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grow your removal company

5 Proven Ways to Grow Your Removal Company

If you already have an established, successful removal company you may be considering ways to grow your business, expand your customer base and improve your bottom line. These are the ultimate goals for anyone in business; it’s the natural next step once you have proven your business model, and it’s no different for a removals company than for any other type of business.

But just what are the best ways to grow a removal company?

Fortunately, there are many proven ways to reach the next goal in your business expansion, but you will need to carefully consider which is right for you as it very much depends on how your business functions right now and, of course, how much time and money you are willing to spend on your growth plan. Nevertheless, these tips will give you plenty to think about:

  1. Open at another location. Many people who are moving house prefer to use a local company as they feel they get a more personalised (not to mention cheaper) service so opening in other locations can help you attract more customers from a wider area. It is very common for business owners to take this approach to growth because, providing you have done your market research right, there is minimal risk because you are simply duplicating a proven business model in a different town or region. However, do remember that your existing location(s) will have to be able to function effectively without you, the business owner, being able to oversee operations as much as before.
  2. Collaborate with other relevant businesses. If you currently operate only in one region then a low-cost way to attract more business is to build collaborative relationships with other removal companies that only offer their services in regions that you don’t cover. For instance, if your removals company covers only the Home Counties why not consider a collaboration with a Midlands centred house moving firm where you can refer customers to each other when people are moving to/from the Home Counties/Midlands. This can be a powerful way to quickly earn more business but it is not without risks and relies on each business being equal partners in the agreement.
  3. Diversifying into other services is a good strategy for growth, because it allows you to have several different streams of income to cover seasonal lulls and changes in customer needs. A removal company is often most dependent on a buoyant housing market but diversifying into different target markets can help increase your sales and your profits. Natural ways for a removal company to diversify include:
    • Target business removals, which are less affected by, and less seasonal than, the housing market.
    • Offer self-storage facilities to the general public if you already have the spare space – self storage is also frequently used by small online retailers, which could provide a new target market altogether.
    • Offer logistics services for the warehousing and distribution of consumer goods. Our modern day shopping habits mean that goods are constantly being moved around the country and since most removals companies already have vehicles and warehousing space this is an ideal way of diversifying.
  4. Acquire another business. Many removal companies are a local service with only one location so investigate the possibility of acquiring a smaller company that already has similar services, quality and value as your company. Whilst the initial financial outlay may be higher than other options you will get a ready-made business.
  5. Improve your marketing. Before you start thinking of new locations and new target markets first make absolutely sure that you are getting maximum value from the locations(s) you already have. Analyse how you currently acquire most of your customers. Is it word-of-mouth and print advertising? If it is then you could certainly benefit from improving your online presence either with a sponsored ad campaign, focused digital marketing or social media campaigns. Increasingly potential customers are simply turning to the computer or mobile device to search for what they want or need so improvements in this area could help you maximise exposure for your current locations and offerings.

 

pack wine glasses

How To Pack Wine Glasses For Storage

Packing wine glasses can be tricky, but it’s so important to get it right when you’re moving the glasses to another home or placing them in storage. Here are some tips to help you.

When you have invested in self storage, you want to make sure your items are as safe as possible while they aren’t in your care. By investing in a storage unit you will have already looked into the security at the facility, so the storage company’s part in your items safety is done. The part of it that falls to you is packing the items properly so they are protected from breakages, environmental factors and dirt.

Any type of glass is of packing concern, but the delicate shape of a wine glass makes them particularly tricky to protect.

Here are some tips to help you pack your wine glasses for storage properly:

Buy The Proper Boxes

Lots of places stock proper wine glass boxes, you can even find them in the supermarket. They usually have holes for each wine glass and a handle in the middle of the container. The boxes will not protect your glasses against all the elements, but they do keep them separate and protect them from bashing against each other in transit. Remember to invest in the strongest boxes you can if your wine glasses are really precious and consider asking if your cheap storage company sells these boxes (if you’re short on time).

Focus On Protecting The Weakest Part Of The Glass

The stem of the glass is the weakest part of it, which means it needs additional protection. If the stem is subjected to a lot of pressure, it will break. Thick packaging like bubble wrap should be used to protect the stem. Simply cut a long strip of bubble wrap that measures the same length as the stem. Then wrap it around a couple of times and sellotape it securely.

Fill The Glasses

Unfortunately on this occasion your wine glasses don’t need to be filled with wine. Instead you’re going to need to fill them with paper. This supports the glass and also makes them weigh more which will prevent them from moving around.

Wrap Them Up

When you have added the extra protection to the glass, you will need to wrap it as a whole. You must not wrap the wine glasses together as they will clink against each other. Instead wrap them individually using newspaper, bubble wrap or thick tissue paper. If the glasses are going in a standard box, stuff the gaps between the wrapped glasses with tissue paper or newspaper to stop the objects moving around.

Label, Label, Label!

Always label fragile items as fragile. If they are in a standard box use packing tape to secure the entire box so it won’t fall through when you pick it up. Place labels on all sides of the box if possible so the ‘fragile’ wording can be seen whatever position the box is in. This will also stop anyone putting the box underneath heavier boxes in the self storage facility, or wherever you choose to store your precious glasses,  or in the moving van.

 

These are just a few tips to help you pack your wine glasses properly – remember the more time and effort you put into packing your wine glasses, the more likely you are to get them back unscathed when you remove them from storage or unpack them at your new home.

 

 

 

How Should I Store Electronics

How to Store: Electronics

Have you ever found yourself digging through an old cupboard, tossing aside colourful pieces of ‘80s lycra, vinyl records and unused running gear?

 

I sure have! And almost every time I’ve discovered some hidden gem at the bottom like a mint condition original Gameboy with the Tetris cartridge still inserted. It never works, though. Old electronics stored haphazardly in a cupboard never do.

 

You see, electronic devices are not built for long-term storage.

 

If you stuff a laptop, a television or a mixing desk into a storage unit without proper care, it probably won’t come out in the same condition that it went in.

 

Rust, mold and cracking can all quickly convert a valuable piece of kit into a worthless pile of circuit boards and wire.

 

For this blog, I’ve interviewed all our storage experts to collect some essential tips on storing electronics.

 

If you follow our tips, your laptops should emerge from your storage unit looking great and working just as well as they did when they went in. Let’s get started.

 

Backup Everything

If you prep your electronic devices properly and store them in the right way, they should survive in storage for years.

 

However, climate control systems can malfunction, facilities can flood and electronics can spontaneously pack up. Do not think that your devices are completely safe in storage.

 

It always pays to be prepared and be prepared for the worst case. So, if you want to ensure your data is safe and secure, back it up and store copies across a number of different sites.

 

Clean Off Dirt and Dust

If a couple of crumbs fall off your lunchtime sandwich get lodged in your keyboard, it’s not going to destroy your laptop overnight. (Although it’s still super unhygienic!)

 

However, if left there for months or years, dirt, dust and grime will cause problems.

 

Before you pack away all your devices, dust off any stray contaminants then wipe down all accessible surfaces.

 

This should remove the vast majority of the dirt and grime that could cause problems later on.

 

Remove Batteries

Batteries are little ticking time bombs, just waiting to leak nasty battery acid all over your circuit board.

 

Chances are, you’ve already had to deal with this. I’ve certainly had to spend a few hours nervously cleaning out the battery slot with a paper towel, constantly worrying that I’ve got some of the acid on my hands.

 

Well, the bad news is that batteries and storage really don’t mix. Let me repeat that, batteries and storage do not mix.

 

Seriously, leaving batteries connected to an electronic device and tossing it into storage is a recipe for disaster.

 

While you might get away with high-quality integrated batteries — laptop batteries, camera batteries, etc. — cheap disposable batteries will burst if left connected for any extended period of time.

 

So, before you put any electronics into storage, remember to remove the batteries from them. If they’re disposables, remember to recycle them too!

 

Dig Out the Original Packaging

When it comes to long-term storage, the original packaging is almost always better. I mean, the original box was designed to hold and protect its device during transportation, storage and display.

 

Any makeshift packaging will do what the original did but worse.

 

If you still have it, I strongly recommend you dig out the original boxes and inserts then re-pack your devices the way you got them.

 

Static-Free for Extra Protection

Yes, yes, I know. Static-free packaging materials aren’t exactly easy to get your hands on. Nor are they, strictly speaking, necessary for storing electronics.

 

Like I said, static-free packaging isn’t really necessary when storing everyday electronic devices. Laptops, games consoles and phones are all designed to cope with everyday static shocks and should survive in storage unscathed.

 

Delicate electronics like computer parts, however, are much more susceptible to damage as their inner workings are directly exposed.

 

For delicate devices, static-free packaging is a good idea. Plus it’s not actually that much more expensive.

 

Don’t Use Plastics

Wrapping your devices in waterproof plastic might seem like a great idea but it can easily backfire on you. Yes, plastic will keep water out but it will also trap moisture in.

 

Excess moisture is one of the biggest threats to electronic devices whether they’re in storage or in use. A stray glass of water can turn a television to scrap just as easily as a super humid room.

 

If you have any silica gel packets handy, tossing in a couple of sachets will help soak up excess water in the air, keeping your devices nice and dry.

 

Cables

If you leave cables plugged in, they have an annoying habit of seizing and getting stuck. If it’s just one USB cable stuck in one USB port, that’s okay. You can live with that, right?

 

Well, what about if it’s your only video output or your power cable port? That’s going to be more annoying.

 

To avoid dealing with any seized sockets, unplug all the cables and wires from your devices. For easier storage and easier unpacking, curl each cable into a loop, tie on a label and then store them normally.

 

This is a guest post by Fraser Sutherland, marketing manager at Storage Vault

Add Storage Space To Your Home Office With These 5 Easy Tricks

Home offices are important for anyone trying to earn money from home. Here we look at 5 easy tricks that ensure there is maximum storing space in your home office.

 

Last year a popular newspaper reported that 1.5 million people in the UK now work from home. With that in mind, it is no surprise that a need for a home office is now something a lot of people share. There are many things to think about, including the decor of the room, the practicality of it, the equipment, the ergonomics. In a place you make your money, you should feel comfortable and happy. It should promote productivity.

The problem is, with many of us having to turn to the smallest of spaces to turn into a home office, or possibly even having a multi-use room which needs to also have another use when you aren’t working, storage is at an absolute premium.

Perhaps you find your home office is more of a bombsite than a professional base, or you feel like a hamster you’re surrounded by that much shredded paper and crinkled up reports. Whatever your reason for being in dire need of some order, and storage, these top tips to add storage space to your office will help:

 

  1. Declutter

This sounds really obvious, but the home office is just as much of a magnet for clutter as anywhere else. Get a box or a bin bag (or both) take a morning, and declutter that office. Chuck away any dead plants (not very inspiring), get rid of any paperwork you do not need (that is not sensitive), chuck any items that do not work (maybe your old computer is in there, and it is broken, or you have various broken staplers that never left the desk).

Declutter the life out of that office until you are left with the bare essentials.

 

  1. Clean

You may not think this is necessary, but the cleaner your office is, the more likely you are to find additional storage space. This is because when we give our office a basic clean we might hoover the floor quickly, give the desk a wipe and consider it done. If you go deep, and clean all the nooks and crannies, you may find that certain areas are simply full of files you no longer use, you might move something somewhere and realise if you kept it like that permanently, you would have more room to move around. Cleaning cleans the mind as well as the physical.

 

  1. Get Fresh Eyes On The Job

Often, we look at something so much we can only see it a certain way. Get a friend or family member to look at your home office and make suggestions about storage. They might notice a corner you didn’t think could take a cabinet, they might suggest a clever storage idea for the desk – fresh eyes bring fresh ideas.

 

  1. Get Clever With Furniture

Does your desk really need to be that big? Could you have a desk with more drawers and storage? Is there room for drawers under the television? Could you use a laptop instead of a computer and downsize your desk? The furniture you have should be very carefully selected. Visit some furniture shops, especially ones well known for clever storage, and look at what you could use in your room. Sometimes we may have had furniture such a long time we didn’t realise how much better the newer furniture on the market could be.

 

  1. Go Paperless

Paper really is unnecessary in today’s offices, and many businesses are managing to go paperless now. Even if you shred, paper still takes up a lot of space, along with printers and filing cabinets – there’s hardly any room left for you. Consider making a plan to go paperless in a certain amount of time. Start to speak to clients about working online only, look into cyber security, consider cheap self storage for paperwork you aren’t yet able to destroy, or even cheap self storage for paperwork you don’t want to get rid of yet, and start to bring your company into the 21st century. It could free up a ton of space for your home office.

 

Hopefully these ideas have helped inspire you to work with your home office space more. Remember, there is always a way to make a space work for you, you just have to take your time, think creatively and be willing to put a little effort in.

storage for concealing clutter

Short Term Solutions For Concealing Clutter

When you don’t have time to have a clearout you may have a lot of clutter you don’t know what to do with. Here we look at short term solutions for concealing clutter.

 

The answer to most clutter problems is to get rid of it, but sometimes we can’t. Or perhaps we have a lot of items that aren’t clutter, but they don’t have a ‘home’ within the home. In both instances, there are lots of ways to conceal pesky items that make the room look untidy. This may seem counterproductive, but sometimes clutter isn’t clutter, it is just something we don’t know how to display or make look pretty yet. Sometimes, we just need to make do until we can have a clear out.

Here are some top tips to help you conceal clutter:

 

Always Fully Cover

One of the worst things you can do, is partially conceal something you are trying to hide. Perhaps you have a TV on top of a TV stand that has lots of clutter piled under it. A cool throw will conceal the underneath for now, but only if it fits in full. If it partially exposes the underneath, it will look really messy.

 

Buy Clever Furniture

A foot stool with a concealed storage box inside, a soft with compartment drawers underneath, a bed with storage boxes underneath – you get our drift. Buy clever furniture even if you don’t think you need the storage because the chances are, you will need it at some point.

 

Replace Furniture That Is In Fact Clutter

You may find some of your clutter displaced, when in fact it could easily go in a set of drawers, except you don’t have the set of drawers because you have an old poof in the space instead that serves absolutely no purpose. If you got rid of the poof however, you could fit a set of drawers in. Look at all your furniture and get rid of it if it does not serve a purpose.

 

Look For Storage Where You Hadn’t Thought Of Putting It Before

Maybe there is room next to your sofa for a cool fruit crate that could store magazines, maybe you have room for some shelves that could house some ornaments and books, maybe there is space on the ceiling for storing sports equipment (which looks very cool at the same time). Look for storage space in places you had previously discounted.

 

Tidy It Up

Sometimes it is all about how we display the clutter. A group of vases you don’t know what to do with, might look wonderful with some bamboo and greenery sticking out of them, they might look cool lined up on top of kitchen cupboards, or maybe filled with marbles (if they are glass). A pile of magazines could look like a pile of rubbish, but if you fan them out on the table, or put them in a wicker basket nicely, they suddenly look very inviting.

 

In The Long Run

Clearly, in the long run you will have to think about what to do with having too many items, as there’s only so much a bit of jazzing up can do.

 

Declutter

Decluttering is a really good experience for your home and for your soul. Chuck some clutter, give some away, sell some – just get it out of your home. You will feel better for it.

 

Self storage

Perhaps you are saving for a bigger home where you can spread out all your beloved bits and pieces, in which case, why not get some self storage. You get to enjoy the space in your current home, all whilst paying a minimal amount to look after the items for your new home in secure, safe cheap self storage.

 

 

metal arch buildings

Designing the right metal arch buildings for your specific needs

Okay so you have done your research and have discovered that steel arch building kits are more cost effective and sturdier than traditional structures as well as being maintenance free. Now it is time to decide what type and size and what type of the quonset hut style building and the customizations  you will need. The quonset hut, or steel arch building, can be easily erected without skilled workers and stand up to any severe weather event your region will encounter such as earthquakes, hurricanes and heavy snow loads. Because the entire building is made of 80,000ksi tensile yield carbon steel coated with aluminum-zinc alloy it is also corrosion resistant and should last decades without any maintenance.

 

MODEL TYPES USE AND PURPOSE

The Q model: This model has the shape of a semi-circle – a complete arch from roof to the ground. This model is popular with agriculture storage such as hay and grain and was designed by the British in World War II when it was called the Nissan Hut and later adapted by the United States Military. It is probably the strongest model due to the engineering design without straight side walls. The space becomes more limited as you move closer to the walls however.

The P model: The “P” stands for peaked roof. It also has vertical side walls and a pitched roof and a favorite when adjoined to or beside a home as a workshop, retail store, storage space for equipment, boats or recreational vehicles or a warehouse.

The S model: This model has a rounded roof similar to the Q model but has vertical side walls although they are shorter than the P Model’s side walls. This model is often used for horse barns, warehouses, truck storage, fire departments, construction, equipment storage, airplane hangers, businesses and workshops.

The A model: This model has slightly slanted walls and roof pitch is engineered to withstand the most severe weather conditions including hurricanes, snow storms an earthquakes. Its 4:12 pitched roof is specifically designed for major ice and snow areas in the Northern hemisphere . The “A” model arch building has a minimum yield of 55Ksi and is manufactured to ASTM international standards and ASCE building codes.

Generally, the Q-Model is the cheapest option, with the P-Model being the most expensive of the arch buildings. Buildings made of steel significantly decreases overall construction costs. As steel is prefabricated, there is no wasted materials and requires only the building kit made of arches, walls and end walls along with simple hardware. Erecting steel buildings also requires fewer workers and no skilled professionals decreasing the labor costs. There are no hidden costs or constructional delays. Both the construction process and maintenance are simple and the materials are far less expensive.

 

CUSTOMIZATIONS

End wall entrances: Will you be requiring regular walk in doors, large overhead doors, or both? If overhead doors are needed, then the height of he entrance needs to be determined.

What will the doors be used for? Is heavy machinery using the doors? Will they be loaded higher than the trucks hauling the load? This is a major factor in deciding the size of the building by ensuring there is ample space for all needed entrances.

Decide whether you need to customize it depending on whether these entryways will be in the end walls or side walls. Consider electronic roll up doors if frequent opening and closing will occur from the drivers.

Height and length: Now you need to consider the height of your structure. The best way to calculate this is to consider how much room is required in the interior height of the building. Will you be adding overhead lighting or climate control?

Think of eventual expansion too.  Be careful to consider the width of your building and what equipment will be inside, how much storage is needed, and throughways for vehicles and forklifts. As a rule of thumb it is wise to add 10% to 20% more width than you think you will need. Once the width of arches and structure is constructed it cannot be changed. The length can always be expanded by removing the end walls and adding more arches so if you need to expand at a later date plan on expanding the length not the width.

Ventilation: Determine what type of ventilation if any you will need. Turbine vents are easily installed in the roof line to allow for maximum airflow. Stagnant heat and moisture will be siphoned from your building, airflow is created as outdoor air is pulled into the building, thereby maintaining a constant circulation of air passing through your building.

Louver vents eliminate condensation and maximize air circulation and reduce the heat from within your building at a very low cost to you. They are easily installed into end walls of your building allowing air to flow through from one end to the other.

Lighting: Consider the type of lighting you will need in your building. You can erect interior suspension framing to install overhead lighting and climate control along the roof of the building. You can also add skylights into the upper walls or roof.  Install windows to the end walls or sides of the building.

Insulation: Many customers are surprised to find that they don’t really need insulation for their Metal arch buildings. In extreme climates, however, you may want to consider adding insulation to your building. There are a few very good choices that are appropriate according to your particular climate. Roll insulation, spray foam and insulated panels from the factory all perform well and can achieve a high “R” rating.

Steel Gauges: Depending on your building codes in the location you are in you may need to use a minimum required gauge of steel in your arch building. 26 – 28 gauge steel is the lightest you will need but it is recommended that you choose a heavier gauge steel so you building kit will last longer and have more stability and building integrity.

There are many things to consider so do your homework and make sure you build the best building for your needs, climate and practical purposes.

 

This article was written by the engineers and consultants at Metal Building Kings (https://www.metalgaragekits.com) to help people who are deciding on what type of metal garage kit to buy and how to design it.

 

motorbike ready for storage

Getting Your Motorbike Ready For Storage

Plenty of people put their motorbike into cheap storage. If you are one of those people you will need to prepare your vehicle properly so it comes out of the unit as you left it – here’s how.

There are plenty of motorbike enthusiasts in the UK, and plenty of people who simply don’t have room to store their beloved two wheeled machine at home. Perhaps you’re staying in a smaller home temporarily, you’re suffering from an injury that renders you unable to ride for a while, or you simply want to put your motorbike away for winter. Whatever your reason for putting your bike into self storage, you’re going to want to spend a little time thinking about how you can store it without it deteriorating and getting your motorbike ready for storage. Environmental factors, dirt and general lack of usage are all potentially damaging factors that you need to try and prepare your vehicle for.

Here are some tips to help you get your motorbike ready for storage:

Make Sure The Tank Is Full

If you do not fill up the fuel tank, it may mean you’ll be getting some organic growths you didn’t ask for when you pull the machine out of storage. When a tank is partially full, condensation can occur which then reacts with the fuel in the tank and clogs up your bike. Odd organic growths can form, which is never a good thing! It’s an easy issue to avoid.

Focus On The Oil

The oil in your bike should be clean and the filters should be changed over before you place the machine into self-storage. When oil is left in a machine, contaminants can become trapped in it which will in turn damage parts of your motorbike.

Don’t Leave The Battery To Die

If you leave a motorbike battery in freezing conditions for a long period of time, it will die – it really is that simple. If you have a self-storage facility that provides air conditioning or heating options, it is possible to keep the motorbike in a neutral temperature long-term, which means you don’t have to take the battery out. Many good independent self storage companies provide this option, however, many cheap facilities do not so it is more than likely the battery will need to come out.

Don’t Let The Rust Eat Your Bike

You should never really leave rust to eat away at your vehicle, but this is more of an urgent issue to address if your bike is going into self-storage Bedford. Rust is like cancer to a vehicle, and it will spread and rot metalwork. It might cost you a little to get the rust sorted out now, but it will cost you a whole lot more if you leave the problem while your vehicle is in storage and come back to a much bigger problem when it comes out.

Take Pressure Off The Tyres

You should take pressure off the tyres by elevating the bike. There are stands and supports available for you to do this.

Invest In A Bike Cover

To protect your motorbike from dust particles and other environmental factors, invest in a good quality cover to keep it protected while it is in storage. The price of these covers vary greatly, so don’t go all out unless you were planning to treat yourself anyway. Just think of it like a fitted dust sheet in this instance.

make decluttering easy

Can you ever have too much storage space?

I’ve never actually lived in a new-build home but I have visited plenty – either when visiting friends and family or just when I have been curious and taken a peek at the show homes on one of the many new developments springing up in our already crowded part of the South East. I don’t need statistics to tell me that new homes are getting smaller and smaller (but there are stats that show this) because you can simply feel it in the new homes – even show homes that are cleverly dressed by skilled interior designers using furniture that isn’t full size. You just know that that small wardrobe and chest of drawers will never be enough storage space for anyone actually living full time in the house. And the few kitchen cupboards will simply not be able to store a family’s needs.

Whenever I see kitchens in new homes I wonder where the people living there put all their stuff – most of the base units are actually housing the fridge, washing machine and dishwasher and at least one of the wall units will be housing the boiler. Add to that the fact that the designers are cutting back on kitchen units so they can squeeze a table into an already small kitchen and the storage issue becomes even worse. Older, period houses may not have had overly large kitchens but they did tend to have spaces such as a traditional larder which, with it’s floor to ceiling shelves provides a huge amount of storage. They also had spacious under stairs cupboards for storing brooms, hoover, ironing boards and other household paraphernalia that need a home. That under stairs space in a new build is more likely to have been used for a cloakroom.

Actually I do new builds a disservice because some of the high-end developers are creating huge, amazing spaces so when I say new-build developer I am thing of the mass-produced new builds – you know those big names we have all heard of. Rather than the smaller, more niche luxury new home builders.

But back to my issue with storage – if a home does not have enough storage then it will be almost impossible to keep the home from becoming cluttered. I’m sure there are some minimalists out there who can live with just a few well-chosen items but most of us just aren’t like that. I think that at heart most of us are hoarders. Combine that intrinsic nature with a lack of storage and you end up with homes that are cluttered. And no matter how much good advice there is available online about how to declutter and the benefits of decluttering many of us find it impossible to create a clutter-free home – and this comes down to a lack of storage.

Many homes are not technically cluttered because all the items in them are used and needed, but there is not enough space for everyday family living.

Finding more storage space where you thought there was none

So if you already live in a home without enough storage what can you do about it? The chances are that the room sizes are such that they can’t accommodate any more shelves or cupboards – if your rooms are large enough for more storage units then get yourself down to the shops and buy more – you don’t need much money for a few shelving units or cupboards – check out charity shops and secondhand shops if you are on a tight budget – (go – what are you waiting for?).

But what if there simply isn’t the floor space or wall space?

There is actually a lot of under-utilised space in even the smallest of homes if we just look up. Why not think about running shelves all around a room about 30cm below the ceiling. This is dead space that could easily be used to store any manner of things. If you are worried it won’t look great then invest in some pretty baskets or storage boxes to go on the shelves. Maybe even make the storage boxes your self or at least cover them. If the room is wallpapered – even better – cover the storage boxes in left over wallpaper and they will blend into the background. Paint the shelves to match the rest of the woodwork in the room.

Baskets or storage boxes on high shelves can be used to store anything that is not used on a daily basis. For instance, out of season clothes or seasonal sports equipment or Christmas decorations can all be hidden away in attractive storage boxes.  Books, ornaments, DVDs etc. can be displayed openly. Even if you already have shelving units for these things in your home you can make the space seem less cluttered by using this one simple trick.

The same idea can be used for storage boxes or baskets on top of your kitchen wall units – there is also plenty of dead space up there too. The trick is to make the storage attractive and make it so that it blends in with the décor of the room so the eye is not automatically drawn to the high level shelves and spaces. The space on top of kitchen wall units in an average sized kitchen could be the equivalent of another couple of kitchen units or maybe more so make use of it.

Another way to find more space is to buy beds that either have storage drawers already built in (if it is a divan) or has the space for under-bed storage boxes if it is a wooden or metal framed bed. These are great places to store bed linen, spare pillows, spare duvets and towels

And if you have free-standing wardrobes then don’t forget to also make use of the space on top with storage boxes for your out of season clothes.

Even the smallest of homes can benefit from these storage tips which will add storage in all the dead space we have around our homes which so few of use utilize.

prepare your self storage unit for winter

As winter approaches make sure you prepare your self storage unit properly

Many people store precious belongings, household items or business stock in self-storage units year round because they provide an inexpensive option to other forms of storage. But if you do have possessions in storage over the cold winter period ahead then it will pay you to prepare your self storage unit for the cold weather to ensure your items survive the winter intact.

A storage unit may be protected from the external elements of rain, snow and wind but it is unlikely to be heated and one of the issues with long-term storage is that moisture is present naturally in the air inside the unit and rises and falls in temperature will cause this moisture to condense on internal surfaces, and that includes your possessions. So follow these simple guidelines to protect your stored possessions for the long, cold winter months ahead.

  • Firstly make sure everything is as clean as possible: shake out fabrics to remove dust and generally give everything a good airing.
  • If you have stored items made of fabric, metal, leather or wood (and, let’s face it there is a high chance that you will) make sure they are not covered with plastic sheeting or bubble wrap. This is a common mistake because  plastic will trap moisture, which will penetrate these fabrics over time. Use natural materials to cover and protect your items instead, like cotton sheets, woollen blankets, acid-free paper or corrugated cardboard.
  • Anything made of leather should be treated with a specialist moisture-repellant leather protector as an added precaution.
  • Anything made of wood should be treated with wax for the same reason – to repel moisture.
  • Carpets, curtains and rugs should be rolled up with tissue paper or cotton sheets between each item.
  • You can minimise tarnishing of silver-plated or solid silver items and protect other metal items by wrapping them in a cotton cover.

The moisture that is naturally present in air is harmful to a variety of materials but those most at risk are wood, fabric, metal and leather. If you have very valuable or precious items made of these materials then you may want to consider investing in a de-humidifier or rent a climate-controlled self-storage unit to reduce the amount of moisture in the air and give your belongings some added protection by taking professional packing advice for storage.

Included in the list of metal goods might be larger items such as a car, motorbike or motor home and these types of stored items will need some additional levels of protection to survive the winter months:

  • Drain the engine oil and replace it with fresh oil
  • Make sure the windscreen wash has the right amount of anti-freeze for the temperatures you are expecting over the winter.
  • Leave the handbrake off to prevent it seizing up – as an added precaution you may want to place bricks strategically to avoid any movement of the vehicle.
  • Leave windows open a small amount to improve air circulation and avoid condensation.
  • Use WD40 (or similar) on moving metal parts to prevent corrosion
  • Oil the locks if you are expecting very low temperatures for a prolonged period.

 

make decluttering easy

Clever Ideas To Make Decluttering Easy

Is your home stuffed with trinkets, treasures and things you no longer need? Are your shelves and storage cupboards overflowing with who knows what? Are your clothes squashed into your wardrobes and drawers? If this sounds like your home then it could be time to do a spot of decluttering – many of us may hate the idea but we know it makes sense. Most people are natural hoarders and even the neatest home probably has a cupboard, a loft, a garage or garden shed that is their junk room. But if you have less junk in your home your life really will be better. Less stuff means less to clean and keep tidy; it means it is easy to find things in the early morning rush to get to school or work but getting into the decluttering habit is not easy.

So here are some clever ideas to make decluttering easy:

Pick Your Battles Carefully

Start by making a list of each room that is unnecessarily cluttered and the particular parts of that room that need tackling. It could be shelves stacked high or chests of drawers with junk piled on top because all the drawers are full (hang on, that is beginning to sound like my daughter’s room).

Now pick just one room – or just one part of the room if it is particularly bad – this is the clever bit. Work on that area until it is done and then stop. By taking a bite sized chunk of this problem each day or week you can achieve great things after a few days or weeks and not feel as if decluttering has taken over your life.

Bag It Up

Grab a large black bin bag and set yourself a time challenge to see how quickly you can fill it. Decide before you start whether  the content will really go in the bin or whether they are good enough to go to a local charity shop or other good cause. If you do decide to fill a charity bag just make sure you take it to the charity shop the same day – otherwise it will just be clutter in a bag.

 

Box It Up

Find 3 large boxes and label them: Rubbish, Charity, Keep. As you declutter your chosen area pop items in the relevant box. The contents of the Rubbish box can immediately be thrown out or, even better, recycled. The Charity box can be put in the back of the car ready to drop off as soon as you can at the charity shop – in fact, my local recycling centre now has a “pop up” charity shop there so I only have to make one trip with both of my boxes. And the contents of the final Keep box can then  be placed back in/on your clear drawers/shelves/cupboards. Ahh so easy…

 

Colour Coded Hangers

Start by making sure you have a bunch of hangers that are 2 different colours. Put all of one colour in the bottom of the wardrobe and hang all your clothes on hangers the same colour. Each time you wear something then wash and iron it place it back in the wardrobe on a hanger from the wardrobe floor. After a few months you will start to get a pretty good idea of the clothes you never wear as they will be on the original colour hangers. Obviouly there may be some special occasion outfits that you will want to keep even if you haven’t worn them for 6 months but on the whole this is a foolproof way of reminding yourself what you really don’t wear when it comes to everyday clothes. You know really you just need that reminder to get them out of the wardrobe and down to the charity shop or clothes recycling bank. Think of the extra space it will give you – more space for the clothes you do like and do wear and maybe even some more space for new clothes.

Make Use of 5 Minutes

We can all find 5 extra minutes in the day if we really try – in fact, you probably won’t have to try that hard to find a spare 5 minutes. Open up a single drawer or cupboard and just get started – don’t think too hard about it. I probably shouldn’t say this but for my 5 minute declutters I just  dump everything I don’t want straight in the bin – there is simply no time to sort thing sout on one of these ultra fast decluttering sessions and I console myself that when I have more time I do recycle almost everything either via the local recycling centre or via various charity shops.

Tackling small spaces in five minute blasts means decluttering won’t feel like it is taking  over your life and you’ll maintain your motivation for longer. If you really want to think about setting a timer on your watch or phone – there’s nothing like the seconds and minutes ticking away to spur you on to actually achieve something.

The 10-10-10 Challenge

This is one of my personal favourites when it comes to decluttering and great if you have kids – it is just as good and just as much fun for all ages from toddlers to teens. Making decluttering into a game that everyone can play is a great habit to get into. So what is the 10-10-10 challenge? It’s simple everyone in the house has to find amongst their own possessions 10 things to throw away, 10 things to give to charity and 10 things to put back in their correct place.  Just make sure you do actually bin the rubbish straight away before anyone changes their mind.

Decluttering a whole house in a single day or week-end is almost impossible – it is demoralising and often difficult to know where to start. So instead try one of these clever and fun ideas over a few days, weeks or months and then keep them up to prevent the clutter from returning. Tackling only small areas is much more manageable and will help maintain your motivation and see the task through until you eventually have a clutter-free home.