PERSONAL: Married; children: two.
CAREER: Writer and decorating consultant. Clean Design (decorating consulting service), Rancho Santa Fe, CA, founder.
How to Avoid Housework: Tips, Hints, and Secrets on How to Have a Spotless Home, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.
Guests without Grief: Entertaining Made Easy for the Hesitant Host, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.
Cleaning and the Meaning of Life: Simple Solutions to Declutter Your Home and Beautify Your Life, Health Communications (Deerfield Beach, FL), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including Family Circle, Woman's Day, Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful, Home, Bridal Guide, Woman's World, Boston Herald, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post.
SIDELIGHTS: Decorating consultant Paula Jhung was influenced at an early age by the clutter and disarray of her childhood home. Lamenting the disorder that persisted despite her mother's nonstop efforts, Jhung shared in an interview posted on her home page: "I wanted a different life. I found it by creating surroundings that boosted my mood, yet demanded little from me." She further specified her mission as an interior designer: "Through my own trial and error I've found the easiest ways to pare down, lighten up, and make a home more comfortable, convenient and reflective of who we are." Jhung presents these hard-won methods in several books designed to minimize stress and maximize order. Her first book, How to Avoid Housework: Tips, Hints, and Secrets on How to Have a Spotless Home, was commended for its "down-to-earth advice" by Booklist reviewer Mike Tribby. A contributor to Publishers Weekly remarked, "This breezy, upbeat book will gladden slatterns everywhere."
Jhung followed How to Avoid Housework with Guests without Grief: Entertaining Made Easy for the Hesitant Host and Cleaning and the Meaning of Life: Simple Solutions to Declutter Your Home and Beautify Your Life. She shared in an interview with North County Times staff writer Agnes Diggs the philosophy behind Cleaning and the Meaning of Life: "Once we get a handle on how our homes nurture and support us, we're better able to manage and relate to the world around us. It just makes life a lot more serene, going into a house that doesn't demand a lot of you." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented of the book, "Jhung's strategies for 'taking the mess out of domestic and the irk out of work' are fun to read and easy to implement."
Jhung told CA: "As to what influences my work? I'd say it's a passion for the psychology of our surroundings—how they can uplift, stress, or depress us.My writing process? I first find a working title, then throw everything I know, think I know, or want to know about the topic on paper. It's usually ninety-five percent garbage, but out of that garbage I usually glean a few fertile seeds. The most surprising thing I've learned as a writer? That someone with such a short attention span could stick it out for over twenty years. Which of my books is my favorite? That's like asking which of my kids I like best. I love them each equally for their particular quirks and qualities. What kind of effect I hope my books will have? To make life a little easier, a little richer, and a lot more fun."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 1995, Mike Tribby, review of How to Avoid Housework: Tips, Hints, and Secrets on How to Have a Spotless Home, p. 1542.
Publishers Weekly, April 3, 1995, review of How to Avoid Housework, p. 60; April 11, 2005, review of Cleaning and the Meaning of Life: Simple Solutions to Declutter Your Home and Beautify Your Life, p. 48.
North County Times Online, http://www.nctimes.com/ (May 13, 2005), Agnes Diggs, "Local Author Sees Link between Clean and Serene."
Paula Jhung Home Page, http://www.paulajhung.com (September 27, 2005).