Cure cabin fever by cutting clutter

With this winter’s wicked weather, many homeowners are suffering from a bad bout of “Cabin Fever.” One of its main symptoms is the feeling that the walls are closing in on you.

Way back in the mid-1700s, Benjamin Franklin offered an adage to help cure “Cabin Fever” that still holds true today: “A place for everything, everything in its place.”

Now might be a good time to increase your usable indoor acreage by weeding out and culling unnecessary clutter in your home. Get four big boxes, labeled: “Keep,” “Sell,” “Donate,” and “Trash,” and start small with the worst clutter areas. You decide which box to toss a particular item in. After you’ve made good progress, head to a store that sells big, sturdy, clear plastic stackable bins with covers.

These stacked “Keep” bins are true space savers. You can easily view your saved items through the clear plastic, and the stacked bins can be hidden behind a door or in any other nook area.

However, most homeowners wouldn’t be too hep on having rows of stacked plastic bins in their living or dining rooms. But they’re in luck because good February furniture sales are ongoing.

“Many of our customers come to us because they don’t want their clutter on display,” stated Steve Celona, general manager of Chilton’s Furniture on the Payne Road in Scarborough. Mostly made in Maine, Chilton’s furniture pieces are known for their Shaker-inspired workmanship, function and simplicity of line and form.

“We offer plenty of beautifully designed pieces that assist our customers in organizing and hiding their clutter,” Celona stated. He pointed to the bookshelves with doors, covered cupboards, hutches and an attractive cherry Shaker hall seat that “serves as a bench, storage bin and coat rack.”

Chilton’s general manager noted that its two-person storage bench with round armrests and curved legs and back — offered in either cherry or maple — “is a beautiful piece of art to sit on with a spacious storage area under its hinged seat.”

Chilton’s also has a six-piece cherry desk set “that will easily meet any person’s office and organizing needs,” Celona commented.

When it comes to quickly picking up a child’s messy room, Celona said that parents are picking the affordable pine cubes with or without the lined wicker baskets.

What about those folks who have cleared the clutter and still desire more open floor space? How about those who decide to downsize for carbon footprint or financial reasons and find that their current furniture is too bulky and large for their new smaller homes?

Ross Endicott, of Endicott Home in Scarborough, is happy to come to their rescue. His furniture store is focused exclusively on well-made, smaller furnishings.

His store displays a wide assortment of wall beds; narrow hall tables; and smaller bookshelves, entertainment centers, coffee tables and dining tables that integrate well in smaller homes and condos.

“If you’re not going to increase your house footprint, you can still give the illusion of more space by shrinking the size of your furniture,” Endicott explained.

He pointed to the condo sofa that he designed for his customers who were unable to find well-made, smaller American upholstery. “This furniture is completely customizable. We can change the arm style; the seat deck height, width and depth; and make other frame and styling changes,” he commented.

Endicott is also proud of his attractive and durable wall beds and convertible desk beds, available in all finishes. He succeeded in putting Ben Franklin’s quote to the test by showing that every item on the desk stayed in its place when he  pulled the hidden bed from its upright position to cover the top of the desk.

Freeport Knife & Kitchenware, in Freeport, is known for having one of the largest selections of Victorinox Swiss Army Knives in the country. Co-owner Rhoda Dillman said that they offer a wide variety of accessories, such as knife storage blocks, cutting boards, and environmentally green utensil holders, made from recycled glass and bamboo, as well as retractable bamboo holders, to keep kitchen items organized.

“Another popular item is our marble wine cooler that keeps white wine cool in and out of the fridge and can double as a utensil holder,” Dillman noted.

Information garnered from Sherri, a chat representative, at suggests that multi-functional items, such as storage ottomans and storage benches are popular with its customers, who are looking for more open floor space and an easy way to quickly stash clutter when unexpected guests arrive.

The chat rep said that she’s also a big fan of the company’s various hanging bags with shelves for the closet, where users can store such things as sweaters and shoes.

“I prefer more things to be in my closet rather than lying on the floor, collecting dust,” she commented.

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