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Moving Hacks – 12 of the Most Ingenious Time and Labour-saving Tips for Moving House

Moving house is exciting, but it’s not what you’d called fun (unless you happen to work for Kiwi Movers!). You’re most likely going to be stressed, worried about your stuff and trying to get from place A to place B in an increasingly unrealistic time.

For small-scale moves that you want to tackle on your own (we recommend calling in the professionals for bigger moves), here are some of the Internet’s best tips for taking the stress out of a moving house.

Have a good clean out.

According to our research, one in four house-movers pack at least one box of stuff they don’t need. This is a waste of effort and money. Get rid of everything you haven’t used in the last six months.

Start with anything that is duplicate. Whether it’s ‘spare’ mobile phones, fondue makers or clothes; if there’s multiple versions of pretty much the same thing, give it to charity.

But keep at least one pair of fitted bed sheets.

The single exception to this rule is bed sheets; these are perfect for protecting your mattress during the move. You can even keep them after you’ve moved if you plan to do any painting at the new place as they’re ideal for covering furniture.

Get some proper boxes.

It’s very tempting to grab a load of used cardboard boxes from your local shop – and this is fine for transporting stuff that is either unlikely to break or unlikely to leave you upset if it does break – but for the important stuff, like audio equipment, crockery and glassware, you’re going to need proper boxes. You can order removals boxes from your removals company in advance.

The difference between proper, double-walled removal boxes and cardboard boxes is massive. When you’re carrying half your kitchen in a slightly damp banana box, you’ll feel the bottom buckle, the sides bend and thin cardboard is hardly going to protect the contents from bangs and bumps. When you lift a proper, sturdy removals box designed to protect your valuable stuff, you’ll be grateful this is one area you decided not to cut corners.

Keep clothes on their hangers during the move.

This saves space and time. Transporting clothing is a bit of a faff. Clothes are heavy, cumbersome and difficult to pack efficiently. Using hangers in this way at least removes the effort of packing and unpacking.

Clothes hanging on rail

Image courtesy of Wickerhouse.blogspot

Download EvidenceCam for iPhone or Android.

This nifty little app time-stamps, dates and watermarks your photos with GPS coordinates; ideal for proving beyond doubt that the meter reading you sent to your gas supplier was accurate and legit. No more debates about when you took your reading and whether it’s accurate, all the proof you need will be on your phone.

Take photos of meter readings.

Sort of self-explanatory after the previous tip, but important nonetheless. Send these off on the date that you vacate the house if it’s at all possible.

Invest in some sandwich bags and strong sticky tape.

When dismantling furniture, put all the screws, nuts and bolts in the sandwich bag and stick it to a non-visible part of the furniture. Don’t do this with antique oak furniture please.

Use rope or very strong string to keep drawers shut when moving them.

This saves fingers and drawers from damage. If your drawers contain fairly light objects, it may be worth moving them full. This obviously means you’ve got one less packing job at each end, but it’s only a smart thing to do if the full chest of drawers can be moved with its contents in place.

Photograph wiring configurations before packing electronic equipment.

This way you’ll have a handy reference for when you come to rewire your TV, stereo and anything else that requires such attention. So many hours are lost to trying to figure out exactly which wire went where and why.

Put a rubber band around the lock on your front door.door stop

If you’ve got one of those doors that lock automatically, this will stop that annoying scenario when the door swings shut as you’re carrying a box of books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use soap to fill in small holes left by hanging pictures.

Like this…

Take photos of your freshly cleaned and tidied rental property

Don’t be one of the 8 in 10 private tenants who struggle to get their deposit back. If your moving budget can stretch to it, hiring a professional cleaner as for your move can take a lot of hassle out of the process. This is especially true if you’re vacating a rented property. Even if you aren’t renting, it’s never nice to move into a dirty house, so if you’re feeling gracious to the people who bought your house, this could be a good way of earning some house move karma. You never know when you might need the removals Gods to smile down on you…

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The Internet’s Best Tips for People Moving to London

We know how stressful moving house can be and we know it’s especially tough (although also very exciting) moving to a new city. So to help anyone and everyone planning on heading to the greatest city in the world, we asked Twitter to recommend their top hacks for moving to and living in London.

Tips for moving to London

One of the best tips we received was from @Iain_Alexander on Twitter who advised Londoners-to-be to do a fact-finding trip before settling in somewhere. He set aside budget for a hotel and then viewed 16 apartments before putting his money down. This surely beats committing to a place before you’ve seen it.

Once you’re here, TaskRabbit is a handy tool for getting organised and getting things done. This location-basd app lets you outsource tasks locally. Whether it’s help with packing for a move (we do that of course, don’t forget) or hiring someone to help with work around the house, this app is a winner.

Use Mapumental to find the perfect place to live based on where you’re going to be working. This tool uses public transport data to calculate the place where you’re best suited to live based on having a better commute.

Make sure your tenancy deposit is taken care of. We reported earlier this year that 8 in 10 private tenants experience problems getting their deposit back. All you need to check if your deposit has been placed in a tenancy deposit scheme is your postcode, the start date of your tenancy and this link.

A lot of London properties don’t have room for washers and driers, so Laundrapp – an app that helps you arrange affordable laundry services – is a great tool.

Getting about

Don’t buy a car, you can rent them by the hour using City Car Club (now owned by Enterprise and called Enterprise Car Club). Parking spaces in London can cost as much as actual houses elsewhere in the country, so don’t even think about being a car owner in the capital. For membership from £50 a year and car for around £5 an hour, City Car Club is a great shout. They’ve got locations all over the place too. If you’re already a car owner, Autotrader is possibly the best place to sell it. If it’s an older car or a bit of a banger, Scrap Car Network offer competitive prices for car recycling.

A tube map is fine but knowing whether the Underground beats walking is the sort of knowledge you pick up as a local. Cheat the system @citymapper – it’s great for navigating your way between obscure points on the map.  

Download the Stationmaster app to familiarise yourself with the London tube network. This app is great, its got shortcuts to help you avoid rush hour crushes and other great hacks.

Look for worn out parts of the platform. This will help you calculate where the train door will be when the tube pulls in.

The London Bike Kitchen is a great place to go for a coffee, but the team there will also show you how to fix your bike. It’s also a good place to get second hand parts.

Work at The Barbican Centre. The iconic arts centre and Brutalist masterpiece is set up for students and freelancers. There are loads of places to sit, charge your laptop and the laptop is top notch.

Heading out

@TheBookClubEC2 @DrinkShopDo @LondONtheinside all come recommended as affordable spots for socialising. While music fans are advised to sign up with the @RoundhouseLDN to get great deals and alerts on performances from emerging artists

If you want to snag a table at an exclusive restaurant without paying the hefty price tag, Uncover London is a great service for hooking up spare covers with frugal diners.

Other highly recommended tech for London newbies

 

@Jukely – Cheaper gig, concert and festival tickets. Subscription based.

 

@Frugl – events and offers for under £10

 

@SkintLondon – more fab things for a tenner and under.

 

@handy – get home services on demand, without the hassle.

 

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European Commutability Index – 12 Affordable (and cool) European Cities Commutable to London

The high cost of living and working in London means it can actually be cheaper – and better – to commute in from Europe

For those who love their London job but hate the cost of living, there’s now a way to keep their career on track without the financial stress of living in London.

At least 12 major European cities are now financially and logistically commutable* from London, according to new research.

Kiwi Movers have created a European Commutability Index to help London workers find a city to commute from that suits them – the higher the index score, the better.

See full infographic and data

See the full sized image

European Commutability Index header image

Taking into account a range of lifestyle factors, such as commute time, commute cost, rent, cost per square foot and local climate, we’ve come up with the ‘commutable 12’ – Europe’s best cities for working in London.

As well as offering a financially better alternative, the cities – which include Barcelona, Zagreb, The Hague and Berlin – offer other advantages too, including better rights for renters, more sunshine and in the case of the The Hague, a commute that is actually quicker than some tube journeys.

With average rents now hitting £1,211 for a one-bedroom flat in the London and a monthly Zone 1-4 travel card adding a further £177 to your living costs, heading for mainland Europe, where rents are as much as £977** cheaper per month, can be a financially savvy decision.

In fact, one Londoner did just that in 2013. Social media manager Sam Cookney relocated to Barcelona and saved a reported £339 per month.

But some cities are even cheaper and offer more space, more luxury and far better weather to boot.

Prague’s relatively short commute time, cheap rents and affordability make it the highest scorer on the index. Budapest follows closely behind but would-be commuters should note that not everyone speaks English, so it would be necessary to learn Hungarian to get by here.

If it’s a short commute you’re after, you can get from your front door in The Hague to Bank Tube Station in approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. That includes the commute from The Hague to Rotterdam Airport and then on to London City Airport.

Best cities overall for commuting to London

City European Commutability Index
Prague 931
Budapest 879
Warsaw 794
Barcelona 728
Berlin 673
Madrid 647
Milan 633
Lisbon 576
Vienna 533
The Hague 521
Zagreb 514
Bruges 19

 

How do the Commutable 12 compare to London?

Best weather – Lisbon – average temperature is 20.8 degrees celsius and an 68% annual average probability of sunshine.

Best value for money on rent – Prague – £243 per month for a 70 sq metre 2-bedroom apartment with wrap-around balcony and hardwood floors near the centre of the city.

That’s £1 cheaper than a Zone 1-7 monthly travel card

Shortest commute – 1 hour and 17 minutes The Hague. 22 minute commute from The Hague to Rotterdam Airport, followed by a flight time of 55 minutes straight into London City Airport.

This commute is six minutes shorter than a Central Line journey across London from West Ruislip to Epping!

Cheapest commutes

You can fly to London from Warsaw, Barcelona, Berlin and Milan for under £40 return. Compared to the £316 cost of a monthly rail pass to get from the Buckinghamshire commuter town of Gerrards Cross to London, we’ve calculated how many journeys people living in the Commutable 12 could make.

Warsaw and Barcelona are cheap enough that a commuter could feasibly travel to London ten times a month, almost equivalent to half of the working days in a month.

City Commute Cost (Return flights) Number of monthly journeys for price of commuting from outside London
Warsaw £34 9.3
Barcelona £36 8.8
Berlin £39 8.1
Milan £39 8.1
Prague £42 7.5
Lisbon £46 6.9
Madrid £50 6.3
Budapest £51 6.2
Vienna £54 5.9
Bruges £83 3.8
The Hague £87 3.6
Zagreb £121 2.6

 

Shortest commutes

City Flight time
The Hague 55 minutes
Berlin 2 hours
Prague 2 hours
Milan 2 hours 10 minutes
Bruges 2 hours 17 minutes
Vienna  2 hours 30
Zagreb 2 hours 30 minutes
Barcelona 2 hours 30 minutes
Madrid 2 hours 40 minutes
Budapest 2 hours 45 minutes
Warsaw 2 hours 45 minutes
Lisbon 3

 

*assuming one weekly commute, returning on the same day so no hotel expenses.

**Based on living in Prague.

 

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12 Affordable and Cool European Cities Commutable to London Infographic and Data

Kiwimovers.co.uk European Commutability Index

 

kiwimovers.co.uk European Commutability Index – PDF
Kiwi Movers European Commutability Index Data and Methodology

 

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“Someone used the loo after you left…” 8 Ridiculous Excuses Landlords Have Given for Keeping Deposits

 

Earlier this year we revealed that private tenants are losing as much as £40 million a year due to withheld deposits, many of which are withheld unfairly.

In our survey, we asked respondents to give the reasons why their deposit was withheld and some of the responses were interesting, unusual, absolutely ridiculous.

Here’s a selection of the best from our poll plus some we saw on social media that we just couldn’t leave out.

“Someone blocked the toilet after you moved out.”

 

toilet

 

 

“It was definitely clear when we left. If it was blocked, it must have been someone from the lettings agency that did it. However, it was £75 from a £1,000 deposit, so I didn’t bother challenging the landlord.”

“You didn’t give sufficient notice before a hurricane flooded your apartment.”

 

sandy

 

“Someone tried to break in before you lived here.”

 

window pane

 

“The house had been broken into before we moved in. We gave up reporting the damage to the window that was caused, even though it prevented us from fully opening it. When we moved out, the landlord tried to blame us for the same damage.”

 

“There’s detergent residue in the detergent tray.”

 

washing machine

 

“I hired a professional cleaning company because I didn’t have time to deep clean the apartment myself. The letting agency still deducted £35 from my deposit because there was detergent residue inside the detergent tray.”

 

“Despite the murder that occurred in the property, you didn’t provide sufficient notice.”

 

murder

“I never had it, it’s not my problem.”

 

Image credit - Giphy

Image credit – Giphy

 

“The flat we lived in was sold while we were living in it. The new owner was a buy-to-let landlord and when it came for us to leave, he tried to fob us off by saying that the old landlord had got the deposit.

“We pointed out that he’d broken the law by signing an assured short hold tenancy agreement without protecting our deposit, he didn’t care. He just told us to take it up with the old landlord who’d since moved to Portugal to retire.”

“You left my furniture in the house.”

 

not our stuff

 

“We’re waiting for someone else to move in before we return your deposit.”

 

shelter

We’d like to point out that not all landlords are unscrupulous or dishonest – we actually work with some great landlords who really care about their tenants – but it’s always a shame to see the bad ones letting the side down.

That said, a lot of withheld deposits are due to people simply not cleaning up properly at the end of their tenancy. Many removals firms, including us now offer a professional end-of-tenancy cleaning service that can help make that deposit retrieval process a little bit simpler and make the whole removal process a little less stressful.

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Property Developer Forced to Rebuild Historic Pub Brick by Brick after Knocking it Down

Here’s what happens if you knock down an historic pub without asking permission…

Kiwi Movers HQ is based in the heart of Wandsworth Common. It’s a beautiful place to work and the team appreciate being in such great surroundings.

So we were surprised and a little sad to see a local landmark recently get knocked down. The Alchemist pub in Battersea had seen better days of course, but with a bit of consideration, it could – and should – have been returned to its former glory. Instead it was knocked down to make space for an apartment development. 

The Alchemist pub – a valuable example of Victorian architecture

the alchemist pub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone – the former site of the Alchemist pub near Kiwi Movers headquarters.

Picture Credit - Nigel Howard/London Evening Standard.

Picture Credit – Nigel Howard/London Evening Standard.

 

After the pub was destroyed, it emerged that property developer Udhyam Amin had torn it down without getting permission. The pub stood in a conservation area and planning permission was required to alter the external appearance of the structure, let alone completely destroy it.

Mr. Amin attempted to get permission via the back door by applying for retrospective planning permission, claiming the building was dangerous.

Fortunately, the powers that be weren’t having it.

Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “The developer was trying to get permission for this unlawful demolition by the back door. This attempt has been roundly rejected.

“The loss of such an interesting and important local landmark was judged to be against the public interest.

“In our view the demolition was a very serious breach of planning rules which can only be put right by the complete rebuilding and reconstruction of this important community asset, using the same materials and to the same architectural design.

“This building was an integral part of the St John’s Hill Grove conservation area and its loss has been keenly felt by local people. That’s why we are determined to take action to ensure it’s restored for future generations.”

Hopefully the next time a property developer thinks about destroying an historic building without getting the required planning permission, this case will discourage them. And on the off-chance you’re reading this Mr. Amin, Kiwi Movers also do builder’s cleans.

So when you’re finished putting that pub back up, give us a shout and we’ll come and tidy up the mess.

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Mover of the Month – August

Our mover of the month for August is Brendon Kivell.
We asked Brendon a few questions about himself and working with Kiwi Movers. Like everyone at Kiwi, Brendon has a few hidden talents and may just be a future Peter Jackson in the making…
1. How long have you been with Kiwi? Four months
2. How do you keep yourself fit to ensure you keep up on the job? Working for kiwi is my fitness and basically a free gym membership.
3. Any nicknames? Most back home in NZ know me as Crazy (that’s interesting!). Over here its either Kivell or Kiv.
4. Favourite place in London? Went to watch the 1st test match between NZ vs England at Lord’s Cricket Ground and it blew me away. Rocking up to a cricket game the kiwi way in shorts and t-shirt and half the crowd are in suits was an interesting experience.
5. Any secret talents? I’m a filmmaker. Written a few feature and short films. Also directed 3 short films.
6. If you could have dinner with a famous person who would it be? and what would your first question be? Steven Spielberg. Probably would just pick his mind about filmmaking and then get all film nerdy and just talk about films.
7. In 5 years time where do you see yourself? Either finishing up my travels living in the USA like New York or back in NZ working in the film industry.
8. Best place you’ve travelled to so far? Haven’t done the travelling part yet. That’s starting in August.
9. What’s your most interesting move with Kiwi? We were heading towards Bath for a move and just happen to drive past Stonehenge without even trying.  It’s pretty cool to be able to see the UK as part of the job.
10. Got anything planned for the Rugby World Cup? Don’t have the funds for tickets yet but hoping to go to a few games.

 

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Expert Tips for Living as a Digital Nomad

What is a digital nomad?

Digital nomad is a relatively new term that describes those lucky so and sos who aren’t tied to a fixed location through work. They typically work in the creative and digital industries and make use of remote commuting techniques to take their work on the road with them.

The best description of a digital nomad is someone who is location independent and able to take advantage of the cheaper cost of living overseas. Graphic designers, copywriters, web developers, SEO execs and the like can conduct all of their work remotely, communicate with clients via the web and never need to be in one place for a specific length of time.

Because many digital nomads choose to travel to where the cost of living is much lower, they have smaller overheads and are able therefore to offer cheaper rates to their clients as a result. A win win.

What are the benefits?

The benefits are pretty obvious. You get to travel, live overseas and explore the world while working. You can pick and choose your work, invoice your clients from the hostel or hotel and generally live a great, adventurous lifestyle without having to save up or losing money as you do so.

But it’s not a complete picnic. There are sacrifices and challenges too. So we asked Twitter’s army of digital nomads to give us their best tips for living the location independent lifestyle.

Alan Donegan, founder of @popupbusiness school had this to say.

Travel blogger and digital marketing expert Tom Bourlet offered a great tip for staying productive while away from home.

Freelance photographer and PR genius Kate Stewart gave us some less glam, but equally useful tips for staying connected.

 

She also recommends @aircharge1 for finding which places do wireless charging.

British entrepreneur in Australia Anita Lee gave us some good advice on running your life as a business.

Meanwhile, ‘sextech’ entrepreneur Darren J Smith implores digital nomads to take full advantage of their fortunate circumstances.

 

Productivity Hacks for Digital Nomads

We caught up with Alex Perron, head of growth at Canadian startup Pressly – a new content marketing platform – to get his insights on living the professional life on the road.

Alex Peron

“I’d say the most important thing when you work online is a good wi-fi connection. And there are lots of places out there where it takes a minute or more to load a web page, which is both frustrating, depressing, and kills your productivity.

In most cities I used to find a five-star hotel nearby, get a room for one night and find a cooler-than-average employee who would give me the staff wi-fi password in exchange for a good tip. It helped a lot.

“The second thing you need to be careful about is productivity. When you work for yourself, especially from a place that you always wanted to go visit, it is very easy to get distracted and spend most of your time wandering around and lose focus on your deliverables.

I used to wake up every morning at 9, and see the coffee shop or the hotel bar next door as my office. I would get dressed, and go there before 10 to start my day. I’d stay there until 4 or 5 and leave. That’s the way I found to structure my days in that type of environment.

“Logistics: get a few chargers for every of your devices on Alibaba. I tend to lose stuff all the time. I once lost my laptop charger in Essaouira, Morocco. Lesson learned. This is why you want your current work to be saved in the cloud at all times. Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud. Whatever it is, save your stuff online!”

Digital Nomad Survival Tips

  • Keep everything backed up in the cloud. That way, if any devices get stolen you can still access your work. This applies to copies of your important documents too.

 

  • Check out free wifi availability before traveling. Seoul, Tallinn, Paris, Stockholm and Mountain View, California are among the best-served cities for free wifi in the world.

 

  • Send your stuff home as you collect it. If you spot something on your travels that you simply can’t live without, don’t lug it about. Use an an affordable excess baggage service like ours to send it home where it’ll stay safe.

 

  • Be disciplined. You’ve got to work to keep up this amazing lifestyle, so keep on top of your hours. Use a free time-tracking app like Toggl to monitor your productivity.

 

  • Invest in good quality mobile broadband when you’re heading to remote locations. Global Gig offers low cost, reliable mobile broadband for a fixed price.

 

 

  • Enjoy it. Not everyone gets to live this sort of lifestyle.

 

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Living with Parents to Save Money? 8 Essential Tips to Survive

The Office for National Statistics estimates that 3.3 million adults live with their parents. With house prices and rental prices making solo or even shared living prohibitively expensive for many, living in the parental home is often the tricky reality. Some of us have never managed to move out, while others have tasted sweet freedom and have chosen to move back.

But don’t be too downbeat, Rafa Nadal, singer Adele, Steve Jobs and even Alexander Graham Bell had to live with their parents in adulthood. If it’s good enough for them, it’s got to be good enough for the rest of us.

Why move back?

Saving up for for a place of our own is one of the biggest drivers for adults living with their parents. But while we’re waiting for that bank balance to begin to grow, living with the folks can prove to be quite a challenge and not just for us – you will never know how much your parents cherished having their home to themselves until you rocked up back on the doorstep – so here’s eight pro tips for making the most of being back in the nest.

  • Be as productive as possible – You might as well face it from day one, you’re here because you either have no money or you want to save up what little money you do have. That means that going to the pub or on holiday to escape the parental reigns are neither of your immediate priorities. To that end, you’d better make being at home as enjoyable and comfortable as possible, otherwise you risk extending your stay at Hotel Mum and Dad by frittering away money you could be putting towards a nice deposit.

    Netflix and Youtube are two very inexpensive modes of entertainment.All you need is a laptop, mobile or tablet. Get into a new series, learn a new skill via Youtube or simply find a way to relax.You could even massively improve your employment options by learning to code or by learning another language. Khan Academy is an excellent place to start if you want to spend some quality time developing a new skill. It’s absolutely free too. Find out more here.Mike Upjohn is a web developer for top UK marketing agency Venn Digital.

    He recommends combining an existing interest with the learning process to make it more rewarding and relevant.“Learning to code is extremely rewarding and you never feel alone with the amount of forums, tutorials and other content that is online to help you get started.“The best advice I have for getting into development is; pick something you are really interested in, and then develop a website, a piece of software or a piece of code to solve a problem in that area. The combination of learning development and having an interest in the topic can make for an exciting and rewarding project, interest and potentially a career too.

    “Groups such as StackOverflow are extremely helpful in assisting with solving problems or developing your programming skills and as everyone is there for the same reason, it’s a fantastic environment for bouncing ideas off one another.“New developers shouldn’t be put off by the numbers of different languages out there. Once you develop the right problem solving skills and understand the method of programming, it’s simply a case of learning the syntax and its power (a bit like learning a foreign language).

    “Developing anything, with any form of code is as much about testing the code you write as it is about writing the code in the first place.”

    You don’t need to undertake something of this magnitude to make living with your parents rewarding. Hobbies can lead to interesting things too. For example, instead of going to the pub and spending deposit money, why not use the garage to set up your own home brew operation? The likes of Muntons and The Home Brew Shop offer very reasonably-priced starter kits for new brewers. You might even make a bit of cash on the side.

 

  • Plan your exit – Nothing will make living at home with your parents more of a drag than having no light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it’s not for two years from now, have a plan of when you want to move out and know what steps you need to take to achieve this. How many months will it take you to save up a deposit? How many extra hours at work would you need to do per week to bring that date forward by a month? Knowing how you’ll make your escape for freedom will help you make the most of this period of your life.

 

  • Make your contributions obvious – We know you pull your weight but sometimes your contributions can be overlooked. We’re not saying walk around with a placard saying “I did some vacuuming” but if you have indeed done some vacuuming, make sure you do a good enough job that your parents know about it.That means moving furniture, vacuuming under the rug and so on. Same goes for cleaning. If you’ve made the effort to clean, do the best job you can without hating yourself. Pro tip; ‘accidentally’ leaving the Pledge out will tip off an under-appreciative parent that you’ve not been watching Cash in the Attic all day long.

 

  • Don’t be an expensive house guest – You cost money. Your parents will no doubt be aware of this due to the increased food and fuel bills. They won’t say anything though because they love you. If you can contribute, that’s great, but even if you can’t it’s good to minimise the expense that you represent. Showers are cheaper than baths, an extra blanket is cheaper than having the heating on all day, tap water is cheaper than writing “Evian x12 please!” on the shopping list. You get the picture.

 

  • Get regular respite – Living with the folks is a challenge for everyone. That’s why you should make good use of your friends to give yourself and your folks some space now and then. Make a weekly thing of it so your parents can plan to make the most of your absence. Whether it’s five-a-side football, yoga once a week or simply walking over to a friend’s house for a cup of tea and a biscuit, knowing you’ll be out of the way at least once a week is good for everyone.

 

  • Coordinate and plan your movements – Following on from the regular respite route, it may not feel like it but giving your parents as much advance info on your movements will reduce stress for all of you. Don’t want your mum ringing when you’re at your friends’ place? Tell her you’re going out and give yourself an hour’s grace on your ETA. That way she won’t fret (she loves to fret) when you’re ten minutes late back.Planning and coordinating can also result in some extra bonuses. Let’s assume for a second that your parents are going on holiday. That leaves you in the house by yourself. Now let’s assume that you’re planning on staying with a friend for a week.You’ve got a choice of when to go, when your parents are away or when they’re back. The latter is the correct choice as it maximises your time away from the house and gives your parents extra time together.

 

  • Set boundaries and expectations – Your parents respect you but definitions of respect vary from generation to generation, as we’re sure you know. If you don’t want your dad washing your delicates, don’t just say so, prove it by doing your own washing. For every week your festering pile of laundry sits in the corner of your room, the more entitled your dad is to pick it up and do it.The same goes for meals. If you don’t want to be obliged to eat with your folks every night, let them know. Don’t let good food go to waste through a simple lack of communication. You’ll feel bad and your mum’s inherent aversion to throwing out perfectly good food will stress her out.

 

  • Embrace it – Here’s something you might not have considered. Your parents are actually thoughtful, funny, interesting people. Instead of worrying about how to avoid your parents’ company all the time, maybe you could make the most of it.Your mum still loves a chinwag and your dad is only watching that documentary on steam trains by himself because he thinks nobody else is interested. You might not have chosen to be thrown back into the parental home, but with the right attitude it could actually be a really positive experience.

 

 

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Do you have a “mystery box?” Find out why one in four movers are wasting money on removals

New research conducted by us has revealed that 51% of people who’ve moved house in the last five years still had unpacking to do by the tenth month of being in their new place. Three quarters of those admitted that not being fully unpacked was causing stress in their lives, while half of those said it had caused arguments.

Furthermore, one in four surveyed said their inability to fully unpack had caused them to leave one or more boxes packed for the duration of their stay in a property. Sandwich toasters, cocktail shakers and other non-essential kitchen items were the things most likely to remain boxed, while the kettle (obviously) and phone and tablet chargers (naturally) and bathroom essentials (definitely!) are typically the first items to be unboxed after a move.

Our survey of more than 1,000 people found that most people still had unpacking to do 304 (ten months) after stepping over the threshold of their new place. One in five (18%) said they took more than a year to get fully unpacked, while seven percent were still living out of boxes two years after moving.

This news must be hard to contemplate for the super organised minority in our survey. Three percent of our respondents claimed that they’d unpacked everything within a day of moving, while seven percent said they’d got the job finished within a week.

Decorating was the most common excuse given by the slow unpackers, with 44% saying they’d properly unpack once they’d completed the necessary tasks. 31% said they needed to get more storage solutions, 12% said they were still debating where to put things, while 7% said they were too busy and 6% percent just admitted they couldn’t be bothered.

Pie chart showing average time taken for movers to unpack.

Almost two thirds still having unpacking to do by month nine in a new house.

A third (31%) said the delay in unpacking was due to having insufficient storage, while 12% said they couldn’t agree with their significant other on where to put things.

13% blamed themselves, with 7% saying they were too busy to fully unpack and 6% admitting to being too lazy to finish the job. Men were far more likely than women to be living out of boxes and couples were less likely to be doing so than singletons.

Regan McMillan, Kiwi Movers director reckons a lot of folks make their lives unnecessarily hard by packing items they don’t actually need.

“If a quarter of people are saying they’ve got boxes they never unpacked since their last move, you’ve got to wonder if they really need what’s inside. We recommend having a thorough de-clutter prior to moving house so our clients don’t end up paying to move, then storing or living among items they don’t actually need. In most cases, if you haven’t used it in the last six months, you can most likely do without.”

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Removal quotes online – a guide to understanding them

 

The first thing anyone who needs to move their stuff should do is get removals quotes. You can do this easily online. Going off recommendations is great but you can’t be sure you’re getting the right deal on your move until you’ve run through a few quotes.

Certain factors can make a company unsuitable for your needs and this can result in a higher than normal quote. For example, some firms specialise in small, local jobs and don’t have the resource or capacity to efficiently complete a large, long-distance move, so they’ll quote you higher to cover this. Certain firms don’t like to do certain areas so again, may quote higher than normal to cover this.

At Kiwi Movers we specialise in moving people in and out of London. We know the city, the buildings, the roads, the parking situation and how to get around all of the unique challenges that come with working and living here. That’s why we’re confident in our quotes for London removals, but we still advise any customer to ensure they have a good understanding of the following factors before settling on a removals firm.

Removal Price: Per Hour or Per Job?

There are two ways to price up a move; either you will receive an end to end price for the entire move, or you’ll be quoted an hourly rate. With hourly rate quotes, it’s important that the firm provides an estimate of how long they’ll take to do the job.

Professional movers will be able to give a fairly accurate estimate on a job, but to do so it’s important that the client provides as much information as possible when getting the quote. This is especially handy for smaller moves, such as man and van jobs, where there isn’t a whole lot to shift. Although regardless of how much stuff you own, your removals team need to take into account a number of key factors, such as;

  • Distance to move – This is one of the biggest factors in determining the cost of your move.
  • Day of the move – We need to anticipate flow of traffic and factor that into our time estimates, for example it’s good to know whether we’ll    be hitting London traffic on a Friday afternoon.
  • Stairs – If you’ve got them, we need to know about them.
  • Complexity of move – Features such as sash windows and spiral stairs can influence the quote.

 

Kiwi Movers can price per job or per hour, depending on the nature of the move. But no matter how we quote, we always aim to ensure it represents the best value and lowest possible price for our customers.

The importance of removal quote surveys

At Kiwi Movers we will conduct a free quotation survey so we can give the most accurate (and best) quote we can. Without visiting your property and seeing how much, or how little, stuff you’ve got, we can’t accurately spec the job.

Visiting to do an in-person survey also gives you a chance to meet your removals team and gives the team a chance to spot any snags that you may not have noticed. For example, an awkwardly placed radiator or a tight turn at the top of the stairs may be invisible until you come to shift a sofa out of the building. When we conduct our free quotation survey, we typically look at the following.

  • Stairs – moving things safely down stairs (or up if you live in a basement flat) can be a big factor on how long the job will take.
  • Width of doors – Nice wide doors can make a huge difference to how quickly we can get your stuff onto the van. We can pretty much move anything, but a narrow doorway can be the difference between dismantling something or moving it in one piece.
  • Parking availability – We understand that sometimes people just don’t have parking, so it’s important we come and have a look to how we can work around this.
  • Volume and type of items to be moved – If you’ve ever moved house yourself, you’ll no doubt understand how easy it is to underestimate the amount of stuff you have. Until your belongings are packed and stacked, it’s actually quite hard to estimate. That’s why we do surveys.

 

Make sure you’re comparing like-for-like when reviewing removal quotes.

We’d always encourage you to compare quotes to ensure you get the best deal. But it’s super important to make sure you’re comparing like for like. For example, if you’re paying a lower per hour rate, but you’ve got a smaller team on the job, it’s going to take them longer to do it. This could result in you paying more and having your move take longer.

Double check whether the following are included in the quote.

Insurance – Extremely important no matter how much stuff and how far you’re moving.

Packing – Having professional packing can influence your insurance, so always check who is doing it. We recommend letting the professionals do it. FInd out why here.

Packing supplies – Again, good quality boxes and packing materials can make a move easier than you’d probably imagine.

Dismantling and assembly – This is included as standard in our quotes and we’ll advise you of any items that require special treatment when we’ve done our survey. Make sure you double check that this is included in any other quotes you get as some firms may charge extra.

Removal quotes online – Add-ons

Services that are typically not included in a removal quote include;

Storage – We offer both long term and short term self storage for an extra cost.

Shipping – Many of our clients find it useful to arrange shipping along with removals for convenience.

Cleaning – Some removals can unsettle dust and there’s always a bit of mess once your stuff is out of the way. We can take care of cleaning for you but it isn’t included in our standard quote.

Waste removal – We’re happy to handle this too, but again, it’s not included in the standard quote.

Packing and packaging materials – We recommend these services for insurance and expediency reasons, but they’re not included in typical removals quotes.

The key thing to remember is that you’ll never fully know whether you’re getting a good unless you completely understand the nature of the quote.

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Moving House Soon? Here’s Six Ways to Easily Save Money on Removals

We’re not going to fib to you, moving house costs money. But there are ways to cut those costs down to size without putting your stuff, your house or your lower back in danger. Here’s how.

Book your removals firm early (and pick a good day)

Any removal firm worth its salt knows where its vehicles are going to be a week from now. If you find a removal firm that has nothing to do next week, you’ve got to ask yourself why. Removals firms are busy and the price can go up the shorter the notice. Book your removal team as early as possible to get the best price.

If you can, be flexible on the day you move. Friday is the most popular day for moving as it leads nicely into the weekend. For some firms, this means Friday is also the most expensive day to move. See also; bank holidays and the days before and after bank holiday weekends.

Moving on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday can save you a good deal of money.

Once you’ve got your movers booked in, you need to plan access at both ends. Speak to your neighbours and ask if they’d mind moving their cars for the day to make life easier for everyone. Paying for their parking and getting them a decent bottle of wine as a thank you will still be cheaper than paying for parking tickets or fines that comes from lack of access.

It’s also worth remembering that your move will take longer the further away from your front door your movers have to park. Most removals firms charge by the hour so it’s in your financial interests to make sure they’ve got adequate access to your property.

Get rid of as much stuff as possible

It makes no sense at all to pack, transport and unpack any items that you’re not going to use at the new house. Think of the space, weight and energy every item will take to transport. Your stuff really needs to earn its place on that removal truck. Further more, do you really want to start off life in your new home with unwanted clutter around?

Junk shop

Time to de-clutter? Image credit Wiki Commons/Jorge Royan

Time to de-clutter? Image credit Wiki Commons/Jorge Royan

As soon as you know you’re going to be moving, begin methodically working through each room, getting rid of items that fit any of the following criteria.

  • Items that haven’t been used or worn in the past six months (excluding items that don’t get regular use, like your best suit or electric carving knife).

 

  • Things that exist in duplicate. If you’ve got more than one of it, ditch the one that is oldest. Obviously we don’t mean things that are useful to have in multiples, like drinking glasses or socks, but items like coffee machines, DVD players and power tools. You may even be able to recoup some money by selling these items on eBay or Amazon if they’re still in good condition.

 

  • Stuff that’s broken. You tell yourself you’re going to get it fixed, you just need a spare day. Good luck taking advantage of all those spare days you’ve got coming up now you’ve got a new house to live in. If in doubt, see criteria #1. If it was that important you’d have got it fixed by now.

 

We’re by no means saying you should throw away sentimental items, we just don’t want you to have to move things that you should really have thrown away by now. Be honest with yourself when considering if something is worth packing.

Shopping smart is important too. In the run up to the move, minimise the amount of stuff you need to transport. If you’re moving house in a week, do you really want to be buying a family pack of baked beans this week? Downsize your normal pack sizes to ensure you’re not transporting half-used washing powder and open boxes of cereal.

Get rid of all perishables before you move. There’s just no point risking the mess. We pride ourselves on moving your stuff with care, but if you’re going to start packing eggs in your kitchen box, you’re sort of asking for it.

If after careful consideration you remain in doubt, do yourself a favour and throw it out. There is one exception to this rule. Keep this stuff. It’s really useful.

 

Bedding

Bedding makes really good packing material for fragile items and when you get to your new home, you can use it for protecting bannisters, architraves, and counter tops when moving in and unpacking. If you plan on decorating, old bedding is great for covering carpet and furniture.

Boxes

You’ve got two choices here, let your removal firm provide the boxes or source your own. Sourcing your own can be handy if you’re not doing a big move and don’t have anything particularly expensive or fragile to move. This is especially true if you’re using a man and van service for a small move.

For big moves where you’ve got a lifetime’s worth of treasure to transport, we’d strongly recommend using professional moving boxes. We provide packing boxes at very reasonable rates (we would say that though, right?), but we also happen to think using professional standard packing boxes is a money saving choice. Using the right boxes can make packing easier and quicker, especially if your removals firm are doing the packing for you. There are also insurance implications of transporting items in boxes that you’ve sourced yourself.

That said, if you do want to source your own boxes, here are some tips from the professionals.

  • Check the boxes are dry before taking them. Even a slight bit of damp can be problematic once the box is full. And by problematic, we mean the bottom might fall out of it.

 

  • Check that they are spider-free too. Especially true if the boxes were used for fruit. Spiders can be problematic on moving day too.

 

  • Reinforce all boxes, even sturdy feeling ones, with gaffa tape.

 

  • Two small boxes are better than one big one. You’re getting twice the amount of reinforcement and coverage for the same amount of volume. This also prevents over-filling of boxes.

 

Pay for packing

This sounds counter-intuitive when we’re trying to help you save money. It also sounds like exactly the sort of thing a professional removals company that offers a packing service would say, so don’t take our word for it. Here’s what other people say about letting the professionals do the packing.

“Long distances and furniture stacked together heightens the risk of damage. Consider paying your removal company to do some of the packing for you, particularly for bulky items like white goods and furniture or fragile items. It might seem like an extravagant luxury, but they know what they’re doing, and it can be a big time saver too. – The Scotsman

When asked if £300 was a fair price to have everything packed, here’s what some of The Guardian’s readers said (we don’t charge that much, by the way).

“They didn’t break anything and were very very good value for money in the respect that with a bad back I literally did not lift a finger.” – Guardian readers

This guy was very pleased with his choice to leave it to the professionals.

“Picture the scene: it’s 8:30, you awake, have a nice breakfast in your normal non-packed house, then a team of packers turn up and you go out for lunch (your only getting in the way so no need to hang around), you go for a nice relaxing walk afterwards and return at 3pm, it’s done, whole house packed and in the back of a lorry.

This is an exact description of how my last move, 6mths ago, went. My wife had a hard time persuading me it was worth it but I’m glad she did, I’m never packing myself again.”- Guardian Readers

Rightmove (the website you’re now sick of after months of over-usage) also agrees that letting the professionals do the packing is a good idea.

“If you’ve opted for the protection and convenience of having the team pack for you, help them out by getting organised – the faster your team can pack up, the quicker you can be on the way and the faster you can be ready to unpack at the other end.” Rightmove.com

Letting your removal team do the packing means we can get you moved and unpacked in less time. Since we charge by the hour, this can often result in a saving for our customers. It also means all of your stuff is fully insured. We can’t always insure a move if the packing has been carried out by third parties.

Download 08 Wizard for your phone

So you’ve moved house and now it’s just the small matter of unpacking your stuff, finding the kettle (pack a separate kitchen box and put it on the truck last so you can get it at the other end), moving over all of your bills and changing your address. We all know that no matter which tariff you’re on, your mobile company is going to sting you for those 08 numbers. And we all know that your bank is going to keep you on hold for at least three Mumford and Songs songs.

08 Wizard can’t do anything about ubiquity of Mumford and Sons, but they can make 08 numbers free to call. It’s a free app that will 100% save you money in the weeks after a house move.

Change locks and alarm code

Have you ever wondered who knows your alarm code or has a copy of the keys to your home? Do you remember the alarm code from any of your previous properties? Chances are it was something memorable. You’d be amazed at just how many people don’t bother to do it, even though it’s entirely feasible that the previous owners made copies of their keys and gave them to the neighbours for security reasons. We’re not saying your new neighbours are going to rob your house, but it makes sense to change the locks. You can always give them a copy once they’ve earned your trust.

Fort Knox statue

Remember to change your locks. Image credit Wiki Commons

 

How does this save you money? It doesn’t really, because the chances of an evil neighbour or former inhabitant using their old key and alarm code knowledge to burgle you is very low, but if it does happen, you won’t be insured. Surely the extra peace of mind and knowing you are fully, properly insured is worth the money.

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What is a Concierge Service? – London Lifestyle Management Explained

Kiwi Movers provide a range of support services to businesses in London and the south east. One particularly interesting area we specialise in is supporting concierge service providers in delivering their service, but what exactly is a concierge service?

London Concierge Jobs and Duties

Concierge services and lifestyle managers take care of the important tasks that their clients simply don’t have time to do. They are here to help busy individuals make more of their time and run their life as efficiently as possible.

London Concierge services are typically used by busy professionals, those who do a lot of travelling and people who split their time between two locations. The concierge service providers will manage many aspects of their client’s life, from organising travel, arranging deliveries and even booking dinner and making hotel reservations.

Do you require or provide concierge services in the London area? To find out more about how we assist concierge service providers and how we might be able to help you, give us a call on 020 8877 9682.

Removals and Related Services for Concierge Professionals

You might wonder how a luxury service such as a concierge and a no-fuss service like a removals firm would work together. But it’s actually quite obvious when you think about it. We’re experts at moving stuff carefully and safely. We work quickly and we’re flexible. These qualities are exactly the same as those required to fulfil a comprehensive concierge service. Clients need things doing quickly, without fuss and with discretion. We’re not the people to go to for exclusive dinner reservations, but if you’ve got a piece of antique furniture that needs moving, give us a shout.

We come into our own when our concierge client requires removals, shipping, excess baggage delivery, cleaning or logistical support. Our reputation as trusted, professional and no-nonsense movers means our colleagues in the concierge industry know we can deliver.

On the Job with a London Concierge

Friend of Kiwi Movers Vicky Silverthorn owns You Need a Vicky, a London concierge service specialising in servicing high profile individuals, including a number of celebrities. Here she explains what she does and how she does it:

Vicky Silverthorn

Vicky and Kiwi Movers work together on various concierge accounts.

“We offer high level professional organisation services for people who have busy lives and need a hand to implement practical systems and process into their lives. We help create streamlined and efficient homes and we declutter and organise in order for people to enjoy their homes again.

“We help people move home, we pack personal effects with discretion, we unpack homes after a move, methodically, aesthetically but with practicality at the forefront of our thinking. We help families get organised when they are having a baby. We declutter homes and rooms which simply have too much stuff. We juggle kitchens to make them efficient. We design furniture and advise on storage.

“Our typical clients are busy families, whether it’s because they work or just have hectic lives. Anyone who likes to be organised and wants that feeling of calm in their home but hasn’t got the time or inclination to do it themselves.

“We work with Kiwi to ensure our clients get a smooth move from start to finish. It means we are all on the same side and can literally take the stress away from a move. The client could potentially leave their home for a couple of days and come back to a completed and unpacked, (organised) home that not only looks good but actually makes sense.

“With my sister company You Need A PA we can also cover every aspect of the admin side also. It’s the whole package.

Run Your Next House Move like a Concierge

Concierge services don’t match every budget and many people simply don’t need a full service concierge. But almost everyone we know would love to inject a bit more organisation and efficiency into their lives and live as if they had an extra pair of hands helping out. While we can’t magic up that pair of extra hands, we can offer some of our experience and knowledge earned from working alongside a number of London’s top concierge service providers to help you live like you’ve got your own concierge, especially when it comes to moving house.

1. De-clutter

Vicky has one piece of advice for anyone moving home in the near future.

“If you are decluttering yourself then start early and do little by little. Work on a small area of the home each week and start a few months before your estimated move date – almost as soon as you know. You don’t want to take belongings you don’t need with you and you don’t want to pay to move things unnecessarily.

2.Get Good Quality Boxes

Once you’ve de-cluttered, you need some decent boxes. It may be tempting to nip to your local Tesco for some spare cardboard boxes, but these won’t do for everything. Electrical equipment, breakables and anything you wouldn’t happily pack in a suitcase to take on holiday deserves a good quality box. Check out our guide to moving boxes for more information.

3. Clean as You Go

Cleaning just isn’t fun, especially when you’ve got other jobs to do, but if you clean your stuff before you pack it, you’ll save a lot of hassle when you come to unpack. The last thing you want to do is to bring dust and dirt from one house into your next one.

4.Pack Like a Pro

We always recommend letting the professionals do the packing and indeed, we offer a comprehensive and flexible packing service. This can save time, cut costs and more importantly, ensures that everything is insured during the move. Self-packed boxes are often uninsured. If you do elect to pack your own stuff, try to pack as logically as you can to save time at the other end. Use newspaper to protect anything breakable and avoid over-filling boxes, especially the big ones. You often don’t know how heavy a box is going to be until you realise you can’t pick it up, or worse, the bottom falls out (see tip 2).

5. Keep a Checklist

There’s no denying it, moving house can be very stressful, even if you’re super organised. Minimise that stress by working to a checklist. There are plenty of jobs that need doing aside from the physical moving of your stuff. These are the sort of things the concierge in you will enjoy taking care of, provided you’re organised; council tax, broadband, phone, insurance – these things all need updating when you move house. Our end-of-tenancy checklist has some great tips for moving out of a rented house, but is also applicable to people selling their own place.

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Have You Ever Done This? Two in Five Admit to This Weird Habit.

Research conducted by Kiwi Movers has found that two in five Britons alter the way they speak when communicating with tradespeople. Over half of men said they’ve done the “tradesmen voice” at least once, with blokes who work in the financial industry most likely to slip up. 19% of women said they’d done it too.

London Movers Less Likely to Hear “Tradesman Voice”

Thankfully as a London moving firm, we’re less likely than our mates in the trades up north to encounter this quirk, as northerners are most likely to do it.

Our study of more than 1,000 people found that 38 percent of us who do change the way we speak to tradespeople do it because they’re trying to “connect.” As a firm of removals professionals who absolutely love meeting new people, we often wonder if that guy moving the antique sideboard from his Chelsea townhouse really does call a cup of tea a “brew” or whether he’s just trying to speak our language; either way, we’re happy to be offered a drink.

The habit of speaking in a different voice is known as bidialectism. It happens when people try to fit in with those around them. In the case of ‘tradesmen voice,’ this most commonly affects men, people living in the North West and those in finance.

Who is most likely to put on a tradesman voice?

By location

North West – 48 percent

West Midlands – 45 percent

East Midlands – 44 percent

South East – 42 percent

North East – 40 percent

By profession

Finance – 47 percent

Creative industries – 43 percent

Education – 42 percent

Health and social work – 40 percent

Business services – 41 percent

How we change how we speak for tradespeople

When we asked our respondents to tell us the main way in which they change their speech, over half said it was a matter of altering their vocabulary. 21% said they pronounce words differently when speaking to tradespeople, while 16% said they hammed up their own dialect. 4% said they didn’t know exactly how they changed the way they speak, but were sure they did it.

Linguistics expert Enna Bartlett from marketing firm Venn Digital explains why we are so keen to modify our speech.

“The way in which you talk is known as ‘register’. People tend to vary their register based on the purpose of what they’re doing or the social setting they are in. This is called ‘accommodation.’ You can over-accommodate though. If you change how you speak too much then the person you’re speaking to will notice that that’s probably not your normal way of speaking. Quite often over-accommodation can come across as patronising.”

Director of Kiwi Movers director Regan McMillan believes most tradespeople notice when a customer is changing their speech. “When someone isn’t using their natural voice, it’s actually quite easy to spot, even if you’ve never spoken to them before. Our movers have noticed it happening and don’t take offence, but it really isn’t necessary for people to change how they speak just because they’ve got tradespeople visiting.

“We’ve got chartered accountants, a geologist and qualified nurses working in our removals teams, so they’re relatively well educated. There’s really no need to dumb it down for our team, or indeed the majority of tradespeople, although we really don’t mind whether you call it a brew or a cup of tea, we’re just grateful for the drink.”

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Nine Incredible Renovation and Interiors Blogs

Once that final box is through the door, it’s hard not to immediately begin planning how you’re going to make that new place a home. Often all it takes is a lick of paint to get the homely vibes flowing, but if you’re planning something a little more intensive for your next place, you’re going to need a bit of inspiration and know-how.

We love seeing people get joy from their new homes and we’re often privileged enough to be the first through the door with them as they start a new chapter in their lives – and as we offer our own interior design support services we’re always keen to hear what they’ve got planned, so to help get those creative (and practical) juices flowing, here’s our nine favourite renovation and interiors bloggers.

You Need a Vicky

Vicky Silverthorn is a professional declutterer and organiser with a unique professional background. Prior to starting her business and blog, she toured the world with high profile musicians, such as Lily Allen, helping to keep highly complex tours on the road and in ship shape.

Her blog is chock full (but not in an untidy way) of tips, hacks and inspiration for living a clutter-free life. Ideal to check out before your next move.

Website

Twitter

Minimal Home

If minimalism is your thing, John Rice is your man. His blog is the authority on living the minimal life, whether it be at home, at work or on your wrist (he even writes about watches). Minimalism isn’t just about hiding books away in a slick ottoman, it’s about organising your life in a way that removes obstacles and celebrates simplicity. For ideas and advice, plus links to products that fit the minimalist bill, this website is worth checking out.

Website

Twitter

Gh0st Parties

Gh0st Parties is the brainchild of Kate, a Glaswegian blogger and interiors enthusiast who is so stylish she doesn’t even need a surname. The site is a charming and engaging collection of ideas, concepts and looks, all presented in a loving and original way. For style inspiration in the form of domestic mood boards, this blog is ideal. In fact, give yourself a couple of weeks to digest all of the great ideas on here – from quirky upcycled storage ideas to simple restoration projects -before you start any new projects.

Website

Twitter

Well I Guess This Is Growing Up

This journal style blog is great if you want to see what a complete home renovation looks like from the inside. There’s a bit more perspiration than inspiration in this one as editor Karen documents each step of her renovation journey meticulously, offering practical advice and “this is how I did it” encouragement. It’s an invaluable resource, with great money saving tips and solid advice on security and all the other practical stuff you forget to consider when you’re getting giddy about over-sized lamps. One to come back to again and again.

Twitter

ADP Interiors

ADP is the design and build practice of Andrew Dunning. Andrew’s aim is to deliver your dream home at an affordable price and his blog is a great place to start for ideas and inspiration. Whether it’s remodelling, renovating or just a home makeover, Andrew is an experienced professional with a point-of-view worth hearing. His blog is high level, dealing with technical issues as well as style ideas, but it’s delivered in an easy-to-understand manner.

Website

Twitter

Lucy Loves Ya

A fun and relaxing read, this blog is all about trends, ideas and ways of having fun with interiors. It’s a cacophony of colour here and the site is bound to provide some inspiration for doing up a tired house or flat. You’re not going to get technical advice on digging out a cellar, but you’ll get the benefit of Lucy’s eye. She’s always out and about with her camera, capturing sights that can be translated into interiors concepts and projects.

Website

Twitter

Ellie Tennant

As a professional interiors journalist and stylist, Ellie knows her stuff and has travelled the globe gathering style inspiration for us lot back home. She specialises in distilling the essence of a look or style, enabling her readers to devise their own interpretation in their own homes. She’s got a fine eye and a wonderfully engaging writing style that makes planning a home renovation project feel more fun that it should do.

Website

Twitter

Ikea Hackers

This is very clever indeed. It’s a fun blog that gives you step-by-step instructions for remodelling those old bits of Ikea furniture. Turn a bookshelf into a cat house or a raised planter for your garden. The site is brimming with great concepts and is ideal for anyone looking to optimise their space or to simply put a boring old Billy shelf to better use.

More

Twitter

Steph Modo

The strapline “where practical meets pretty” is something we at Kiwi Movers are more than happy to buy into! Step’s blog is a great source of inspiration for living an optimised, space-efficient existence without sacrificing on aesthetics. Smart storage ideas compete for screen space with ingenious furniture modifications.

Website

Twitter

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Incomplete end of tenancy cleaning costs us millions in lost deposits

Private tenants are losing £40 million* per year through deposit disputes with landlords, a Kiwi Movers survey can reveal. Over the past five years, 52% of deposits were either fully or partly withheld by landlords, most of whom claimed insufficient cleaning or the need for minor repairs as the reason for withholding the depost. That’s the equivalent of more than 400,000 deposits a year, or £200 million over the five-year period*.

Over a quarter (28%) of people surveyed said their landlord delayed returning their deposit despite making no deductions, while just 20% said their deposit was returned swiftly without issue.

The importance of end of tenancy cleaning

Avoidable issues such as insufficient end of tenancy cleaning and minor repairs are the biggest reasons landlords give for withholding tenancy deposits, accounting for 62% of all tenancy deposit disputes cited in the study.

Not only will a professional end of tenancy cleaning service give you peace of mind that your property is up to scratch on check out, but a professional invoice is likely to act as a deterrent for any rogue landlords that may otherwise make frivolous claims against a deposit.

You are most likely to lose your deposit if you are;

  • Tenants living with friends
  • Students in rented house
  • Tenants living with partner or spouse

Moving house in London? – Here’s what you need to know about getting your deposit back

London is the capital of deposit disputes, with people living there twice as likely (11%) as the national average (6%) to have their whole deposit withheld, while those aged between 18 and 24 living with friends are the type of tenant most likely to lose out.

Amy Williams, a Digital Producer from Southampton took her London landlord to court and won after he withheld her deposit. “It was only a six month contract and the landlord tried to make us pay for problems that were in the flat when we moved in.

“The court said it was wear and tear, ordered the landlord to return our deposit and told him that wear and tear was something he’d have to get used to. The landlord also choose to hold the court session not in London but on the south coast. But luckily because we won he had to pay for our train tickets too. We were really poor at the time too!”

Tenancy dispute hot spots:

  • London
  • Scotland
  • West Midlands
  • North East

The most common reasons for lost deposits:

  • Minor repairs required – 33%
  • Cleaning required – 29%
  • Items missing from inventory – 19%
  • Unpaid bills – 16%
  • Other – 3%

Kiwi Movers director Regan McMillan said: “There’s been a steady increase in people hiring us to perform end-of-tenancy cleaning alongside our removals service. It’s not that these customers can’t clean for themselves, but a number of them feel that having an invoice from a professional company is the only way to counter what they see as the inevitable attempts to withhold part of their deposit. Our customers tell us they feel vulnerable unless they have paperwork to prove they left the property in an acceptable state. Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about having your deposit unfairly withheld.”

Worst reasons for withheld deposits

Toilet blockage mystery – “It was definitely clear when we left. If it was blocked, it must have been someone from the lettings agency that did it. However, it was £75 from a £1,000 deposit, so I didn’t bother challenging the landlord.”

Burglary damage – “The house had been broken into before we moved in. We gave up reporting the damage to the window that was caused, even though it prevented us from fully opening it. When we moved out, the landlord tried to blame us for the same damage.”

Detergent residue – “I hired a professional cleaning company because I didn’t have time to deep clean the apartment myself. The letting agency still deducted £35 from my deposit because there was detergent residue inside the detergent tray.”

References

*Based on 4.2 million privately rented households (ONS figures, reference 1) paying the equivalent to one month’s UK average rent of £761 (LSL Property Services figures, reference 2) and 6% (252,000) of those households losing their entire deposit, equivalent to one month’s rent.

**Kiwi Movers surveyed 1,034 UK adults between the 20th January 2015 and 11th April 2015.

Reference 1

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/detailed-characteristics-on-housing-for-local-authorities-in-england-and-wales/short-story-on-detailed-characteristics.html

Reference 2

http://www.lslps.co.uk/documents/buy_to_let_aug14.pdf

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Staff Profile – Operations Manager

dal and dad dal thumbs up Dalena+Dennison+Australia
Name: Dalena Dennison
Home town: Auckland, New Zealand.
When did you start with Kiwi: October 2014.
What was your previous job: Elite Personal Trainer at Enhance HQ in Brisbane, Australia.
What have you found most challenging about your job: Dealing with the maintenance for the Trucks and Transit Vans. This is an area that was new to me. I would usually take my car to my dad and he would sort it out for me! Now though, I have a pretty good understanding about them and we have great a great support team. It helps having a fleet of pretty much brand new vehicles though!
What is the most rewarding part about your job: There are so many things I like about my role. I get to see different type of removals being done, and I get to work on the jobs with the guys and with a great bunch of great people. Most of all though, I get to see places in and around London that not many people get to see.
Most interesting thing you have done at Kiwi: Doing removals in London is always interesting and poses it’s own unique challenges. Being in charge of a team of 30+ is a little more than the normal rugby team I’m used to though.
What does your average day consist of: My days are always different and challenging which is why I enjoy it so much. There is never a day that is the same.
You are quite an accomplished sportswoman, tell us about your sporting achievements: Australian Women’s 7s and 15s Rugby Representative. Earlier last year I had the pleasure of Captaining my side on a tour to NZ which then lead me to Represent Australia at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. In previous years I played State Basketball and was awarded a Golf Scholarship at the age of 14.
Best place travelled: I love travelling and I have seen so many beautiful places but “home is where the heart is!”.
Interesting Fact: I have two cousins who have/currently represent Australia in Rugby and Basketball. My father is one of 18 and my mother is one of six. I am yet to meet all of my extended family.
Any advice: Have an open mindset and take time to reflect on everything you do.
Why work for Kiwi: Great bunch of people, flexibility to travel and as a female it is very rewarding knowing you can keep up with the boys when you need to :-)
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New Office Manager – Dani Miller

We welcome a new Office Manager to Kiwi, Dani Miller. It’s great to have Dani join the team, and here are a few brief facts about Dani.
Home Town: Born in Durban South Africa, but lived most of my life on the east coast of Australia in Sydney, Gold Coast, and Brisbane.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary and Applied Theatre (Drama Queen)
Interesting fact about yourself: I toured Australia performing Shakespeare shows in 2014 for a Brisbane based Theatre company called Shake and Stir.
Favourite Place: Anywhere with a beautiful blue ocean (What am I doing in London?)
Favourite Sport/s: Netball and touch football, I also love dancing.
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New Website is Live!

The first quarter of 2015 has been very busy for us with new staff and some sad goodbyes to those leaving. As a growing business change is inevitable and at Kiwi we embrace change for making our business better. One of the most noticeable changes is our brand new website!

It’s been a few months in the making with new images and working to ensure it is responsive across all screen types from smart phones to desk top computers. There are a few wee bugs, but we are pretty happy with how it is looking. We hope you enjoy it and find it easier to use and easier to see the different services that Kiwi offers.

Until our next post – enjoy Spring! :-)

 

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Wandsworth Business Awards

On Thursday the 7th Nov, the management team from Kiwi attended the Wandsworth Business Awards. This was the second time that we have been finalists in the best SME (small, medium size enterprise). Unfortunately we didn’t manage to win, but we had a great night and the fact we have made the finals two years in a row shows the excellent work that all our team does, both in the office, but also the fantastic work that all our teams do working with our clients. 

Wandsworth Business Awards team night

The great thing about entering business awards is that it forces you to have a hard look at your business to see what is great about your business, but also areas that you could do better. It also forces you to dust off the business plan and to review your goals and what you have achieved. 

Wandsworth business awards glss of wine

We may not have won this year, but we are fortunate to work in the Borough of Wandsworth which has a council with a very positive attitude to business. The Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce are also a very proactive organisation, with networking on an almost weekly basis and well run events such as the Wandsworth Business Awards. 

We’ll keep working hard and working to improve our business, but with a great team we know that winning isn’t far off!

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