Mission Christmas record smashed with over 78,000 gifts donated!

A huge thank-you to Pickfords Dorset and Southampton for once again working incredibly hard alongside local radio station Wave 105 to distribute thousands of gifts to disadvantaged children over the Christmas period.

Wave 105’s ‘Mission Christmas’ encourages the public to purchase an extra gift during their seasonal shop at Sainsbury’s and place it in a Pickfords packing box.

Gary Casey and his team then collect the assorted gifts and deliver them to the warehouses for sorting and distribution, ready for Christmas morning.

Thanks to the commitment of the branches, thousands of children in poverty who would have otherwise gone without, woke up on Christmas morning with presents under the tree.

Pickfords South West has supported Mission Christmas for the last six years, this year collecting 78,382 toys, teddies, games and books for the campaign, over 10,000 more than last year’s haul! A massive well-done to Gary and the team!


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Clearing the clutter of Christmas past: 9 top tips

Sofa Set

With the holiday season officially over, now’s a great time to declutter your home. Don’t stop with the Christmas decorations, what else can you clear out that provides maximum living space and, if moving home, ensures a tidy home for property viewings and ease of packing?

Here are our top tips for clearing your post-holiday clutter, and beyond:

Take your time

Decluttering can be a mammoth task; attempt to tackle everything at once and you’ll likely fail. Write a plan that covers no more than one room per day during weekends, with smaller tasks (specific cupboards or drawers) reserved for weekday evenings.

Start a room, don’t stop

Once you start a tricky room, such as a study or garage, it can be tempting to give up when the going gets tough, abandoning it for an easier task. Don’t fall into this trap, as it’ll make returning to the job much harder. Once you start a room, focus on just that room until you finish.

Use the gaps in your day

Identify small moments in your routine when you are otherwise in waiting (boiling a kettle, TV ad breaks, downloading software updates) and use them to progress a small part of your declutter, such as organising a drawer or paperwork pile.

Recruit friends and family

Make sure your entire household is involved in the project, with individuals taking primary responsibility for their own rooms and everyone pitching in with shared areas. To really power through, call in a favour from your neighbours to lend a hand.

Get the children involved

Unfortunately most of us don’t possess Mary Poppins’ magic to help clean the kids’ rooms, but you can still help children find the fun in decluttering by making a game of it or offering small rewards along the way.

Use the four-box method

For each room, label four packing boxes and place everything in them as follows:

  • ‘Keep’: items that will stay in the room
  • ‘Store’: items that can go into storage
  • ‘Recycle’: items that can be recycled or donated to charity
  • ‘Bin’: items that can be disposed of

Be ruthless!

Do you really still need last year’s Christmas cards or that ‘spare’ pair of running shoes? Be absolutely ruthless with throwing out or giving away items that you don’t need. If you haven’t used it in 12 months, chuck it. If you have paperwork going back more than a few years, most of it can be recycled or digitised.

Reorganise as you go

A primary cause of clutter is not having one place for certain things, e.g. paperwork, toys or clothes. Take this opportunity to designate a central new home for items you find strewn about the house, and keep them there.

Leave it to the experts!

Pickfords’ declutter service does the hard work for you. Whether you’re moving house and preparing for property viewings or simply in need of a tidy up, our team will pack and wrap any items you need cleared from your home and deliver them to your nearest storage warehouse until you need them again.

To find out how Pickfords can help you declutter your home, click here to contact us or speak to your local branch on 0800 019 8557.

New Year around the world


Last week we discovered how Christmas is celebrated around the world. With the festive season officially behind us, let’s look at how to different countries mark the most celebrated global holiday, New Year:

Australia (Happy New Year!)

Australian celebrations include New Year’s Eve balls, cruises and beach parties. The holiday is especially popular in Sydney, which hosts the most watched New Year celebrations in the world, with more than one billion viewers tuning in worldwide to see the massive firework display over the Harbour.

Belgium (Gelukkig nieuwjaar!)

While adults toast the New Year with champagne, Belgian children write letters to their parents or godparents, decorate them  and read them aloud on New Year’s Day.

 China (Xin nian yu kuai!)

Chinese New Year is celebrated by the lunisolar calendar, so can fall any time between 21 January and 20 February. An important festival in the Republic, the festival is marked by large parades with lanterns and firecrackers, led by a silk dragon, the Chinese symbol of strength.

Denmark (Godt NytÅr!)

New Year evening meals are prepared in Denmark, ending with a ‘Kransekage’, a cone-shaped desert cake decorated with firecrackers and flags. On 1 January, it is thought that throwing dishes on a neighbour’s doorstep will bring them many friends in the coming year.

 Greece (Eutychismenos o kainourgios chronos!)

In Greece, households traditionally switch off all the lights at midnight, then celebrate by cutting the Basil’s pie (vassilpita), which contains a coin. Whoever wins the coin expects luck for the year ahead.

 India (nayye saal ki haardik shubh-kaam-nayen!)

The date and traditions of New Year vary between different regions of India, though each are typically celebrated at the start of the agricultural season of each area, and usually involve local rituals, food, dance and music.

Japan (Akemashite Omedetô Gozaimasu!)

New Year celebrations last from 1 January to 3 January in Japan, with most businesses closing so families can spend time together. Homes are decorated with pine, bamboo and plum tree ornaments.

Spain (Feliz año Nuevo!)

A notable Spanish New Year custom is to eat a grape at each stroke of midnight. Eating all 12 grapes before the final chime is thought to grant good luck in the coming year.

 The Philippines (Manigong Bagong Taon!)

Considered part of the Christmas holiday, Filipinos celebrate New Years with firecrackers, horns and other noisemakers to dispel evil spirits and prevent them bringing bad luck into the coming year. A meal is shared at midnight (Media Noche), including a basket of twelve fruits to symbolise prosperity in the coming twelve months.

Thailand (Sawatdii Pi Maï!)

In keeping with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar, ‘Songkran’ is celebrated from 13 to 15 April in Thailand. Families travel to their hometowns and meet their elders, pouring water on each other to symbolically wash away their sins and bad luck.

Know any more New Year traditions in different countries? Let us know in the comments below!

To find out more about moving abroad in the New Year (or any other time), contact Pickfords.

Christmas around the world


One of the most celebrated global holidays, Christmas is associated with a wide variety of traditions across the world. If you’re in search of an expat adventure in the New Year, what local festivities can you expect come Yuletide?

Australia (Happy Christmas!)

In lieu of ice and snow, Australians traditionally host outdoor Christmas picnics and sing carols on the beach!

France (Joyeux Noël!)

Christmas begins on 6 December (Saint Nicholas’ Day) in many regions of France, a day when children are given sweets and small gifts.

Children hope for more candy on Christmas Day (25 December) after leaving out their polished shoes in front of the fireplace the night before, to be filled with goodies by Père Noël (Father Christmas).

Germany (Fröhliche Weihnachten!)

Christmas markets are incredibly popular in German city squares. Homes are decorated with lights and ornaments in December, although the Christmas tree isn’t put up until Christmas Eve.

Iceland (Gleðileg Jól!)

The darkest time of year in Iceland is juxtaposed with bright Christmas lights and fireworks both in city centres and back gardens.

Children put their shoes on the windowsill for Santa Claus (Juletide Lads) to fill with small treats.

Italy (Buon Natale!)

The traditional nativity scene, ‘presepe’ is common across Italy, prominently seen in town squares, churches and private homes, usually the central focus of any Christmas decorations.

Father Christmas (Babbo Natale) usually hands out presents to children on Christmas Day, although many families still wait to exchange gifts on 6 January, the day of Epiphany (La Befana).

Japan (Merii Kurisumasu!)

Traditional Christmas dinner in Japan is… KFC! The fried chicken restaurant is so popular in the country that, for Christmas Day, you have to pre-book a table!

The Netherlands (Zalig Kerstfeest!)

Christmas is celebrated in 6 December in the Netherlands. Children await the arrival of SinterKlass (Santa Claus) and his sidekick Black Pete. Good children receive sweets and nuts, so long as they fill their shoes with hay and sugar for Santa’s reindeer horse!

The Philippines (Maligayang Pasko!)

Star-shaped Christmas lanterns (paról) are a popular tradition in the Philippines, as a symbol of the Star if Bethlehem. The lanterns are sold in local markets, made out of bamboo and paper and sold in local markets.

 Singapore (Sheng Tan Kuai Loh!)

Christmas is a highly commercialised affair in Singapore; flashy decorations and bright fairy lights abound, especially in shopping centres and private homes.

 South Africa (Geseënde Kersfees!)

The warm weather encourages families to gather for a ‘braai’ (South African BBQ) on Christmas Day after attending church mass.

Know any more Christmas traditions in different countries? Let us know in the comments below!

To find out more about moving abroad at Christmas (or any other time), contact Pickfords.

See also: New Year around the world

Moving to Australia: what you need to know

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With good wages and a high standard of living, a laid back atmosphere and of course glorious sunshine and azure ocean views, Australia is frequently touted the best and most popular expat destination.

If you dream of joining over one million Brits in the Lucky Country, following these five tips before you move will help your relocation run smoothly:

Arranging the paperwork

The two most important documents for relocating to Australia are your passport and visa. As with any overseas travel, make sure your passport is valid and up-to-date well before departure. To find an Australian visa you may be eligible for, click here.

Most other paperwork relates to the goods you are importing. You’ll need to complete an Unaccompanied Personal Effects statement (BS534), provide purchase receipts or proof of value for items less than 12 months old and produce a descriptive inventory of your goods.

Should you select Pickfords to pack your personal effects, we will provide assistance with your paperwork, including the completion of your inventory while packing.

 Organising pet travel

If you are considering taking your pet with you to Australia, he or she will need a certified rabies vaccination, rabies blood test (RNATT) and a DEFRA Export Health Certificate issued by an Official Veterinarian (OV). Talking to your vet about fitting your pet with a microchip is also recommended prior to travel.

Take advantage of Pickfords’ pet shipping service and we will arrange all the details of your pet’s relocation for you.

 Learning the dialect

While 80% of Aussies speak English, the Australian dialect can be hard to understand for Brits. If words like ‘chook’, ‘neddie’ or ‘dunny’ leave you scratching your head, it’s worth swotting up on “ocker” English to help you get by when talking to locals.

Understanding the culture

As with any new country, you’ll likely experience a number of cultural differences when emigrating to Australia. For example, the temperate-to-tropical climate means that Aussies are often more adventurous and free-spirited due to a love of the outdoors.

Researching Australian culture before you leave the UK will help you integrate into your local community after you arrive.

Transporting your goods

When arranging the transport of your effects to Australia, choosing an experienced removal company with the international expertise is vital to ensure your goods arrive on time, safely and securely. Pickfords transports customers’ belongings to Australia every week, more frequently than any other BAR member. With 40 partner offices across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Pickfords can transport your goods to any Australian destination.

Click here to find out more about transporting your goods to Australia with Pickfords.

Cambridge carries cardboard combat-zone

Thank you to the team at Pickfords Cambridge for supporting local childrens’ charity Romsey Mill with an abundance of packing cartons, helping create a battleground for their recent ‘lads only’ Nerf War event!

The branch also lent parking access to the charity’s mini bus for their ‘girls only’ Sing Dizzy karaoke contest.

Ollie Leonard, Youth Development Worker for the local area, was quick to praise the branch and crew:

“The team [were] so incredibly friendly and supportive. We can’t thank you enough!”


Send a letter from Santa this Christmas

Children can enjoy a personalised letter from Santa this Christmas!

Our partner charity, the NSPCC, is running their annual Letter from Santa campaign once again. Your loved ones can receive a personalised letter straight from the North Pole this Christmas!

Click here to bring Christmas to life for your children and help us raise vital funds for this great cause.

Letter from Santa