New Year Newsletter: another busy year ahead!

APDO President Ingrid Jansen met Japanese decluttering guru and author Marie Kondo on her London visit

Welcome to APDO’s first newsletter of 2016 – another year that’s going to bring further exciting developments for our growing organisation. Read on for all the latest news from our Association, our members and the world of decluttering and organising. There’s also advice on planning meals to save money and this month’s regional focus introduces some of our members in the Midlands. 

Decluttering and organising is always in the news in January as so many of us make resolutions to get our lives and homes sorted. Amid the blizzard of advice around this New Year, Japanese decluttering guru Maria Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying was all over the media as she launched her follow-up book Spark Joy: an illustrated guide to “the Japanese art of tidying”. And whether you’re a fan of the Kon-Mari method like the Daily Mail’s Rachel Johnson, or less enamoured, like Financial Times writer Lucy Kellaway, Ms Kondo’s UK appearance has certainly raised awareness of the benefits of a professional approach to getting organised, and the UK Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers is all in favour of that!

Spring launch for our new look

We’re in the middle of a streamlining process ourselves as, having already shortened our name from apdo-uk to APDO, we prepare to launch our new-look website this spring. Our aim? To make it easier for both our members and anyone looking for organising help and inspiration to find what they are looking for.  Watch this space for details.

Conference is coming soon …

Carl Honoré of the Slow Movement is one of our Conference speakers

We’re also busy preparing for APDO’s 2016 Conference: The Power of Letting Go in London on March 15 and 16. As well as our keynote speakers, Carl Honoré globetrotting ambassador for the Slow Movement, and Canadian organising guru Colette Robicheau the conference will feature:

  • Question & Answer session with experienced APDO organisers
  • Expert tips on creating a great website, styling homes for sale, working with older people and running workshops
  • Social events on both evenings

Both days this year are open to non-members, so it’s a great opportunity to find out more about our work and meet members and speakers. And if you are planning to become a professional organiser, join APDO and you can benefit from the lower conference admission fee for our members. Full conference programme and booking info here.

APDO training takes off

In November we launched our first introductory training course for professional organisers in the UK, and we’re absolutely delighted that demand just keeps on growing. Our first introductory training course in Manchester on January 30 and our second London day on February 27 are already fully booked so we are planning further dates a little later in the year. Initial training covers the following:

  • What does it take to be a professional organiser
  • How to handle client consultations and deal with specific challenges
  • Practicalities of working with clients
  • How to find clients and develop your business

Also in development is a follow-up Level 2 course which we plan to pilot in the next few months. Details will be announced on our website and Facebook page as soon as dates are finalised. Email if you’d like to be notified direct when new courses are available.

International membership

APDO member numbers in the UK continue to grow and we have now opened up a new International Membership category for overseas-based professional organisers who wish to join our ranks. This is intended primarily to help those in our industry who live in a country without an Association of its own, but we welcome applications from members of other worldwide Associations if they wish. Fees are the same as for UK members. Click here for details

Try this simple recipe to save on food bills

Being organised is not only good for your health (as explained in this month’s earlier blog post Clear our the clutter and boost your wellbeing) it can also be very good for your wallet.  Being organised can save you money in many different ways, from not having to pay overdue fees to not having to replace misplaced items, but here we focus on a very particular element of being organised, and that is meal planning.

Making several trips to the supermarket every week, buying ready meals on the spur of the moment and ordering takeaways quickly adds up. And that’s not counting all the food that gets wasted and binned – all because the temptation in the supermarket was so great. Can you believe that in the UK the average household throws away one month’s worth of food every year? But it is possible make your life a lot easier and save time and money with some forward planning. Here’s how.

Make a list of all the meals you (and your family) like. Depending how many people you need to include, everyone gets several picks and if someone has already picked one of your favourites you get another go. List enough main meals for almost a month, so that you end up with a good variety of foods.

Here’s an example for a family of four:

Mum Dad Child 1 Child 2
Stir Fry Steak Pie Spaghetti Bolognese Macaroni Cheese
Chicken Caesar Salad Burger & Chips Fish Fingers Chicken Nuggets
Chili con Carne Fish Pie Fish Cakes Pasta with Tomato Sauce
Roast Beef Roast Chicken Cottage Pie Fish & Chips
Sausage & Mash Curry Beans on Toast Cheese on Toast


On a sheet of paper or on the computer (you can use a Word table or a spreadsheet for this) create a grid for seven days with one row for lunches and another for dinners.

Now fill in the dinners you would like to make from the list of options you created in Step 1, alternating between everyone’s suggestions, so that everyone only has a few days to wait before their next favourite is on the menu. This way you will not only vary your meals but you will find it easier to convince your fussier eaters that their favourite meal isn’t far away. Plan in some meals using leftovers as to reduce food waste. If you want, you can schedule in one day a week for takeaways and maybe one day a month for a visit to a pub or restaurant, if the budget allows. If your treats are planned in, then everyone will look forward to them rather than it being the go-to option that takes a big bite out of your budget.
As for lunches, you can add homemade sandwiches and salads, as well as leftover creations.

Create your shopping list for the week, including breakfast items and add matching veg and salad options to your meals.

Buy all the necessary ingredients for your upcoming week’s meals. As you now have a list, don’t stray away from it by buying “special deals” that are surplus to requirements and will get thrown out uneaten. Stick to your list and opt for supermarket own-brands over big name brands – a great way to save even more money especially as a lot of items are made by the same manufacturers.

Enjoy your organised meals and repeat for the following week.

If you are feeling a little more adventurous you can add fresh meal ideas into the mix. Many of us have cookbooks on our bookshelves that are waiting to be explored or rediscovered, and you can find endless inspiration online, from your favourite TV chef’s latest series to meal planning ideas on supermarket’s own websites.

However you get to your particular meal plan, you will end up with a system that is tailored to your (and your family’s) needs and tastes and that will save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you need help with setting up and/or implementing organisational systems like these, APDO can help you find an organiser near you.

APDO members and decluttering in the news

Our industry and our members continue to make regular media appearances. To mention just a few:

Organising Quick Tip: digital backups

Scan or take photos of all your important documents such as passports, birth certificates, driving licences, EHIC cards, etc. and store the digital images in the cloud using Dropbox, OneDrive or similar. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t store the originals securely, but should the worst happen, such as a house fire or a burglary, you can produce the backups to prove your identity to the authorities.

Regional Focus

In this issue we find out a little more about the services offered by some of our members based in the Midlands

The Declutter Doctor
My name is Bernie Sarginson. I am a former solicitor, and I have been working with women to help them to get organised and stay organised since 2011. I am a trained coach and work with my clients to help address the underlying issues for their disorganisation or clutter, so that together we can find the best solutions that are practical, sustainable and relevant to you. I work across the East Midlands and offer a free initial consultation – either in person or, depending on location, by phone or Skype.

Dot the I’s Organising
Sue Darby offers hands-on assistance and support in all aspects of organising, for homes and businesses. A non-judgemental professional service, respecting clients and their homes, Sue’s aim is to ease stress and simplify life, leaving her clients organised and with realistic systems that suit their lifestyle, resulting in more free time to do the things they love. From organising paperwork, wardrobes, rooms, whole house decluttering, moving or downsizing, no two clients or their projects are the same but the impact of restoring order to their lives is – amazing!

HB Professional Organiser
Hannah Bradley is passionate about helping clients organise their homes and making them free from clutter. HB Professional Organiser is a friendly and confidential service based in the West Midlands that offers practical support to help restore order into your home. Hannah will work with you to provide support, guidance and direction to help you tackle jobs that need an extra helping hand. With a background in interior design Hannah can give you advice and ideas to make your home space work more efficiently for you.

Karen Kingston International
Karen Kingston’s book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, has sold nearly two million copies in 25 languages and established itself as a “must read” classic. Karen teaches highly effective online clutter clearing courses that have been taken by thousands of people in over 50 countries. She and her husband, Richard Sebok, also train clutter clearing practitioners to a very high standard and offer private clutter clearing consultations locally and worldwide. They are based in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Order Restored
Christine Murphy is based in South Herefordshire and loves working with people to transform their homes. She has been a declutterer for six years and has helped many people, from busy mums needing to change the use of a room, to the elderly, planning to downsize, who need moral as well as physical support. The work can range from sorting out a garden shed to organising paperwork to decluttering a whole house, as well as advising on interior design and home staging. Christine will always work at your own pace and is there to help you simplify your surroundings and leave the clutter behind.

Organised Chaos
Sue Hardman has always been an organised and tidy person.  During the course of her career as a chartered surveyor Sue realised that many other people don’t have the skill to be able to declutter and organise their homes.  Spotting a niche in the market, Sue decided to change career and bring together her organising skills and love of helping other people.   Sue has worked with clients of all ages and types and is known for her non-judgemental nature and supportive manner.  Above all, Sue is very passionate about helping people in their time of need and leaving them with organising skills for the future.

Personal Organiser
My name is Herma Prinsen and my services are geared towards individuals and their families going through a difficult time in their lives. My work is varied – but I am passionate about working with the elderly in particular as they often need, or want to, declutter to create a better living space or to downsize.  Some clients ask me to carry out their regular paperwork and administration because of illness, a lack of energy, interest or time. I live in Worcestershire and I am happy to travel.

The Organised Company
Ros Hayes left the Army last year after nearly 17 years. During her service, she learnt the value of being organised and the freedom that living with less gave her. It was these skills, and a desire to help others that led her to set up The Organised Company in Herefordshire, which has helped a variety of clients at home and in their business. Clients have referred to her work as “game-changing” and “utterly professional”. Ros loves seeing the positive effects that decluttering and becoming more organised can have. Her latest big project is helping an older couple downsize and reduce their clutter before they move from a four-bedroom house into a one-bedroom flat.

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