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Cleaning and the Meaning of Life: Simple Solutions to Declutter Your Home and Beautify Your Life Paperback – April 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jhung's credo is, "If I can control the mess around me, I can find serenity within." To this end, the author of How to Avoid Housework and Guests Without Grief spells out her philosophy of LIFE: Lighten up, Invest in comfort, Forget perfection and Enhance flow. Realizing that many readers feel "clobbered by clutter," Jhung advises them to "lighten up" by cutting back on clothing, books and paper by trading or borrowing clothes, using the library more and reading newspapers online. "Investing in comfort" means installing high-quality storage units and creating serene places around the house to rest and meditate. "Forgetting perfection" involves using more print fabrics, which don't show wear and tear, and learning how to do the "twelve-minute two-step," a quick tidy-up that results in a home that is "not exactly House Beautiful" but "looks good enough to kick back in without feeling guilty." Finally, "enhancing flow" advocates paying attention to environmental mood lifters, like fragrance, soft pillows and gentle lighting. Jhung's strategies for "taking the mess out of domestic and the irk out of work" are fun to read and easy to implement. By keeping some very simple goals in mind—a low-maintenance home, greater everyday comfort, more peace of mind—she provides motivation for readers to tackle their spring cleaning with gusto. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jhung is the author of award-winning How to Avoid Housework (Fireside) Guests Without Grief (Fireside) and co-author of Entertaining at Home (No-Brainer's Video Guides to Life) Cerebellum. A regular contributor to Family Circle, her articles have appeared in dozens of publications including House Beautiful, Home, Bridal Guide, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, Women's World, Cosmopolitan and Women's Day. She has appeared on HGTV, Bloomberg News Radio, Party at Home, Today in New York, and scores of other television shows across the US and Canada. Her books have been picked up by the Literary Guild and Doubleday book clubs and have been excerpted in hundreds of publications including The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, Reader's Digest, Child and Redbook. She is an interior designer who owns CleanDesign, a low-maintenance, high-comfort decorating service. She lives in California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: HCI (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757302408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757302404
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #995,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hey, this is a fun read! No prissy prima donna, Paula Jhung describes her own struggles as she shares tips and techniques along with some pretty funny and dishy stories. Part how-to and part humor, this book has lots of cool ideas for overcoming household clutter and inner angst. And--this would make a great gift for brides, frantic moms or friends who're just trying to balance it all.
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For a self-proclaimed packrat, this book was a lifesaver to me. Within the first 25 pages, Paula gives the reader the "rubbish inquisition" - questions like, "if there were a flood, would I try to save this?" and "does it make my life easier?" Making room for all of my husband's stuff in our new apartment has ben infinitely easier now that I can let go of all my STUFF - and I owe it all to Paula.
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Perhaps one of the best parts about this book is that you don't feel like you're reading a cleaning manual. Paula intermixes stories, both personal and not, throughout the book, so it's completely possible to read it cover to cover and not feel like you've been "learning" - but, of course, you have! My favorite chapter is "Let there be light." It is amazing how by doing a few simple things, such as changing your lightbulb wattage, can make a HUGE difference.
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If you're like me you may not enjoy cleaning, but Paula's easy tips and tricks actually make this chore fun! I am a wife and mother of two, so finding the time to cook, clean, decorate, etc. is quite a challenge. Maybe that's why I found Paula's book so helpful. She has chapters on everything from cooking up a cleaner kitchen where she offers advice on food preparation that requires less cleanup. And at the opposite end of the spectrum is what she shares about the way cleanliness and chore sharing can build a better household and relationship. I truly found this a quick, helpful and easy read. I recommend it to anyone wanting to tackle one of life's biggest challenges-cleaning!
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Format: Paperback
After reading your book I totally see the pattern I am following from my childhood. I now can see who has TMS in my family and where I get it from. I can also see how the clutter adds stress in life. My husband tells me I have too much stuff and that I need to simplify, he agrees with what you say in your book 100%! You have good advise in your book and I think if I work at my clutter 20 min. a day I can do it without it over whelming me. It's nice to know there is help out there!

Candi
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I loved this book, and would read it over and over. It was full of good ideas while entertaining you at the same time and addresses a problem we all have...clutter...but not just household clutter...emotional clutter. It's hard to live in today's world where more is the key and those of us who just want simple and easy struggle daily.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of household hints. What makes it different from other such books is that only one of it's four parts is about cleaning shortcuts. The other three parts are an exhortation to de-clutter & the value of that, and two parts about decorating to maximize both usefulness and comfort. Living in a happy space sets the right tone for the rest of our lives. Many books are about getting organized and getting rid of all the extra that we all accumulate; innumerable books collect cleaning hints & shortcuts; another myriad give advice on decorating. This book is unusual in combining these topics into one volume. I liked the parts on decorating ideas the best. Many of the cleaning hints were logical if one gave a moment's thought. The decorating sections were not like other decorating books, which usually say to me, "Find colors & styles you like. Use them." This book gave explanations--light or dark lampshade? Should the easy chairs face each other or be at an angle? It can be read in parts on an as needed basis.
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