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Spring Renews Promise of a Simpler Life

April 16, 1998|WENDY MILLER | Wendy Miller is editor of Calendar Weekend's Ventura Edition

A clean house is a wonderful thing. Cleaning the house is not.

I am willing to bet that the sentiments just expressed mirror those of most of the readers of today's column. After all, like the writer, they have had to deal with the wiles and mess of Mother Nature (a real Mommie Dearest these days) who has alternately blessed us with spring flowers one day only to splatter their half-frozen bodies against the windows the next.

Inside, the situation ought to be better, since for most of us it isn't actually raining or blowing in the house. And cleaning would be a breeze if it weren't for all the things piled up. Who can clean surfaces if they aren't actually visible beneath everyone's belongings?

Ann Shields wrote today's Centerpiece story (Page 38) on simplifying our lives as a means of cleaning the clutter from our heads and our spaces. She knows a lot about this problem.

"I live in a house that has flat-surface syndrome," she said, "so I am thinking of tilting all the tables and flat surfaces so I only have to deal with things that end up on the floor."

Shields obviously has a ways to go before achieving household Nirvana, which goes a long way in explaining why she chose this particular topic to write about.

"I was getting buried in my own stuff to the extent that I was even adding to my paper clutter by printing out my e-mail," she said.

At that point she realized she needed professional help and went straight to the Internet, where she found more than 1,000 Web sites on the Simplicity Movement.

"I was overwhelmed with simplicity," she said, "and decided this was the life for me. I headed for the garage and after surveying it said to my husband, Des, 'We need a garage sale.' His response was 'What could we possibly get rid of?' This from a man who can't get any of our cars into the garage anymore."

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