Wednesday, November 25, 2020

8 qualities to cultivate in your home & life...during a pandemic...and beyond

 The essential qualities that make a healthy home...are simply true.  These qualities are timeless.  They help us see beyond our current and into a world that is rich.  They help us create homes and families that are nourishing, healthy and sustaining.  I hope you enjoy these quotes that I've gathered for you.  

                                          Happy Holidays, from my home to yours,  Denise

1.   Simplify 

"Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it". – Joshua Becker

"Pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry. Keep things clean and unencumbered, but don't sterilize."  Leonard Koren  Wabi Sabi

2.   Tidy Up

"It is not our memories but the person we have become of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past"   Marie Kondo...the life changing Magic of Tidying up

3.    Breathe ...pause and breathe

“Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be. Let your body relax and your heart soften. Open to whatever you experience without fighting.”
Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

4.    Add in Splashes of Joy

“A body of research is emerging that demonstrates a clear link between our surroundings and our mental health. For example, studies show that people with sunny workspaces sleep better and laugh more than their peers in dimly lit offices, and that flowers improve not only people’s moods but their memory as well.”
Ingrid Fetell Lee, Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

"And what does it feel like?" we asked. "Well," she said, leaning over to us like a secret,  "it feels like a gust of wind blowing inside your heart. It feels like bright yellow paint." Monique Duval  The persistence of yellow

5.    Practice Gratitude

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” —Charles Dickens

6.    Cultivate your Beauty Muscle

"Beauty is abundantly present. In old things, brown fields, weary days, prickly people...the art of beauty is learning to see beauty everywhere, in everyone, everyday.  Seeing beauty is a way of seeing, a muscle to strengthen."  Denise Frakes

"Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness...Wabi-Sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else.  beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view.  Beauty thus is an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace"  Leonard Koren Wabi Sabi for artists, designers, poets and philosophers

7.   Nature...bring it in and go outside 

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir

“I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put together.” –John Burroughs

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” –Albert Einstein

8.   LOVE!!!

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
— Morrie Schwartz

“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” 
— Helen Keller

Of all things...I believe in us, in bluebells, curious calves, and how the mundane acts of where life can become rich...or dreary.
What do you believe is an essential quality of a healthy home...and life?

Monday, November 2, 2020

Tiny Acts of a daily habit

   On my run this morning I passed one very intent dog. He was staring at something through the chain link fence. He looked at me then back to whatever had his attention.  When I got closer, I saw it was is ball.  Nothing mattered as much as this little green ball just out of reach.

  I picked it up and threw it back over the fence, to a very happy puppy.  As I watched the puppy get his ball back... an extraordinary thing happened...I was just as happy as the puppy.  

A tiny act of kindness gave me joy.   

 Research shows that kindness raises endorphins, reducing pain, enhances serotonin production, responsible for relaxation, happiness, and wound healing, and promotes oxytocin production, that reduces blood pressure, enhances heart health, and creates a surplus of loving feelings ( Even watching others behave in a kind fashion can make you feel good. You are then more likely to pay it forward to others, resulting in a “helper’s high” through being kind.   Lori Chortkoff Hops, PhD, DCEP)

How do you clean your house, wash dishes, unclutter your desk?  How do you cook dinner, pick up after your family and greet each other?  

In our normal, there are pockets of daily, habitual actions that can be cultivated into habits of love.  

What if your evening dish washing became a meditation in gratitude?  Your grocery shopping an exploration in color?  What if the act of making dinner became a nightly act of love?  What would happen to your life, to the lives around you?  What if every time you picked up something left behind, you sent that person a little love in your thoughts?  

I'm not saying every chore needs to be elevated.  But in a world where we can get lost in the nightly news. Or brain drained from too much screen and digital time... We need rebalancing habits...Habits of gratitude, wonder, kindness...

Simple actions done intentionally and consistently to reboot our sense of life

Start cultivating pockets of nourishment.. daily chores that transform the ordinary into extraordinary.

Try this...Pick one chore or daily activity.  Something you do everyday.  Brush your teeth and send love to those you love, do the dishes with gratitude, pick up the house thinking how lucky you are, cook dinner with beautiful posture and a smile, go for a walk look for wonder and wave at your neighbors.  Turn one little act into something extraordinary.  Practice gratitude in your chores.. and habitual actions.

 Do it everyday for 31 days...and just notice what happens.  Be curious, consistent and persistent.

From my home of chores and practices to yours,


Monday, September 21, 2020

Clutter clearing is spiritual

Clutter clearing is spiritual.  Clutter effects us physically, mentally, emotionally...and spiritually.  When you walk into a room and your energy drops, your confidence fades and you can't breathe...this weight builds on and depletes your soul.  

I was drawn to my work in clutter clearing, not to create perfectly tidy homes but to create space for the beautiful souls that live there. 

There are no perfect homes but the souls that live there are naturally perfect.  We all have a story and an authentic calling.  My joy, my job is to see the beauty beyond the stuff. To support the path of each spirit that lives inside.  

By no means am I a perfect clutter clearer.  Heavens, I'm not perfect at anything.  Which in itself is perfect, because my work is not to fix but to uncover that which was there all along.  It takes one imperfectly...perfect soul to see that beauty in another

I believe in my heart, we are all beautiful, creative and important to this world.  When our souls and energies are depleted we don't shine.  Our authentic gifts get bogged down in life.  

Clutter clearing is a practical and incredibly effective practice to shift the energy of a home...and our lives in the process.  The magic of shifting a space, of releasing old memories, stuck energy, over stuffed places and general ugh.. is transformational.  

There is a physical response to a room being shifted, cleaned and uplifted. I can feel it in my body.  My breath expands- literally, it's like life rushes into my chest. 

When you clean and unclutter, when you open your windows and let fresh air in, you are creating flow for your spirit to awaken and thrive.   

 I write and talk on cleaning, tools, habits and healthy homes ... all of which are very important. But at the heart of my work, is not to help you create a shiny home but a shiny spirit.  A home that supports your authentic beautiful soul.  A home that is healthy, easy, nourishing and.. feels like a big breath of fresh air...and a cozy hug.

In this time of pandemics, wild fires and physical distancing, creating a space that lets you rest deeply and feel nourished is essential.  It's easy to gather up more things to fill voids and even get bogged down and not care for this space.   

So turn off the TV, turn on some music.  If the air is healthy outside, open up your windows wide and create a space for yourself...even a little shift.  A tiny space refreshed will have a profound effect on your spirit.  Clean off your desk, wash your sheets, take a shower, pick up your all matters!  If you need a little boost along the way, you know who to call.

     From my spirit to yours,  Denise


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tips for healthy indoor air...when you have to seal up your home

 As I'm writing this, the smoke is heavy outside my home. I know I'm totally not alone with smoke.  We are all closing up our we should.  However, by shutting off our ventilation we increase our need to improve our indoor air quality...ASAP.  

The tips I'm sharing are always good..but now they are truly necessary.

I've created a video for you on how to improve your indoor air quality with a closed up house.  Below that is a DIY video from WA Dept of Ecology for how to make your own air cleaner.

Hang in much is going on this year but we will keep on moving forwards with the zest and creativity I know we all have.  

         Tips for healthy indoor air

Note:  In this video I mention smoke and particles.  What I meant to say is: the smoke looks like clouds or fog but is actually smoke and toxic particles which are hazardous to our health.

DIY for making your own air cleaner

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Are you feeling bogged down? Try this...Clean!

Cleaning, really, that's your solution? 
 The world is falling apart and your want me to clean? 

Cleaning opens your heart.  I can't explain it, but I know it.  For 30 years, I have practiced, taught, cleaned, trained, coached and felt the effects of cleaning. 
Cleaning is a raw and productive form of therapy. 
It works like magic to shift both space and our mindset.  

This picture comes from the book: I am yoga
written by Susan Verde...Art by Peter H. Reynolds

  Cleaning is a primal activity of movement. 
 It is simple, grounding.  A productive meditation
  Cleaning creates a nourished, refreshed and cared space
               ...which in turn helps you feel nourished, refreshed and cared for.
  Cleaning and clutter clearing are foundational to Feng Shui.
to create flow...intentional flow

Cleaning give clarity to a muddled mind, home and world.

  Cleaning is an act of love, of gratitude
It is an act of service.

  Cleaning makes you feel better.
 It's good for spirit and soul.

The truth is, we are all living in new times.  
We don't have control over a lot, but we do have control over the
 space we keep and how we approach each day.

There is a magic in cleaning

When we live in a nourished space, we are healthier, more creative, more confident and have increased resiliency.

Cleaning makes us feel better. This I know, I have 30 years of practice, testing, exploration, and feeling the effects of cleaning make me a what does cleaning feel
If you are stuck, struggling...I have 3 pieces of advice
Take a nap
Go outside

If you want to learn how to clean easy, safe and me, it's a practice worth learning.
Denise- Residue Free Coach

Transformational life coach
Healthy Home Specialist
Clutter Clearing Coach
Residue Free Cleaning trainer 

At your service


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Everyone needs a little nook.. a tree house, a fort...

This week I had to slow down to a crawl.  With a foot injury, my daily travels came to a halt.   COVID had already slowed me down and then my body said...still slower Denise.  Ah...I'm not much of a slow mover or at least I didn't think so. 

 In my office I have a great window facing west.  My office didn't really have a seating area...but when I needed to slow down I created one.  I created a place to soak my foot and enjoy the sunshine or rain from my west window.


In creating this unconventional spa area...5 gallon bucket for my Epson salt baths...and all, ... I was transported back to my childhood.  As a kid I would set up the card table in the middle of the living room, throw a quilt over the top and create my own nook.  I had no formal training in nook building but there was something deep in my spirit that needed a nook of my own.

I would gather up treasures, books, things I loved and go under(table)  I was happy there.  I was free to ponder, discover.  I can't even explain what "it" is, except my happy spirit space.

To create this new space, I grabbed a wicker chair from my patio and got a 5 gallon bucket to soak my foot. I sit next to my books and treasures.  I'm tucked in a back corner a spot unused for daily life.  This is my nook.  It's not fancy or extravagant.  It didn't cost me a dime.  It must be good, Penny Kitty seem to get "it" instantly.

This weekend as I was nursing a soar foot, instead of having despair...I found joy.  I would go to my nook, with with my treasures and be.  I didn't see joy as a side effect from an injured food. By having to shift my life and slow down even slower than I was... I created my nook out of need.  It taught me what can happen when we slow down and create space.

Yesterday, as I was soaking my foot and a bit of Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple will never guess what I read about...yup... creating a nook of your own. June can't make this stuff up.

A nook is more than a space to sit. It is permission to create, to explore, to be 10 years old again.  To play, to have a playhouse and let go of your actual house chores.  It is to be a kid again, free from adulthood, full of creative wonder and secret loves.  Not everything in life needs to make sense or be shared...sometimes we need a quiet space...a space we create as we go.  Simple - unconventional.  A place where our imaginations can turn a nook into world of adventure.

  If you come see my secret nook- will you be bedazzled?  Maybe, maybe not, who knows?  What's more important...will you want to go home and create a nook of your own?  Oh, I hope so!!

   I know we are in the middle of a Pandemic, an economic shut down and civil right re-creation...I also know my own business has shifted and my freedom to run...paused....  This is our life...but in the midst of life...isn't it essential to create a nook of our own?  A place we can be free to create, ponder, be true to our spirit.  

From this space...the rest of the world is easier.

Wishing you enriched journeys and a delightful nook of your own.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

COVID-19 Webinar: Safe and Proper use of Disinfectants & Household Cleaners


Webinar posted on Tribal Healthy Homes Network
Webinar ReplayGo to Webinar
        you can fast forward to about minute 6. This is an excellent gathering of experts.  

9 speakers: Tribal Healthy Homes Network, WA State Dept of Health, EPA Antimicrobial division, Center for Disease control, EPA center for Cross program Outreach, Tribal Environmental Professionals, National Tribal Air Association and Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals and yours truly.

I gave demo on residue free cleaning- the visual didn't show up in the replay so I did another video for you. Any questions, I'm here for you!

What I loved most about this webinar was the gathering of so many experts in one location and how the same messages kept echoing throughout.  
          Cleaning is the process of removal
          Soap is highly effective in deactivating COVID-19 and in removal
          Choose safer disinfectants...
               Use disinfectants safely and effectively
          Healthy and safety need to be kept in high awareness 
There were tons of helpful resources and links given by each speaker 

I'd like to thank the Tribal Healthy Home Network for creating this program.  Especially Gillian Mittlestaedt for her long hours and determination to create a supporting program during this troubling time.  Thank you!!!

            Stay safe and healthy out there,

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Don't's spring...time to clean

Wow, what a month!  Yesterday, I found myself getting lost in the "what if loop".  It wasn't fear of the virus. I'm confident in our abilities to prevent and heal from that. No, what I was feeling was economic fear.  Fear of the unknown state of our economy.

So what can we do?  First of all don't panic.  Year's ago, my friend Sarah, told me of going on a river rafting trip with her family.  They ran into some rapids and her brother flew out of the raft.  Sarah started yelling.  "Everyone stay calm, nobody panic!!!!"  She said she was totally panicking, but somehow by telling others to stay calm, she was calmed."  What happened?  Her brother got back in the boat and they continued down the river.
Whenever I think of panicking, I think of Sarah and saying  "don't panic, everybody stay calm!"  It helps.

Beyond not panicking… what can we do?  What I know for sure is when we are happy and healthy our brains work better, we are better problem solvers, more creative and our immune systems stronger.  When our homes are calm, clean, tidy and thoughtfully created, we are happier and healthier.

So we have work to do.  Instead of panicking, we need to get to work.  Outside, spring is bursting at the seams.  Which means, no matter what you hear in the news, spring is still springing.  Spring is the season of renewal, fresh starts and explosions of joy.  It is also time to do a little spring cleaning.  Spring cleaning for our bodies, minds, homes, neighborhoods and businesses.  Spring cleaning is the intentional act of renewal, refreshing and rebooting so we can begin again.

Funny thing about cleaning. It makes us feel better. When our environments are happy, calm, easy, clean and well cared for, we naturally feel the same. A nourishing space, calms our nervous system.
So instead of's time to roll up our sleeves, start cleaning out the clutter, the stagnate spaces of our homes and lives.  

From this space we can breathe.  We need to let our beautiful, resilient spirits and minds work at a high level of creativity and vision.

While we are at it, let's start picking up our neighborhoods and getting the trash off the streets. Clean up our yards and create spaces where we feel prosperous and happy.  When in doubt, don't panic and start cleaning.  You will be surprised how this old, simple act of shifting our spaces- refreshes our spirits and restores our confidence.

If you start feeling weary, shut off the TV, the social media accounts and your pop up reminders.  Open up the windows, clean house, get outside and start pulling weeds and cleaning out beds.  Grab a bag and go pick up trash in the woods, in your neighborhoods.  Go outside and hang out in spring.

Action- reduces fear.  Cleaning is an action of renewal.  Cleaning is like spring. No matter what we do as humans, spring will still surprises us with beauty and delight.  We are resilient, and creative beings..

   When we are happy...our immune systems are stronger, we are more resilient and creative...

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Habits of Happiness ... or Habits of Ruin?

Have you ever considered home chores as habits?  This is the kind of stuff I ponder every day.  Why do we do what we do and is there a better way?  Last night I did a presentation on clutter for the city of Federal Way.  Most of my talk was on habits...because....

The Habit Poem
I am your constant companion

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure
I am completely at your command

Half of the things you do, you might as well turn over to me 
and I will do them - quickly and correctly

I am easily managed- you must be firm with me
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons I will do it automatically

I am the servant of great people
and alas, of all failure as well.
Those who are great, I have made great
Those who are failures, I have made failures

I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a person

You may run me for profit or run me to ruin
it makes no difference to me

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and 
I will place the world at your feet

Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?  I am Habit.

Author unknown

By shifting our habits we create our future.  For some, the daily grind of caring for a home becomes a depleting burden... by shifting our habits we can take what we thought of as a chore and turn it into a practice that works for us. 
Life is precious.  Let your habits work for you.

Action:  Notice what you do, how you think about your home? What habits do you have?  This is where I can help.  We rarely see ourselves.  It's a blessing and curse.  By having an outside and kindly soul help you see, you get to start shifting and creating a life and home you love.

     happy habits...lead to happy lives,
          Denise Frakes
               Home and life coach at your service

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Use your chores to make your New Year's Resolutions stick

  I know I've talked about our chores as a gold mine of possibilities before... for years.  As this new year cycled around I read that the average New Year's Resolution only lasts 18 days.  Not only that but we keep repeating those same resolutions 10 times with no success!  I was lightning struck!

    A friend of ours was at the gym the other day. Normally, gyms are notorious for being packed with New Year's Resolutions... not this year. It was empty. I think we are giving up.  We know new years resolutions don't work... And they don't...unless you give them a home. 

Don't give up on your dreams.  Dreaming is essential to being alive
For our New Year's Resolutions to succeed...we need to think habit. 
We need to give our dreams a home

   It doesn't matter how busy we are …. we all have habits.  One place we overlook as a help is our  home habits, life chore habits... These old chore habits can give us the space, time and focus we need to create the life we dream of.  One secret to making a new habit attach it to an existing habit...

Did you know...
  "On average 40% of all daily human activities are habits"
And from of a study of 50,000 American families - 
Our habits are pretty much set by the time we are 9 years old!
                                                           Tom Corley's Book: Change your habits, change your life

Habit:  consistent and persistent practices, routines and tendencies
 done overtime that become automatic

Our success and failure are dictated by our habits. 
   Healthy habits uplift our lives bringing us happiness and success 
 Poor habits throw us under the bus causing stress and failure

What does this have to do with resolutions and chores?  Everything!!!!! 
Our probability of sticking with a New Year's resolution is more about our habits than our will power..

     We are creatures of habit.  

Three ways to let your your dreams

Realize we have a gold mine of existing habits in place.  We have space to create new habits.  
Use our ingrained healthy habits as triggers to create more healthy habits.

 Take your dreams and simplify them into daily bite sized actions 

Attach these daily actions to a current habit..  Stay consistent with an action toward your goal for at least 66 days and wala…  
your chances of actually seeing your dream come into reality... sky rockets!

Start Here:  First we have to notice our own habits.  What is familiar is lost to us.. 40% of our actions are unconscious- habitual actions.  For 2-3 days simply notice your own habits.  Ask questions... Notice...What do you do everyday?  Which habits are brilliant, supportive and which are un-necessary or even detrimental to the life you dream of?  What do you do at specific times of day, when you wake up, get home from work, after supper?  Pick a habit that works and add your new habit to this one. Keep it simple, doable in any weather and life happenings.

Happy New Year!  
    Denise Frakes  Life and Home Coach for Creating Space

FYI:  If you want to hear more from me, hire me to speak or as your own personal coach. Buy products or books (if they support you) through my site (I'm an affiliate of Amazon and sell Norwex)  Please share my posts and let me know how your doing.   We are here to work together- thank you and happy New Year!