Decluttering in the city: what changes can I make for Spring?


Firstly, you can relax. Your collection of Panini sticker albums isn’t going anywhere. Neither are we going to tell you to bin that box of mixtapes you’ve been carting around since forever ago (at least, not if you don’t want to).

That said, we do happen to be firmly on the side of the decluttering evangelists. Less stuff is good for you. And, if we each asked “Do I really need this?” before accumulating more of it, we’d probably all be better off in the long run. Decluttering is a positive, and it can easily be be part and parcel of any Spring clean. Better still; it’s possible to declutter without it feeling like a ruthless and permanent cull of many of the things we’d much rather hold onto.

The Spring clean

The less said about the actual cleaning aspect of the Spring clean, the better. The best bit comes before that, when we realise just how many of the items accumulated over the last year are still to find their proper place in the home. Cue a search for “home storage ideas” and many a happy hour spent browsing clever storage products on Pinterest.

Those quirky units and reclaimed driftwood shelves might look great, but there’s no getting away from the fact that by bringing them into your home, you’re introducing more stuff. You’re shelling out more cash as well. Yet, the laws of physics can’t be ignored forever: shuffling things around and finding new ways to stash them is really just a sticking plaster. Whether it’s a bijou flat or a rambling townhouse, there’s a limit on how much it can hold. So decluttering involves accepting this, embracing it, and cracking on with sorting out what you actually need.  

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Decluttering as a way of life

If there’s a bible for decluttering, it’s Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. An International bestseller which earned Kondo a place on Time’s 100 most influential people. The ‘KonMari’ approach now has its very own app and sets out a radical approach to tidying.

It’s beautifully simple. Take each of your possessions, ask if it brings you joy, and if it doesn’t, remove it from your home. For those joy-giving items that remain, keep them visible, easy to access — and always return them to their rightful place when you’ve finished with them.

Meanwhile, just as Marie Kondo shows us how to ‘joyfully purge’, thinkers such as James Wallman (author of Stuffocation: Living More With Less) provide lessons on how not to ‘re-stuffocate’, to buy less, and to buy better. It’s good for the planet, and frees up more of your own resources for what really matters: experiences over things.

How decluttering can help you this Spring

OK, your time is precious — so why waste an entire morning cleaning a 2-bed flat in the city? Well, less stuff means fewer surfaces to negotiate and less time dusting and cleaning; not just for your annual Spring clean but all year round. And then of course, there’s all that time spent rooting through miscellany for items that mysteriously seem to disappear (earphones, anyone?). Fewer items to track and store means you have a better idea of where everything is, and makes finding them quicker and easier.

A purposeful clear-out gives you a sense of perspective, too: you come to realise how much stuff you own, so you start thinking more clearly about future purchases. It saves you money in the long-run basically. Instead of having clothes crammed onto hangers or items squashed into overflowing cupboards, decluttering can give you a newfound respect for your possessions. They, no, you, have more room to breathe.

Decluttering without the heartache

There’s much joy to be had in finally getting round to a trip to the charity shop with the perfectly serviceable clothes you are never going to wear again. Even getting rid of that unused popcorn maker can feel like a burden has been lifted.

But what about the snowboarding gear under the stairs that you hope to put to use again one day; perhaps when the little ones are older? What about the guitar, photo collections, and wedding dress? Where there are two of you involved in the decluttering process, you soon realise that one person’s priceless memorabilia is often another person’s bric-a-brac. This is especially true when you’re a city dwelling couple where space is limited at the best of times.

Common ground can always be found. though. You can probably agree, for instance, that your quest for Shinto minimalism isn’t helped by the crosstrainer being used as a clothes horse in the bedroom. Nor is the “I’ll use it one day” bicycle that sits on the hall wall right in front of the bathroom door — no one needs a pedal to the face in the early hours.

That said, there will be things you really don’t want to say goodbye to forever. It’s just, at this moment in time, you could do without them in your living space. One day, it won’t be clutter, but right now, you’re basically a ‘Storage Seeker’. You’re not quite ready to permanently ditch absolutely everything but the bare essentials.

So the answer comes in locating the right Storage Provider, right? Well, that answer should be local, convenient, ethical, and cost-effective. That’s what we’re all about at Storemates. So, if you don’t want to say goodbye to various bits and bobs just yet, give us a shout, and we can sort you out with the ideal solution for a clutter-free home. If anything, it’ll help kick off last year’s spring clean you’ve been putting off.

For more information on using Storemates, head over to our homepage.

6 Quirky New Year’s Resolutions to Guarantee you Happiness in 2017

Shaff Prabatani, is the cofounder of Sharing Economy website, a former Children’s Services manager, anti-poverty campaigner, trainer and film maker.

call-your-motherIt’s that time of year again when we vow to quit the carbs, get an exciting new job, take up kite surfing and start actually saving towards that new kitchen/car/dream holiday. Let’s face it, the ritual of penning predictable resolutions like these are exhausting enough just to write down, let alone follow through. In fact according to research by the University of Scranton only 8% of us manage to achieve even some of our New Year’s Resolutions. No wonder January becomes such a depressing start to the year. It’s cold, dark and then we fail at any hope of self-improvement – while that expensive, unused gym membership gnaws away at our household budget as well as our conscience.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! There is another approach you can take. Here is my quirky personal offering.

These fun alternative New Year’s Resolutions are easy to follow, don’t involve any exertion, will bring you happiness, prosperity a bit of adventure and a greater closeness to the people important to you. And if they don’t, then there is always chocolate and Netflix to see you through the year… 😉

In no particular order…

1. Purge your Facebook friends by using the rule of Love, Like or Lose.

Many of us have now succumbed to the ‘Zuckerberg Cult’ for nearly a decade now. When was the last time you browsed through all those so called ‘friends’ you’ve accumulated through years? My FB friends include waiters from holidays, ex-lovers of ex-friends, old colleagues, distant aunties I have never met and people I honestly accepted as a ‘friend’ just not to offend them, even though I can’t remember who they are.

unfriendAccording to a recent poll of 3,000 people, most Britons only have three true friends and a max of 22 people in their life they consider important, and this includes close family members. As life rolls on we naturally drift apart and weaken ties with many friends ‘for a reason or a season’. So why on earth do we allow everyone we have ever spoken to in our lives to tell us every day on Facebook what they had for dinner or whether that have had a new tattoo.

It sounds brutal but here’s what you do…. Firstly go through all your ‘friends’ and sort them out via 3 columns titled ‘Love’, ‘Like’ or ‘Lose.’

The people you ‘love’ should be obvious to you: close family, your besties, those you need, that enrich your life regardless of Facebook. Simple. Then list under ‘Like’ your mates, people that you have an existing meaningful offline relationship with, that in their own way give you something back.

The rest you just ‘Lose’. Having said that you’ll find it’s not that easy to just ‘pull the level’ on many old friends you don’t want to give up on just yet, just in case… OK, so then make a list of not more than 10 ‘’like/lose maybes and arrange to meet up, in the real world. Just message them, assign one to each month in the year and go for a coffee or arrange a Skype call if they’re abroad. See if you can communicate with more than just emoticons or a thumbs up. If the idea of seeing them excites you then they will probably secure an inner ‘like’ position on your new hit list, if the idea is just too ..nahh.. Than yes lose them. You should now have a more manageable lovingly curated quality friendship list of less than third of your original list plus some exciting ‘coffee dates’ to look forward to.

Let’s see if you can now keep up with your new inner circle!

2. Call your Mum on the landline

Most parents, however old you are, appreciate a bit of focussed catch up time with their offspring even if it’s about the mundane. You may not see eye to eye on all matters. (Yes and that EU referendum really helped heal our generational differences!) Or you may easily switch back into old dynamics “Mum.. Grunt… it’s my life right…” But if you’re lucky enough to have them still around, the odds are the more you are able to call them the better your relationship will be.

I’ve always lead a busy life, so when my folks called, my first response used to be “So what’s up..?” (i.e. why are calling me at work/during kids bedtime/during my dinner party/when I’m decorating/watching Oranges is the New Black..) It always felt inconvenient and they could sense it as I multi-tasked my phone calls while trying to change a lightbulb. The fact is they’re not going to be around forever, they love you, are prone to loneliness, want to feel connected to your life even if it’s through updates about what’s in your flower box. Plus, they did invest a big chunk of their life in getting you to where you are.

So give yourself 20 mins a week when you call them and do nothing else, don’t even try and stack the dishwasher. Use your landline if you have one, it will help you keep stationary and will bring back some nostalgia. Be curious about their lives, help then to reframe some of their negatives into positives “Yes Dad, but I’m sure all this rain will be great for the garden…” Tell them about the funny side of your life, laugh with them and generally show them you care simply through investing this time. This will bring joy to both your lives for very little return and soon you will feel more connected, loved and more positive about your relationship. Also works with close Aunts and Uncles if your parents are no longer around.


3. Reduce yours, and your kids screen time.

Ever feel frazzled by your iPad?

The average British household now has 7.4 internet devices (according to YouGov) plus we check our smart phones about 85 times a day according to a study by Nottingham Trent University. We now spend on average of over half of our waking life staring at a screen at work, at home, or on the go. We’re addicted to smart technology.

Without going into all the concerning science about radiation and electro-fields, just ask yourself how you feel when you go to bed and try and switch off. My brain feels fried, it’s hard to turn off, my posture feels cramped, my eyes insanely dry and the beeping through the night of endless notifications penetrates my slumber and activates my sense of urgency. My kids too get agitated and overstimulated and after a while get grumpy beyond belief.

So why not resolve to just switch your device off an hour before your bedtime every day. Keep all your devices outside your bedroom, get an old fashioned alarm clock for your bedside and read before you go to bed. Within a week you will feel refreshed from better sleep, clarity of mind and thought. Who knows, if you share a bed you may even find time for a chat – or even a bit of intimacy, definitely good for sleep and wellbeing 😉

If you have already purged your Facebook of friends then you’ll have less status updates to read too. If you can push this further why not try and salvage another cheeky hour during the day when you’re not plugged in and perhaps go for a little walk in the no-virtual reality place called the ‘outdoors.’

Kids too benefit from less screen time, the UKs official clinical body NICE recommends not more than 2 hours per day and no screens during bed times or meal times. Physical activity, art, being social are just as important for children under 15. Even the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s Guru in charge, when asked by a tech journalist what his kids thought about the new iPad replied flatly “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home”. So give yourself or your kids an extra 7 hours of ‘real time’ a week, it will help them keep their own hardware in good nick.


4. Use the Sharing Economy to earn or save £10,000 a year.

If you’ve used online services Airbnb or Uber, you’ll already be benefiting from the booming ‘Sharing Economy’. This can be an amazingly lucrative way for you to prosper too.

The new ‘on demand economy’ is predicted to grow to £9Billion in the UK in the next 8 years according to PriceWaterCooper and the pace seems unstoppable. According to Innovation Think Tank Nesta a 25% of Brits are already benefiting. This means you can now access a massive range of services or products by using online market places to find what you need from some like you nearby.

When I co-founded self-storage community alternative 4 years ago, I wanted to provide over-crowded families with a cheap local storage service that literally would not cost them the earth. Through Storemates, people needing extra space for their seasonal items can now safely find people local to them that they can rent local storage space from, usually storing in their loft, garage or a spare room. All users are carefully vetted, have profiles and reviews, contracts and insurance are put in place and the market place promotes trust and local collaboration to make every arrangement safe. All this without having to build a single self-storage centre so the environment benefits too.

Now that the ‘Sharing Economy’ has really taken off, you can now also rent your parking space using, help someone move with, offer your DIY skills to someone local via, make surplus food available to someone local who may need it using Olio or even rent out your lawn mower or digital projector via ‘Stuff rental market place’ There are now hundreds of ‘peer to peer’ websites like Storemates helping people do digitally what we used to do generations ago when we communities shared their resources for mutual gain.

In my case I currently rent out our home on Airbnb when we’re away for the weekend or on holiday, netting about £2,000 for 20 nights a year which pays for all our holidays and trips. Plus our loft hosts items from four ‘Storemates’ netting about £200 a month. In 2017, I will be looking to rent out all our unused power tools and ‘idle assets’ on Fat Lama, our seldom used car via (and if my unknowing partner Louise agrees) our recently extended kitchen diner on or to freelance workers looking for a space to work during the day, while we’re out working ourselves. If all goes well, this will provide an additional income of £10,000 a year, not bad for a bit of ‘hippy sharing.’ The Government are also encouraging the trend by offering households a generous tax break of up to £2,000 if you use your home to earn extra using the Sharing Economy.

So what’s not to like…? It’s ‘the (Sharing) Economy stupid’, so if you’re still sitting on the side lines, perhaps this may be year to get on board and prosper.


5. Become more curious

Here is a resolution to help you get more from your relationships. You can even try this on your parents during your weekly landline calls…

I have therapeutic professional background, and after nearly two decades of running family support services, supervising youth workers, social workers and therapists, I realised that as the saying goes “There’s nowt as curious as folk” So if you dig a bit deeper when talking to others, people are actually quite interesting (!) So often our conversations remain at surface level, we ask people a question and then ignore what they say as we’re too busy trying to think of what to say next. If we are trying to solve a problem, we gather just enough info, add our assumptions and then dive in and try and offer our judgement on the issue. Usually this means we are way off the mark and never really get to understanding the whole picture from their perspective – we learning nothing and quickly get bored.

Often kids are better questioners than adults. My 6 year old, Alia often out foxes me with her curious ‘But why…’ lines of enquiry.

Alia: “Why is that Lady wearing a red hat Daddy?”

Me: “because it’s cold today”;

“But why is it Cold?”

“Because its winter dear…”

“But why is it winter today?”

“Because there are four seasons based on changes in…err..the climate during the year..”

“Why are there only 4 seasons?”

“Erm… I have no idea, let’s look it up….”

“And Daddy…?”


“Why is her hat red..?”

Despite the slight irritation in my voice due to not being able to unravel each mystery, I’m now curious too and am also learning.

With friends, colleagues, and even people that we know we don’t agree with, the art of being truly curious means holding back judgement, asking really broad questions that help you funnel and unravel more. You are really respectfully trying to understand the logic behind someone’s position from different viewpoints and this can reveal a treasure chest of insight and a fascinating path to lifelong learning.

Imagine meeting someone who said in casual conversation that they ‘voted Trump’ in the US elections, perhaps your inclination may be to hit back with a strongly worded proclamation explaining why you thought a spray tanned, misogynist, lunatic; whose only experience in life was firing people on TV may be unfit for office. But wait…wouldn’t it be much more interesting to try and reserve judgement and find out what the persons motivations were? What makes them tick? What was their logic behind their support? What did they feel at different points of the campaign? What they think a Trump’s presidency may bring? Even though you may ‘agree to disagree’, both of you will be far more engaged by your decision to be curious, inviting a deeper discussion and fascinating new insights. This is a great valuing management and supervision skill that will help you understand how your staff tick and how to get the most from them.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but then again they also have nine lives in which to find out more.


6. Ignore the Hype and enjoy a bit of ‘Hygge’.

If you’ve opened a magazine or browsed a book shop this winter you may have found it impossible to ignore the latest fad of ‘Hygge’, the Danish notion of ‘cosy togetherness.’ Embraced and derided in equal measures, the hype has led many people to have an opinion on this rather humble aspect of Skandi Culture.

I’m interested as my partner, children and in-laws are all Danish, which means after 8 years of going back and forth, I am starting to understand why Denmark has been voted the world’s happiest country every year since 1973 by the OECD. In addition to their laid back culture, healthy lifestyle, play-orientated child rearing, self-deprecating intelligence and generous public services the other magic ingredient is their ability to create Hygge, a unique feeling of happiness.

Contrary to the detractor’s belief, Hygge is not all about sitting around in thick woollen jumpers drinking schnapps surrounded by stylish candles. According to Alexander and Sandahl, authors of ‘The Danish Way of Parenting’, the word is originally Germanic and dates back to the 19th Century, meaning “to think or feel satisfied”. To Danes it is a way of life and means creating quality time together enhanced by creating a positive and cosy environment. Christmas is a very Hygge time for many, something I always enjoy in Denmark. So yes, there are often low lights, twinkling candles, rustic decorations and delicious simple food, but what really makes something Hygge is the commitment of families, friends and even teams to come together – commit to being positive, supportive, and collaborative and all within atmosphere of maximum comfort. Negative comments, individual boasts and sensitive conversations are left outside (they would not be considered ‘hyggeligt’) and instead, the unwritten rules of Hygge would lead those involved to be, positive, supportive, ‘in the moment; and sublimely happy ‘together’.

So next time you are with loved ones or even those on your new ‘like’ list. Take the Hygge Oath (you can find this on and perhaps end 2017 with a gorgeous Hygge Christmas.

And finally…… no worries if you don’t adopt any of my quirky New Year’s Resolutions. I hope that by just reading them they may have stirred some ‘curiosity’ deep down about a few alternative approaches to achieving health, happiness, prosperity and a bit of Hygge in 2017

Happy New Year!

Shaff Prabatani


Sources: Forbes, Nivea Poll of friendship, YouGov, NICE, OfCom, Nesta, FT, PWC, The Guardian, OECD, Alexander & Sandahl






25,000 young people could be at risk of homelessness this Christmas.

Guest Christmas blog by our chosen charity, the End Youth Homelessness campaign.

With Christmas around the corner, most young people will be choosing presents. Meanwhile, many others are making terrifying choices whilst trapped in dire circumstances, both at home and on the streets:

  • 26% have stayed with a stranger.
  • 12% have committed a crime to be taken into custody.
  • 9% have attempted to get themselves admitted to A&E just to get a bed.

End Youth Homelessness (EYH) is a UK-wide movement to end homelessness for young people. Bringing together local charities to tackle youth homelessness on a national scale, EYH works directly with 15,000 young people who are amongst the most deprived in the UK.

You can help End Youth Homelessness this Christmas by donating to our Christmas Campaign or simply by helping to raise awareness of the issue by watching our new video campaign called Get Them to a Safe Place and sharing it on social media.

Youth homelessness is an enormous issue. More than 83,000 young people are homeless in the UK each year.

The first step towards ending youth homelessness is providing accommodation. From that secure base, EYH charities begin supporting young people to tackle the myriad of other issues they face; enabling them to turn their lives around, build high aspirations and move on to live successful and independent lives.

We’re really excited to be partnering with Storemates, who are helping to End Youth Homelessness by supporting us to both raise awareness of the issue and raise vital funds that will help us end homelessness for young people in the long term.

Please join the Storemates community in making a stand to End Youth Homelessness today by donating or helping to raise awareness of the issue by watching our new video campaign and sharing it on social media.


  1. Desperate measures research undertaken and based on a survey of 430 homeless young people conducted by EYH charity Centrepoint in July 2016
  2. 25,000 figure – Figure based on 8 week period from December-January and Centrepoint databank research into those who presented as homeless or at risk to UK councils 2014-15. Please visit for more info.

End Youth Homelessness (EYH) is a national movement to end youth homelessness in the UK. EYH brings together local charities to tackle youth homelessness on a national scale. Each EYH charity works in its own way to meet the needs of local young people; all sharing a belief in giving homeless young people the opportunity to turn their lives around; build high aspirations and move on to successful and independent lives.

EYH works directly with 15,000 young people who are amongst the most deprived in the UK. EYH was founded in 2010 by EYH charity Centrepoint, after its patron, HRH the Duke of Cambridge, challenged the charity to end youth homelessness.

The charities supported through End Youth Homelessness are: Centrepoint (London, Bradford, Sunderland), St. Basils(West Midlands), Llamau (Wales), The Benjamin Foundation (Norfolk), 1625Independent People (Bristol), The Amber Foundation (Surrey, Wiltshire, Devon), Roundabout (Sheffield), The Young People’s Support Foundation (Manchester), The Rock Trust (Edinburgh) and the Aberdeen Foyer (Aberdeen) and Society of St James (Southampton)


Ben Rogers, Co-Founder of explains how technology and trust have enabled a new type of entrepreneur, making money from existing assets.

People have always found ways of making a few extra pounds within their community. Anyone who has woken up on a Saturday morning to the sound of scales being badly played over and over again in a piano lesson, will know that the idea of small-scale home ‘jobbing’ is not new. People have long been helping each other out with jobs that they do not do themselves, or have the skills or time to do in exchange for cash or another service.


So what is different today?

As the term ‘Home Earner’ or ‘micro-entrepreneur’ suggests, technology has allowed people to take this idea to a whole new digital level, connecting peer-to-peer services for cash in ways that would not have been possible when relying on word of mouth or community notice boards. The internet allows us to selectively include ourselves within a much larger ‘circle of associates’, strangers we can trust who share our tastes, interests and experiences.

Today we exchange comments about neighbourhood activities on forums, browse profiles of potential life partners on our mobile, and often book holiday accommodation with strangers online, all things that were alien to the previous generation.

Trust in strangers, through reviews and verification has evolved as quickly as the fibre optic technology connecting us together at all times of the day and night.

Why not tap this circle of associates for work?

There are a range of new sites through which people can offer their skills to others in their community who need flatpack furniture assembled, dogs walked, piano or language lessons, or even the car washed. (What will the poor Boy Scouts do now?) The smart ones are probably listing themselves on Task Rabbit as we speak. Thanks to services like Airbnb, Wimdu and One Fine Stay, people are now able to rent their homes to other people and make a reasonable income doing so. Got a driveway or a loft? Driveways and loft storage space can be rented out on and If not enough to cover a salary, these services allow their members to supplement their income and cover holidays, daily bills, or luxury extras. Savvy Home Earners even have the option of going part time in their day jobs, allowing them to spend more time pursuing other interests.

As people start to see the rental value of the spaces and things they own, then the idea of sharing assets with strangers becomes very attractive financially. 

With the Government taking the innovative step to offer tax-free earnings for people using the sharing economy to earn an income from home in the Budget in March ’16, maybe it’s time we all became Home Earners. Storemates is convinced that once consumers catch on there will be no turning back.

Got space at home? Christmas and New Year are times when people look to declutter and make space so why not list your space and become a Home Earner today!

What’s at stake in a consumer-led economy?

Guest blog by our friends at – peer-to-peer renting of things…

‘Gig-workers’, the broadsheet press and the political establishment are highlighting legitimate concerns over workers’ rights in the ‘so-called-sharing-economy’ on what seems like a daily basis.

And, in light of talk of a return to Victorian working structures, public opinion towards people-powered technology platforms is justifiably cautious. But this healthy scepticism must not obstruct one of the central motivations of the collaborative movement as a whole: to harness excess capacity. Environmentally and socially, there is too much at stake.

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Many of those engaged in the sharing economy regularly praise the positive impact on the community and on the environment. Even BorrowMyDoggy, which may appear a novelty platform to some, wields social benefits which are not to be snubbed. At this relatively early stage in the growth of the sharing economy, environmental impact-measurement remains largely theoretical, but most acknowledge its green potential in its general rejection of throwaway consumption. A lot of what is being shared – everything from cars and parking spaces to houses – would otherwise be sitting idle. By increasing the shelf-life of these assets, sharing platforms provide a natural extension to the circular economy.

Platforms such as Storemates allow consumers such as you and I to rent out their lofts, garages or other storage units in order to optimise their space and help pay the bills. If you’re not currently using your loft, then the chances are you’re sitting on a resource which could benefit both yourself and others. Let’s not forget that where London’s concerned, even a cupboard under the stairs is prime real estate. Storemates allows you to make money from your space without forcing someone to live in your cupboard.


If you haven’t thought about renting out your excess storage space, then you may not have considered renting out your unused belongings either. Fat Lama is a platform that lets you do just that. It’s is a peer-to-peer renting platform which aims to connect people who need things, with others in their neighbourhood that have that thing to lend. By getting people to work together, the world will become a more efficient, practical and consumer-led environment.

Whether neighbours are sharing their attic space or their cameras, they are collaborating to prevent unnecessary expenditure on consumer goods or commercial self-storage. As a banner term for people-powered platforms, the “sharing economy” is often viewed contentiously – understandably so. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Sharing our stuff will lead to a greener, more collaborative world.


Storemates and AnyVan help deliver warm winter clothes to Syrian Refugees


Can moving stuff into storage change lives?

Sounds like a grand claim, but this week storage sharing website and transport marketplace, used their unique partnership to help Syrian children keep warm this year.

After hearing about the 1 million Syrians at a refugee camp in Lebanon facing sub-zero temperatures this winter, Storemates co-founder Shaff Prabatani and his partner Louise Simonsen felt they had to do something. Shaff had worked as a community worker and managed family support services in London for many years, while Louise co-ordinates a homeless outreach projects so both had a lot of direct experience of working with vulnerable people in the UK.

After discovering the grass roots charity United to Assist Refugees UK (UAREUK) were organising a container full of warm children’s clothes to be shipped to the camp in Lebanon from a port in Wrexham, the couple from South London decided to launch an appeal that would have an international impact.

Shaff stated

“Storemates works hard to encourage people to free up household space so they can put their extra storage to good use. So who better to ask for good quality preloved children’s clothes than users of our storage sharing company?”


Louise too approached her local networks, including schools, nurseries and mums facebook groups. Louise described the response:

“It was incredible, within minutes of our appeal going live on social media, we had people knocking on our door to donate good quality children’s clothes. People from all walks of life were clearing out their cupboards and bringing ski jackets, hats, gloves, baby grows, jumpers. People truly wanted to do something practical and heartfelt”


After only a week, Shaff and Louise ran out of room in their home. Shaff says:

“We had mountains of clothes piled up in every room in our home, there was literally no space to walk, people kept on knocking on our door and giving us more; plus parcels started turning up by post too. We met so many lovely people, I was so touched by the generosity of local people and Storemates users, and could tell they were really moved by the campaign”

The big dilemma the couple faced though, was how to transport the enormous quantities of bags and boxes of clothes to the port near Liverpool. It was at this point, Storemates founder Shaff contacted the CEO of for help. Storemates and AnyVan work together to help people move items into storage. It’s a close and friendly partnership that helps customers receive a complete service from two Sharing Economy websites. So why not join forces to help those further afield.

CEO from AnyVan, Angus Elphinstone was impressed and delighted to be involved and quickly deployed their ‘Magic Van’ to help transport all the clothes for free. Enthusiastic AnyVan driver Dan helped Shaff and Louise load up over 2 tons, and thousands of items of clothes to fill a removal van and by the afternoon all clothes were sitting at the port warehouse waiting to be shipped.


Driver Dan was astonished.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw Shaff and Louise’s home, it only took them a week to fill up their home and our removal van with donated clothes. Can you imagine if more people used their own networks, how much we could achieve for people in need. It was very humbling to know that everything I transported that day  could keep a child keep warm this winter.”

Storemates would like to thank everyone for their involvement. It just shows what can be achieved if people work together towards a common cause.

TIP: Why not clear out your used items, donate everything to a good cause or a favourite local charity shop and put that new found space to good use. If you rent the space out through Storemates you can make some extra cash either for yourself or to donate to a cause you feel passionate about. Click here to list your space.

About AnyVan

Like Storemates, AnyVan operates throughout the UK. With over 45,000 registered transport operators, 1.4 million customers and an excellent customer reputation (ranking 9.7/10 on trust pilot)

In line with Storemates commitment to be the UKs lowest prices storage option, AnyVan ‘reverse auction’ model offers storage transport at an average price reduced of 75% compared to its competitors. This partnership brings together two of the countries most innovative online services both of which are disrupting their sectors and providing their customers with a great new convenient, affordable greener storage transportation option.

Use this link to book your van and benefit from a Storemates discount.


Why do people use Self Storage?

cheap London storage wtih Storemates

More and more people are using self storage. With house prices so high, some are outgrowing their space but cannot afford to move, others want to store things of sentimental value, while there are increasing numbers of small businesses using it for stock or paperwork. Ben Rogers, Director of details a top ten list of reasons why people are looking for more space for their stuff…

1. Run out of space at home

We have more stuff in our lives than ever before. But this doesn’t mean we are a nation of hoarders! People are reluctant to cast aside belongings they no longer use, especially if they are still in good condition, for good reason. They want to hang onto things ‘just in case’ or often because they’re planning on passing them on at some point in time. It could be some old family wardrobe that they remember playing sardines in,  a children’s bed, or a precious collection of books. There is also the seasonal items if they live in a smaller space – what to do with those Christmas decorations each January? 69% of people have run out of space according to RIBA – no wonder people are itching to have more space. But the biggest one in this category is the news of a baby! That spare room will need clearing to make room for another member of the family!

2. Selling a house 

First impressions count. If you are selling a home, estate agents will tell you, you need to make it attractive to prospective homebuyers.  People may give it a fresh paint and rearrange your furniture. But taking a few things out of each room and storing them can make all the difference to people imagining themselves living in someone else’s home. Time to Change That Room!

Cheap self storage with storemates

3. Moving house 

The house hoppers. Increasingly people are having to move out of their old home before moving into their new one to avoid losing a sale. If When people have no family nearby to store belongings with, cheap storage is the ideal answer.

4. Frequent travelling

Flying HIgh. Travellers often face the challenge of having to manage life at home while thousands of miles away from it. Frequent travellers have to leave their flat or house for extended periods,sometimes subletting to help fund the trip. Others may not want to be renting while abroad and so need a place to leave their things. Affordable storage is an ideal solution for belongings that just can’t possibly fit into a backpack!

5. Divorce & Bereavement 

Sadly, divorce is affecting more and more people across the UK. Many of those in this situation may find themselves moving to a smaller home as they don’t require as much space anymore or renting somewhere temporarily until they find something more permanent. Either way, space can become an issue which is why many turn to storage for those bits of furniture that they just don’t want to throw away.

6. Retirement & Downsizing

The Heirlooms. It’s very common for people to downsize once they hit retirement. Although the cheaper living costs are a big bonus, the lack of space might not be. For this reason many people choose to store excess furniture or sentimental items away for a rainy day.

7. Business use

The new micro-entrepreneurs.  A huge amount of companies are opting to use self storage facilities to store excess stock, furniture that isn’t being used and some even run their business from a storage space. According to the Self Storage Association in the UK, business use of cheap storage has overtaken domestic use for the first time ever in 2016. We are a nation of shopkeepers after all!

Cheap student storage on Storemates8. 8. University students

With 3.2 million students fleeing their campus every summer, student storage is a growing area – students will collect various items during their stay at university. But when the summer term finishes, it’s a real pain to take everything back to their parents’ house only to bring it all back in September. It’s also cheaper than carting everything back in a hire car or van. So student storage in someone’s house local to your university accommodation is an ideal solution.

9. Renovations

Even simple decorating tasks can leave gorgeous belongings looking dusty and ancient (and not in a good way!). From construction projects to basic decorating, moving a few prized items of furniture or pictures can keep them protected until people are ready to retrieve them, stand back and admire their new improved home!

10. Hobbies and Sports

Many people have hobbies. But, when people are collectors, it can be difficult to find a secure space for their collectibles. Storage provides hobbyists with a cost-effective and safe means of storing their awesome collectables. Same for Sports nuts, where to store that ski clothing, canoe or toboggan?! Try cheap local storage with a trusted neighbour!

So if you’re considering using self storage, find out for yourself how storage can help you live in your space better – check out to find the cheapest storage local to you!