Your home in London may well, in all likelihood, make money while you sleep simply by increasing in value, but that’s far from being the only way you can set it to work on your behalf. In fact, there’s a whole host of additional ways that your bricks and mortar can earn a buck for you. Some are easy while some involve labour and a bit of know-how. But they’re all things that almost anyone can do to get their coffers a little fuller each year. Here are some ideas to guide you if you’re thinking about entering this area of the economy.
If you’re suffering from that post-holiday slump, you’re not alone. The tinsel and brightly-coloured wrapping paper, along with all the festive decorations, has been chucked in a box and exiled to the garage or cupboard, and along with it goes some of the joy in our hearts. Early January is never the easiest of times and it’s normal to miss the jubilation and togetherness that’s receding farther into the distance with every passing day. So what better time could there be than to reflect on all that is good? It’s now, more than ever, that we need to keep our spirits aloft and the fact that we live in one of the world’s most exciting cities is cause to celebrate. It’s easy to overlook our good fortune so let’s look at five reasons to be happy we moved to London (or had the good fortune to be from there in the first place).
The post-holiday slump is a feeling that most of us will know at some point or another. While it’s true that, for some, the period stretching from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day is a slog that they’re all too happy to see the back of, for those of us who enjoy the magic, its end plunges us back into the dispiriting and humdrum business of living. The worries that had been put on hold come back to haunt us. The stress of working life gets under way again. The jolly decorations come down as gaiety and jubilation pack their bags and flee, leaving us nursing a terrible case of post-Christmas sorrow. It can feel as if happiness itself is abandoning us once and for all. But we have the good fortune to live in London, where every weeknight and weekend brings with it new possibilities for fun things to do. It’s easy to keep the good feelings going, provided we get out there and do things that generate them. Here are four of our picks:
In past blogs, we’ve looked at great London auctioneers where you can find wonderful pieces from all kinds of eras (mid-century modern is currently the hot period). Whether you’re furnishing a new home or simply refreshing an existing one, getting items of furniture from the past rather than the present is a sure-fire way to imbue your rooms with atmosphere and character. But auctions aren’t the only answer. There are also second-hand furniture shops in London where you won’t have to bid but can simply sweep in, grab what captures your imagination and then sweep out again. Here are three that have caught our eye:
Could there be any better way for you, your friends and your family (both immediate and extended) to get acquainted with your new home than by playing a game of ‘hide-and-seek’ (or ‘hide-and-go-seek’ if you’re American)? In no time, all the corners, crannies, nooks, and wardrobes will have been explored without so much as a dim, dusty corner going un-inspected. Even the spaces beneath the beds will have been explored and admired and all the while you’ll be having festive fun as you take turns as either hunter or prey. This easy game never disappoints in the way that some of those drab and dreary car games, like I Spy, so often do. One chosen player closes their eyes while all the others find ingenious hiding places. A minute or two later, up goes the cry, “Ready or not, here I come!” and the game is afoot. Of course, there are variations – in some territories, each player joins in the hunting after he or she is found, in others only the chosen player does the seeking and each found player must remain in his/her hiding place and not join in after being discovered. However you play it, you’ll be able to brush up your hiding, tracking and observational skills in the course of each game.
If we’re going to toil on our homes, using our precious spare time to make them better and possibly bigger, then one thing we want to be sure of is that our efforts – all those thankless hours we’ve put in – will pay off. Of course, there’s the pay-off of making our living environments more enjoyable and relaxing to be in. But what about the other pay-off – an increase in the value of our property? This becomes even more important if we’re making improvements before selling up. So what are some of the improvements likely to make our homes more expensive on the market? Let’s take a look at just a small fraction of the myriad ways we can do this. Some are large and require an investment of time, expertise and money – others are quicker and easier. But all of them should help push up the price of your property. Britons are estimated to spend almost £30 billion a year on home improvements – it’s worthy making yours count.
The last thing you need when you’re faced with the daunting prospect of moving offices is to forget crucial details and stumble haphazardly through the whole thing. Too much error can mean huge loss of productivity and a commensurate loss of revenue. With the right preparation, however, your move can be swift and successful. The trick is to give yourself plenty of time – enough time, in fact, for the odd thing to go wrong (and then be righted). No one’s perfect and no office move can be entirely without mishap. However, if you follow some guidance, take advice when necessary and keep a cool-ish head, it can be much easier than you’d dare anticipate. Here are some things to check off your list as moving day approaches:
When there’s a London house-move on the horizon, you’ll be faced by a number of decisions, some of them straightforward, others more challenging. There’s a lot to consider and a lot to do and, if attempted all at once, the tasks can leave you feeling snowed under. Far better to break the move down to its individual components and take them one at a time if possible. Fairly early on is a good time to decide what kind of help you need for getting from A to B along with all your belongings and your sanity. This generally boils down to a choice between a man with a van or a full removals service. Here is some guidance to help you work out which one is the right option for your move.
This service is exactly what the name suggests – one man, one van, no lorries, no teams of people at your disposal. It’s absolutely ideal if your move is small – for example, you’re moving from a one-bedroom London flat or a studio to another property of the same or similar size. You’ll be able to keep your costs down and should find that you also have the option of paying an hourly rate. You may be able to join in with the carrying and loading, which means you can shave even more time off the duration of the move. Some man and van establishments don’t come with additional services, so there may not be the option of having someone else do your packing and unpacking, although with Aussie, you can still avail yourself of all kinds of bolt-on services, including cleaning, the supply of packing materials and storage facilities.
This option generally gives you lorries rather than vans, plus a team of people, including project manager, packers, movers, drivers and more. If you’re moving between multi-storey London houses, it makes much more sense than using a man and van service, which would necessitate multiple trips between your old and new property, instead of just one. You’ll be able to get a full, fixed-price quote in advance so you won’t have to worry about the clock ticking or your move inadvertently taking longer because of bad traffic.
If you’re doing your own packing (as opposed to using Aussie’s packing material service), then it’s inevitable that sooner rather than later you will need cardboard boxes. No move is possible without them, except for those chaotic first moves undertaken in your early twenties using bin-liners. As well as tape, bubble wrap, scissors and labels, cardboard boxes are a vital ingredient of a move and must be acquired one way or another. If you prefer not to take your chances by going the ‘free’ route, everything you need can be swiftly and easily got from the Aussie Packing Shop. However, if you’re determined to get your boxes without spending so much as a penny, then you’ll need to know where to look and where to go. Here are some thoughts and ideas to help you on your way.
We’ve all felt the feeling – you see a roll or an off-cut of bubble wrap and are gripped by the extraordinary desire to start popping each bubble with your fingers. There’s no feeling like it – first you squeeze a bubble and then ‘Pop!’ – the satisfaction is hard to explain but few of us haven’t experienced it. If there’s one thing you’ll be left with after a move, apart from dozens of empty cardboard boxes, it’s an excess of bubble wrap. Throwing it away seems wanton in its wastefulness, but keeping it all for use again at some unknown date in the future seems overly cautious. You’ll be relieved to know that there’s a third option – keep some of it for use some other day, and then set some aside for having fun with. Maybe get some friends round to make it a communal activity. Putting a film on or playing a board game can seem passé. When you tell your friends that you’ve asked them round to play with bubble wrap, it’ll seem strikingly original.