Guest Post: Advance Shopping and Delivery of Your Christmas Gifts

Christmas is approaching fast, so if you haven’t yet started your Christmas shopping you’d better get a move on because you’re running out of time to get your family and friends’ gifts delivered in time.

The Christmas rush is something we should all be used to – British consumers are expected to spend £4 billion in shops over the days leading up to Christmas – so why is it that most of us leave Christmas shopping and delivery arrangements to the last minute each and every year?

Whatever the reasons for being somewhat tardy with gift shopping and making arrangements to have those gifts delivered, here are a few tips for next Christmas, though if you act quickly you might be able to successfully apply them to your gift shopping and delivery efforts this year.

Get started early

Sure, this is advice that’s easy to give and often difficult to follow oneself; however, there are actually quite a few opportunities presented to you to get your Christmas shopping done with plenty of time to spare, like the Black Friday sale which is held annually within the week following Thanksgiving Day in the US. This sale, which is being extended this year (2013), represents an excellent opportunity to get your Christmas gift shopping out of the way with plenty of time to make delivery arrangements.

Make private delivery arrangements

If you’ve left posting Christmas gifts until the last minute in the past you’ll be well aware of how packed the local post office gets, which should provide you with somewhat of an idea how difficult it can be for postal service to get the gifts you send family and friends to their doors in time for Christmas. If you have the opportunity to send them with plenty of time to spare before Christmas arrives this wouldn’t pose a problem; however, many of us simply lack the time or never get around to it.

Making private delivery arrangements is therefore generally a better option. You’ll find that there are a number of private delivery and shipping companies, like Pallet2Ship pallet delivery for example, that you can make arrangements with; moreover you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised as to how affordable they are. In fact, many of these companies can offer you more competitive rates than the government postal service.

In addition to a cost effective service, private delivery and shipping companies can also provide you with a means to send gifts that would otherwise prove difficult to send due to being oversized or because the recipient resides in a remote area. Traditionally oversized packages and deliveries to remote areas were incredibly expensive, and therefore worth replacing with a cheque in the mail, though nowadays it’s increasingly feasible and cost effective to send the gifts you know the recipients will love, regardless of their size or destination.

Shop online

It seems so simple – it’s as if it was staring us in the face all along. Perhaps the easiest way to get your Christmas gift shopping out of the way and delivered to the recipients’ doors is to do your Christmas shopping online and have the retailer take care of the delivery. This is one of the many advantages to shopping online and makes life infinitely easier for yourself at what’s often a very stressful time of the year, after all, there’s usually far more to do over the weeks leading up to Christmas than buy gifts, wrap them and have them delivered.

Have yourself a very Merry Christmas by getting your Christmas shopping out of the way, and delivered, with plenty of time to spare.


Author Bio:

Madeline Varley is a freelance writer for Pallet2Ship pallet delivery, a leading provider of freight forwarding services from the UK to locations across the globe. A company aiming to help clients reduce costs and boost productivity.


Guest Post: Storage Tips for Domestic Moving

When you are getting round to putting things in to storage, you should be careful with what you are putting in there. Do not simply chuck everything that you don’t need in there, as this way you are paying to own things that you could potentially get rid of.

Think carefully about when you will be needing in the future, and when you will realistically be taking it out of storage, as otherwise you may well be throwing money at a situation to avoid it, when you could just spend a couple of days selling it off and being done with it all!

Have a think about the cost of the things that you are storing, as opposed to the price of the unit. If you are simply storing a few white goods and old tat, then leaving it in a £40 per month unit for six months will perhaps mean that you end up spending what you would do on replacing the units with second hand ones when you find that you need one again.

Of course, if your things are worth keeping, then you may be in a position where you can sell them. This of course means that you could save that cash from selling everything, as well as the cash that you save from not using a storage unit, and put it towards nice new bits and pieces for when you need them.

If you are looking at getting a storage unit in the long run, then you need to look at where you are going to have it. If you live in a city, you will perhaps find that storage units are rather expensive, due to the price of land space in such a built up area. Out in the countryside the space will be cheaper, but you may find that your travel costs negate the savings.

It is worth sitting down and doing the maths. Remember to take into account the number of times you think you will realistically be visiting the unit to check on things. Consider fuel costs as opposed to unit savings and you will be well set to make a good decision.

When working out the size of unit that you need, you should think carefully in order to avoid making a mistake. Turning up at the unit with too little space to fit everything will obviously be a problem. If you can, pile everything up against a corner of your garage or a room in the house, and measure a square line around it, multiplying the height, width and length of the virtual cube that you create.

These figures multiplied will give you the volume that you need so that you can use it when looking for units, whether on the phone, or the internet. If you can, get a unit slightly larger than you need, so that you have a little space to maneuver things, as well as being able to add things if you need!

There are bargains to be found in the storage world. You will find that if you have a little time to spare, then you can do some nosing around in the local ads or online.

Farmers will sometimes rent out unused but secure barns for storage purposes, and others may rent out their disused garages, both at much cheaper rates than a regular storage unit would be. However, you need to be aware that some of these units will be susceptible to pests, damp and extreme temperature changes, which can be a nightmare for certain items.

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Guest Post: Top Packing Tips!

When you start out on a move, you should make a decisive packing plan. You will find that packing is a marathon, not a sprint, an that the issues that are associated with packing will usually be based around those associated with fatigue and boredom! For this reason, having a clever plan so that you do not do more packing than is necessary is essential. You should have a clear idea as to what order you should pack things in, as otherwise there is the chance that you may miss something out, and end up having to repack certain boxes.

There is also the potential that you pack something up that is needed by someone in the household. This can cause serious issues in that things need to be unpacked and resorted all over again, which is a massive hassle and a huge waste of everyone’s time. If you are Clever with your packing strategy, then there is no reason to do more than an hour or so of packing every day for a few weeks, and this will ensure that you get things done right the first time round, and don;t waste any time or effort.

In an ideal world, you will have started planning as soon as you got the dates set in stone. Getting a packing plan together essentially means that you need to order the items in the house by how often they are used. So, you will likely be packing up things in garages or the attic before that which is in the house. You will also find that you can reduce the amount of stress involved by simply letting everyone else in the house know what you will be packing each day as well. Have family members pack up their own rooms, so that you are not completely responsible for getting everything done.

When you are packing, ensure that you have all of the materials at hand. If you run out of things, then it is a massive hassle to go to the shops or to order some more, so you are most likely to write that day off in the plan. This can cause issues later down the line, as you will no doubt get a pile up of packing hours causing problems. If you are organized from the off, then there is nothing that should realistically go wrong.

When packing, ensure that you are protecting everything as securely as possible. You will find that the items within boxes get moved around quite a lot when being handled, no matter how carefully they are treated. In some ways, your packing ability is the final barrier between your more delicate items and destruction, as you never know if the van might make a fast turn that knocks a box over! Bubble wrap may seem tempting, but it takes up a lot of room within your boxes, so sometimes it is best to opt for a few layers of newspaper, with extra bunched in to fill up gaps.

Ensure that you tape up your boxes carefully, so that nothing is going to fall open it an inopportune moment, and mark the room that the box is meant to go to. Do not just put down where it came from, as you may want to move your books from the living room, to the new bedroom. Have a think about where you want everything, and label it thus. Put signs on the doors of all of the rooms in the new house, and ensure that the movers know where each box is going.

More tips at

Be Careful What You Throw Out from Your Storage!

Sifting through bags of old clothing, used household goods and unwanted kids toys in a recently purchased storage unit can be slightly depressing. But when you come across that big ticket item, it’s all worth it. That is exactly what happened to Adrian Petrus, a Maryland man who competed for the contents of a foreclosed unit having any clue of what was inside. Petrus’ gamble scored a huge payout.

TMZ Sports reported that the unit was filled with items of former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, including signed basketballs, jerseys, shoes, trading cards and photos of Mutumbo with celebrities including Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela. The lesson to learn? Think twice before tossing anything into the garbage. Use these tips to ensure that your storage unit is properly sorted after a successful auction.

Ditch the Trash

Let’s face it. The majority of your storage unit is likely to be junk. Decide whether or not each item is worth selling, donate what you can to charity and throw out the rest. While items in a smaller unit may adequately fit inside the bed of a pickup truck, you may want to rent a moving truck to load and transport larger items like furniture.

In addition to a truck, consider renting Next Day Dumpsters to make getting rid of trash much easier. Failure to clean the unit within 24 to 48 hours after purchase is a sure-fire way to become uninvited from future auctions. Start the cleaning process promptly and efficiently work your way through each item.

Hunting for Treasures

Searching for sell-worthy items is one of the perks about the job, and why many people continue to attend storage auctions. However, for the majority of buyers the odds of striking gold are slim. According to experienced storage hunter, Jason Byrge of Cleveland, only an estimated 20 percent of his auction purchases are profitable.

When cleaning out your storage unit, avoid throwing out any items in which you are not knowledgeable. Instead, bring them to an antique dealer or someone who will know more about the item and its worth. In A & E’s show “Storage Wars, some of the biggest wins included a unit full of newspapers that netted $89,250, a grand piano that made $11,625 in profits and a cache of jewelry that earned the buyer $16,675.

Netting a Profit

Since finding a storage unit filled with treasures is like finding a needle in a haystack, you have to make do with what you have. Don’t give all your goodies away, especially if they can be resold. Household goods, such as furniture, appliances and toys may not be big ticket items, but can add up. If you do not know the price of certain items, do your research. Look up the item online to see what the going rates are, or bring your specialized item to an appraiser for an accurate estimate.

Sell items that are not worth much in bulk, such as glassware, DVDs or dishes. Items that may seem completely worthless, such as scrap copper or aluminum, metal tools and electronics, can sometimes be recycled for cash. Used items with no clear value but can be donated to charity, such as stuffed animals and toys, can be a tax write off. While time-consuming, maximizing the use of each profitable item can help you become a successful storage hunter.

Amy Jennings

Amy runs several blogs and writes about various subjects.


Guest Post: Tips for Packing Boxes Efficiently for a Move

Though in theory the idea of packing a few boxes shouldn’t be too hard, if you’ve not moved house many times over the course of your life it can be surprisingly difficult to figure out the best way to put your boxes together in order to create an effective system for when the removal vans come rolling down the road.

Though you, of course, want the removals process to be as quick and painless as possible, at the end of the day your key objective is to get all of your possessions from your current house to your new home in one piece. When searching for house removals firms online, take note of the professionalism of the service as much as the price. After all – it may be you packing the boxes but it’ll be your removal service workers who are handling them. To help you out with your side of the bargain, take note of the following three tips for packing boxes efficiently for your move:

Always Pack Heavier Items at the Bottom

It sounds obvious, but so few people stick to this rule, and the consequences of not doing so can be incredibly painful, both for your possessions and your back.

When you pack heavier items in the bottom of your boxes you’re giving the box a solid foundation in which to hold the rest of your possessions once you fill it up. This not only helps to give greater structure to your boxes (flimsy boxes are incredibly difficult to carry, after all), it also helps to protect each item within the box – as no item will ever have a heavier item above it – and it provides greater support for your back when it comes to picking up your boxes.

Most of us know that we must pick up heavy items with our knees, but this can become a whole lot more difficult if the weight of a packed box you’re attempting to pick up is distributed poorly. When you pick up a box with your knees from the bottom, everything will sit happy in both the box, and your back.

Make Your Socks and Scarves Work for You

Some of the most underutilised items in creating protective padding for your storage boxes before a big house move are your socks, scarves, and even your underwear.

Even if you’ve placed heavy items into the bottom of your boxes, working your way up so only the very lightest items are on top, you’re still going to have the issue of these items hitting against each other, which can cause just as much damage to them as having larger items above them can. For this reason, placing your socks, scarves, and underwear between these gaps is a great way to protect items from hitting against each other, without taking up space with protective padding… just make sure you leave some socks and underwear to place into your essentials box (see below) before taping everything up!

Make an Essentials Box

An essentials box (or a number of essentials boxes) is a box that contains all the essential items you’re going to need for the last few nights you spend in your current house before you move, and the first few nights you spend in your new home.

Though what you personally consider to be ‘essential’ will vary depending on your needs, below are a number of items that most of us can agree on the necessity of having from the moment we move into our new home, such as:

  • Enough cutlery, plates, and cups for each member of the household.
  • Bathroom essentials, including toilet paper.
  • Scissors or a craft knife to open the remaining boxes with.
  • Pet dishes and food, if you have pets.
  • Washing up liquid, sponges, and tea towels.
  • Torches, candles, and matches.

In conclusion, though in theory the idea of packing a few boxes shouldn’t be too hard, if you’ve not moved house many times over the course of your life it can be surprisingly difficult to figure out the best way to put your boxes together in order to create an effective system.


Auhtor Bio:

Madeline Varley is a freelance writer for LondonMoves, a reliable provider of services for office and house removals in London and the rest of the UK. A company that aims to make their clients’ relocations a pleasure.

Guest Post: Handy Techniques for Moving Homes in a Rush

While most of us would prefer to have plenty of time to prepare for a future move in a leisurely manner, sometimes this just isn’t possible. If you’re pressured for time, how can you arrange everything in the right manner? After all, you won’t want to miss anything out in this arduous yet essential process. Luckily, all you’ll need is a little patience and ingenuity and you can relocate in a rush regardless of where you are going.

Pack in an Organised Manner

In an ideal world, you’d have plenty of time to pack everything securely away using boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape and more. If you have to move in a hurry though, you may not get the chance to actually do any of this. Fortunately, there are still some ways to protect your household belongings regardless. Using some everyday items, you can pack your things and move house in a hurry without putting anything at risk of damage along the way. Simply follow these easy techniques and you can organise all of your belongings into a number of easily transportable packages:

  • Stuff your unbreakable belongings into pillowcases
  • Remove drawers and place breakables among the clothing
  • Wrap your closet clothes up in the fitted sheet on your bed
  • Use coolers and laundry baskets to hold tools and utensils

Of course, there are plenty more containers that you can use for the move. Clothes hampers, garbage cans, plant pots, etc. can all be grabbed and filled with your belongings for easier transportation during these hectic times.

Use a Professional Mover

Another option is to hire a removals expert who knows precisely how to streamline this complex process. Not only will these specialists help you transport your gear but they will also assist with packing as well. If you have enough money to pay for their services, the best removalists in Sydney can take the hassle out of moving so you can relocate to your new home even though you’re pressed for time. Do your research and find a company that has a positive reputation. This will ensure that they can then pack and transport your belongings to your new home in a manner that fits in with your hectic schedule and which doesn’t damage your furniture in the process.

Utilise Technological Aids

In this modern day and age, there are also a number of digital applications and gadgets that you can use to facilitate this unexpected move. Gone are the days when we’d need a pen and paper and make countless phone calls to simply move home. Now, there is plenty of technology to speed up your moving info needs. All you need is a little imagination and access to some of these high tech options. If you’re still a bit confused, here is how you can move in a hurry using today’s state-of-the-art alternatives:

  • Use a GPS system to plan the fastest route in your truck
  • Check Google Maps to study your new neighbourhood
  • Apply online for state driver’s licenses, local bank accounts, etc.
  • Jot down important dates, phone numbers and addresses

All of this can be done through your smartphone, a single device that can save you a whole lot of time and hassle. This technology can be used well so your unplanned move can be completed within the strict deadlines given.

As you can see, it’s quite possible to relocate almost anywhere on Earth regardless of the time you’ve been given. With the right innovation and care, you can safely relocate to your new home without having to sacrifice safety, convenience or price to make up for the urgency of the situation.


Author Bio:

Madeline Varley is a freelance writer for Moving Mates, one of the most reliable removalists in Sydney and Canberra. They cater not only to households but also businesses. A company with a team of experienced professionals.

Guest Post: Getting ready for a removal, have you got the essentials?

When it comes to moving house, there are a lot of things that you can do to be prepared. Being prepared is perhaps the only way to prevent the move from being a total disaster, so it is well worth having a look through the following ideas for a way in which to ensure that your move is the best it can be.

Without wanting to panic monger, there is a lot that can go wrong if you are not prepared for your move, and this is the sort of thing that can easily be prevented by simple planning.  To ensure that you are ready for the worst, have all of your packing and moving necessities ready well in advance, and a solid time table to follow, and you should have no trouble whatsoever.

For a start, get going as early as you can. Setting out a plan at an early stage will let you see how much you have to get done in the amount of time that you have left. Hopefully you get going early enough to be pleasantly surprised; the aim is to make a time table or plan that only involves a little work every day in order to get the move ready. If you leave it too late, you may be rushed off your feet, but getting it sorted early means that you can approach the move in a much more relaxed way.

Planning is as much about assessing the methods that you use, as it is working out when to do things. You will likely find that having a little time to think about how you go about doing stuff will ensure that you can work out ways in which to do them better. Whether this means faster or more cheaply it does not matter, as long as you do not cut any corners that could jeopardize the safety or integrity or the move. Alternative methods to things like removals companies can involve renting a van and doing the move with friends, or even finding an unofficial storage unit in a local farmer’s barn. These sorts of things are not the way in which most people go about moving house, but they may work better for you, so take a moment to have a think about it all.


Planning out a timetable based on this information means that you will have a strict set of instructions to follow in order to ensure that the move goes ahead successfully, but be prepared to make last minute changes, as nothing ever goes completely to plan. You will no doubt find that there are a number of ways in which to get any one thing done, so have them in mind throughout the process, so that plan B can be set in motion should anything go wrong.

One of the things that tends to go wrong whilst packing, is that you run out of materials! It may not seem like a big deal now, but running out of tape will often lead to you giving up on packing for the day, or even improvising with other things that are not as good for the job. This can make the process less effective, and slow down your packing overall, so be sure to have a lot of boxes, tape, tissue, newspaper, bubble wrap and marker pens to ensure that you never find yourself trying to work out ways to keep a box shut with string! Be sure to label each box immediately as well, otherwise you’ll forget whats inside!


More tips at

Smart Transition Solutions for the Holidays

Regardless of the size of your home, there never seems to be enough storage and it can be difficult to transition from warm weather months to winter with so much in your way. However, seasonal clothing, furniture, and equipment can be safely and effectively stored for next year’s use by using these savvy storage solution tips.

Summer Clothing

Photo by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

Creating a fall-friendly closet means putting your summer wardrobe into storage. Begin by removing your summer clothes from your closet and drawers. While shorts and Maxi dresses are generally limited to warm weather, you may want to keep several tank tops for winter layering. Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, recommends laundering all clothes before they’re stored, as any trace of soil or food can attract insects. Store your summer clothing in clean fabric bags and hang them in your closet, or fold them neatly and pile them into stackable air-tight plastic storage containers.

Outdoor Furniture

Photo by Dan4th via Flickr

Put away your outdoor furniture before it gets too chilly. Outdoor furniture, especially pieces made of plastic, can crack during the harsh winter. Before outdoor furniture can be put away, it must first be thoroughly cleaned to avoid mold and mildew. Use dish soap and warm, soapy water to clean furniture made of wrought iron, wicker, plastic or mesh, and opt for Murphy Oil Soap and water for wood furniture pieces. Wash cushions and decorative pillows, and allow sufficient time for drying, then place them into airtight storage bags and remove air with your vacuum attachment so they take up less space.

Pool Equipment

Photo by fancywabs via Flickr

Pools require special care at the end of summer to avoid ice from forming in or around the perimeter. Make time to properly protect your pool—after all, it’s one of the more costly investments in your home that require regular care and maintenance. Special inground winter pool covers are available from, and protect your pool from leaves and debris getting in, while inhibiting sunlight, so your pool water remains free of algae during the off-season.

Making Room for the Tree

Photo by Chris_J via Flickr

if you’re putting up a Christmas tree, you likely have boxes of lights, ornaments and more stored up in your garage. Invest in sturdy hard-plastic stackable tubs for these items, so that you can repurpose them accessories from inside your home when you’re making room for the tree. Fill any leftover tubs with anything that will create clutter, and return the newly-filled tubs to your garage to keep them safely tucked away and out of sight. While you’re in transition mode, take it as an opportunity to set out unused items into a donation pile. Clothes, home decor and gently used appliances are always welcome items at thrift stores, and local charities are always seeking donations, particularly during the holiday season.

By Ginger Welch
Ginger left her journalism career to stay at home with her kids, but she still blogs and writes daily.

Guest Post: What to Do With Excess Items When Moving

Relocating to a new home is one of the toughest jobs the average individual has to face. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that most of us have too much clutter in our houses and apartments. The more belongings you have, the more time it takes to pack and unpack everything throughout the move. Before you hire a local mover then, it’s important to deal with your extra items, de-cluttering your home so that the future removals are as easy as they can be.

Donate to Charity

If you feel guilty about getting rid of your excess belongings, a smart solution is to donate them all to charity instead. Instead of holding onto that unused t-shirt or blender, donate these belongings to someone who will make better use of them! This means you can improve someone else’s quality of life and get rid of your extra junk at the same time. We can’t think of a better way to start your move! Think guilt-free and you’ll have a much easier commencement to your home relocations.

Sell Your Belongings

If you’d prefer to make a bit of extra cash out of your unused items, there are also plenty of ways in which you can sell them. Your online options include:

  • Craigslist
  • EBay
  • Amazon
  • Gazelle

You could also hold a garage sale in front of your home prior to moving out so you can then get rid of your clutter in this way instead.

Self-Storage Facilities

Of course, there are some items which you really don’t want to get rid of. If your new household won’t fit everything comfortably though, an easy solution is self-storage. Simply ask your home removalists if they can visit the storage facilities as well before heading to your brand new property. In this way, you can pack your unused yet sentimental belongings away in a secure location and then move your essential items to your home. Removing the clutter from your household needn’t mean that you have to give your precious items away.

Think Digital

In this modern day and age, many of your odds and ends can actually be copied into digital form prior to being thrown out. With a decent scanner, you can move everything to your hard disk or thumb drive. This includes:

  • Bills & receipts
  • Cards & letters
  • Photographs

If you have a stack of papers that’s been building up over time, getting rid of it is simple. Remove paper from your life prior to the move with a decent scanner and some OCR software. After moving these files to your computer, you can then throw this added bulk into the recycling bin where it can be put to better use.

Throw It Out

The last step, once you’ve exhausted every option above is to simply dump your unused items into the nearest rubbish bin. While this might seem too difficult, take a moment to think about whether you’ll really need those belongings in your new home. Have you used them in the past year? If not, chances are that you won’t use them in the upcoming one either! When tossing out your unwanted items though, make sure to think about recycling so you can at least take care of the planet prior to your household relocation.

You now know exactly what to do when it comes to handling any extra items before a future home move. If you currently own way too many belongings, simply follow the above advice when it comes to charities, self-storage and more so that you can get rid of your clutter and make your removals a lot easier as well.

Author Bio:

Madeline Varley is a freelance writer for ZOOM Removals, one of Australia’s leading office and home removalists. Their range of services include pre-packing, moving interstate, transporting fragile goods and even supplying packing supplies.