So you’ve just been offered your dream job overseas, and you can’t wait to get started. But there’s something big you need to consider. What will you do with your home?

Renting out your property while working abroad

The obvious answer is to rent your home out. That way it’s continuing to pay for itself and hopefully bringing in a little income while you are gone. There are a few things to decide, though, and that may well depend on how long you will be working abroad for. 

When you’re likely to be gone for a few months, you might decide to put your home on a holiday website such as Airbnb or Travelnest. That gives you flexibility in how long you allow other people to stay in your home, from weekend breaks to month-long rentals. 

Travelling abroad on a long-term basis.

If you plan to be much longer, choosing to let your property to tenants on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement can be a simpler choice, with rental agreements commonly running from 6 months to years. 

You will need to read up on the regulations or ask a professional agency to assist you.  Becoming a landlord has a lot of legislation that you need to understand, including:

  • Amending your mortgage to a Buy To Let mortgage.
  • Ensuring your property is fit to rent out, with the appropriate Gas Safety certificate, Energy Performance Certificate and Electrical certificate. 
  • Adding carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms as required. 
  • PAT testing any electrical equipment.
  • Performing appropriate checks on prospective tenants including referencing and identity checks.
  • Joining a Deposit Protection Scheme

Letting your property furnished or unfurnished

When your home is a holiday let, your guests will expect the home comforts to be in place, such as beds, sofas and tables, a wardrobe to hang their holiday clothes in and a kitchen equipped with the basics; cutlery, fridges and a microwave.

However, your home is likely to be filled with personal items from your life that you won’t be taking abroad. Will you leave these out for your guests’ use, and run the risk of them becoming damaged or lost? 

If you’re letting your property as a landlord, your choice is a lot simpler. You might choose to rent your property as furnished, but even so, that includes furniture and, possibly, white goods such as fridges, washing machines and dishwashers. It does not include your small items, so you will need to pack away everything you own, from pictures on the walls, clothing and ornaments, to saucepans, plates and books.

An unfurnished property is exactly that; empty. In many ways, this is the simpler option, as you don’t have to arrange PAT testing for every electrical item your tenant may use, and you don’t risk any damage to anything you own. 

Storing your belongings for safekeeping

Now you need store your items. While a friend or family member may be able to accommodate a box or two, anything more will be using space that most people don’t have spare. Using a self-storage unit is a simple and cost-effective storage solution – and it offers you peace of mind. Our indoor storage option has state of the art security and, being indoors, your belongings are kept safe from damp and rodents. 

Storing the contents of an entire house may sound daunting. However, you might be surprised how little space it actually takes when boxed and stored properly. Beds, tables and other large furniture can usually be taken apart and stored as ‘flat pack’, clothes folded, books and ornaments packed away into boxes, and there will always be items that can be donated, sold or thrown away.

When you come and speak with us about our storage options, we can also advise you on the best way to stack your items. If there is one thing that many people forget, you always end up with plenty of room at the top. Carefully packed, a storage unit can be filled from floor to ceiling, with the heaviest items at the bottom. 

As a guideline – the contents of an average one-bed apartment would fit into around 50 sq. ft. – or a 5×10 unit, while contents of an average two-bedroom home would need 100 sq. ft. of storage, or 10×10 unit. 

Thinking about unit sizes can be confusing, but it’s something we do every day. Just give us a call on 0121 250 5055 or email us at and we will be happy to advise you on how much space to rent, and our flexible contract terms. With locations in both Stratford upon Avon and Sutton Coldfield, Cookes has the perfect storage solution for you.

You’ve made the decision to move house, or perhaps you’re buying your first home, and you’re considering buying a new build. It’s an exciting and stressful time. As you look around new developments, explore carefully laid out showhomes with designer interiors and are offered a range of floor tile and carpet options, it’s easy to get carried away by the sales team. But before you go ahead, here are a few things you need to consider before buying a new build.

New builds have a lot of benefits. 

There are a lot of benefits to buying a brand-new house. If you buy off plan, you do get a choice of fixtures and fittings. All the paintwork will be brand new, so you’ll save time and money in redecorating from the start.

One thing you should consider before buying a new build is as the first person to live in the house, everything is brand new. You shouldn’t have to worry about repairs or potential unforeseen expenses such as replacing old boilers, repairing broken fence panels, or fixing up dodgy DIY jobs by the previous owner – all things that you might find in an older property.

New builds should save you money in energy bills as well, as they are built to modern standards, with better doors and windows, better insulation and so on. And of course, all new houses should have some form of guarantee, including a 10-year NHBC warranty.

There are some potential downsides to new builds as well. 

Developers are popping up new housing estates everywhere at the moment. So, before you buy, look at some of the older estates and see if the houses are in a good state. Join some local groups on social media; you’re bound to find some for each development which will give you an idea of how the current owners feel the developer has looked after them.

Another thing you should consider before buying a new build is the common issue of a lack of space, both inside and out. The showhome may be beautifully presented with comfy-looking beds, but the smaller bedrooms rarely have wardrobes. Where will you fit storage? And the kitchen may feel luxurious, but is there enough cupboard space for your utensils and worktop space for your air fryer?

If your garden is a beautifully laid out lawn, have you got space for a shed in which to keep the mower? A common problem in every street is parking. Once all the neighbours have moved in with two cars or more per household, will you need to use your garage for your car, or as a place to keep bikes and other outdoor equipment?

In general, an older property will have larger rooms and a bigger garden. Streets often seem wider and have more front parking – or even front gardens, which new estates don’t always offer.

New build or older property, which will you choose?

Choosing your next home will depend on your priorities. But if space is key, don’t give up on a new build just yet. There are ways to maximise your storage.

Consider turning your garage into your walk-in storeroom. Some good racking and organisation and you’ll be able to get everything you need in there. It’s easier than clambering up into your attic space for the Christmas decorations every year, and a lot more practical, as modern roof spaces are not really made to support a lot of storage.

If you are moving into your new build from another property, have a declutter as you pack. Do you really need to lug all your old stuff to your fresh new home? But if the thought of moving, packing and decluttering at the same time is all just a bit too much, consider renting a self-storage unit instead. You can move everything into that for a few months as you settle into your new build, and then unpack one box at a time, giving you the chance to decide if it’s an item to keep or pass on to charity.

And when you don’t have a garage or shed space, then a self-storage unit could be a longer-lasting solution. With flexible contracts and plenty of smaller units to choose from, you can easily turn one into your permanent shed away from home, keeping seasonal items, outdoor sports gear and even your DIY tools safe, dry and easily accessible for the next time you need to put up a shelf. With low-cost storage solutions, you’ll find it’s probably a cheaper option than buying the new build with the double garage!

At Cookes we are always on hand to help you calculate the size of storage unit you need, and understand how to make our flexible contracts work to your advantage. If you’d like to come and look around to see just how easy it works for you, drop in, email us at or give us a call on 0121 250 5055. Alternatively, you can check out our size calculator to find your best fit.

We love this time of year. The reception is filled with mince pies and sweet wrappers, the Christmas tree is up and carols are playing on the radio. We see a lot of families popping in to collect their festive decorations from their personal storage and drop off garden furniture to keep dry until the summer. It’s a busy time, but a fun one.

However, we know that everyone is suffering a little this year with the cost of living. We all want to be able to relax and give our families the best holiday season we can, but we need to do it on a tighter budget. Well, self-storage is an industry that is all about cost-saving and sustainability, so we thought we would look at ways to make your Christmas eco and budget friendly. Read on for our top tips.

Choose recycled wrapping paper. 

Did you know that your shiny wrapping paper is not recyclable? If it’s laminated, glittery or contains foil, it can’t be recycled and ends up in landfill. Consider these shocking statistics. It’s estimated that it takes 50,000 trees to make our wrapping paper and then we throw around 227,000 miles of it away, every year.

If you choose to use wrapping that is made entirely from 100% paper, such as plain craft paper or tissue paper, it can be fully recycled. Be aware that sticky tape is plastic, so consider using recyclable paper tape, string, or ribbon to seal your presents. You could even consider fabric wraps, which double up as an extra gift for your crafty friends. But, if you’re looking for an option that saves hours of backache and sticky tape anyway, why not use gift bags instead? Your wrapping time will be drastically reduced, and you can re-use them next year as well.

Save costs with your shopping.

If there is one thing we all enjoy, it’s giving and receiving gifts. Unfortunately, you can’t get to the present part without doing some shopping, which can be one of the most stressful parts of the season. But there are ways to budget this year and still have a wonderful day.

First, talk to friends and family and be honest. Agree on who you are buying gifts for in advance. Rather than choosing one per person, you might suggest a secret santa for your siblings, joint presents for couples, or choose to just concentrate on children this year. You may well find that your family are happy to agree and relieved you spoke up first.

Then, before you head to the shops, agree a budget and make a list. It’s easier to stick to your limit if you have a plan. Better yet, take a look at second-hand sites first. You can often find new products on these websites.

Consider your storage options.

Much as we love to see the twinkling lights, we know that having a tree in your home does take up a lot of room. Furniture needs moving around, ornaments are put away to make room for decorations and the sofa gets shoved back into a corner. If your home is anything like ours, before you even start putting up the tinsel, you need to tidy up your clutter to make a little space.

This is the time when a lot of us start to have a clearout. But before you get rid of things to create some room, consider storing them in your own unit instead. That way you have all the space you need for the season, and you can reuse those items again in the future. It’s like having a personal home furnishing store, where you can refresh your home as often as you want without re-buying new décor every time.

To find out more about what self storage can do for you this Christmas, give us a call on 0121 250 5055 or email us at

Support your local businesses and charities.

One thing we are very keen on here at Cookes is supporting our local businesses. We know how important this time of year is as the main shopping season for local shops, independents and boutiques. We are busier than ever at this time as extra stock arrives in storage units, ready for the Christmas rush.

You may also consider picking up gifts from charity shops – there are often handmade or brand new items that cost much less than retail price and support a worthy cause. Charities like Oxfam also offer donation gift options, where you can purchase necessities such as clothes, livestock and school supplies on behalf of someone else for those facing poverty; this can be a great present for those who have a heart for others.

So, when you do start planning your shopping this year, please head down into the town and explore the fabulous local shops and charities we have here in Stratford-upon-Avon and Sutton Coldfield. Buying from a local shop rather than a big international brand online not only supports the local economy, it means you’re supporting a family in town to have a wonderful Christmas too.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Cookes!

Having an office space is great, whether it’s a designed space at home or at your company’s headquarters. However, having an extra bit of space also means it can get a bit messy. If you struggle with keeping your office tidy, this blog article is for you.

Having a cluttered desk has plenty of downfalls. Working in a messy environment may also decrease your levels of productivity and effectiveness. If your desk is tidy, you will spend less time looking for documents and items around your desk. Also, with a clear space your mind won’t be distracted by the thought of having to sort things out. So let’s get into it.

Remove everything

By removing everything from your desk and office, you will have the opportunity to sweep and clean your furniture too. At the same time, you can actually go through everything you own. Which bring us to point 2.

Divide your things in different piles: throw away, donate and keep

The most important part of this step is to be rational, and only keep objects you know you will use, for example a mouse pad or a photo of your dog. When it comes to donating and throwing away, the best way to divide your stuff is to think whether someone else will make use of it.

Consider investing in space organisers and shelves

Clearing things up is helpful, but with time your office space will get clogged again. The best way to prevent this is to get some space organisers, such as bookends and pen cups. Shelves are also great for books and documents you don’t need to access as often. Another tip would be to get some drawers to have under your desk.

Fix your cables!

Cables really do make a difference when it comes to space tidiness. There are some options for cable management, such as buying sticky labels or even cable management boxes, bars and sleeves. Having tidy cables also makes it so much easier to clean your office space.

Don’t forget to clean regularly

Once you’ve invested in decorations and space organisers, and sorted out what you need, cleaning regularly comes next. At the end of the day, cleaning regularly is the best tip on how to keep your office space tidy! It’s important to have a routine and do this whenever you can. It doesn’t have to be every day, but even once a week or once a month works. It’s important to set aside some time for cleaning and sorting our your space. If you do this regularly, it will only take 1h tops every so often.

Storage is your friend

Sometimes getting rid of old things just isn’t an options, and that’s when renting a storage unit can help you keep your space tidy. Cookes Storage can support you throughout your business journey with a variety of storage room options, and more. If you’re based around Sutton Coldfield and have any questions, please email us at or give us a call on 0121 250 5055

After a long and cold winter, it’s finally April and the weather is getting a little bit warmer. The trees are blossoming, and the sun is shining. When the air is not so cold, you want to open the windows and let the warm air into your house. But to really refresh your house, opening a window isn’t enough. Therefore, we’ve put together a successful checklist for spring cleaning to help you prepare your house for the warm weather.

First, you may be asking yourself: why do I need a checklist?

Having a checklist, whether it’s written down or just in your brain, helps you keeping things tidy and organised – just like you want your house to be. This will help you define what you want to do for each room, and it gives you an idea of a timeline. Deep cleaning should also be an integral part of your house, in order to keep it tidy and organised.

Have a goal

You should be thinking of what’s the aim of this spring clean? Is it to identify what piece of furniture you want to donate? Is it to declutter? Change the layout of your house/flat?

Divide your tasks into categories

After you’ve figured out what you want to do, we recommend dividing your tasks in different categories. This way, you don’t feel overwhelmed. You can divide your activities this by day, or by room. For example, for each room you can select what you want to:

  • Clean
  • Donate
  • Store away
  • Recycle/repair

We recommend coming up with a realistic timeline, avoiding stress. Spring cleaning should be enjoyable, and it should be about bringing your house back to life.

Identify what products you need

You may be thinking, I already have bleach, mould remover and cleaning wipes. While this is true, spring cleaning is a good idea to identify what products you’re missing and which one you want to replace. Maybe you want a new bathroom cleaner spray. Maybe you want to use more plastic free and green alternatives.

In addition, it’s important to make sure your vacuum cleaner is running and that you have good mop at home.

Wash pillows and duvets

Washing pillows and duvets can be quite impractical, and you may not have a lot of time to do so. If you want to go ahead with it, we recommend doing it during spring cleaning. If you have a lighter duvet for the warm months, this is the best time to take it out.

Don’t be scared of emptying your drawers, donation is an option!

Are your drawers very messy and cluttered? Spring cleaning is the best opportunity to sort them out and identify what you want to do with your belongings. Throwing away is not always the best options, as we would encourage you to donate/resell as much as you can. This can be old Christmas decorations, plates, cutlery, dvds, old toys and of course clothes.

Don’t forget about the deep part of the cleaning

Dusting your furniture, donating, removing mould, and cleaning your mirrors is key to a good clean. But the point of spring cleaning is to do a deep clean. A successful checklist for spring cleaning included unclogging the sink and drains, cleaning behind the toilet… It also included throwing away expired make up, taking care of your garden if you have one, and most of all…make the most of it.

And finally…

If you’re not ready to let go of some of your belongings, or have no space to store your winter stuff, storage might be a good option for you. With plenty of storage rooms with different sizes, convenient prices and industry leading security, Cookes Self Storage will look after your belongings. And you don’t have to worry about a single thing. To enquire about self-storage, call us on 0121 250 5055 or email us at .

Every new year we want to start it off right and we make resolutions we end up not following. We think of the new year as an occasion to reinvent ourselves, which we totally can, but maybe instead of making big plans, we could start small instead. This way, it’s easier to achieve what we set for ourselves.

Here are some ideas and some totally realistic resolutions we can all work on for 2022.

Start the new year off right by being more environmentally conscious

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a big focus on climate change and being environmentally friendly. As good as it sounds, buying an electric car or having solar panels installed is very expensive, and not everyone can afford it. Instead, there are plenty of small acts that can make a change. Taking public transport instead of driving is one easy step.

Or for example, turning the tap off when it’s not needed is a great start. Buying second hand clothes is also a great option, and if you can’t afford not buying from fast fashion brands, there’s plenty of things you can still do. For example, instead of buying clothes that are only fashionable for a short period of time, buy timeless pieces of clothing instead. Also, making the most of the clothes you have and wear them until they break can make a difference.

Also, ditching plastic as much as possible whenever you can really helps the environment. Eating less meat is also a good option, even though vegetarian and vegan options can be quite expensive.

Start the new year off right by sticking to a healthy routine

Everyone wants to be healthy, join the gym, exercise every day, never have cheat days and so on. As good as these plans sound, they’re hard to stick to. Having a routine can be hard when you are busy and have long shifts. If you see that going to the gym isn’t doable, instead of signing up and only going once, there’s other options. For example, there are plenty of 30 minutes workout videos on YouTube that you can follow from the comfort of your living room. Another option is aiming to walk at least 10k steps a day, or trying some yoga.

Balance is key, and never having cheat days is definitely not healthy. Instead of not eating food like chocolate or pizza, or drink alcohol, you should include them to your diet, just in controlled amounts among many other nutritious foods.

and keeping your house tidy

Having a tidy house is a big ask, but one easy thing that can be done is to recycle or donate items that you don’t need. By unclogging your garage or your spare room, your house will automatically be tidier. And if you still want to get rid of items you don’t use as much but you don’t feel the need to throw them away yet, a storage room is a good option.

We offer plenty of storage options to suit your needs, from 16sft to a 270sqft room. For more information you can check our website: or email us at