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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Our Adventures in San Francisco for the 18th International Conference on Hoarding & Cluttering

2018 is turning into one heck of a memorable year!  

So far this year I've attended "Organising Matters" - the Annual conference of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO), plus two conferences on hoarding - one in San Francisco and the other London - and am very much looking forward to a third in Edinburgh in October

Plus our Level 1 Professional Hoarding Practitioner training course has just been launched - starting in July 2018, with more training to follow.

Selfie on the plane
Just after APDO's conference in March, Jo Cooke (of Hoarding Disorders UK CIC), Heather Matuozzo (of Clouds End CIC) and I flew off to San Francisco, full of excitement for our adventure!

Click here for an account that we wrote for APDO's newsletter (The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers), outlining the training and conference part of our trip.

The Berkeley City Club Hotel turned out to be the perfect place to stay, as it's less than a 10 minute walk to the conference venue (the University of California Berkeley), and about a 10-15 minute walk to the local Bart train station.   The line goes straight into the City, and it's easy to get from there to the airport too, with only one change.

The ''Little Castle'' was designed by the architect Julia Morgan, and founded in 1927 as The Berkeley Women's City Club. and is a Berkeley City and California State Historical Landmark.  

It has THE most amazing swimming pool, which opens from 5am - perfect for early-bird Jo!

Highlights of the trip for me included:
  • Spending a week in the company of two of the most gorgeous and compassionate women I have ever had the privilege of meeting
  • Not only did we have fabulous fun every single day, the three of us got to talk for an entire week amongst ourselves and with others (who are as passionate as us) about how we can help, support and raise awareness of the dilemas faced by people affected by extreme clutter, disorganisation or hoarding - how great was that?!
  • Meeting the amazing Hilary' Kacser and being mightily impressed by her memorable opening one-woman keynote performance of DisordR, The Play - a moving account of some of PakRat Patty's experiences as a hoarder
  • The pre-conference training by Dr Michael Tompkins, author of “Digging Out” and “The Clinician’s Guide to Severe Hoarding – A Harm Reduction"
  • Learning that the UK is actually ahead of the USA in some respects relating to hoarding.  For example, we have a National Hoarding Awareness Week, whereas campaigns are far more regionalised in the USA
  • Spending quality time with some wonderful folks from the US who are all doing amazing work helping people affected by hoarding (and raising awareness of the issues associated with this debilitating subject), including Marnie Matthews of The Clutter Movement, Eileen Dacey of North Shore Elder Services (near Boston, MA); Christa Tipton of NASWCA Technology Council & Orange County Task Force on Hoarding and Jette Selberg from the San Francisco Bay area.
  • Getting my photo taken with the compulsory hippy flowers in my hair - well, Berkeley was where the movement started, so it had to be done! (thank you Jette for being so thoughtful!)
  • Visiting the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco
  • Catching one of the famous cable cars (in the pouring rain!), and having a yummy meal in China Town
  • Strolling around art galleries in Oakland 
  • Enjoying eating our way around the World, with delicious food from places like Japan, Korea, Mexico, USA, China, Burma and Eritraea - to name but a few!
  • The fabulous in-flight service from Virgin Atlantic - especially coming home!
Jo, Hilary, Heather, Cherry
So, it's now time to start planning our trip for the next conference.  Sadly I've just missed the 4th Annual Hoarding of Animals Conference in Danvers, Massachusetts (which would have been fascinating), but watch out San Francisco, we'll definitely be back!
Heather, Dr Michael A. Tompkins, Cherry, Jo
Marnie, Cherry, Christa, Jette, Jo, Heather, Eileen

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