BY BROOKE ADISON Did you know there is more bacteria on a shopping cart than on a public restroom toilet seat? According to several recent health warnings, swabs taken from shopping cart handles and seats have shown saliva, blood, fecal matter, mucus (and worse), plus Listeria, Salmonella, Staph, E. Coli, and general individual bacteria. Researchers stress that shopping cart handles are one of the most contaminated public surfaces, even dirtier than most public restrooms. The reason? Public restrooms are cleaned and disinfected regularly… grocery shopping carts are not… in fact, most stores clean their shopping carts only a couple of times each year. In the meantime, with everyone touching the cart handles and babies in diapers being put into the seats, the typical shopping cart is continuously being contaminated and accumulating a startling range of germs and viruses. How likely it was that a child could get sick from touching—or even sucking on—a contaminated handle. As far as Dr. Neil Fishman is concerned, that risk isn’t very big. “I’d be worried if there was any evidence of a disease outbreaks related to shopping cart use,” said Fishman, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. While there may, indeed, be bacteria on shopping cart handles, they can also be found on doorknobs, countertops and a host of other items we touch every day, Fishman said. “My guess is that there are more bacteria on a car seat than on a shopping cart,” he added. Ultimately, your only defense against germs is to keep your hands—and your kids’ hands— squeaky clean, Fishman said. And I never put produce in the baby seat! 4 Steps to Simplify Life Most books on simplifying your clutter, your work, your life, your desk, your life, etc. is that they are usually too complicated. We need a simple method of simplifying life. Try these Four Laws of Simplicity that you can use on any area of your life: 1 COLLECT. Put everything in one place. Empty the entire drawer, closet, room, etc. and put it all together in one place. 2 CHOOSE. Pick out only the things you love and use. Be very selective. Do save anything that you ‘might use some day’. 3 ELIMINATE. Toss the rest in the garbage, donate the worthwhile stuff to a charity or friends. Hold a garage sale. 4 ORGANIZE. Put the remaining stuff away neatly and nicely. Organize the items so that the most frequently used are front and center.