Search This Blog

Sunday 14 July 2013

Decluttering can't kill you - or can it?!

I consider myself extremely fortunate not to suffer with allergies, unlike several of my friends and friends of friends – some of whom dread going out to a restaurant as they can never be sure whether they’ll be served something which could potentially kill them! 

So on Friday 1st June I went with one of them - a food allergy consultant - to the first day of The Allergy & Free From Show in London, to help her promote her new business - Food Allergy Aware.  It's a training company which aims to educate and assist the catering industry to become food allergy aware, and support those affected by food allergies.

The other main reasons for attending the Allergy Show were to:
  • Attend workshops to learn some tips on things to look out for and precautions to take when decluttering and organising for people with allergies and Asthma.
  • Make contact with charities which offer allergy and asthma training and support - with a view to signing them up as apdo-uk charity partners in the future (I'm the Marketing & PR Officer for The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK - apdo-uk).
The first thing I discovered was that many airlines no longer serve peanuts as snacks on board their aircraft, as some people are so allergic to them that they only have to be in the same room to be affected! 

So whenever I take a snack to a client in future, I'll ensure it doesn't contain peanuts - just in case they were susceptible to peanut allergy.
Sue Kropf, an Asthma Nurse Specialist from the Asthma UK charity gave an excellent talk explaining about Asthma, which made me realise how aware of the risks that professional organisers have to be when working with Asthma sufferers, and the course of action to take in the event of an asthma attack, which could easily be triggered by things being moved around and disbursing dust into the air. 
The Asthma UK website has an excellent A-Z of Triggers which I urge all professional organisers to look at.
Also at the show I had a lovely chat on the UK Health Radio stand with the charming Robert Lumme, an architect and ‘Building Biologist’ from Germany-based company Baufritz.  He’d given an interesting talk about the extraordinary lengths they go to in order to design and build homes which effectively shield you from environmental triggers that affect your health - including things like anti-glare tv screens which help reduce the risk of migraines.

On the FABED stand I met some absolutely amazing and inspirational women, whose children suffer with a tragic and debilitating Gastro-Intestinal disorder called Eosinophilic (ee-oh-sin-o-fil-ick); it has no known cure. 

Whilst I came away from the show with a full tummy, a goody bag full of leaflets and contact details for apdo-uk to follow up with possible charity partners, I also came away profoundly affected by how incredibly vulnerable some people can be to having an allergic reaction from what most of us take for granted - the most important and fundamental things in our lives - what we eat or drink and the air we breathe.  I will never take them for granted ever again.
Rubber Latex Allergy
The week after the show I mentioned my visit to my dentist, and how I was going to write this article for my professional organising colleagues.  He told me about a couple of very sad cases he’d heard about recently where dental patients have died (not at his practice I hasten to add!) because of undiagnosed allergies to things like ingredients in mouth washes. 

He also asked if we ever wear gloves when we’re working – which occasionally some of us do – and that I MUST write about the possible risk of wearing rubber latex gloves in the presence of people who may have an allergy to latex.  So I looked it up on the very helpful Allergy UK website. 

Apparently around 6% of the UK population are allergic to natural rubber latex protein, and that approximately 10% of health personnel who are occupationally exposed to rubber gloves and other rubber articles, have been found to suffer symptoms on contact.

It seems that some people who are sensitive to latex don’t even need to wear or touch latex to be affected by it, and the effects can be immediate and serious - severe itching and nettle rash (hives) usually within minutes of contact, which may progress to sneezing, wheezing, dizziness and/or light headedness and collapse.

I will endeavour to be vigilant and take extra care when visiting clients, especially if I come across things like inhalers or spacers, or if the client is wearing allergy alert jewellery or come across an EpiPen (the injection method used by people when they go into anaphylactic shock.

So I will try and keep using things like rubber bands and washing up gloves to a minimum, and use non-latex gloves whenever possible if the need to wear protective gloves arises. 

To find out more about latex allergies, visit the Latex Allergy Support Group website.

First Aid training

As a result of attending the Show, I’m now even more acutely aware how much responsibility I have to my clients to make a difference to their lives.
So I'm planning on attending a First Aid training course (the last one I did was over 10 years ago), so that I’m better placed to be able to help my clients and anyone else who may be affected by allergies and other medical conditions. 

My clients usually find that decluttering and organising their stuff is a life changing experience - let's hope it's never life threatening.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Recycling, repurposing & upcycling ideas on Pinterest - Xmas tree decorations

We may only be 8 days away from the longest day, and it may only be 195 days (or 6 months 13 days) to Christmas, but the weather is ridiculously cold and the central heating keeps turning itself on automatically, so you could be forgiven for thinking winter was here already!

To cheer you up, here's an idea that will save you money on Xmas decorations, and is ideal for when you need something keep the kids occupied indoors (or even in the tent or caravan) while it's raining and miserable outside!

Click on this link to Rainbow Red's Pinterest page, to learn how to make these cheap, easy-to-assemble Xmas tree decorations out of recycled cards, wrapping paper or even magazines/newspapers!

And while you're there, check out loads of other great recycling, repurposing and upcycling ideas - plus some fantastic organising and storage solutions - on Rainbow Red's other Pinterest pages.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Decluttering workshop for Surrey Libraries - Redhill - 18th May 2013

The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill was a perfect venue for Rainbow Red's latest decluttering (and organising) workshop on 18th May, sponsored by the Health & Wellbeing team at Surrey Libraries.  The 52 attendees enjoyed Cherry Rudge and Lynda Wylie's practical hints and tips, an explanation of S.P.A.C.E. zoning, and overcoming decluttering challenges, plus a practical demonstration of how to organise kids drawers, and an IKEA video showing the functional potential of a room once it's been decluttered.
Kay Hadwick from Surrey Libraries said "Thank you very much for the workshop on Saturday. I thought it went well. Everybody has said on their evaluation forms that they would recommend the workshop to others". Post workshop feedback included comments such as: "A useful workshop - can't wait to get home and start! Can see how I can tackle this long term issue and can see loads of benefits of me decluttering. Thanks so much!!!" and "My head is spinning with all the good ideas and my reactions to the workshop. All very positive. You have inspired us to tackle a very tricky and sore subject, still giving us respect and hope for the future."

Cherry Rudge of Rainbow Red and Lynda Wylie of Tidy Rooms are both Members of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (
For more information, or to book a workshop for your local group in North Surrey & SW London, please contact:
Cherry Rudge - Ph: 07931 303310 - Email:

Thursday 25 April 2013

New self-help hoarder support group - Leatherhead

Mental health services at The Mary Frances Trust and Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have teamed up to launch a new self-help group for compulsive hoarders and their carers.

For the first time in Surrey, specific support will be available for people to talk about their experiences and difficulties of hoarding, to share ideas about coping with their condition and to learn about treatments.

Patrick Wolter, Chief Executive of local mental health charity Mary Frances Trust, said: “Hoarding is a complex disorder which has been hidden for many years. Since the 1990s the interest has increased and the recent media coverage of hoarding has also increased awareness and interest among sufferers and family members. However, it is still very often not recognised. Hoarding can be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) but recent research show that in many cases hoarding appears to be independent from any neurological or mental health disorders, including OCD. Hence many people remain undiagnosed and do not receive appropriate support.”

Sophie Holmes, Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the Mole Valley Community Mental Health Recovery Service, said. “People often tell us there is still a stigma attached to mental health problems and sadly this is all-to-often true for people who hoard as well. Hoarding can be very debilitating but people can avoid seeking help out of embarrassment and a fear of being judged or simply because they feel overwhelmed.
Coming to terms with having a mental health problem is never easy, so we’ve set up this self-help support group to show people that support is out there and that they’re not alone. In fact the condition is actually more common than many people think. Working in partnership with the Mary Frances Trust allows us to apply our expertise to train volunteers to reach-out to far more people than those referred to our NHS services.”
The group will be facilitated by Patrick Wolter, Sophie Holmes, and Andy Honey, a local carer who has become an expert by experience and is volunteering to help others living with the condition.

Andy became known locally for helping Westcott resident and compulsive hoarder Richard Wallace to clear his home last year. His emerging role as a carer was featured in a two-part documentary for Channel Four, entitled Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder, which also followed Richard’s treatment with Sophie and the Mole Valley mental health team.

Andy Honey said “I know from experience that people do benefit from meeting others in the same situation. I’m very excited as we’ve got a really good balance of psychological, practical, & Mary Frances Trust support to run the group. This will be so beneficial as we will be able to cover all aspects for people who hoard, and their relatives, carers & friends.”

The Hoarding Self Help Support group meets for the first time on Thursday 9th May at 7pm-9pm  at the Mary Frances Trust’s headquarters (The Leatherhead Clubhouse, 23 The Crescent, Leatherhead, KT22 8DY). The group will then meet there at the same time on second Thursday of each month.

For further details and to express your interest in attending the group please call the Mary Frances Trust on 01372 375 400 or email

Alternatively, if you live in or around the Leatherhead area and would prefer not to attend a self-help group to discuss problems you may have with clutter, hoarding or organising your home, you may prefer instead to get practical, non-judgemental, motivational help or advice from local professional organiser Cherry Rudge of Rainbow Red, based in Walton-on-Thames. 

Cherry Rudge is a Member of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (, and is herself the daughter of a hoarder, so has first hand experience of how difficult life can become with too much stuff taking over a home. 
To find out what her hoarder clients have said about how their experiences of working with a professional organiser and how it's changed their lives, take a look at the hoarding pages of Rainbow Red's blog.
Call 07931 303310 or email to find out how to create a home where you can live life rather than be snowed under by it. 


Sunday 3 February 2013

Come to our decluttering workshops


Click here to book your place on the Surrey Events website - tickets cost £10
Get inspired by our motivational step-by-step Action Plan, and local suggestions on where to sell, upcycle and recycle your unwanted items.
 Here's what people say about our workshops:
"Lynda and Cherry provided our women's group with the perfect mix of up-to-date, local information, inspiration to feel empowered, and practical advice. I would recommend their presentation to anyone. Val Bradley, Horizon Group, Fetcham
"I just had to write and say how much I enjoyed the afternoon, how well it was organised and my house does not know what has hit it!  I started de-cluttering the following day (only because we went out that evening).  The office took about a good week.  The utility room a day and a half and the dresser a day.  Only regret not taking photos, as was advised! Still have loads more to do but the enthusiasm is still there.
So just to say thank you for the workshop and if there is another one, please let me know as I now have a few friends interested!!!!!!!" Attendee, Leatherhead Workshop, Oct 2012
"I can't praise too highly their organsiational understanding, attention to detail and their enthusiasm for their calling  plus their empathy for those with whom they work.  If I am able to help them  in some of these future events, I would be most happy to do so."
Cherry Rudge of Rainbow Red and Lynda Wylie of Tidy Rooms are both Members of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (
For more information, or to book a workshop for your local group in North Surrey & SW London, please contact: 
Cherry Rudge - Ph: 07931 303310 - Email: 

*Image copywrite: Paula Becker

Thursday 24 January 2013

Rainbow Red mentioned in House Beautiful decluttering supplement - Feb 2013

Several hints and tips from Cherry Rudge of Rainbow Red recently appeared in the 32-page decluttering supplement of February 2013's House Beautiful magazine.

The wonderful freelance journalist Jayne Dowle (who writes mainly for House Beautiful, The Times and The Yorkshire Post) also featured hints and tips from several other Members of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (apdo-uk) in the article.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Cherry Rudge interviewed on Brooklands Radio's Fabulous Women Show - 15th January 2013

I was thrilled to be interviewed recently on one of my local radio stations in Weybridge, Surrey.

The delightful Celia Jones and Nicky Rudd - presenters of the Fabulous Women Show - wanted to know about how I became a professional organiser, asked me to share some of my experiences, and give a few top decluttering and  organising tips for Fabulous Women.

I also outlined various options of where to dispose of unwanted items, and gave examples of some of the funnier things I've come across since I became a professional organiser - when did you ever find a pair of false teeth under the soap?!  And did you know that some rugby clubs (eg. Esher RFC) often want donations of old towels to wipe their balls with?!

Listen in here (scroll down to the Life section - 15th January 2012)

I also gave details of how to find a professional organiser throughout the UK - via The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers website - 

The other guest was the amazing Mandy Hickson, who talked about how she made the transition from being a former RAF jet pilot to becoming a motivational and keynote speaker.

Friday 18 January 2013

Decluttering workshop - Horizon Group, Fetcham

Presenters Lynda Wylie & Cherry Rudge
Several centimeters of snow fell this morning throughout Surrey, which meant the beautiful scene at St Mary’s Church in Fetcham, Surrey - was like something straight out of a Christmas card. 

So we were totally amazed that any of the lovely ladies from the Horizon Women’s Group turned up at all for today's decluttering workshop!

Lynda Wylie (Tidy Rooms) and Cherry Rudge (Rainbow Red) shared practical techniques to enable the Members to declutter and organise the valuable space in their homes.  

Attendees were encouraged to create an Action Plan, to help them focus on things like their vision for their space, their decluttering goals and zoning.

The workshop also touched on making space for spirituality, and how it’s important to take time to step back and plan your life – and your space - around your personal priorities, including - if you are religious - making space for God.

Decluttering is a very emotive subject, and there was much discussion amongst the group about their personal experiences and challenges they’d faced whilst decluttering.

The Horizon Women’s Group meets fortnightly in St Mary’s church hall, and looks at a range of topics and issues relating to women’s lives. 

There is a free crèche for pre-school children, so you can be an adult for a while and have some fun!  Meetings start at 10am for coffee and homemade cake, 10:15 informal discussion and finish by 11:15.  You don’t have to be a member of a church to join.

To find out more about the Horizon Group, either just turn up on the day, or call Julie on 01372 375000 or email her on

Future decluttering workshops by Rainbow Red:
Date:                               Saturday 18th May 2013
Time:                               2pm – 5pm
Venue:                             The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, Surrey
Sponsored by:                   Surrey Libraries
Booking details:                 To be confirmed

Workshops can be tailored to the requirements of individual groups or clubs.  For more information or to book a workshop or talk, please contact Cherry Rudge:
Phone:                            07931 303310

Friday 11 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions should be for life, not just for January

All those of you who have dreams of changing something about your life – for example by decluttering or getting more organised - please raise your hand. 

Keep your hand up if you plan on making a New Year’s Resolution to make that change become a reality next year. 
Now keep your hand up for at least two minutes (preferably three) if you honestly believe with all your heart and soul that you’ll be able to achieve your goal of achieving that resolution next year. 
Difficult isn’t it?!  If you managed it, very well done indeed – I applaud your resolve and unwavering willpower!

It’s easy to get swept away by the media excitement and glamour that New Year’s Resolutions brings, and feel pressurised by the annual publicity machine about making resolutions – sometimes making us believe we might be the odd person out if we DON’T make a New Year’s resolution. 

Some people feel that New Year's resolutions are an utter waste of time (and often money), whilst others feel they put artificial pressure on us to conform/follow trends and achieve goals that can be unrealistic and difficult to achieve.  

That feeling of embarrassment that we’ve not done what we’ve told our support network we would do makes us feel despondent and frustrated so that our resolutions become burdensome and weigh us down with guilt and sadness.  Our energy gets sapped away and we end up making the situation worse that we set out to change in the first place. 
  • “I can’t lose weight so I eat more because to cheer me up because I’m feeling miserable”, or
  • “I’ll move this pile somewhere else so I can’t see the clutter, or split it into smaller piles so it doesn’t look so daunting”

If you’re one of those people who kept their hand up and is determined to make a New Year’s Resolution to declutter and getting organised, my suggestion is to make a few smaller resolutions rather than one big one – so that they are more achievable, and you stay motivated. 
And whilst you’re making your resolution, set yourself a special reward at the same time, so that you can celebrate your success.  This should help spur you on, encourage you to keep going and keep on feeling good about yourself.  Isn’t that what life’s about?  And we only get one shot at life, so make it a good one. 

Sorting out your handbag or a single drawer one step at a time is a great place to start, as they can easily become muddled - and remember to take before and after photos to prove to yourself how much progress you've made.

Then re-visit what you've done often, to make sure you're maintaining the organised momentum, and calculate how much time you've saved by doing it!
Another tip is to play your favourite uplifting music quietly in the background whist you’re decluttering or getting yourself organised, to inspire you, provide “virtual” company and keep you calm and relaxed. 

At the same time, place a couple of drops of Rosemary essential oil in an oil burner to help keep you focussed – or perhaps a touch of Peppermint oil to clear your mind and keep you uplifted, or Basil essential oil to keep you calm.

Finding someone sympathetic to your cause to help you – whether it be a supportive impartial friend, one of the Rainbow Red team or a fellow professional organiser from The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (apdo-uk) – can make an enormous difference to keeping you on track and make what can be an emotionally draining activity fun, especially if you’re a team person and prefer not to work alone.

Finally, why if you live in Surrey (UK), why not attend one of Rainbow Red’s decluttering workshops, so that you can interactively  learn about things like:
·         Overcoming decluttering challenges
·         The decluttering & organising process
·         Where to get help

Maintaining the resolution beyond January can be challenging, so don't be too hard on yourself.  Try the little-and-often principle - rest assured, it WILL work, if you're determined enough!

To find out more, please:
·         LIKE us on Facebook
·         Follow us on Twitter - @RainbowRedUK
·         Email us with your enquiry:

Or phone us on 07931 303310 to book a workshop or discuss your decluttering/organising/project management needs.