Making Friends with Cleaning

by Denise Frakes

Do you love to clean? Or is cleaning a pesky little never ending item on your already overbooked to-do list? If you’ve ever felt cleaning impaired, read on…

For the record, I wasn’t born a natural cleaner. For a long time, I believed cleaning was what was left over after all the “fun” chores were taken. Life is funny: I ended up owning a restoration cleaning company for 26 years! Somewhere along the way, cleaning and I became friends.

What changed to shift this perspective? Years of professionally exploring, practicing, and experiencing clean. I also had the privilege of seeing what happens to families who use cleaning to their advantage and what happens to families when cleaning goes astray. Changing any belief takes time, but if you are willing to explore the idea of cleaning being a good thing, here are three reasons to take cleaning out of the dog house.

#1: Cleaning is an effective de-stressor Have you ever heard the term “wax on, wax off ”? It was used in an old movie called The Karate Kid. In it, a martial arts instructor teaches his student how to move by cleaning… wax on, wax off. There is wisdom in using cleaning or any rhythmic, consistent movement as a form of moving meditation. When we let the so-called “monkey mind” rest, our creativity expands. As you clean, your focus is not on the world’s
problems, but on your breath, your posture, and the task at hand.
Tip: Next time you vacuum or dust, pay attention to your breath and posture, focus on the movement and let it be rhythmic.
Hint: Set the intention of using a cleaning practice as meditation, then see how it is different from “just cleaning.”

#2: Cleaning gives you breathing space
Dust isn’t made of cute little bunnies hopping merrily around. Dust is where toxins, allergens, and dirt reside. Did you know that 78% of dust is preventable? Breath is essential to life and health. Healthy air gives your family energy. When you live in a home with poor indoor air quality, your family will lose vitality. By practicing certain prevention methods, you can greatly reduce the amount of dust in your home, making the air healthier to breathe. With fresh air, you breathe deeper, you create breathing space in your life.
Tips: Take off shoes, install effective and clean entry mats at each entrance to your home. Vacuum weekly and damp dust at least twice a month.
Hint: Fewer things in a home make dusting, vacuuming and cleaning loads easier.

#3: Cleaning saves your energy
When our homes build up soil and clutter, we waste a lot of energy thinking about what needs to be done. When clutter or soil constantly surround you, you never fully rest and your thoughts become muddled. Little projects that might take a few minutes or hours become life challenges that stop you in your tracks. We think, get lost in the details, feel exhausted and discouraged. Consistent cleaning practices lighten our spirits and relax our minds.
Tip: Take two minutes and wipe down your sinks after use. Take 10 minutes, dust and declutter your night table.
Hint: Use a timer to keep you focused and clear.

Life is busy and cleaning doesn’t exactly have the best reputation as being fun. I get it! I’ve been there more than I care to admit. But the truth is cleaning saves you. When done mindfully and with good skill, cleaning will give more to you than it will take.

If you’re ready to take your cleaning game to the next level, join me at Marlene’s-Federal Way on March 30. I will demonstrate residue-free cleaning and, in the process of cleaning, help you create wise practices in your own life.

A life- and clutter- clearing coach and certified healthy home specialist, Denise Frakes has over 25 years of experience as the owner of a restoration cleaning company. She also consults, teaches and blogs at “An Ounce of Prevention” and “Be Residue Free” blogs at dfbluesky.com. Denise can be reached at 253.278.1082.