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Christmas - Are you making a list and checking it twice?

Christmas - I love it! The smells, the sounds, the lights (and sights) but most of all the anticipation. And like most people the 'Day' seldom lives up to my expectations but I always have a great time and can look back on most of my Christmas' with happy memories. I know this isn't the case for everyone, so what's my secret?

It isn't just that I'm naturally organised, that's an advantage, but more than that I think that, as I've got older, my attitude to Christmas has changed. I now don't expect it to be 'perfect' in fact one of my personal mantra's is 'Good, sometimes is, good enough' and I think this applies to Christmas just as much as at any other time of year. So, I don't aim for the 'perfect' Christmas but I do aim for everyone, including myself, to have a good time and that is down to the planning and a bit of advance preparation.

So here are a few quick tips to get your Christmas off to a flying start and you arriving at the day with enough energy to enjoy it!

  1. Be like Santa and make a list, then check it twice. Grab a cup or glass of something nice, settle down and give yourself time to think of all the things that need to be done. From ordering the turkey (or other meat of preference) to making up beds for visitors. A little time spent now on this will save you hours and a great deal of panic later.
  2. Decide what you are going to do when. Give yourself a time line and block out time in your diary for the bigger tasks. I know this might sound over the top but really knowing that you can only visit Great Aunt Susan 3 weeks before Christmas will help you focus on what needs to be done before that.
  3. Ask for help. Another advantage of making that list is that you can see exactly what needs to be done and therefore when you might struggle to fit it all in. Do try to involve other people, particularly the children. I know you probably feel like it's too risky but if you only delegate those non-essential things, you are taking less of a risk. So don't ask someone to order the turkey, but why not ask them to get the crackers.
  4. Once you've asked for someone's help, let them do it their way. (As a complete control freak, this is one I struggle with, but lots of practice and a bit of deep breathing, helps me get through any slightly panicky moments!) I am usually delighted with the results rather than disappointed.
  5. Buying gifts. Hands up, I know this can be difficult, on average I have 20 odd presents to buy every year and I have occasionally found myself on that dash to the shop on Christmas Eve, frantically searching for that final present for a difficult Uncle (most of my elderly relatives are housebound, bad on their feet, slightly deaf or losing their sight) and it is nearly always due to the fact that I didn't give enough time at the start of the season to thinking it through. I cannot buy 20 presents on Christmas Eve so for me starting early is essential. What I usually do is start collecting the Christmas catalogues as they hit the door mat, not necessarily because I'm going to order from that particular catalogue but because they are useful for ideas. Again, over a coffee or a glass of wine I will make time to look through them. And I'm sure I don't have to remind you to search on line, it saves lots of tired feet and worn out tempers. This might be something you can involve older children with - fresh eyes might bring out some surprises and, it's good practice for them too. Getting presents early can also save you money. Giving yourself time to find a thoughtful present means there is less likelihood of you dashing out and grabbing the nearest thing you can think of at twice the price you anticipated.
  6. Are you a smartphone user? Here are a couple of apps for you to use which may make your life that bit less stressful.
  • To Santa Xmas wish list - Your children will love to write their list to Santa and then you can relax whilst the app sorts prices and stockist and sends ideas to your family by email. 59p.
  • Christmas wrapped - I'm definitely giving this one a go. Helps you source pressies for those unusual people you know and it lets you sort by price. £1.19

One last thing - don't forget, it's your Christmas too - so do whatever you need to do to enjoy it.

I wish you a truly Happy Christmas, because, like the advert says - you deserve it!

Changes in the team: a message from the President of apdo-uk

I would like to thank Jon Ramsay of Clutterbee for the excellent work that he has done on behalf of apdo-uk during the last two years in dealing with press and PR enquiries, and supporting me on all manner of tasks to keep the organisation running. Jon's own business has become so busy that he is no longer able to fulfil this role (which is a wonderful position to be in!), but he remains a valued member and colleague.

I'm delighted to welcome, formally, our two new team members, who will be working with me as we develop and improve the services that we can offer, both to our clients and to our members. Sharon Kellett has been creating this newsletter for us since May, and has been doing an excellent job; she will, over time, have an increasing input to the administrative side of the organisation. Cherry Rudge brings her experience and expertise in PR and marketing to take over from Jon. Working with our PR agency, MediaJems, we aim to increase our profile and to become a genuine driving force for our industry. You can find more about the team on the apdo-uk website.

Watch this space for more plans and projects in the coming months. We look forward to a very exciting 2012!

Cassie Tillett

Regional Focus

This issue we are focussing on our members in the SE, SW and W London regions.

Organise Your House

Organise Your House is run by Ingrid Jansen, a 38-year-old, mother of 2. "Together with my clients I de-clutter and organise their homes. This can be one room or the whole house. I've helped my clients de-clutter rooms from bedrooms to garages. The aim is to find, display and treasure the items that my clients love and to recycle the items they no longer need. Helping my clients de-clutter gives them less stress and more peaceof mind. I've moved house myself many times and specialise in getting properties ready for sale and helping my clients get ready to move into their new home. Please look at my facebook page Organise Your House for before- and after pictures or read several testimonials on my website."

Space2Think Solutions

My name is Helen Watson and I run Space2Think Solutions, an organising and decluttering service based in Teddington, South West London. I started my service in May and have had a wide range of clients. I particularly enjoy dealing with paperwork issues and setting up efficient filing systems, but I also get real pleasure from helping people transform their living environments so they literally have Space2Think! I am currently working with a serious hoarder who needs lots of support and encouragement. My background is in libraries, television and education. I think the support available from experienced (& new) Apdo members is fantastic. Look forward to meeting some of you soon.

Love Your Loft

Loveyourloft...again is a business set up by 2 women who have a passion to see that unwanted items go to a new home where they can be loved and used again. Having helped Valerie clear out her loft space of the toys and games that her children had played with, they have gone on to help other people sell their unwanted items and make some money for them in the process to help fund other adventures. Recent website developments allow people to hunt for particular wanted treasures in their ebay store and to receive updates when items are found and listed for sale.


Glisten is a friendly lifestyle management service specialising in de-cluttering your home. Our packages cover everything from a full de-clutter to home moves, kitchen organisation and out going clutter solutions. Whether you are a working professional, busy mum or family on the move, we can help you clean, clear and de-clutter your home till it GLISTENS !!!

Sally (owner) a professional organiser and de-clutterer extraodinaire was born in Auckland New Zealand, moving to London in 2008. Before becoming a mum and launching Glisten Sally, was a qualified Nanny, with an excellent reputation not only for her childcare skills but also for her cooking and general household management. Sally has an out-going personality and takes on your dreaded jobs with a smile.

For Christmas Sally will be offering a 10% discount and a free Christmas gift. Contact her on 07590 397545.


Annie & Val say:

"Many of our clients are unable to control their 'gathering' instinct. We work empathetically and it's almost always the case that the client forms a bond with one of us. The de-cluttering then becomes twofold - one of us leads physically, the other emotionally, employing great humour and with the emphasis on involving the client.

Our aim is to free the client from their excess 'stuff', allowing them to move forward full of hope for the future - and it works! Last week we heard that one of our lovely ladies had been so liberated by our de-cluttering that she moved on, met and married a new man.

Here's to hope for the future!"


Karen Storey says: "If I'm honest, the inspiration for Homespace was a serious addiction to TV programmes such as House Doctor and The Life Laundry! It also gave me the chance to combine organisational skills from my years as a lawyer with a love of interior design; at first in home staging, after being trained by TV's House Doctor Ann Maurice, and increasingly now in de-cluttering and organising.

I love the diversity of the work, from a one day blitz of one room to a long-term project on a whole house, but the most satisfying thing is giving clients more than just a tidy home. I know that I've done a good job when I leave clients with smiles on their faces, not just because they've reclaimed space in their houses, but because they're enjoying their homes again.

For Christmas I'm offering 10% off my individually tailored Lifestyle Gift Vouchers which allow people to give anything from a wardrobe revamp to a styling session for a particular room or a clutter busting day - the choice is endless!"

Stream Organising

  • Are you surrounded by clutter?
  • Do you wish you had more time?
  • Are you too busy to find a solution?

Stream Organising provides practical solutions for space, storage and clutter management problems, both at home and in the workplace. We can:

  • Organise your home/office
  • Eliminate stress-mess-clutter
  • Maximise your use of space
  • Offer a free consultation & check-up
  • Provide a confidential & professional service
  • With personal tailor made solutions

To learn more about our service and our special Introductory Offer, please don't hesitate to visit our web-site or get in touch: or call 07818 420386.

Cory Cook Professional Organising Services

Getting organised can be overwhelming at the best of times, let alone when you're facing big life change or have simply reached a tipping point. But where to start? Using a methodical approach, I help individuals create orderly, organised environments in a fraction of the time of doing it alone. You'll see and feel the benefits immediately. The systems we put in place are intuitive and easy to maintain because they're based on your unique thinking and habits. As a time management specialist, I'll also help you create a structure to your day that provides the live/work balance you desire.

Specialties: Homes, Business or Home Offices, Paper Management, Unpack and Move-in, Wardrobe Organising, Time Management.

Sort Our Stuff

Set up officially in 2010, Sort Our Stuff had its genesis in the years Stella spent working establishing and maintaining libraries and collections for museums and interior designers. The de-cluttering experience she has had has been mainly, coincidentally, for clients who are planning or who have just had building work or are moving house. She likes to roll-up her sleeves and get dirty to get the job done working from loft to cellar via home office. Her parallel voluntary work at an Oxfam Bookshop and boutique support her knowledge of what donations charities might like to receive from de-cluttering clients.

Wishing you a happy, organised and de-cluttered Christmas and 2012!

The APDO Team

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