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 info@cookesstorage.co.uk.

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!

Shopping for Christmas decorations is very exciting. You want new baubles for your tree, and you have decided on a specific colour palette. You want the tree to match your new garland, and you can’t get enough of LED fairy lights and Christmas candles to give your house that extra cosiness.

It’s a lot of fun to set everything up, and it’s very rewarding too. If you’re a family, maybe there’s a couple of arguments about how to set up the snowman fairy lights and where to place that special bauble. But overall, it’s a great activity. The house is lit up, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve all pass and suddenly it’s the new year. It feels like a chore to take down all the decorations, and the big question comes.

How do I store Christmas Decorations?

Buy some containers (made of recycled materials if you can)

Probably obvious, but the best way to store your decorations tidily is by buying containers. Labelling them is also a great idea, making it easier to find what you need when it’s time to put up the tree again.

Make use of what you already have at home

Use clear bags to store your baubles and assort by colour.

By doing this, it’ll be easy to find exactly what you need. Instead of just placing everything as it comes in a big box with the risk of the decorations breaking, you can store them in smaller boxes to the fit inside the big ones.

Be eco-friendly

You don’t have to necessarily buy small plastic boxes. You can easily get tiered ornament boxes, so that you don’t have to worry at all about your ornaments breaking.

Use existing household items to store your ornaments

For example, you can store your baubles in cardboard drink holders or egg container from the supermarket.

If you have done a bit of online shopping, you can also use the packaging boxes to store your items.

If you have plastic water bottles that you don’t want to throw away yet and want to repurpose, you can easily use them store your garlands and fairy lights. This works with any sort of container that you don’t know how to repurpose. For example, a tennis ball container works well.

Ingenious ways of storing your Christmas tree

A tree takes most of the space. The first advice would be not to throw away the box that came with the tree.

If you have already thrown the box away, there are plenty of other options. You can buy specific storage bags of different sizes for your tree. A wardrobe box, even if harder to come by, can be a great option. If you have a small tree, you can wrap it around with a bin bag to protect the branches.

If you have a spare room at home or a garage, it can be straightforward to store your Christmas decorations. However, if they’re already full or you don’t have any available storage space, self-storage can come in very handy. With Cookes, your belongings are stored safely: only you have access to your storage room, and with industry leading security, you don’t have to worry about thieves.

For more information give us a call on 
0121 250 5055 or email us at info@cookesstorage.co.uk

As Christmas is fast approaching, we wanted to share with you our opening hours.

You can access your unit at any different times over the Christmas period, so please do check if the facility is open before arriving.

Reception Opening Hours;

Even the Cookes Self Storage elves need a bit of time to eat turkey – here’s when you can contact us or pay us a visit.

OPEN: Thursday 24th December; 10am – 2pm
CLOSED: Friday 25th December
CLOSED: Saturday 26th December
CLOSED: Sunday 27th December
OPEN: Monday 28th December; 10am – 4pm
OPEN: Tuesday 29th December; 9am – 5pm
OPEN: Wednesday 30th December; 9am – 5pm
OPEN: Thursday 31st December; 10am – 2pm
CLOSED: Friday 1st January
OPEN: Saturday 2nd January; Normal Operating Hours

Our Storage access hours as the same as our reception hours.

New bookings

To sign up for storage, get in touch before Wednesday 23rd December and we’ll make sure you’re sorted smoothly.

Don’t forget – although our office is closed, our website is still open so you can find information and reserve online at any time, whenever you need.

We wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best Wishes, Cookes Storage Team

T’is the season to be jolly – and right here in the Midlands there is plenty of festive fun to be had. We have rounded up a few of the fabulous Christmas events happening locally, so if you want to get into the spirit of things, you don’t have far to look.

Christmas Market scene

Christmas Markets

Wandering through the twinkling lights, carol singers in the background and packet of roast chestnuts in hand – there’s nothing like a Christmas market to get your shopping started.

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market – 7 Nov to 23 Dec 2019

The annual Christmas market in the centre of Birmingham is definitely worth a visit. The largest German market outside of Germany or Austria, the huge range of stalls will take some time to stroll through, with glass baubles, handcrafted wooden decorations and a choice of snacks to sustain you while you shop.

The festive atmosphere makes this a lovely way to start the festivities, particularly as the day darkens and the lights come on. If you are taking children, you may want to go earlier though to avoid the huge crowds.

Buzzards Valley Artisan Market – 8 Dec 2019

It may be a little smaller, but the Buzzards Valley Artisan Market still packs a festive punch. Packed out with local businesses, from food producers, homewares, gifts, jewellery and more, you will find unique and personal Christmas gifts for every member of the family. Make sure you don’t miss out, get this very British Christmas market in your diary.

Sutton Coldfield Christmas Food and Craft Fair – 18 Dec 2019

Visit the Parade on the 18th for the annual Sutton Coldfield Food and Craft fair. With over 30 stalls you’ll soon fill your bags with tasty treats and stocking fillers as you explore the range of gifts


Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the fun of a traditional pantomime, and not just for the children. There are some truly wonderful shows on every year, so you have your pick of performances to get you in the mood.

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall are bringing the story of Aladdin to the stage this year, so be prepared for magic and flying carpets in far off lands.

Join Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Birmingham Hippodrome to defeat the evil queen this December.

You can go to the ball with Cinderella at The Lichfield Garrick – but make sure you have your best shoes on.

Santa sitting in armchair

Family festive fun

There are plenty of other ways to join in the festive spirit this December if panto doesn’t appeal.

Lichfield Cathedral has a range of different events, starting with their spectacular annual light show from 16th to 21st December. See the entire cathedral illuminated in a journey through Space, Light and Time.

If you are a fan of the animated film The Snowman, experience it as you never have before, with a live orchestra performing the musical score on 27th December. A captivating experience and a wonderful way to introduce children to various instruments.

Drop into the Gracechurch Centre in Sutton Coldfield throughout December for a selection of activities. Don’t forget to visit Santa in his grotto up to the 24th December, and then pop into The Winter Garden to make your own wreath or tree decoration – available on different dates.

It’s not too late to get tickets to the Santa Safari at West Midlands Safari Park. Enjoy a visit to see the animals, and then hop aboard the sleigh. Santa’s elves will magically transport you to visit Santa, where you can tell him what you most want for Christmas, before joining the elves in their workshop. With a winter wonderland trail and a quick stop at Mrs Claus’ kitchen, you’ll have a fantastic family day out.

Finally, if there is one magical Christmas event you don’t want to miss, it’s the Polar Express steam train, running from Moor Street Station to the North Pole. With dancing, singing and plenty of hot chocolate and a visit from Father Christmas, this is a trip that will delight younger children, older children and adults alike.

The Midlands certainly has the festive feeling this December. If you have a local event taking place this December, let us know.  

It may have started in America, but as with many things, self-storage is rapidly becoming more popular in the UK. More and more storage providers are opening for business and, according to the SSAUK, approximately 13% of households have used self-storage at some point.

With increasing numbers of homeowners and commercial businesses turning to self-storage as a simple and cost-effective solution to their storage needs, here’s a look at some of the more common reasons they do.

New babys bedroom

More bedrooms in the home

If you are expecting a new baby, you’ll need to turn your home office into a safe haven for tiny fingers. But you won’t want to get rid of the existing furniture – before long your baby will be moving back into big sized beds and wanting desks of their own.

Home office to work office

Talking of your home office, as your business expands you don’t want to keep boxes of stock in your house and taking over your hallways. The downside of working from home is that you can never quite escape it – but having a small office set up in your own storage unit keeps costs down, and your home life separate.

Moving house

When you are moving home a temporary bit of storage can come in useful. Declutter your current home and stage it for a quick sale, or store all your excess stuff until you are settled in to your new home and you’re ready to unpack at leisure.

Couple Unpacking Moving In Boxes From Removal Truck

A secure place for your tools

If your business depends on your equipment, it’s vital that you keep it safe and secure. Keeping tools in your van is risky, when one burglary later and you have not only lost expensive gear, you may well lose a few days work as well. Keeping tools in self-storage gives you a well-protected lock up and a place to repair, clean and maintain your tools as well.

Merging homes

You may be moving in with your partner, or your elderly relatives may be moving in with you. Either way, that’s two houses full of furniture, beds, kitchen utensils, plates, books, and bedding that need sorting through and thinning out. Using self-storage to keep things in means you don’t have to get rid of anything you love but have no space for, and you can take your time in dealing with the rest to get the best deals.

Seasonal storage

There are certain times of the year when you need to boost your stock – Christmas being the obvious one. Making sure you are ready for seasonal sales means ordering in additional products. With more room you can get more than you need, so you don’t have to turn down sales. Short term storage contracts make the perfect solution – your home or shop remains uncluttered, and your boxes don’t get crushed and damaged in small spaces.

Renovating and rebuilding garage in home

Renovating your home or office

From simple redecorating to knocking down walls and remodelling rooms, renovating always creates a lot more mess than you expect. Move all your furniture or important office equipment out of the way for the duration, and you’ll avoid paint on your sofa or damage to your printer.

At Cookes Storage our units are available in a variety of sizes and with short and long term flexible contracts, so that you only pay for the space you need, for as long as you need it. With CCTV, PIN code entry and indoor units, you have all the security and protection you need to keep your stuff dry, safe and secure.

If you haven’t considered self-storage until now, let’s talk. We have all the space you need.

Online business seller working from home in the christmas season

Christmas is coming – in fact, as a business owner you are already thinking ahead and preparing for it. If you sell products, you’re probably already waist high in boxes of stock. But why are you cramming it into your shop already, when we have another solution?

There are a number of benefits of using self-storage for your seasonal stock – both for your own peace of mind, and to help you maximise your profits this festive season.

More space means more Christmas stock

Christmas may be your busiest time of year, and you really want to maximise on profit. How frustrating is it to run out of your top-selling products and see your competitors taking your sales?

With a self-storage unit you can order in plenty of extra stock so that you know you have enough to make every customer happy. With a range of unit sizes, we have all the space you need – your very own warehouse, making your online shop as large as any major retailer.

Warehouse working checking orders before shipping

The season of peace and goodwill for online sellers

Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill – when our homes fill up with extra family coming to stay, overexcited children home from school and furniture squashed to one side to make way for a twinkling tree.

If you are an online retailer working from home, the last thing you need at Christmas is to fill the spare room and hallway with giant boxes. Keep the peace and goodwill at home by moving your stock out.

Health and Safety at work

It’s not necessarily the first thing you think of when you’re ordering in your stock, but it has to go somewhere. If you have a high street shop, with customers browsing your shelves out front and staff filling orders in the back, you don’t want to risk hurting anyone from an overbalanced avalanche of boxes.

Keep your passageways clear and your fires doors accessible, your staff room clear and your shop spacious, with a second storeroom.

shop owner in front of store silled with seasonal christmas stock

Avoid negative reviews and fill more orders

With so much extra stock to shift it’s not surprising things get misplaced. The competition for online retailers is fierce, with negative reviews doing a lot of damage to your sales. Customers want to know their purchases will be posted quickly, and that you have everything in stock as they buy it.

With extra space in your self-storage unit, you can place boxes of stock on racking – which we can supply – so that your products are easy to find, organised, and less likely to be damaged or crushed by the boxes on top.

You’ll be able to keep track of your stock, find and ship it quickly and keep your positive reviews coming in.

A cost-effective expansion for your business

There are plenty of benefits to self-storage contracts with Cookes. Our contracts are flexible and we offer great rates for short-term contracts – so you get seasonal space without long-term tie-ins.

Our CCTV and PIN coded access give you the extra security you need to be sure your additional seasonal stock won’t attract the wrong attention.

Our storage units are indoors – dry, clean and ready-prepared with racking if you need it.

We’ll even come and get your stock for you, saving you transport from your shop to your storage unit. And once you are set up, you can have new orders delivered directly to your unit.

Once in your unit, all you need to do is bring along the orders to create your own packing and distribution warehouse – just until the festive frenzy is over and you’re ready for the January sales.

If you need seasonal self-storage, call Cookes Storage today on 0121 250 5055. Our team have the space solutions you need.