Relieving Cabin Fever and Clutter

It's inevitable. During the winter, clutter accumulates in the disguise of puzzles, games and books, hats, boots and gloves, seen-too-many-times videos and sentry-like golf clubs standing by the garage door. With spring on our heels and the outdoors beckoning, it is time to conquer the clutter that has expanded exponentially since the nights grew long.

Around the world people are planning their attack on the annual insidious wintertime fever that brings on claustrophobia, depression and boredom. In Fairbanks, Alaska, where temperatures dip to minus 50 degrees, children are gleeful when snow sledding is followed by snorkeling in the swimming pool and blizzards are so powerful that Grandma's stove blows sideways. Here by the Bay, these thoughts make memories of the 1999 blizzard seem as soothing as the fluffy marshmallow foam oozing over a cup of steamy hot chocolate.

As we leave those thoughts in the past and focus on the excitement of spring, there is a hum of expectation about seeing the first crocus shoot through the earth or hearing the song of a robin perched on the low limb of a lilac.

Spring is the season of new beginnings and a time to make room for opportunities that arrive when the weather warms. Before you become edgy and irritable about the clutter in your cabin, make an action plan with your kids, grandkids and neighbors.

To overcome some of the dis-ease, toss out the stacks of yellowed magazines, dust-coated collectibles and dated clothes in your wardrobe that remind you of another lifetime. The unsightliness of clutter undermines your positive thoughts and emotions---and it costs a lot. It robs you of your energy and takes an enormous amount of physical time and emotional energy to sort through.

To bring about harmony and balance in your cabin, try using the ancient Chinese principle of Feng Shui. Feng Shui's rule #1, "Clear your clutter" is easier said than done. Getting started sometimes resembles the effort it takes to push a boulder up hill. Here's a tip. Make two lists. One list contains chores that can be accomplished in 15 minutes, such as cleaning and repairing the winter sports equipment before you return it to storage or alphabetizing your spices, if you must.

A weekend list is filled with projects that require a few hours of your time and energy. More ambitious chores include organizing the basement or garage and sorting through your child's unused toys, deciding together how to put them back in service by giving them away. Even though the best cabin-fever and clutter-clearing cures are to stay busy and keep on top of tasks, if you have had enough of this "activity stuff," you can kick back, listen to the river and watch the deer go by. Or more to the point, look across the Bay and wait for a sighting of a lone sailboat. Thoughts of sunnier climes and times can be had when you crank up some Buffett, wiggle into your flip flops and mix a frozen concoction---a sure way to mobilize your thoughts about getting started on clearing your clutter.

Yarrow is a certified Feng Shui practitioner, consultant, professional speaker, teacher and author who lives in Eastport.


What event in the Annapolis area are you most looking forward to in 2006?

Powerboat Show
Sailboat Show
Renaissance Festival
Seafood Festival
County Fair

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