplified?  Can you use fewer dishes?

    3)  DelegateHire! Buy!  Sometimes all you have to do is ask for help.
             Other times you might want to hire out.  A housecleaner, an decluttering coach, dinner out
                Help to the rescue!!  Get help!!!!!  Lighten your load!!

     4)  Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!
              Cook less but bigger batches,  Eat simply, enjoy left overs
              Downsize your possessions- less is more free time
              Shop less, shop fewer places, shop with a clear list

     5)  Just do it- Decide to reduce!   Open up your creative juices to see how many "required" chores can be simplified, downsized, reduced and deleted!

  This last quarter of 2019 sets the stage for next year.  Start by following our seasonal cues.  Let go of your leaves, let plants die away, harvest and prune your chores.  Less is more in our lives.  We don't need to go on vacation for freedom.  Freedom can be found everyday of our lives.  Breathing space is a gift it is the best gift you can ever give yourself and those you love.  Chores are there to support us in our lives...we were not created to mark off our daily chore lists

As always, I wish you great joy in your daily travels,
              Denise Frakes
    Personal and home coach... at your service

Friday, October 5, 2018

First Thoughts and traveling Ideas

 When you are awakened or waken with an inspired thought- pay attention.  This may be a little thought wanting to have a voice.  It probably isn't your voice but a wise idea wanting to get legs.  It is testing the waters... will she/he listen or are they still asleep?

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about a Muse in her book: Big Magic. I love her thoughts on inspiration.  Inspiration isn't ours, it is little traveling ideas in search of a host. Ideas travel around looking for a kindly soul to help carry their messages to the world.  Creative genius is not our own brilliance, it is the wisdom and awareness of being a good listener.

When you have an inspired idea- Listen.  Take a moment and thank it for visiting.  This idea might be an idea for you or you may want to let it pass to another.  Not all thoughts that travel are ours for the taking you know.

The more open and receptive we are, the more thoughts will pop in.  It is an honor to be gifted with ideas.   It can also be a bit too much.  Not all thoughts are good matches for us.  Sometimes we don't have the energy to help it along.  Life is a choice.  Be thoughtful in how many ideas you are playing with and holding space for.

A few good "ideas" in caring for theses traveling thoughts:
 First and most importantly, pause your mind chatter and listen
 Always acknowledge these little traveling ideas, say thank you
 Welcome ideas and thoughts in for future visits.

A few days ago I had an early morning thought. I knew it was one I wanted play with and give space to grow.  I told myself through sleepy thoughts "Denise remember this in the morning".  And so I did. I love traveling thoughts.  My world is enriched by such thoughts.

Wishing you happy travels in your life today,
home and life coach at your service

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cleaning is a life chore

Cleaning is a life chore.

 Life chore definition:   a chore or task you will need to do daily, if not weekly, your entire life. 

 That can sound pretty ominous if you don't like your chores.  It's best to make friends with your chores as soon as possible.  

Chores are closely tied to our habits.  They are repeated over and over again. They run on autopilot. 

 If you have a life chore... cleaning, shopping, cooking, paying bills, even exercising, that is not working for you, change your habits, upgrade your skills and shift your attitude.  Your life will be greatly enriched and blessed in the process.

I've enjoyed 27 plus years of working with homes: cleaning, uncluttering, coaching, writing, experiencing, teaching, learning and pondering.

 Home care and chores has become a deep source of wisdom and inspiration.  Dive into anything deep and long enough and you will find your answers.

If you are ready to shift your life chores, let's get going.  We all have one life to live, getting bogged down in a chore is depleting of your spirit.

  Question:  Think of all your daily and weekly chores and tasks.  Which ones give you energy and which ones take it away?

      Wishing you easy and wonder,
          Life coach, residue free living specialist

Saturday, July 14, 2018

How to find your own answers...

Two simple questions from one powerful perspective...

When you are searching for an answer or trying to decide your best next step ask first...

First ask yourself...
Does it give me energy?  Do you fill lighter, expansive energized with a yes or no answer?
Does it deplete me?  Do you feel heavy, overwhelmed, confined with a yes or no answer?

Perfect! Next...
Think of yourself as a wise and happy elder.  Content and all-knowing at the end of your life.  Ask this future you these same questions...  
     To arrive in this beautiful, wise and contented place looking back on my whole life...
            Will this _?__ support me or deplete me to where I want to be in the long run.

Clutter clearing, and downsizing is a spiritual journey.  Doing it from a place of great wisdom is a game changer. 

 We are blessed with options and abundance in our world.  Sometimes too much muddles our own path. Taking time to ask a couple simple questions is priceless.

Wishing you clarity on your path.  No one knows what this path better than you!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

When in doubt...sit

Today, I was faced with a decision.  I couldn't come up with a clear answer and it was making my stomach turn.  I laid down for a 20 minute nap and when I woke up I had my answer: be still.

We have many opportunities and options in our great country.  We are blessed with abundance and with abundance comes choices. More is not always better. There is an ease to having fewer options.  Your mind can relax.  It becomes more creative with less.

This is our Penny kitty.  She understands stillness. 
I help people let go of the "too much" world.  I am not immune to this world.  Maybe I don't collect things but it is easy to collect ideas, tasks, opportunities, possibilities.
Tonight before I toddle off to bed I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

If you can't decide- don't.  Become very still and listen
Before going forward clean
      clean out your projects, your procrastinations, your unfinished beginnings
By going back and cleaning up, you gain insights into where you want to go.
By becoming still, you ground yourself, your breath deepens as does your internal wisdom

These are my thoughts before I sleep.  July is a good month to clean out and breathe.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Running on auto pilot? Look at your habits.

This morning I woke up, the birds were singing, my house was still asleep.  Well, except for Penny kitty who was trying to convince me she needed a snack before breakfast. She lives for food- funny girl.
I grabbed my running shoes, camera and out I went.  I do this sometimes but not as much as my mind, body and spirit would like.  Why is that?  Why do we spend time on things that don't give us energy instead of things that do?  What do we fill our days with and why?

According to Tom Corley in his book Change your habits, change your life"An average of 40 percent of all daily human activities are habits... Habits include both physical and mental behaviors.  These daily habits unconsciously control our lives... the blueprint of our life and the lives of our children are determined by daily habits.  That's how important habits are.  If you want to change your life you must change your daily habits."

40% of our days are on auto pilot! No wonder!  Our habits could be anything: What we eat,  how we handle stress, if we exercise, how we clean our houses, and even how and if you play...  the list is long and rich.
Do you/we even know what our habits are?  It is unlikely, most of our habits are unconscious actions- habitual actions.  Tom goes on to say most of our habits are formed when we are kids.  Our habit are our normal- our family normal.

Habits are what makes us drive the same route everyday- they save our brain work and conserve our brain's fuel for more important things.  Fortunately and unfortunately once an action is a habit we have to deliberately, consciously and persistently take another action in order to shift a habit.  

This is why goals are so important.  They give our brains a place to set our sites on and then create intentional actions to create a path to get there.  If we are persistent, consistent and wise in our goal actions these actions will become habits that will keep us on our desired paths.

What does that have to do with me getting out of bed and putting my shoes on? What does it have to do with time clutter? This morning I walked and I pondered my own habits and wondered do they serve or deplete? By going off road this morning, I took a step towards shifting a habit.  A new way of moving, it felt good.

There are times in our lives when being on auto pilot saves our sanity.  Putting one foot in front of the other and letting our habits, chores and daily requirements give us a familiar rhythm and direction when it is too painful or exhausting to think.  

  And yet there are times, like this morning when you have the energy and desire to go off road and explore your life on a new path.  Letting that spark of curiosity override your habit of normal.  This is where we differ from robots, we become fully present and alive.  Engaged.  This is the space you'll want to cultivate.

If you need to be on auto pilot right now, then put one foot in front of the other, breathe and keep moving.  But if you are wishing for another path.  Go off road today.  Chart a new path.  Put your spirit in 4 wheel drive and hit the gas.  Set a vision and go.

Wishing you happy, inspired and nourished habits
    Denise Frakes
        Coach for you and your home

A few of my favorite things:
    Tom's book on habits is a eye opener.  If you would like to read it- click here to go directly to Amazon and order Change your habits, change your life by Tom Corley Thanks for supporting my writing and inspired thoughts.  Life is too short to let our unconscious habits run the show.

Try This:  Pay attention to how you spend your time.  How do you feel?  What are you craving?  Time to play, sunshine, writing, naps?  Best place to start is in curiosity. Want to change your life?  Change your habits.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Stay young with a Wild Spirit

Keep your wild spirit healthy  We all have wild spirits- they are timeless.  When I talk on clutter or cleaning or Mondays or food or chores, I'm thinking of our wild spirits. How do we let go of what diminishes and muddles our beautiful wild spirits?  How do we wake up refreshed, look in the mirror and see shining eyes smiling back?  How do we cultivate spontaneous laughter, serendipity and wonder? ...

Last night before I dozing off I read one of my favorite passages from John O'Donohue's Anam Cara book of Celtic Wisdom.  This morning I sprung out of bed - inspired.  What lights up your wild spirit????  (Thank you Gretchen and Leslie for sharing with me Anam Cara and Iona)

The Passionate Heart Never Ages 
"I know some very old people who have hearts full of roguery, devilment and fun; there is a sparkle in their presence.  When you meet them, you have a sense of light, lightness and gaiety. 

 Sometimes in very old bodies there are incredibly young wild souls looking out at you.  It is so invigorating to meet a wild old person who has remained faithful to their wild life force.

  Meister Eckhart said that, too, in a more formal way:  There is a place in the soul that is eternal.  He says time makes you old, but that there is a place in the soul that time cannot touch.  It is a lovely thing to know this about yourself. 

 Even though time will inscribe your face, weaken your limbs, make your movements slower and finally empty your life, nevertheless there is a still a place in your spirit that time can never get near.  You are as young as you feel.

If you begin to feel the warmth of your soul, there will be a youthfulness in you that no one will ever be able to take away from you.

Put more formally, this is a way of inhabiting the eternal side of your life.

It would be sad on your one journey through life to miss out on this eternal presence around you and within you."

I get it, life comes with chores, irksomes and residue.  The secret to life, why I coach and my own passion, is to keep on cleaning off life's residues, to minimize the clutter in your life, your monkey mind's chatter.   Nourishing a space, creating time and energy to keep our beautiful, wild, spirits alive and well... no matter what what our age.

As always, wishing you happy travels on your journey,
     Denise Frakes
       Home and Personal Coach.... for a nourishing space and healthy spirit

Sunday, April 8, 2018

3 tips to turn your daily chores into space to breathe

Cleaning, laundry, picking up, driving to work, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping .... the list goes on. What you consider a chore is highly unique to you but there area few "chores" that seem to rise to the top.  As a professional cleaner and educator on the happy healthy home.  Cleaning is the one I hear the most. Since we spend our lives doing chores, wouldn't it be wise of us to make friends... sooner than later

"All work is important.  All work is of value.  The Amish honor what we would call the process and the product.  Both.  For them it's all connected.  ..... There is no need to rush to get one thing over so you can get on to something more important.  .... The Amish approach everything they do with the same attitude.  They had shown me that any type of work could be meaningful.  It is the spirit in which you do it that makes the difference".
                    Notes from the book Plain and Simple by Sue Bender (click to order - great read!!)

 This book was recommended to me by Dana P.  Thank you Dana. In December of 2008 she and I had a great conversation about chores, joy and practicing.  This book and our conversation have stayed with me and inspired me for over 10 plus years.

So how do you turn your chores into rich space to live?  I have thought and played with this idea for years.  And to be honest, when I'm flowing in my life it is easy.  When I'm struggling in my life I lean on these chores to ground me and give me rhythm.  When I'm overbooked, rushing around and stressed I hope I remember to use my chores as space to breathe and relax. This is the practice- remembering and then doing.  As Sue says in her book... "it isn't what I'm doing but the spirit in which I do that makes all the difference."

This practice is personal.  What you consider a chore is highly personal to you.  The question to ask yourself is... what do you dread?  What do you find irritating, exhausting or boring? What is a waste of your time and energy?  Pick a chore.  Play with it and see if you can't improve your relationship.

Tips for making a chore a gift....

1.  Give it space.  What we don't value we don't give space in our lives.  This translates to rushing, sticking our chores in to small spaces, odd times and no energy.  If you need to clean or mow.  Then give it space to do so.  When you have space you will naturally relax.

2.  Un-Judge your tasks.  Everything you do is important.  Projects, making money and having fun may seem more important and they are important but consider chores as a balance.  Chores are grounding, rhythmic and nourishing activities that support you and relax your nervous system.

3.  Use this time and space to play, to create to practice.  We tend to always be busy.  Are you looking for time to meditate, to create, to exercise or just be?  Well consider using your daily and weekly chores as time to hold your posture, to breathe, to relax, to wonder and ponder.  The possibilities of what you can do with this time is infinite.

We all need time and space to breathe.

As always, I wish you inspired travels.
    Denise Frakes
Home and Personal Coach

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

5 ways to turn your cleaning chore into a playful practice

Oh to be three and think cleaning is play...

The other day my sister sent me this photo of my niece cleaning.  She loves to clean.  In her little 3 year old wisdom, there is no distinction between playing house and actually cleaning house.  It is all play and discovery to her.  Does she sense cleaning shifts her home's energy and makes her surroundings feel better?  I wonder.  It doesn't matter it's still play

Cleaning is a life long activity.... Doesn't it make sense we should make friends with our life chore?  Maybe even turn cleaning into a life enhancing practice??? hmmm well, wouldn't that be something ??;-)  

Below are 5 tips to make cleaning fun and your life better in the process!

1.  Pretend you are three.  Seriously, let go of your brain and tap into that magical brain of a three year old.  Present, curious and innocent.  Your adult brain with thank you!

2.  Crank up some music, open up windows, wear something comfortable and yet flattering and dance, sing and play as you clean- cleaning is excellent exercise.  

3.  Improve your cleaning skills.  Become an expert in easy, simplified, effective, healthy cleaning.  Master your cleaning don't let it master you!

4.  Shift your mindset.  Cleaning shifts energy.  Cleaning is part of space clearing and rebooting your spaces.  Soil and clutter are stuck energies, low level energies.  By cleaning you create healthy flow and a nourished space for your family to thrive.  Notice how your feel before you clean and after- cleaning is good for the soul!

5.  Use cleaning as time to breathe.  A moving meditation.  Breathe and move thoughtfully No time to meditate... No worries.  Think wax on wax off.  Set your timer, shut off all electronics and mindfully go about your play.

If you want to up your skills as a cleaning, contact me.  For 26 plus years, I have owned a professional cleaning company, coached clutter clearing and taught residue free cleaning.  There is no need to travel your whole life dreading a daily chore. Make friends and move along.

As always, I wish you happy and healthy travels,

Friday, February 23, 2018

Uncluttered: A place to rest - space to breathe

I have an amazing friend who is a quilting genius.  She looks at quilting not as a hobby but as a form of art.  An expression of what she sees and loves in this world.  The other day we were looking at one of her quilts. She explained the solid color between the blocks and round the border is to give your eye's a place to rest.  hmmm.

Our lives are like quilts,  There needs to be a place for our bodies, minds and spirits to rest.  If our schedules are too full, our houses and lives filled with too much we feel heavy and tight.  We can't breathe, we can't rest, we smile less, our spirits get heavy.

By clearing your clutter, opening up your life for space to breathe, we relax. Our lives start to move and flow.  It is the space between the notes that creates music- same as quilts and same as our lives.

           As always, I wish you happy travels,

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Are your New Year resolutions starting to fade?

What do you love so deeply that you would be willing to dedicate 1000 days toward its growth? 

About this time of the year our New Year's resolutions start losing their zest.  If we aren't careful by next December they will become a regret.

Life gets cluttered.  Before we know it, the quiet clarity we felt in January gets blurry from the bright lights and endless requests of life.

Take a minute to be quiet- very still.  Go back to the vision you had when you passionately wanted to create change in your life.  How did you feel?  Do you still want that change?  How will you feel next December if it doesn't happen?

Are you still hungry for that vision to become a reality? If the answer is yes....

1.  Look at your goal- break it into bite sized pieces, next steps to take.  Work in two week segments on your bite sized pieces.  Always be moving on the next step.

2.  Get an accountability buddy or hire a coach to support you and help keep you focused, excited and moving forward.

3.  Make sure your goals are clear. Work on one goal at a time.  It is better to master one life changing goal than to chase 100 chickens around the barnyard.

4.  Goals are like baby plants.  They need extra TLC until they have deep roots.

As always I wish you happy and joyful travels on your path.  If you find you need a walking friend to keep you moving forward... give me a call.  253-815-0446

Monday, January 1, 2018

Best Storage Idea for 2018

Is there such a season as storage season?  In the new year, most every store is promoting their storage containers sales. After the holidays we have lots more stuff.  We also have a natural instinct to rebalance and create space for the new year.   The simple solutions are to improve our organization and buy more storage containers right??  hmmmm

It is time to reconsider this holiday storage season and instead turn it in to the as the season to unclutter, downsize and simplify our lives season.

The easiest way to organize your home is to downsize its belongings.  Reducing instead of storing will make your new year lighter, clearer, freer and happier.  Organization is a snap when you are only organizing a few things.  The things you use, you love and that supports your life.

Think about it... do you want 2018 to be the year you improve your storage containers or the year you let go, simplify and set yourself free?  Tough choice right?

The beginning of the year brings hopes and dreams to the surface.  Don't stuff them into a box, a bin or a tub!

Wishing you happiness and freedom in 2018,