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Thursday 31 March 2016

How can clutter, disorganisation or hoarding affect our health?

LIFE - Life Isn't For Ever, so treasure it, and yourself and live it WELL!

That was the key message from the workshop that I ran recently at the annual conference of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (APDO) in London. 

Participants (including professional organisers and a recovering-hoarder) came away with a better understanding of:
  • the types of health and wellbeing risks associated with living in a malfunctioning home
  • how ill-health - both physical and mental - can cause clutter, disorganisation and hoarding
  • where to go in the UK for appropriate help and support
I also encouraged professional organisers to tell their clients about the ice-breaker form I devised in 2015 - it will enable them to have a conversation with a medical professional if clutter or disorganisation is affecting their health, or that of a family member or friend.

As the theme of the 2016 conference was "The Power of Letting Go", the workshop included topics like how to let go of stigmas associated with asking for help, by using CBT techniques to feel more confident about being able to ask for help.  Which is why our wise owl is flying the flag for Time To Change England's biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.

One of the workshop participants - Jo Cooke of Berkshire-based Hoarding Disorders UK - said "I came away very inspired by Cherry’s presentation.  Cherry’s workshop was not only well researched and extremely informative. But Cherry also highlighted the crucial facts relating to the implications, impact and regulations surrounding hoarding disorder.  Cherry speaks with confidence and passion.  I came away with some excellent tips on how to help my clients. Cherry is very inspirational.  I would certain recommend attending this workshop. Excellent."

It was the second year in a row that I'd run a workshop at the two-day conference, where this year's speakers included Carl HonorĂ©, globetrotting ambassador for the Slow Movement Canadian organising guru Colette RobicheauGwendoline Alderton from GA Interiors (UK) who talked about Style for Sale like a Professional, and Keren Lerner from Top Left Design who explained How to Create a Killer Website.

For more information about the clutter and health workshop or to book Cherry to run this workshop for your group, please contact: or phone 07931 303310.


Cherry Rudge of Surrey-based Rainbow Red is the daughter of a hoarder, so has had personal experience not only of the day-to-day physical, psychological and emotional trials and tribulations faced by families affected by living with too much stuff, but also the sensitivities required to calmly help people declutter and create order out of chaos. 

She is a pioneering member of apdo-uk’s Hoarding Advisory Team, and a member of The Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) Mental Health & Hoarding Working Group (which organised the first ever UK Hoarding Awareness Week in May 2014).

In addition to 1-2-1 sessions with hoarders and those affected by chronic disorganisation, she offers training and advocacy services and is an advisor to organisations including media production companies, Surrey Fire & Rescue Service, ADHD Support Groups and social landlords.

Originally published in March 2016 - updated in June 2016