Give Your Home a Refresh this Autumn

Say goodbye to summer’s lethargy and have a sort-out at home. It’s time to channel that back-to-school-feeling for domestic good!

Original article first published on Houzz

Jo Simmons, Houzz Contributor

Even if your school and uni days are far behind you, there is something about September and October that always feels new and purposeful. The summer is over and the streets are full of young people bustling off to school each morning and adults settling back into a working routine. OK, so you no longer need to organise your pencil case and cover your textbooks with wallpaper, but you can still channel this new-term energy by whipping your home and yourself into shape, ready for autumn. A touch of targeted tidying, some clever organising and a few small lifestyle tweaks should help you start afresh.


Take care of yourself
Growing children need new shoes and clothes at the start of an academic year and while your feet may not have gone up a size over the summer, this could be a good time to book in for any key health appointments. Is it time for an eye check? Are you overdue at the dentist? Perhaps you just need a haircut! Channel the new-term feel by booking health reviews, check-ups or personal grooming sessions now.



Overhaul your diet
Don’t wait until New Year to start a new healthy-eating regime. After a summer of rosé and holiday food, now is a great time to rethink what you eat. Injecting some new, healthy dishes into your tried and trusted repertoire will perk up the shorter evenings and help to ensure everyone in the family is fighting fit and able to cope with school, work and the coming sniffle season.



Prepare the garden for autumn
Clean and store garden furniture safely for the winter. Leaving wooden chairs out in the rain can damage them and shorten their life, while chairs with any metal detailing can rust. Pack up your barbecue, too, and take down any summer bunting that might not survive the winter. Now is also a good time to hang bird feeders, as the weather grows colder and our feathered friends find their food supplies drying up.



Look at your lighting
Before the clocks change and we plunge into winter, take some time to think about your lighting. Over summer, we are able to overlook any deficiencies in our lighting, but come the shorter days these become more obvious. Use your new-term energy to tackle lighting now, before autumn fully arrives and you lose impetus. Dealing with domestic problems outside the season when they are most apparent is the smart thing to do, so using that logic, get any roof repairs, draft-exclusion work or insulation done now, ready for when it will be truly needed.

Welcome winter with new lighting products

Blitz a junk drawer
Every home has one, and it could be anywhere in your house (although the kitchen is the usual suspect for harbouring a junk drawer). This space supposedly holds kitchen utensils, stationery or underwear, but in fact it’s become a wilderness of junk, containing everything from elastic bands and takeaway menus to dead batteries and odd socks. Time to take action.

Discover 9 ways to deal with clutter in your home



Bring winter clothes out of storage
If you have stored winter clothes in boxes over the summer, think about getting them out of storage now. This gives you time to check over your jumpers, scarves and coats to see if any need dry cleaning before the cold weather arrives. You can then whizz through your wardrobe and store any seriously summery clothes away, too.



Service your bike
You might remember to service the car once a year, but how about your bike? Servicing it will ensure it’s safe to use and can prolong its life, so direct some new-term zeal towards your two wheels. If your children are cycling to school, perhaps after a summer of not using their bikes much, it’s a good idea to get their bikes serviced, too.



Ditch what’s out of date
Have a new-term tidy up, but give it a focus, too. Chuck out any expired medicines, lotions or bath products. There will be a use by date on medicines but apply common sense with less serious products. If you haven’t used that tube of foot exfoliator this summer, you probably never will. Bin it! Take the same approach with make-up. Old make-up can harbour bacteria and lead to eye infections, so check the labels for how long each item should be open and in use for, and ditch accordingly.

Discover more bathroom ideas

Go back to school yourself
Many adult education colleges are still enrolling for courses, so if you have always wanted to improve your Spanish or learn how to throw a pot, see if you can book onto a course now and go back to school this autumn. Failing that, set aside some time to enjoy learning at home. Create a list of books you have always intended to read, or go online for suggestions. The broadsheet Sunday supplements and review sections often have lists of the best new books – these could become your autumn reading list.



Purge the dodgy plastic
Bulky plastic containers are essential for food storage, but many of us are guilty of keeping too many. So have a plastic cull. Ditch any containers that are stained, smelly, distorted or without a lid. Pare down your collection of old takeaway curry containers, too. One or two might prove handy; a whole stack of them will not.

Introducing the Pickfords children’s carton

Pickfords has launched a new carton aimed at young children, featuring illustrations of a Pickfords move in progress, to them engage with the move process and understand what’s involved.

Designed to be educational and fun, the drawings are left blank for children to colour in, with space to practice writing their name at the top.

The cartons can also be used to pack toys and games, to encourage children to be involved in the move process.

To order your cartons before move day, simply speak to your move manager when you first enquire with Pickfords.

For a family friendly home move, contact Pickfords on 0800 019 8556, get an online estimate or request a call back.

Where should I live in 2017?

While people move home for many different reasons, the desire to relocate to (or within) any particular area is usually influenced by proximity to our places of work or study. We’ve looked at the most popular UK destinations of our customers last year, revealing 10 cities which provide fantastic opportunities in a wide range of professional fields. So if you’re looking to further your studies or career in 2017, you might just find the ideal location in our list below:


Home to one of the world’s top universities, students and employees of the prestigious institution make up a large portion of the Cambridge population, while many others make their living in one of the 1,000-plus high-technology companies occupying the city.

Newcastle upon Tyne

The commercial, educational and cultural focus for England’s North East, Newcastle has a £13 billion economy. The city has one of the largest shopping complexes in the UK, and is home to the British or regional headquarters of several large companies, including Greggs, Fenwick, Goldsmiths,  Sage Group, Go-Ahead Group and Virgin Money.


The city and county of Bristol attracts a wealth of talent from the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, and a combined student population of circa 48,200 from two universities.


Scotland’s capital boasts the highest percentage of professionals in the UK, and is the largest UK financial centre after London. It is known as a centre of education, with four universities to its name, including the highly reputable University of Edinburgh.


The economy of York is largely based in the service industry, providing tens of thousands of jobs in public sector employment, health, education, finance, IT and, increasingly, tourism.


Famous for the Robin Hood legend, Nottingham is home to a number of company headquarters, including Boots UK Limited, Pedigree Petfoods, Experian,  Imperial Tobacco, Siemens, Speedo, Vision Express, Specsavers and BBC East Midlands.


With the most diverse economy in the UK, Leeds has seem the fastest growth rate of private sector jobs in the country, and is the largest legal and financial centre in the UK after London. It is also one of the largest centres of manufacturing, and is well known as an employer in the engineering, printing and publishing, food and drink, chemicals and medical technology sub-sectors.


The global city of Manchester has one of the largest economies in England. It is known for its prevalence in an array of industries, including digital and creative, financial, legal and business services, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, environmental technology, tourism, media and real estate.


Scotland’s largest city is a manufacturing hub, including large operating in shipbuilding, engineering, construction, brewing and distilling, printing and publishing and software development. Their economy is on the rise thanks to growth in service sector industries such as communications, healthcare, highest education, retail and tourism.


It should come as no surprise that the UK’s capital, most populous city and one of the foremost global cities is our most popular destination. London is one of the world’s leading financial centres, is first in the world in software, multimedia development and design, and is a hub for the global economy.

If you’re moving towards a new opportunity in 2017, contact Pickfords for expert local, national and international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

The benefits of using a BAR-certified moving company

When moving home, you want to be confident that your removal company can be trusted to meet your needs without any issues. Whether you’re about to undergo a small, local move or are shipping a large household overseas, assurance that your goods are in safe hands will be paramount.

For over 100 years, The British Association of Removers (BAR) has promoted excellence within the removals industry, awarding membership only to reputable, professional and safe British removal companies.

To be a member of BAR, a moving company must meet a range of stringent criteria and undergo regular inspections to check that their employees, processes, facilities and vehicles all meet the highest standards set out in the BAR Code of Practice.

Customers choosing to work with a BAR-certified moving company can rest assured that their move will be handled with the utmost care and attention. In the unlikely event that any issues arise, the BAR’s advice and conciliation service to help resolve the matter.

Choosing a BAR-certified removal company guarantees the best possible service, giving you peace of mind throughout your move.

To find out about moving home with a founding member of the BAR; contact Pickfords for expert local, national and international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

How to create the perfect home office

With more and more of us working remotely, the home office is becoming an increasingly popular feature of modern properties. Whether you’re moving home or repurposing a room in your current property, there are several ways to make sure your home office is fit for business:

Choosing the right room
If you have one, the spare bedroom is an ideal place to set up your home office. Swapping out the double bed for a fold-out sofa or installing a pull-out desk can help maximise the space and keep the room multi-functional. Similar adjustments can be made to living or dining rooms to the same end, or if you’re feeling bold, an unused loft or even gardening shed can be converted for the ultimate out-of-the-way office space.

Planning your storage space
Combining existing space with newly-created storage will help create an efficient, easy-to-access filing system. Make use of any available drawers or book cases for paperwork and other essentials, and purchase some stackable plastic storage boxes for flexible filing. Under-bed boxes are ideal for multi-function rooms, while making use of different colours or labels is great for easy reference.

Considering window proximity
If possible, position your desk nearby and facing a window. This way you’ll reap the benefits of natural light, and be encouraged to look away from your screen on occasion. Optimal positioning should keep screens facing away from direct sunlight, which can be aided by thick, adjustable blinds if needed.

Lighting right
Even the most naturally bright rooms typically need extra lighting to read or study by. Good quality desk lamps are the go-to solution, though choosing the right overhead lighting can also help. Downward-facing light shades are a simple solution, while adjustable ceiling spotlights create optimum illumination while avoiding screen glare.

Picking colours carefully
For your office walls, choose a paint colour that reflects your needs and personality. If you crave a quiet, relaxed atmosphere to work, pick light pastels; blue is traditionally a very calming colour. For creative types, vibrant purples and yellows are ideal for getting the artistic juices flowing.

Found your dream home with the office space to match? Contact Pickfords for expert local, national and international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

How to declutter your garage or shed

Remember when the garage was just for your car, and the shed just for your gardening tools? If you have junk piling up in these once-functional storage areas, follow these simple tips to reclaim your space:

Be ruthless

For every item you come across, try to remember when you last made use of it. If you haven’t used something in the last year, do you really need it? Rather than throwing everything away, you can resell, recycle or donate usable items to charity.

Use wall hooks

The trick to maximising space is to consider every area that can be used for storage, including the walls. Install some wall hooks for bikes, gardening and sports equipment, and even hanging baskets to keep those extra odds and ends. Peg boards are also a great way to store certain items, particularly smaller tools that you need close to hand.

Consider ceiling storage

The ceiling of your garage or shed can be ideal for some out-of-the-way storage space. Use ceiling hooks or overhead racks for items only needed occasionally.

Install some shelving

Clear your floor space with some heavy duty shelving units. Place items you’ll use most often at the front, at waist or eye level, and everything else can go behind, above or below.

Invest in sturdy storage boxes

Stackable plastic storage boxes are ideal to keep your belongings organised and somewhat protected against damp and cold. For optimum organisation, place different types of items in different coloured boxes, or label each box for easy reference.

Replace the garage door

Garage doors that open inward severely limit the amount of available storage. Invest in a roller door or any other type that retracts vertically to really open up the space.

Utilise professional storage

We all have belongings we only need once a year, but for the remaining eleven months just seem to cause unnecessary clutter. All those Christmas and Halloween decorations, camping equipment, snow shovels and garden furniture can all be stored in your local Self Store facility or storage warehouse. Leave your seasonal belongings with the professionals until you need them next.

Clearing your clutter ahead of a home move? Contact Pickfords for expert local, national and international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.





How to keep your home secure

Whether you’ve just moved in and want to keep your new property protected, are selling up and want to reassure potential buyers, or simply want to prepare for the unexpected, there are a number of ways you can improve the security of your home to protect against theft or break-in.

Replace the locks

It can be difficult to keep track of who holds keys to your property, and impossible if you’ve just moved in. It’s good practice to change your locks every few years, and for extra security, ensure all windows, garage doors and side gates have working locks.

Install an alarm system

Home improvement stores offer a wide range of simple yet effective alarm systems to deter unwanted visitors. Some modern systems allow you to set up home zones, ideal if you want to alarm the house at night but leave certain areas free for bathroom trips or pets roaming around. Wireless systems allow for the greatest flexibility, while some wired systems can be monitored by a security company.

Install a two-way intercom

Intercoms allow you to check who’s at the front door or gate before letting them in. Opt for one with a screen to see the caller as well as hear them.

Set up CCTV

A great visual deterrent, modern CCTV systems start recording when movement is detected around your home, and can include night-vision mode and remote access via your smartphone.

Rethink where your keys are stored

Many homeowners store their keys in the hallway or right by the front door. Unfortunately, thieves can spot these through letterboxes and smash the glass or feed a wire hook through the letterbox to retrieve they keys. Keep your keys well away from the front door to avoid such incidences.

Consider outdoor lighting

Sensor-driven lighting above your front and back doors can startle potential intruders and discourage them from trying to enter.

Secure the shed

It’s easy to forget, but the contents of your shed can be worth a lot of money. Protect your power tools, bikes and barbecues with a strong lock and alarm system, or better yet, a sturdy metal shed.

Invest in a safe

For optimum protection of your valuables, install a safe in your home. Floor or wall safes can be easily concealed so thieves won’t know where to look.

Looking to move home? Pickfords is the UK’s largest removal company, relocating our customers locally, nationally and internationally. Click here for a quote or find out more.