Fire Risks

Cluttered homes can increase the risk of fatalities when there is a fire. Cluttered doorways or corridors can impede the exit of the house holder but equally can impede the entrance of a fire fighter. Clutter makes it more difficult to find the occupants in a house filled with smoke. Accumulated clutter when it catches light burns hotter than a normal house fire which puts fire fighters at risk.

Can we afford not to deal with it?

Fire fighters in Exeter and Somerset are working together with Housing Agencies, Environmental Health, Professional Organisers and other interested parties in the South West to see how we can reduce risk in cluttered homes.

As a small start, may I suggest you get rid of any old VHS videos? Apparently they burn faster and hotter than paper and give off toxic fumes. Don’t let them clutter your rooms.

Need help looking at fire risks in your home? Contact your local fire fighters and ask for a home visit. It could save your life.

Need help sorting the clutter? Contact Christine on 07794978095

Are we more creative when surrounded by mess?

I am a professional organiser but I am not an inherently tidy person or in favour of minimalist living. People worry that I am going to come in and ‘make them’ get rid of all their stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth. My role is to help you manage your belongings so that they enhance your life rather than stifle it.

Some people need to reduce the quantity of stuff in their home because they can no longer function in the space. Clutter has piled on top of clutter and they can’t find anything even though they know it is in there somewhere. This leads to them spending more money buying something they know that they own but they cannot find. Now there is yet more clutter to deal with in the daily struggle to function.

In these homes clutter is not creative, it is very stressful, so stressful in fact that people develop mental blinkers which enable them to cut out the clutter so that they are not overwhelmed by it.

As an organiser, I do not see it as my job to leave you with an immaculate desk or living area in which you can no longer find anything. Many people need visual clues to remind them of their ‘to do list’. My role is to help you sort out what is working as a system and what is not. Once we discover the things that do work then we can bring that knowledge to the areas that don’t work for you and revise them so that they work too.

My husband sent me a link to an article today ‘The Psychology behind Messy Rooms: Why The Most Creative People Flourish in Clutter‘ and I found it fascinating reading.

Certainly I have found many of my clients to be interesting and creative people. They are also extremely generous with their time, devoting much of it to outside the home activities helping others. The combination of these elements can have the effect of accumulating mess that brings a resulting chaos in its wake. That is why they call me in.

If any of this resonates with you, leave a comment.

For practical help and advice, call me!

01803 527072

When organised space needs reorganising

Sometimes our lovely organised wardrobe space no longer works for us. Mounting piles of clothes accumulate in all four corners of a room.

Why have you stopped putting it away?
Chances are that the system that has worked beautifully up to now has suddenly got blocked. Once the organised space becomes blocked then there is nowhere to put the new stuff that is still coming in.

Surprisingly, it often takes a little while for us to notice the reason for the piles. We are busy people and small piles accumulate quietly but steadily in unused corners. Once we do notice we need to take action. Look at the storage space allocated for this stuff and check for blockages. Is your wardrobe so stuffed that you now have to hang clothes on the outside rather than the inside of it? Have you run out of hangars?

When your wardrobe and drawers no longer accommodate all that is destined to go in them you will find yourself with piles of clean laundry mounting on any available surface. There seems little point in folding it as you have nowhere to put it.

It’s time for action. Go through your wardrobe and drawers and let go of anything that no longer fits you. If you love it and you want to keep it till it fits again then try removing it from your working wardrobe. Bag it up and put it somewhere out of the way. You don’t need the guilt trip that you are no longer size XS and it won’t get in the way of the clothes you actually wear.

Next, check for clothes which still have the shop labels attached. Is it time to admit you made a mistake and that this was an impulse purchase too far? Forget about the money and let it go. We all make mistakes. If that had been a burnt dinner it would not be allowed to go on haunting you with its presence so why keep an unloved piece of clothing when space is at a premium?

If this seems like an overwhelming task, don’t worry. Help is at hand.
A Devon Clutter Busters wardrobe overhaul is great fun!

Christine will help you to choose the clothes that make you look good and feel great and leave your wardrobe and drawers organised and easy to manage.

Call Christine on 07794 978095 to book your session now. You won’t regret it!

A declutter mnemonic

Do you need more space
Especially in your home?
Collecting, keeping those things that may be useful
Look at items in your cupboard, books, unwanted gifts
Use your once treasures and turn them into cash
Tackle one space at a time
Try sorting into different piles
Either for boot sale, auction or for charity etc
Reducing your clutter

Kitchen Planning

How much does a new kitchen cost? I was horrified to be quoted £5000 to £6000 for my 8’ x 6’ kitchen.

We got in a ‘kitchen designer’ from a company that sells kitchens hoping that she would have some useful suggestions for how to arrange our small space more effectively.

What she actually did was to cram in as many kitchen cupboards and internal gadgets as possible with no talk of how we used the space or what we wanted to be able to do in it and having been promised that there would be no ‘hard sell’ we were pestered for months afterwards by follow up calls.

In the end I spent some time working out what we wanted to store in the kitchen and my husband put up some new shelving designed for purpose which cost us just £200. Now we have a kitchen that works for us. Visit to see a short video clip of it.

If you are thinking of spending £1000s on a new kitchen maybe you would like to book a session with someone who is not trying to sell you anything but is able to help you work out what you need to make your space work for you.

A one off session to help you plan and organise your kitchen space will cost you just £100 (plus travel) and may save you £1000s in the process.
Can you afford not to call Chris on 07794 978095?

Summertime Tips for Teachers

You have had a hard year and now you need some down time. If you are like me though, you use the first week of the holiday to tidy up and reorganise all those cupboards of stuff that have accumulated over the past year. It is very easy for school stuff to take over your home as well as your classroom.

Now is a good time to take stock of what you have used and what is moldering away at the back of the cupboard. Be ruthless and realistic. Is this item in good enough condition to use again? Is it faded, torn or tatty? Would you actually want to use it?

Don’t let tired resources take up space in cupboards.

By checking over your stock early in the holiday you will know what you have to work with when you start preparing topics for the next academic year.

If the thought of tackling the cupboards alone is daunting or overwhelming, why not give me a call on 07794 978095 and book a one off cupboard clearing session?


Sometimes talks inspire people to do more!
I received this poem written by a member of the audience after my talk on ‘The problem of Clutter in the Modern World’ in Ipplepen, Devon.

Self Confessed Hoarder
I’ll put this away for the children
It’s a pity to throw it away
I’ll put it with some others
It’s sure to come in handy one day.
I’ll find room in the attic for this one
They don’t make these any more.
I’ll wrap it in plenty of paper
And lie it down flat on the floor.
This should just about go through the trap door
With a shove and a pull on the rope
There’s nowhere else we can put it
So let’s try once again and just hope.
I’ll layer a few of these ‘thingies’
And take a few cuttings of these
I’d better sow some of those ‘whatsits’
And grow a few more trees.
Now the attic and shed seams are bursting.
In the garden are more odds and ends
But it seems that the children won’t have them
Instead they may well go to friends
For half of the kids have departed
To lands that they feel are more just
In the meantime our odd bits and pieces
Will get thicker and thicker in dust!

Which of these excuses do you use for keeping stuff you don’t want or need?
If you need help to sort things give me a call on 07794 978095

My Flat Pack Garage

Yesterday I indulged in a little daytime TV whilst ironing. I could not believe my eyes when I saw people choosing to spend £57,000 on building a new double garage with loft above rather than declutter their existing double garage which also served as a workshop.

It is true that they ended up with a delightful, new, empty garage but having done that they then cleared out the existing garage.

For less than £3000 they could have had 3 weeks working with a professional declutterer who would have helped them declutter and organise the space they had. They could have done the garage and substantial amounts of the house too. Their space would have been clear and organised and they would have saved £54,000.

See for yourself: episode 9

Clutterbugs support UK Hoarding Awareness Week

Clutterbugs are delighted to announce that the Torbay Fire and Rescue Service will be joining them at their next meeting on 19th May 2014 to give an informal presentation. All are welcome to join us at this event which promises to be informative and quite possibly life saving.

Venue: CentrePeace, Palace Avenue, Paignton (behind the theatre)
Date: Monday 19th May 2014
Time 10.30 am

Victoria Slaney of VS Foundation who allowed her experience of a house fire that wiped out all her possessions to be a life changing experience will be there.

We will also be joined by Nick Hall of Space Savers, a Torquay based decluttering service.

APDO-UK Conference 2014

Every year the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers in the UK ( puts on a conference. It is a big event for me. Working as an organiser and declutterer can be a lonely business so a chance to meet others in the profession who are as passionate about their work as I am is a real treat.

One of our international speakers commented on how good it was to see so many people who obviously love their work. It is true that declutterers and organisers are wonderful, compassionate people. Every conversation was an entry to helpful support and advice and a chance to share one’s knowledge, skills and expertise.

Our international speakers this year were Sarah Cottman from Australia (, Marla Dee from the USA (, and Hilde Verdijk from Holland( Each brought a unique style and expertise to the room.

Sarah spoke of ADHD and how it had affected her life. She told us that it is not natural to everyone to be able to impose order on their stuff. Some people need to learn how to do it. This is where professional decluttering and organising comes in. A good organiser will not just impose order in your home but will work with your strengths to help you to order your possessions in a way that will enable you to find them and keep them ordered. An organised life is an easier life.

Marla encouraged us by sharing that she has provided for herself through this business for the last 10 years. She increased our skill set by sharing her STACK method of decluttering. It is important to Sort first. When you see how much you have you may want to dispose of some of it. Next you Toss, making decisions whether to keep it or let it go. Assign the keep items a home. Contain comes next. Do not be tempted to buy storage containers until you know exactly what you want to store in them. The wrong shape or size box can become more clutter. Finally: Keep it up. To remain organised you have to maintain order by putting stuff in its assigned home.

Hilde brought us training from the Institute of Challenging Disorganization ( She talked about the reasons behind chronic disorganization, its symptoms and mental health and lifestyle choices that can exacerbate the problem. She shared the research that informs our work. Last but not least she taught strategies that can be effective. As with all services one size does not fit all comers but to be able to offer new strategies that have worked for some people is always helpful when working with a new client.
We also had local speakers including fellow colleagues from the association who shared on a number of topics including writing good copy, managing accounts and time-management. We never stopped learning. Even the breaks were times to discuss and share strategies and ideas for helping our clients.

So here I am ready and raring to go. If you would like to benefit from what I have learned, don’t hesitate to call me on 077 949 78095.