Child playing with trucks in snow

Move over spring clean, that time has gone. Now we’re planning ahead for the long winter to come.

There’re plenty of things to do to prepare our homes for winter, not least those chores we all try to avoid, like clearing out the gutters, filling the log store and insulating the pipes.

Not all jobs are outdoors ones. We’ve spent the summer travelling, enjoying the weather, spending time with friends. And while we enjoyed plenty of time outdoors, the interior of our homes can become a little bit neglected.

Throughout the house, the clutter just seems to gather. Tupperware lids multiply, shoe piles mysteriously grow, filing is neglected, the paperwork mounts up and children’s toys seem to manifest themselves into a toy shop.

It’s time for a winter clear out.

Sort through toys

Hula hoops, buckets and spades, paddling pools, swingballs and kites – the toys children play with in the summer lie unused through the wet and windy days of winter. Some will be beyond repair, others are worth saving for another year.

Put away the summer clothes

It’s time to say goodbye to the beach dresses, fold the sarongs and dig out the thick coats and spare wellies. We’re heading into boots and hat season now.

garden furniture in autumn

Garden chairs and BBQs

Save furniture from discolouring or rotting in the damp winter air. While you can cover the frames, cushions and soft furnishings need to be stored somewhere dry and away from tiny teeth if you want them to last the winter.

Clear out the cupboards

Take a look at the piles growing around the home, where things have been put ‘for now’. It’s time to put stuff away – especially now you’ll be spending more time indoors looking at it.

The difficulty comes in finding places to keep all the extra items that we seem to collect. Garden sheds, if you have the room, are no place for soft furnishings, and stuffing everything in the wardrobe just makes your home feel more cluttered, not less.

So if you’re looking for extra space to pack away summer, it’s time to look at storage. Flexible contracts, as much space as you need and no more, and dry, indoor units that make sure your summer shorts are ready to wear next time you need them.

Are you ready for winter? With our free collection service (T&C’s apply) we’re on hand to make sure your season starts smoothly. Call now for more information on 0121 250 5055.

Photographer standing with photo camera

Deciding to branch out on your own in business and becoming self-employed can be a daunting, but equally exciting experience.

There’s a few things you need to consider. Getting your finances in order, employing a good accountant, getting your marketing and branding correct – and finding the right base to work from.

If your business relies solely on a laptop, your front room or kitchen table may be adequate to get started. Hot desking is an option that has also become increasingly popular, and means you can keep your work life and home life completely separate.

However, when your business involves products, equipment or quantities of marketing materials, working from home might not be an option. When boxes and equipment start to fill your hallways, and you feel that you never find a place to switch off from work – then it’s time to consider business premises that don’t cost the earth.

Running your business from a storage unit is a really great alternative to separate offices. No business rates, no council tax and no overheads – just one simple monthly fee, and all the floor space you need to keep yourself organised.

Not sure it would work for you? Here’s just some of the businesses that can be run from a storage unit.

Handyman and fix-it professionals

If you have a business which involves fixing, mending and helping others with jobs around the house, the chances are you have a lot of heavy and bulky equipment, which could take up valuable space in your home – and can’t be left inside a van at night for risk of theft.

The safe and secure premises of a storage unit can be the perfect solution, and with long opening hours throughout the week, you can start your job at whatever time suits you during the day, knowing that you can pick things up and drop them off at your own convenience.

Start up garage owner from storage unit

Selling online

If you have an eBay or Etsy store, a unit for your stock will free your home of boxes, especially if you buy in bulk to sell on for a small profit.

With simple shelving solutions you can keep stock in order, have an area for wrapping and posting, and you know your product will be kept dry and safe, whatever the weather is doing outside.

Look about for the right storage provider – some provide the shelving if asked, and can include wi-fi and lighting in your unit, making it easier to do everything in one place.

Furniture upcycling

Anyone who has converted furniture from shabby to chic will know that while the end results look flawless and effortless, the process in-between is anything but. Bulky items take a lot of work to transform, from filling and fixing, sanding and painting.

A storage unit is the perfect place to store larger items as you are transform them for sale, without getting in the way at home. Some storage providers can offer a choice of units with outside access as well – giving you ventilation for a workshop and easy access for deliveries.

Lawyers, accountants and medical professionals

You may not think that this kind of profession needs much in the way of storage, but all that paperwork soon piles up – and in many cases businesses are required to keep paper records for set amounts of time, long after they need daily access to it.

While keep boxes of files piled up in your home, or in your inner city office, where you pay inner city prices for every square foot. Storage units are far more cost effective, and great for archiving files that you just don’t need cluttering up the place.

business run from storage unit

Photography studio

A unit is a great way to get started as a photographer. You’ve got space to hang a white background, power for lighting and all the space you need for stock and product photography or model shoots.

If you are thinking of starting your own business or need a bit more space in your office, look around for the right storage provider. You’ll get indoors units, particularly helpful if you will be working from the unit in the winter, all the flexibility you need to expand as you grow, and a secure, PIN controlled place to call your own.

Thinking about starting your own business and need some storage advise? Call us on 0121 250 5055


Longmore Pool, Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield
Longmore Pool, Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield

The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield is a picturesque and affluent town in the West Midlands, just 7 miles from Birmingham City and near to the City of Lichfield. If you’re thinking of moving to Sutton Coldfield – locally referred to as Sutton – then here is what you need to know.

History of Sutton Coldfield

Despite Iron Age remains and the remains of the Roman Icknield Street running straight through the area, Sutton Coldfield did not exist as a settlement until the 13th Century.

Icknield Street connected the local fort to the settlement of Letocetum, now called Wall, near Lichfield – although its full length ran from Gloucestershire to Yorkshire. Visitors to Wall can see the remains of the Roman settlement, protected by the English Heritage.

The Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia had its capital at nearby Tamworth, and it’s possible that Sutton originated as a hunting lodge, or manor, for the king. Possession of the land changed a number of times over the following centuries, and the first known village finally began.

Sutton Coldfield’s growth truly took off in the 16th Century, when local child John Harman joined the church and was promoted eventually to the position of Bishop of Exeter, changing his name to John Vesey. Through his support and patronage the town was given a royal charter by Henry VIII – thus the town’s full name now of The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield.

Henry VIII also donated his hunting land – creating what is now Sutton Park. Bishop Vesey’s influence is clearly seen throughout the town, from the grammar school he established, known today as Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, to churches, cottages and Vesey Gardens, a memorial park.

The town continued to grow in riches, and was seen as wealthy industrialists from Birmingham as the perfect place for their country homes. The advent of the railway also contributed to Sutton Coldfield as a tourist spot for the city folk, and a commuter town for workers wanting to live outside of Birmingham.

group of friends eating out in Sutton Coldfield
Eating out in Sutton Coldfield

House types / Prices in Sutton Coldfield

Sutton Coldfield has been named as the 4th least deprived area in the country and house prices can be high, particularly in the Four Oaks area. The average house price is over £307,000, double that of Birmingham.

The house prices are in part due to the abundance of green space, a beautiful nature reserve as well as a busy town centre and a number of high performing schools.

If you are thinking of moving to Sutton, you are not alone. Being so close to Birmingham, Sutton is a popular place for city workers, and is regarded as one of the best suburbs of the city to live in.

Schools in Sutton Coldfield

There are a number of primary and secondary schools in Sutton Coldfield. There are two grammar schools – Sutton Grammar School for Girls and Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School – and the Independent Highclare School.

Working and facilities

Sutton Coldfield is perfect as a commuter town for Birmingham, and so has very easy access routes via the M6 Toll, M42, A38 and railway to Birmingham and London.

There are two hospitals in Sutton Coldfield, the main one being Good Hope, which provides an A&E facility.

Moving home couple in front of new house

Things to do in Sutton Coldfield

Sutton Coldfield has a main pedestrianised shopping mall in the town centre, with a multi-storey car park. There are a number of smaller shopping centres on the outskirts of the town.

There is a four screen cinema, the Empire, in an art deco Grade II listed building built in 1936.

Sutton Park is a 2400 acre nature reserve, roamed by cattle and wild ponies. Stop by the Visitors Centre for maps and advice about walking routes.

There’s plenty to do for families, with Drayton Manor close by. However, after the stress of moving home, you might prefer the chance to relax in the beautiful Moor Hall Spa.

Food and Drink

There’s plenty of places to eat and drink in Sutton Coldfield, with over 20 bars, clubs and pubs, and a variety of restaurants offering a mix of international cuisine.

Moving home in Sutton Coldfield

If you’re looking for a safe place to store your belongings while you sell your home or decorate your new house, then we can help.

Take the stress out of moving house with our handy storage facilities in Minworth, Sutton Coldfield. We even have our own in-house removals team to collect your furniture and belongings, so all you need to do is settle into your new home.

Call us now for a quote on 0121 250 555.

Clean uncluttered bedroom storage

The bedroom should be a place of sanctuary and relaxation where we recharge for the busy week ahead. But with many of us being time poor and juggling a hundred jobs at once, it can be hard to keep order and make sure your room doesn’t feel like it’s a storage area for clothes, rather than somewhere to sleep.

There is nothing relaxing about being surrounded by yesterday’s outfits, that pile of unsorted clean washing, or mounds of throws and pillows that only have a home once you have made the bed.

Getting your bedroom decluttered and organised doesn’t need to cost the earth. Try some of these simple life hacks to make sure you can retreat to your room for that well-earned rest.

The bedside basket

If you like to dress your bed each morning, then you’ll have a throw and plenty of cushions for a beautiful finish. But at nighttime when your headed to bed, these somehow go from pride of place on the bed, directly to the bedroom floor. There is, however, a simple solution.

A bedside basket will give you somewhere to place them neatly in the evening, and also save valuable minutes in the morning hunting for them before work.

The storage bed

If you are thinking of changing your bed and are short of space, an Ottoman bed maybe the answer to your prayers. Not only can it craftily hide a whole seasons worth of clothes, but it adds another sneaky layer of storage to your room, especially if you are short of space.

If you aren’t planning on changing your bed anytime soon, then make the most of the space underneath. There are plenty of options available, but woven baskets add a little more style than the plastic versions. Make sure you don’t forget where everything goes by attaching a brown string tag to each one. Then, even if you aren’t someone who folds their laundry, at least it’s in some order for when you are hunting for it!

very messy bedroom

Space saver bags

Space saver bags may remind you of advertisements from the 1990s but they are genuinely a great way to store bulkier items, from the winter duvet to your collection of thick woollen jumpers that you won’t be touching through the summer months. They are relatively cheap to buy, save space, light to pack away and keep everything clean and dust free without the need to re-wash once you get them out again.

Practice the art of Feng Shui

While this may not seem like the easiest way for many of us to get organised, it is a valuable way to declutter your space, and your mind.

The key is to clear away items that serve no purpose – which can be difficult as we  attach memories to different things. However, consider whether you have used the item in the last 12 months. Does it remind you of a person you no longer see or care about, or is it just some family ‘heirloom’ that none of you like, keeping only out of obligation? It’s time to get strict with yourself, realign your energy and make that important trip to the charity shop so someone else can enjoy it. You’ll end up with a beautiful new space where you can relax.

pickled jars of food from garden

As the children head off back to school, it does start to feel like summer is over. The official end of summer isn’t actually until 22 September – which means there’s still time to enjoy the last bit of sunshine, and start getting your garden ready for autumn.


Enjoy the summer harvest

All of your hard work through the spring and summer is now showing the benefits. If you had fruit and vegetable beds growing, you’ll be enjoying the harvest. If it’s not quite ready, check your netting is secure. The birds will be getting hungrier about now.

It’s time to get jamming and pickling – storing your harvest for the future. You can also freeze fruit, so make sure there is space in your freezer.

Make sure you dig up any potatoes, the slugs are out about in force. You can leave them out in the last of the summer sunshine to dry for a few hours, before storing in a dry, dark place to keep you going through the next few months. Remember that they need air or they’ll go mouldy.

Hanging baskets and container plants are still flowering and looking beautiful. Keep up the feeding and they will last until the frosts begin.

Autumn garden tips 

The first thing that happens in autumn is, of course, leaves start to fall from the trees. Make sure you put netting over ponds, ready to catch them all. It saves a lot of time and cleaning later. You’ll also need somewhere to put all those leaves, so make a space for new compost piles if you can.

Summer’s plants are beginning to die back, so you can start clearing them out, particularly if you have a greenhouse. This means you’ll have the space to get some new plants in over the autumn.

Remove weeds and the dead crops – a little time tidying up your beds and vegetable patch now will save you time nest year, when the ground may still be firmer.

lady gardener working in her garden beds

Thinking ahead to spring

The ground is still soft and warm enough to start thinking about next spring. Now is the time to be planting your spring bulbs – daffodils, crocus, hyacinths and so on.

It’s also the best time to be planting new trees and shrubs. The increased rainfall will help them settle in, ready to burst into new growth next year.

New lawns will grow well right now, so putting down seed, aerating your lawn and giving it some food will help improve any poor patches.

Storing your garden furniture

As well as preparing the garden, it’s time to care for your tables and chairs. By the end of September the weather will be poorer, and the temperatures much lower. One of the last jobs of the month is to give everything a good clean, and put it away for the winter.

Give your shed or garage a good clear out, and make a space between the bikes and wheelbarrow. If you don’t have the room, consider putting your furniture in self-storage for the 6 months until you need it again. It’s dry and out of the way, leaving you more room at home for your spring potting.

If you need a little more space in your garden, talk to us about self storage. With daily access if you need it, a storage unit is the perfect second shed, a place to keep all your seasonal gear until next year. Call now on 0121 285 5197. 

Reasons to use Self Storage

Homeowners Storage

Throughout our lifetimes we build up a surprising amount of belongings. Research shows that we also move an average of 8 times during the same period – meaning that every possession needs packing up and carrying with us. Or does it?

The United States have been making use of Self Storage for years, with over 50,000 storage facilities in use. The UK may be slower to use offsite storage, but we are rapidly finding more uses for storage facilities, and gaining an appreciation for the versatility and convenience on offer.

So, here are some of the top reasons for homeowners to use Self Storage in the West Midlands.

1. Dressing your house sale

If you are planning on selling your home, you want to be sure it’s looking it’s best. It’s time to clear out your prized collection of figurines, take down the family photos and pack away the children’s toys. Put it all out of sight into a temporary storage room, and once your house is all dressed up it’ll soon sell.

2. During your house move

It’s becoming more common in today’s housing market that sellers have to move into temporary accommodation as one house sale completes before the other. Keeping your furniture safe, clean and dry while you rent takes some of the stress out of moving, and gives you peace of mind.

3. Settling into your new home

Deciding who has which room, and where to put your sofa and bookshelves – it all takes time as you settle into your new space and discover just where everything fits. So keeping the unnecessary clothing and boxes from the attic in low-cost, safe storage means you can relax and forget your boxes until you need them.

4. De-cluttering

With so many belongings it’s no wonder our homes start to feel full. But rather than throw out bikes and ski’s, winter coats and summer camping gear, it’s better to store it away safely until it’s needed. After all, there’s no need to be wasteful when there are a variety of personal storage options available providing just the amount of space you need to de-clutter your home.

5. Home office solutions

More and more of us are working for ourselves, using a room in the house as a home office or buying tools and equipment for a manual job. Storage provides different sized spaces to suit your needs, whether it’s a secure space for your expensive tools or somewhere to keep confidential documents completely safe.

6. DIY

After moving home, DIY and redecorating must be close on the list as one of the more stressful events in our lives. Save your stress levels by temporarily moving furniture and treasured heirlooms into short-term storage while renovations are carried out.

7. Downsizing

Whatever the reasons you are moving to a smaller home, it’s difficult to decide what you want to keep. Years of memories and keepsakes war with favourite armchairs and accumulated hobby equipment. Move it all into storage and you can sort through everything in your own time.

More homeowners are turning to offsite storage as a way of keeping their possessions safe. Try Cookes Storage. Dry and secure, they are the preferred option to a garden shed or garage if you have the need for more room at home. They’ll even collect your personal belongings for you, the perfect solution for those larger items.