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Going door-less curing me of cluttering urge
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Editor’s note: Dennis Wyatt is on vacation. This column first appeared on Dec. 6, 2010.


I am trying to — in the words of trendy experts — de-clutter my life.

Anyone who has seen my desks at work or at home is probably rolling over in uncontrollable laughter by now. Believe it or not, but what looks chaotic is actually organization when it comes to how I work. That shouldn’t sound too strange from someone who types with only two fingers.

My desks obviously never will meet any standards of being de-cluttered.

That, however, isn’t the case with the rest of my living space.

Having new flooring installed throughout my house three months ago was the start of my latest fixation. In reality, though, I’ve never been a pack rat of any degree. I owe that to two aunts who grew up during the Great Depression.

One, Lois, lived in Yuba City. She saved everything regardless how worthless. Room after room in her home was packed with basically junk. She’d even put five bites of leftover fish into the freezer if she couldn’t eat it within a couple of days.

The other aunt, Grace, lived in San Francisco. Anything that struck her fancy she bought. If she liked expensive teak folding tables she bought three sets. If she got hooked on something such as collecting sea shells she’d pay hundreds of dollars to get the most exotic — and prettiest ones — she could buy. Every room of her seven-room flat was stacked chest high with boxes of stuff she bought. Even the bath tub had boxes in it.

I’ve stopped just tossing things — clothes, newspapers, magazines, and mail — on tables, counters and bookcases and letting it accumulate. By the end of the day it’s put in its place.

I’ve never have really held onto a lot of stuff unless I have use for it.

My kitchen cupboards when compared to most people are almost bare.

After the flooring and the 1-inch high wooden baseboard was installed by a very competent contractor, I decided to leave the doors off my closets and bedrooms as well. The flooring is way too nice to hide even in the closets. And it really made the rooms look even bigger. That is no easy trick given the place has just 995 square feet and the fact the ceiling is really the underside of a slightly sloping flat-top roof. 

The surprising thing is I actually have kept my closets neat with everything in order and uncluttered. By not having doors to hide stuff behind I’ve been able to force myself to not just toss things into the closets. It is also a heck of a lot cleaner look in terms of the room lines.

That is leading me to my next project that hopefully I’ll get a chance to start in the coming month. I’m going to remove all of the cupboard doors in the kitchen and have the cabinetry painted black. The same goes for the linen closet in the hallway

In the bathroom, besides having a combo shower-tub torn out and replaced with a larger shower with tile walls instead of fiberglass, I intend to reduce storage space in there as well. I’ve decided on having a simple boxy pedestal-style vanity with a vessel sink on top. I intend to replace the medicine cabinet that with one downsized considerably from the one now have that appears as if it was designed with the Brady Bunch in mind

The rationale is simple. After going through my medicine cabinet and vanity draws and storage space in the bathroom I have very little that I use in there. If I have items to stock up on they can go in the outside laundry room. But other than that what does a single guy really need in the bathroom except for a razor, tooth brush, tooth paste, hair brush, soap, shampoo, deodorant, mouthwash, band-aids, and a couple of other things?

It is obvious why the average Japanese family can live in homes half of my 995-square-foot “mansion”. They don’t horde stuff.


This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209.249.3519.