Why buzzmove has to push for 50/50 gender representation…

Why are there currently so few women in tech?

And why do some people see it as discrimination if we push for a 50/50 gender representation in tech industries? After all, Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted in a recent Devskiller article that “a diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”

Here at buzzmove we believe the same. We want to create change from the inside out.

So, what are we going to do?

buzzmove has taken the decision to launch our #buzzingfor50 initiative, a campaign that will push for more women in tech. Our aim is to achieve a 50/50 gender split throughout all levels of the company by 2019. We’re self-aware enough to know that we can’t change the entire industry alone and overnight, but just as charity begins at home, so does change.

Our six actionable objectives

Through a set of six actionable objectives, we’ll be promoting the inclusion of women in tech from the ground up. Only around 17% of the UK tech industry is made up of women; although, of course, gender isn’t the only factor we should consider when raising issues of diversity.

Currently, we have one-woman developer out of a team of 7, and this is something we’re actively looking to improve. But we can’t hire women if there are no women pursuing careers in tech to begin with. So, we’ll be supporting grassroots women-in-tech organisations and funding coding-for-women initiatives. We’ll also create opportunities within buzzmove to bring in women to the team in junior and volunteer roles, so they can get a hands-on working-in-tech experience.

buzzmove is going to actively invest in women in tech, sponsoring and attending women in tech events, such as Women Who Code, Driven Women , Geek Girls and Beyond the Classroom.

But we’re not just going to sponsor pre-existing women in tech conferences and events. We’ll bring the initiative back to our office, with the aim to organise and run our very own women in tech event too.  

WWDC 2018

In fact, we’ve already started on this action point, having hosted an informal Intro to WWDC for both men and women in June 2018.

We recognise that in the tech world many of these meetups can be intimidating and seem too advanced for junior level staff. Therefore, this informal grassroots event was created to provide an open space for iOS beginners to enjoy an evening during which they could speak openly about what that they want to see in the future.

Building on that, buzzmove will tackle the problem internally, looking at unconscious bias throughout all levels of the company. Each and every new hire will have to take part in unconscious bias training (along with our current staff), in order to hopefully change the way, they think about women in tech and, well, life.

What happens when we reach 50/50?

Hiring is step one; ensuring that our working environment is inclusive and understanding of their diverse needs, whether they’re breastfeeding mothers or observe specific religious routines is part of step 2. We want to ensure they stay. Better yet, we want to ensure that they want to stay.

Amma Mensah, The Founder and Director of Beyond the Classroom said that “When we talk about diversity within the world, within organisations, we often think about ticking a box…[But it can be so much more than that.] The reason organisations and community should be diverse is because it creates diversity in ideas, perspectives, experiences, talent and that breeds innovation.”

Who wouldn’t be an advocate for that in the workplace and in all walks of life?

Furthermore, buzzmove will advocate for equal pay and put our (literal) money where our mouths are, because there’s nothing worse than shouting about equality while simultaneously failing to do anything about it internally. In continuation, we won’t penalise women for initiating pay negotiations, because studies have shown that, shamefully, women are judged more harshly than men for pursuing pay rises, even if entirely expected and justified.

We won’t forget about men!

Men hold a great deal of sway, particularly in tech industries, whilst conversations about women in tech are often met with inane questions like “why should women get the job?”—hint: because they’re competent, capable and qualified. That’s why we need men’s active ally-ship, not just their passive agreement.

We want our strong, male advocates in buzzmove to speak up on this topic and drive change in a number of ways such as: talking to other men about the lack of women, notice and correct gender bias in the workplace,  increase the number of female leaders, work with women’s groups, make discussions of gender less “risky” and just simply listening to women’s stories will make such a difference.

Currently, The BBC reports that women are often deterred from applying for tech positions thanks to the so-called ‘manly’ wording of job advertisements; for example, the use of words like ‘manage’ ‘strong’ and ‘dynamic’ were found to put them off.

We believe that women shouldn’t be deterred from applying for tech roles simply because they’ve been led to somehow believe that they can’t identify with skill- sets like ‘competitive’, ‘leader’ and ‘build’.

To be clear though, what we won’t be doing is changing the wording in our job advertisements though. After all, that might encourage women to apply at a surface level, but it subtly and simultaneously reinforces the pervasive stereotype that suggest women are there to ‘support’ rather than ‘manage’, ‘follow’ not ‘lead.’

We know that’s bulls**t

Women are ‘strong’, women are ‘competitive’, women are ‘leaders’. After all, 50% of buzzmove’s board are women, as are 37.5% of our management. But that’s not enough. In fact, there’s always more to be done. Which is why we’re doing it.

Want to follow what we are doing on social media?

Search our  hashtag #buzzingfor50

4 simple but effective steps to make your removal business more eco-friendly

Making your business more eco-friendly

Moving heavy loads around in large vehicles is a recipe for high carbon emissions, and the use of packaging materials can often be reckless and inefficient. Removals can be a wasteful industry – but it doesn’t have to be. 

The growing problems for our planet associated with carbon emissions means that it has never been more important to prioritise a green approach for all businesses, particularly in an industry with such a large carbon footprint.

But being kinder to environment doesn’t have to be tiresome or tedious. That’s why we’ve complied together 4 easy but effective steps to lower your environmental impact.

1. Reduce CO2 emissions

Let’s start with the big one – removals companies have high levels of carbon dioxide emissions, but there are ways to tackle this problem. 

You can start small, by cycling to home removal surveys instead of driving. If the customer lives far away why not try buzzsurveyIt’s a live surveying app that not only saves you time of travelling to and from the house and the time it takes to carry out the survey, the money in petrol back and forth but is also way kinder to environment. No c02 will be emitted into the environment when you use it unlike when you’re driving to carry out a survey.

Using biodiesel is also an option where possible, with this natural alternative to fossil fuels made from renewable sources such as vegetable oils and animal fatsWhile biodiesel sounds like an excellent solution, there are a few caveats. Not all vehicles can be run on this alternative, so you need to make sure that your vans are compatible before considering this fuel. It is also worth noting that a lot of biofuel is made from palm oil, which is incredibly damaging to the environment.  

The best way to reduce carbon emissions is to switch to electric vans, which are completely emission-free although more expensive to buy. Another issue is that the majority of electric vans on the market at the moment are smaller models, like the Renault Kangoo ZE, and Nissan e-NV200.

Fortunately, bigger e-vans are on their way to the UK, including the Renault Master ZE, which will go on sale later this year.

The Renault Master ZE is due to be released in the UK this year. Image via renault.co.uk

2. Being more mindful day to day

Before you think about investing in any offsetting programs you should try to reduce your impact on the environment. It may seem small but overtime it’s incredibly effective. This can be done in a variety of ways, from greater levels of recycling, to using more energy efficient appliances and lighting in your office. Operating a paper-free workplace is also a good way to offset carbon emissions, by using digital devices instead of order forms, letters, and so on.

3. Carbon offsetting

If you’re still concerned about your emissions, you can also compensate elsewhere in your business through carbon offsetting. This is the process of saving carbon dioxide elsewhere to balance out your emissions. You can do this by calculating your carbon footprint, and reducing your carbon emissions elsewhere.

Another positive step as a removal company would be to get involved in buzzmove’s carbon neutral initiative, which helps removal companies offset their carbon emissions through planting trees. As the tree grows you are constantly offsetting your carbon emissions. For instance, 1 tree can offset 1 tonne of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. Why would you not get involved? To find out more, click here.

4. Recycle packaging materials

In addition to carbon emissions from the vans themselves, one of the biggest eco-issues associated with removal companies is packaging materials. If you offer boxes as part of your service, make sure they are reusable or recyclable.

There are also certain materials that should be avoided, such as plastic packing peanuts and plastic bubble wrap and often end up in landfill. They are not environmentally friendly because plastic don’t biodegrade. In fact nothing that is made out of plastic biodegrades. When it does finally break down, toxic chemicals are released.

A good substitute would be using air-popped popcorn and shredded paper for padding. The shredded paper can also be recycled after moving. If you prefer to buy padding, opt for reusable pads, recyclable packing paper, and specially marked biodegradable bubble wrap and packing peanut.

This approach to recycling should extend across your business, as running a more ecofriendly removal company is not just about the vehicles themselves. Being green should permeate everything you do, from your own vehicles, to your staff, and even any commercial partners.

Removals can be a wasteful industry – but fortunately if you follow these tips you can run a more ecofriendly business.

Author bio: Sam Butterworth is a writer and blog editor at Happy2Move, a London-based man and van removal business

Editor bio: Isabella Hernandez, content writer at buzzmove, a price comparison platform for mover quotes

Press about buzzmove

We could shout about how great buzzmove is but we’ll let everyone else do the talking…

APRIL 2018

Man and Van Edinburgh

Trees for life with Buzzmove

Van Move It

Let’s plant some trees

House Beautiful

10 ways to make your house move more eco-friendly

The Mover

Buzzmove works to reduce c02

MARCH 2018

Eco Badge for donating to Trees for Life

London Removals

Aldhouse and Smith

AR Removals Wakefield

Happy 2 Move

Gold Bear Removals Brighton

Eco removals Brighton 

Moral Fibres

Ecofriendly guide to moving house

FEBRUARY 2018

Eco Badge for donating to Trees for Life

Eagle Relocation

Excess International

Guardian Removals and Storage

Simpsons Removals and Storage

Goldline Removals

Doveley Removals

Mr Shifter

Gold Bears Removals

Property Reporter

Top tips to make your home move green

Ideal home

How to make ‘moving home’ more eco-friendly 

CEO Today Magazine

The Future Of Global Mobility Management Is Digital

DECEMBER 2017

Financial Times

Insurers hope for a smart future from the connected home

Venture Clash

Press – Venture Clash – Buzzmove

Insurance Times

Buzzmove aims to home 38 people for Christmas

Strategic Risk Europe

Buzzmove aims to home 38 people for Christmas

The Mover

Buzzmove moves to bigger offices

Insurance Nexus

Home Removals Meets Insurtech: Buzzmove on the Future of Contents Insurance

Soundcloud: Insurance Nexus

Buzzmove: Protecting your contents in a new way

NOVEMBER 2017

London Loves Business

Changes to stamp duty could add £199m to UK economy

OCTOBER 2017

Reason Global

Moving home? Does your removal company have an insurance policy in place?

JUNE 2017

What House?

Exclusive Q&A with Damien Seaman, Buzzmove

MAY 2017

CNBC

Interview: Fintech CEO on how to create Buzz in a start-up

APRIL 2017

Talking Tech

Leveraging technology in the insurance industry

MARCH 2017

Instanda

INSTANDA chosen amongst Top 12 insurtech startups from the UK

Simply Business

International Women’s Day: top 5 female-run startups to watch in 2017

Homes and Travel

Countdown to Brexit – making your overseas removal a success

Roberts Piano

5 MONEY-SAVING QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PIANO REMOVAL COMPANY

JANUARY 2017

Cambridge Independent

Common mistakes when moving house that Cambridge residents should try to avoid

OCTOBER 2016

Calum Branan

The Proptech businesses you should know about

AUGUST 2016

Start Ups

Insurance tech firm Buzzmove secures super-seed £6m funding

Global Corporate Venturing

White Mountains catches Buzzmove for $7.8m seed round

Startup Bootcamp

Award-Winning Insurtech Alumni BUZZMOVE Raises £6 Million Super-Seed Round

Tech London

Tech London: PropTech platform Buzzmove gets £6m in seed funding

Startup Bootcamp InsurTech Demo Day

FS Tech

InsurTech startup Buzzmove raises £6 million

UK Tech

PropTech platform Buzzmove gets £6m in seed funding

Haggerston Times

New home…New Insurance Policy? Home Contents Inventory Platform BUZZMOVE Raises £6m Shortly After Completing World’s First InsurTech Accelerator 

Insly

Insly selected among TOP 11 insurtech startups from the UK

JULY 2016

City Am

How artificial intelligence, peer-to-peer technology and blockchain are changing the insurance industry forever

MAY 2016

Insurance Thought Leadership

An Eruption in Disruptive InsurTech?

APRIL 2016

Real Business

First Women Awards 2016: The challenge to decide this year’s winners begins

JULY 2015

Janez’s Tupar

Buzzmove

MARCH 2014

Tech Crunch

Buzzmove Nabs $650K Seed As It Readies Its Removals Comparison Marketplace For Full U.K. Launch

Business Matters Magazine

Buzzmove moves out of Wayra & secures $650,000 funding ahead of national launch

 

Menno’s moving must knows

Everything you need to ask your removal company and what to watch out for

Moving is never easy. Especially moving internationally. With 18 years experience in international removals, I’ve realised a lot can go wrong because every country plays by very different rules.

On top of this, transparency is the most important factor to value when moving abroad because you need a clear breakdown of everything your quote does and doesn’t include in order to budget any potential mishaps.

Here’s the most important tips and questions to ask your potential international mover to secure a straightforward and uncomplicated move:

Who is your clearing / destination agent / overseas partner when moving, and why? Because most UK companies will not have their own presence on the other side of the pond, you should ask your removal company who’s on the other end. Make sure you check online reviews! Ask fellow expats for their experience. If you’re not happy with who the removal company is on the other side of your destination, then insist on using another company.

Looking to move abroad soon? Compare vetted, fully-insured international removal companies in 3 simple steps!

Get your own boxes or use the professionals?

International moving companies will always recommend their packing material. This is not to try and get extra dosh off you. Most standard boxes or recycled boxes are not designed or fit for international moving, so it’s best to go with the removals boxes because they are of export quality.

Make sure you have the correct type of copy of certified documents if needed

In my experience, if you don’t have the the correct certified copy of documents, it can be very problematic with customs. Some countries require certified copies of documents that can only be obtained in your home country… before departure. So make sure you’ve got these before you set off to your new home!

Make sure you read your quotation carefully

If you don’t understand anything ALWAYS ask for a clear breakdown. Look out:

  • Because it’s not always a door to door service.
  • The last thing you want is your stuff stranded in a foreign depot.
  • Some quotes say “assistance with customs clearance”
  • This may seem pretty vague.
  • That’s because it is.
  • If it doesn’t say “full” it may miss out vital services like dropping your belonging only to the local depot and not to your home.
Are there any extra costs involved?

One thing you may not expect is a random examination of your container. This means they may open the container at random at their discretion to do a physical examination. Or they could do an x-ray of the whole container. This may lead to the confiscation of one of your items. They may dispose of it, destroy it… or worse… ship it back!

Don’t end up being like that German professor who was arrested in Rome for having a human skull in his luggage. According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, he said he bought it at a market stall for 50 euros and was only planning on using it for scientific purposes. The man was charged, and skull confiscated.

This happening to you may seem pretty unlikely but if you’re moving to Australia to join the other nearly 2,000,000 expats according to Pack Send it will be a lot easier to trip up.

Customs

According to Pack Send, Australia is the most popular destination in the world for British expats due to it’s great quality of life, good economy and sunshine. However, happy expats and travellers will not vouch for it’s infamously strict customs regardless of how much of an A star celeb you are. Johnny Depp’s dogs will bark in agreement due to their near death experience.

The obvious no-go’s are foods of any kind, traditional medicines or herbs, and animals. According to Australian High Commission you’re also not allowed:

  • Any alcohol above the 2.25 litres limit.
  • Any tobacco products or cigars over the limit of 50 grams, or 50 cigarettes.
  • Overseas/ duty free goods with a combined total price of more than AU$900, including gifts.
  • Goods or samples for business or commercial use.
  • Currency of AU$10,000 or more.
  • Plants, parts of plants, wooden articles, seeds, bulbs, straw, nuts and any animals or animal material.

A not so obvious one is soil or objects with soil attached. So watch out for mud on your golfing equipment, lawn mower, gardening equipment, shoes, camping tent and so on. That’s why you can be made responsible for cleaning your shipping container and making sure there’s no mud on your car tires.

Why so strict?

According to Sydney Moving Guide, Australia tries really hard to keep its unique environment, and agricultural industries free from pests. It’s a contamination hazard. The soil may be polluted or contain increment, bacteria, seeds, etc.

You think that’s bad? You can’t even bring tea! Another one that you may not of thought could get confiscated but most certainly can is an artificial Christmas tree. Why? Because it contains real pines. That means that this showstopper will be confiscated.

But it doesn’t stop there. According to The Telegraph, a gun-toting stuffed armadillo was sent to Australia from Texas as a gift, but it’s journey stopped at Sydney for breaching Australia’s strict laws on wildlife importation. One official said: “Bad taste should have been enough of a reason not to attempt to bring [it] into the country”.

Watch out for the BIO-SECURITY laws

Especially in the 9th most popular destination for Brits… Germany. (nearly 1,000,000 expats) Many people have had major legal issues over seashells that were brought to Germany. We’re not just talking shells off the beach. I know someone who was heavily fined for travelling back with a shell bracelet from Mexico.

How to avoid this?

declare, declare, declare.

Avoid getting left high and dry

There are some places where corruption is common so if you breach the custom regulations you should expect to pay unofficial extra charges. Countries where I know this has happened include Thailand, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Watch out for your DVD collection

Especially if you’re moving to any middle eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai or the United Arab Emirates (being the 15th most popular destination for Brits in the world with nearly 40,000 expats.)

Although it’s a popular expat destination for us Brits due to its high disposable income, good working environment and excellent career prospects, if your DVD collection has not been censored to their satisfaction there could be a serious problem. Even if it’s a PG but has some cheeky cleavage, watch out!

Of course, alcohol is a no go. A less obvious one is anything remotely military.

Avoid military uniforms at all costs

That goes for some camo trousers, no matter how fashionable they are at the minute.

Just remember the common restrictions are food, alcohol and medicine, and also be conscious of the potential religious and politically sensitive restrictions. There are some places where corruption and bribery is common so if you breach the custom regulations you should expect to pay unofficial extra charges. Countries where I know this has happened include: Thailand, Kenya and Nigeria.

These are only a limited insights for a few places all but the reality is the customs regulations vary greatly all over the world. Want to avoid these traps?

Do your homework

Every country is different. So the customs regulations will be different too. 

Want some help? Get an international moving company through buzzmove. buzzmove only works with reputable, international moving companies that all have the accreditation in place and are even underwritten by a guarantee fund in case something goes wrong.

For instance, if the removal company goes out of business whilst your belongings are out at sea on a big container ship, what will happen? They’ll get stuck in the depot and maybe even deported back! But with a guarantee fund (kind of like ATOL for holidays) FIDI will see that the customer is not left high and dry.

(Related) Need to book an international removal company for your move? Find and compare international  removals quotes in under a minute…

To avoid any unnecessary destruction of your possessions just get a packing service with your international move

Leave it to the professionals, they know what is and isn’t allowed. It’s worth using them to avoid any unnecessary mess ups. You can prepay for potential problems with customs. In this case: do chance it because you won’t get a refund if, in fact, it does go well.

If you want a smooth sailing move abroad I recommend using the packing service.

International moving quote

What should be included?

  • Dismantling of furniture (be aware that most companies do not consider IKEA (or any flat pack) normal furniture because its not designed to be taken apart and put back together again)
  • Making the inventory
  • Loading furniture onto the container
  • Transport to port of exit
  • Local terminal handling charges
  • Preparation of shipping documentation
  • Freight to arrival
  • Destination terminal handling charges
  • Transport to point of delivery
  • Unloading
  • Placing of all items in rooms as directed by you (please note that there will likely be an extra charge for delivering above the first floor – even if there is a lift!)
  • Unpacking and debris removal on day of delivery (if you want to unpack in your own time the removal company may charge extra if they need to come back later to collect the removal boxes)
  • Reassemble of furniture (not flat pack furniture) This can be quite time-consuming as it can often be easier to dismantle than it is to reassemble.

Compare up to 6 international moving quotes in less than a minute. It’s that’s simple.

Hopefully these tip and tricks have helped, but I hope what I have made most clear is that no two moves are the same. When moving internationally, don’t chance anything. Get as much help and advice from the professionals as possible.

For some extra expat tips go to Expat Exchange or click below on the Easy Expat badge.

EasyExpat.com: Information for Expatriates, Expat Guides

Why all the hate for Lemonade?

Animosity towards the US insurtech over its recent financial struggles only proves how much the insurance industry needs to be disrupted, argues buzzmove and buzzvault CEO Becky Downing.

I have some views on the Lemonade financial statement that has been made public recently. Understandably there has been a lot of criticism, as they look far from healthy. But I look at the situation rather differently from a lot of the comments that you can see here:  https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6325302443974422528

The thing to remember is that there are a lot of people who would love to see Lemonade fail.  Particularly incumbents and those associated with incumbents.

There is always a lot of animosity towards young upstart companies that have the audacity to boldly claim that they can do something better, causing havoc in the process. As well as feelings of paranoia in those who have for too long not needed to look over their shoulders. This is particularly true when it comes to a very old and established industry, such as insurance.

We have already had a lot of experience of this kind of ‘old boys club’ resistance in the removals industry. So much so that many incumbents have gone so far as to say they will enjoy seeing us fail.

This is natural – people intrinsically don’t like change, and don’t like to be challenged. But all growth happens outside of your comfort zone – out of pure necessity. And frankly, it is a natural law that if something is broken or failing, some kind of evolutionary change will occur to rectify the situation.

So yes, Lemonade will not continue to survive if they do not substantially improve on those financials. But let’s not forget that they are still relatively new to the market.

Having found product-market fit in a complex industry such as the insurance industry is no small feat. In fact it’s the biggest hurdle to overcome. The startup graveyard is full of companies that never even got close to that point. Proving meaningful demand for a new product comes first – optimising operations and achieving profitability comes second.

Even if Lemonade fails, another company will succeed. It’s the old MySpace to Facebook story.  So what do I think is the key to Lemonade’s success? Personally I think it will all come down to the leadership team.

The difference between winning and losing, the difference between those who do and those who don’t is not talent or any magical formula. It’s character and human spirit.

This is why I truly believe that the new Googles and Apples of the insurance (or any) industry will not come from a couple of insurance companies chucking money at the issue in an attempt to be innovative. That kind of change derives from people who have staked everything on their vision, and who, despite the challenges, setbacks and industry resistance, find a way to make it work.

It boils down to three principles. Only three.

One: Take responsibility.

Two: Take action.

Three: Find a way.

Will the Lemonade leadership team take the bull by horns and take responsibility for turning this financial situation around? Will they continue their attitude of actioning their vision? Or will they blame it on external circumstance and assume the model simply doesn’t work (hint: assume makes an ass of u and me!).

For all of the talk of innovation you find in the insurance industry, you see very little truly admirable action. Finally, but most importantly: through trial and error, measurement, iteration and learning – will they find a way to make it work?

Building new companies is HARD.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Personally I hope that the Lemonade story will be one of hope, perseverance and success.

How planting trees helps fight CO2

The Battle Against CO2

Carbon dioxide is one of the evils of modern life. Scientists linked it to the greenhouse effect and named it as a key cause of global warming. But that’s not all.

Carbon dioxide – or CO2 – is also responsible for a slew of health problems. Breathing too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, depression, and long term breathing problems. London alone produced just over 40 million metric tonnes of CO2 in 2013.

To put that into context, here’s a picture to show how much a metric tonne of CO2 is. But can you guess how many London double decker buses can fit into a metric tonne? (Clue: the total volume of the bus is 112.5 cubic metres.) Judging from the picture, we guessed that a tonne of C02 emissions is the equivalent of 3ish double decker buses. However, when we worked it out, it turned out that 4.75 London buses will fit inside that bubble of CO2.

Why am I going on about CO2 emissions?

Well, at the end of 2017 we worked out that our removal companies emit a total of 72 tonnes of CO2 each year. That’s 342 double decker buses’ worth  in just one year! Given how harmful CO2 can be, we decided to do something about this. So, we looked into how we could neutralise these emissions.

We quickly realised there were many options to offset your carbon emissions abroad such as wind-farms in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or planting trees in the Amazon, or solar panels for third world hospitals. These projects undoubtedly would have an incredible social impact however, we don’t believe this directly offsets our carbon emissions.

We believe that it is more environmentally responsible to offset locally and invest in the environment surrounding our own towns and cities that are directly affected by the carbon emissions from moving in the U.K.

We concluded that the best way to neutralise the harmful emissions from moving home was by planting trees.

Why?

Because a tree can absorb up to around 22kg of carbon dioxide per year – and as much as 907 kilos by the time it reaches 40 years of age. We calculated that planting 2,160 trees this year would offset the total carbon emissions our removal companies generate through buzzmove.

We ended up choosing Trees for Life. Trees for Life is an award-winning conservation charity working to restore the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands. The Caledonian Forest is one of Britain’s most important forest ecosystems, providing a home for a host of wildlife. They’ve planted over 1,000,000 trees so far and are in the process of planting 1,000,000 more.

All the work is carried out by volunteers. They aim to provide a powerful and educational experience to promote the work of restoration to wider audiences, and lead to increased support for the return of the forest and its species.

This is why we’ve bought our own buzzmove grove with Trees for Life in the U.K. because it’s a wonderful opportunity to create a collective space for the removals industry to work towards being carbon neutral. Here at buzzmove, our goal is to plant 2,160 trees in our Trees for Life grove by the end of 2018. We are committing to donating at least 5 trees a month to offset the carbon emissions released by the total moves our removal companies generate through our site.

But we won’t be able to reach our goal alone…

We need your help.

This is your chance to show how much you care about the environment. Please help us work towards neutralising the carbon emissions released through moving. All we ask is that you commit to planting at least one tree in our removals grove.

What’s also great about this campaign is that you don’t have to have done this before. All you need to do is a make positive impact NOW. If you donate to the removals grove as little as £5, you will have proven that you’re working towards offsetting your carbon emission. We will recognise your removals company on our website by putting you on our eco-movers leader board amongst the other removal companies who have planted trees.

Not only will you feature on our eco-movers leader board, but we’ll also give you a badge that certifies that you have planted a tree to offset c02 that you can put on your website with pride. On top of that we will send you a certificate via the post and a PDF at the end of the year confirming how many trees you have planted towards the removals grove.

We are serious about making a difference, which is why we are working with a PR agency to help promote our goal. We are also talking to charities, councils, and global brands. This will help us drive exposure and awareness, and get even more people involved.

So getting donating and you’ll be featured on our carbon neutral webpage.

buzzsurvey invited to join IAM Technology and Communications Committee

This week, key members of the buzzsurvey team have been visiting the International Association of Movers Annual Exhibition in Long Beach California.

Head of Client Success Menno Martens, Chief Strategy Officer Roelien Ruys and Head of Partnerships Charlie Vinall flew in to California on Sunday the 8th October so they could arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the exhibition to kick off at 10am the next morning.

“We’re here to take care of bizniz”

Having set up the buzzsurvey stand in the exhibition hall…

“Can we interest you in some video surveying technology?”

They were soon attracting a lot of attention from delegates and fellow exhibitors.

Joining the video survey revolution

Roelien even managed to meet up with I.A.M. President Terry Head on Monday evening.

Roelien meets IAM President Terry Head

Then, on Tuesday, great news. We were invited to join the I.A.M. Technology and Communications Committee, a prestigious organisation that meets five times a year to discuss the technology innovations and trends affecting the international moving industry.

It was a great honour for us to be invited, and we’re looking forward to being an active and valuable participant in the committee over the coming years.

Why 2 out of 3 UK removal companies are keen to try video surveys…

The Future of Surveying

British removal companies are increasingly turning to technology to improve customer service, with many of them citing this as a key motivator in their business.

These are the some of the findings from a survey of 100’s of UK removal firms carried out by Buzzmove in July.

Video surveying is a way of carrying out surveys over a live video link. The poll was designed to measure what the market really thinks about using video surveying. Some of the results of our poll were surprising. For example, when asked about their level of interest in trialling a video survey provider, the response was very positive:

Sixty percent of respondents said they were either “somewhat” or “very” interested in trialling video survey technology over the next 6 months. Meaning that almost 2 out of 3 moving companies are keen to try video surveys. These results show that the demand for video chat is real, and that there’s still great potential for growth.

Why is video surveying gaining in popularity?

To answer this question  we asked what were the three biggest challenges video surveys could help to solve:

There was no shock that the top answer from our survey respondents was to “reduce the cost of face-to-face surveys” (20.5%). But perhaps more interesting were the next most popular answers, with “customer choice and convenience” coming second on the list (15.4%).

It’s great to see that customer convenience scored so highly. It suggests that removal and relocation companies are increasingly seeing technology as a tool not only to build a reputation for innovation, but also to improve the customer experience.

Quicker… cheaper… and more convenient

To some extent, this interest in new technology is a simple reflection of the all-pervasive nature of technology in our daily lives. Consumers expect speed, convenience and quality service.

According to Grant Hodgkins  from Pearson Home Moving, he too sees the power video surveying has on the removal industry.

“Video surveys are much quicker and far cheaper than a physical survey. Add to this the benefit of out of hours surveying, recorded surveys and being able to perform a survey wherever has an internet connection; then you’re really on to a winner.”

And, as this article makes clear, many companies see video surveys as a way to do stuff, smarter.

Also, what’s often overlooked video surveying is much more than just beneficial for the customer.  It’s massively more convenient for the removal company (your business) as well.

Paul from FA Removals recognises that a lot of potential moves fall through the cracks simply because he doesn’t have the time to carry out the survey. He’s either out doing a face to face service, carrying out a removal, in meetings or working on something in the office.

A survey that normally wouldn’t happen because you aren’t around, now can. With full service surveying, we work around your schedule. This gives you better availability for other jobs.

Download your free copy of the full buzzsurvey Video Survey Barometer.

In the UK, interest in video surveys is growing. If you want to know why video surveys just might be the future of removals, click on the link to get your free copy of the full buzzsurvey Video Survey Barometer Q3 2017 report.

(P.S. You don’t have to enter your email address)

Eco-friendly house removals – your comprehensive guide

* This article was originally published on 29th August 2017 but has now been updated on 10th April 2018 with tons more info and top tips

How being green makes your move a lot cheaper, faster and easier…

Your move date is rapidly approaching and there’s still a lot to do. So why add another thing to the list like being eco-friendly? Because your house removal can have a pretty hefty impact on the environment as it is.

If that’s something that matters to you, then you’ll want to use some of the following simple tips to reduce your carbon footprint when you move home. We’ve scoured the internet to bring the best tips to you – so you don’t have to.

3 Ways to Make Your Move More Green

Austin Moving Forward’s blog conveys that we should educate ourselves in what we can do to reduce the carbon footprint in our daily lives. But at the same time, we should try to be as environmentally conscious when we move too.

Here’s how…

Don’t ditch it—donate it

Tossing out all your castoffs really junks up our landfills. Furniture, in particular, gets thrown out at record-high levels—the EPA reports it makes up some 9.8 million tons of landfill waste in the US alone. So, instead of binning your unwanted belongings, how about donating them to a local shelter or charity?

The added benefit? You’ll need fewer boxes when you move – and that will likely bring down the cost. And when you use fewer boxes that’s also less waste. Plus, if you or your house removal company ends up needing a smaller van because you have less junk, that means your move will use less petrol – better for your bank balance AND the environment.

Many removal companies and charities will even come right to your door to pick up larger donations—that’s one thing you can cross off your to-do list! Have a look at the list below of some great UK-based charities and removal companies to donate to.

Furniture Donation Network –  You donate. We collect. You help charity”

Emmaus – “Working to end homelessness.”

Bishops Move work closely with Cancer Research and have created a ‘Declutter and Donate‘ scheme in which they collect unwanted items from you and donate them direct to Cancer Research UK.

Fantastic Removals works closely with the Red Cross Charity and offer an informative list of what charities usually accept and what you can’t donate.

  • Donate old clothes.

Clothes are always in demand, and if your wardrobe is overflowing with old clothes or shoes you will never ever put on again, you can make someone’s life a little easier if you decide to give clothes to charity.

  • Donate furniture to charity.

Unfortunately, not all charity shops have the capacity to accept such bulky, heavy items. Make sure you call your local charity shop and ask if they will be able to rid of something you do not want to have in your house.

  • Donate electronics.

Just like with furniture, small charity shops will not be able to take large electronics like washing machines, fridges, or televisions.

  • Donate books, toys, gadgets.

Essentials aren’t the only thing people need in their lives. Anything that can give some entertainment is welcome. In the case of books, make sure you pack them well.

  • Donate glassware and tableware.

Charity shops are a great place to send your unwanted items – especially one such as the British Red Cross, British Heart Foundation and Oxfam. Just have a look down your high street for more local options and ask them what they’ll take.

Use “green” cleaning products

Cleaning is a large part of the moving process, but we often underestimate the effect it can have on the environment and on our health. If it says: “Danger”, “Warning” or “Caution” that tells you straight off the bat how toxic the product can be. According to Organic Consumers, household cleaning supplies can  cause indoor air pollution, are poisonous if ingested, and can be harmful if inhaled or touched.

But this isn’t even the serious part.

“Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer…

Possible health effects include decreased sperm counts, increased rates of male birth defects such as cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) and hypospadias (where the urethra is on the underside of the penis), and increased rates of some kinds of cancers. The alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) used in some detergents and cleaners have been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen; one APE, p-nonylphenol, has caused estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells to multiply in a test tube study.”

Need another excuse to use green cleaning products? Nontoxic, earth-friendly cleaning supplies are not only better for preserving the precious environment but are also kinder to your skin and health. So, what’s the alternative?

Try using all-natural products. Vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia make low-impact replacements for a number of household cleaning agents such as scouring powder, all-purpose cleaners, and kitchen cleaners. Or look for an environmentally conscious brand that provides green cleaning products.

How to Make Your Next Move a Green Move

US-based website Moving offers some easy steps that will work just as well for us in the UK.

Where do you start?

Get rid of the clutter

Decluttering is great because the benefits are twofold.

First, you can make a little cash from your unneeded possessions via a car boot sale or online. And second, as mentioned previously, the less you move, the lower your costs will be. Movers charge you largely based on the weight or size of your possessions. Get rid of your junk before you move, and your costs will be lower. This is the best time to declutter.

Why?

Because you never really know how many useless items you have accumulated over the years until you start to pack it all and move it. Now it’s time to be brutal. Ditch the clothes that you haven’t worn in years. Ditto the CD’s you’re never going to listen to.

Or those end tables you never really liked.

We keep so many things like electronics, small appliances and linens that we haven’t used for years. But if we haven’t used them for years, we certainly won’t be using them in our new home. When going through your things simply asking yourself one thing:

Do I actually use this frequently? If not… Chuck ’em!

Still finding it hard? We get it…

We’ve all tried decluttering. But have we ever really done it well and made a noticeable difference? If you need guidance, read our informative article that highlights what NOT to do when decluttering.

Use the right kind of boxes for your house removal

There’s a lot of speculation on what’s the most green thing in regards to boxes when moving. If you’re packing yourself, you may think the right thing to do is get used boxes from around town. While it would be a green thing to do, used boxes are less sturdy and more likely to split while being carried.

Cardboard boxes generally last four moves at best. Which is why the greener alternative is renting plastic crates. Plastic bins last up to 500 moves. But the problem with plastic in the long run is it doesn’t biodegrade. What does this mean and why is bad? Plastic is made to last forever.

According to DiGregorio, Barry E. Biobased Performance Bioplastic: Mirel, Chemistry & Biology 2009  “Disposed plastic materials can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years and longer.” 

According to Plastic Pollution Coalition:

Plastic affects human health. Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

Two broad classes of plastic-related chemicals are of critical concern for human health—bisphenol-A or BPA, and additives used in the synthesis of plastics, which are known as phthalates. Source: “Perils of Plastics: Risks to Human Health and the Environment,” Arizona State University Biodesign Institute 18 March 2010

Plastic spoils our groundwater. There are thousands of landfills in the United States. Buried beneath each one of them, toxic chemicals from plastics drain out and seep into groundwater, flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.

There are long-term risks of contamination of soils and groundwater by some additives and breakdown by-products in plastics, which can become persistent organic pollutants. Source: Hopewell, Jefferson; Dvorak, Robert; Kosior, Edward. “Plastics Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities,”Biological Sciences 14 June 2009

Plastic attracts other pollutants. Chemicals in plastic which give them their rigidity or flexibility (flame retardants, bisphenols, phthalates and other harmful chemicals) are oily poisons that repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris.  So, the toxic chemicals that leach out of plastics can accumulate on other plastics.  This is a serious concern with increasing amounts of plastic debris accumulating in the world’s oceans. 

Fish, exposed to a mixture of polyethylene with chemical pollutants absorbed from the marine environment, bioaccumulate these chemical pollutants and suffer liver toxicity and pathology. Source: Rochman, Chelsea “Ingested Plastic Transfers Hazardous Chemicals to Fish and Induces Hepatic Stress,” Scientific Reports 2013

Plastic threatens wildlife. Wildlife becomes entangled in plastic, they eat it or mistake it for food and feed it to their young, and it is found littered in even extremely remote areas of the Earth.  In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.

Over 260 species, including invertebrates, turtles, fish, seabirds and mammals, have been reported to ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers and death. Source: Thompson, Richard C.; Moore, Charles J.; vom Saal, Frederick S.; Swan, Shanna H. “Plastics, the Environment and Human Health: Current Consensus and Future Trends,”Biological Sciences 14 June 2009

Plastic piles up in the environment. Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year. Only 8 percent gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, is burned or becomes litter.

More than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. Source: Eriksen, Marcus; Lebreton, Laurent C. M.; Carson, Henry S.; Thiel, Martin; Moore, Charles J.; Borerro, Jose C.; Galgani, Francois; Ryan, Peter G.; Reisser, Julia. “Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans,” PLoS One 10 Dec. 2014

Plastic poisons our food chain. Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, are eating micro-plastics and absorbing their hazardous chemicals.  The tiny, broken down pieces of plastic are displacing the algae needed to sustain larger sea life who feed on them.

Contaminated plastics when ingested by marine species present a credible route by which the POPs can enter the marine food web. Source: Andrady, Anthony L. “Microplastics in the Marine Environment,” Marine Pollution Bulletin 2011

Plastic costs billions to abate. Everything suffers: tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish and birds—because of plastic pollution. The financial damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable.

The overall natural capital cost of plastic use in the consumer goods sector each year is US$75 billion. Source: United Nations Environment Programme “Plastic Waste Causes Financial Damage of US$13 Billion to Marine

Use greener transportation

Investigate the type of vehicles your house removal company offers, and check if the vehicles are at an EEV standard. EEV stands for ‘Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicles.’ They have the most severe exhaust emission standard for internal combustion engines issued to date. The EEV standard mandates extreme low emissions of ‘particulate matter’, which form a serious threat to the health and quality of life of people.

What is particulate matter (PM)?

Particulate matter or particle pollution is the generic term for a mixture of extremely small solid and liquid particles suspended in the air. These particulates can occur naturally (soil dust, pollens, moulds, sea spray, etc.), or originate from human activities (road dust, soot, smoke, fly ashes, etc.).

How much is PM affecting us today?

Government Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirm that 29,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK because of  particle pollution, causing £15,000,000,000 in health costs. What’s more worrying is that The Guardian confirmed that over 1,000 diesel cars were caught last year without pollution filter.

What should you do if the removal companies van does not meet the EEV standard? More and more companies are using trucks that run on biodiesel. Biodiesel is much better because it runs cleaner than traditional diesel fuel.

Eco-Friendly Moving Tips

US-based website Unpakt claims that it’s not the massive tasks, but actually a few small changes to your next move that could have the biggest beneficial impact on the environment.

Simply recycle

Recycling isn’t just about plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. A number of household goods can be recycled as well—everything from batteries to old electronics. You obviously can’t throw these in the recycling, but you can take them to a special centre instead of tossing them in the landfill bin.

Moving.com also wrote about the most common items and how you can recycle them. Even though this is another US site, we’ve taken their tips and adapted them for U.K. movers:

  • Batteries: If you didn’t already know, batteries contain toxic substances like lead, sulfuric acid, and cadmium, which can leak into nearby waterways. Take these to a local library, post office or supermarket, which usually have a recycling centre for batteries.
  • Electronics: That old PC you have in the basement? It doesn’t have to wind up in the bin. Electronics and cords can be recycled at local household waste recycling centres. You can also take them to Shelter, Crisis, House Injustice, Habitat for Humanity or other housing charities—places that often accept donations for these kinds of goods.
  • Appliances: Old TVs, microwaves, and other appliances often contain lead and other harmful substances “Don’t bin it, bring it” to Recycle Now, electrical safety or Wise Up to Waste to name a few, where it will be recycled no matter where you bought it from.
  • Paint Cans: If you have some large quantities of open cans of paint, stain, and varnish try Freecycle or Freegle. These websites will help to put you in touch with other people in your local area who would like to use your leftovers.  Or take your paint cans to your nearest household waste recycling centre – your local council can let you know where this is. Here, plastic paint cans are disposed of responsibly and metal paint cans are sent for recycling.

There are also organisations who would love to re-use your paint. Community RePaint is a UK wide network of over 75 schemes who collect surplus and leftover paint and then make it available to individuals and families in social need and every form of community group and charity, so that they are able to re-use household paints for projects such as decorating community centres and creating colourful playground murals.

If your paint is very old and unsuitable for re-use, or you are not able to find someone locally who can use it, you will need to make sure your paint is hardened before you dispose of it. Please remember that paint cannot be placed in your household waste bin and must not be poured down the drain where it can cause damage and blockages.

If you have a small amount of paint left, brush it on to scrap paper or cardboard and leave it to dry. Once dry, the paper or card can be placed in your household bin. If there is a larger amount of paint in the can (more than a few centimetres deep), add some dry soil, sand or sawdust to the can and leave to harden.

Use Environmentally Friendly Packing Materials

You may not know this, but your home is already full of packing materials. Instead of bubble wrap or packing peanuts, use newspaper, egg cartons, blankets, and towels to pad fragile belongings. If you prefer to buy padding, opt for reusable pads, recyclable packing paper, and specially marked biodegradable bubble wrap and packing peanuts.

In the event you don’t have the time to find or order these, a green house removal company should be able to provide you with reusable, eco-friendly packing materials as well as boxes and bins.

 

If you follow these great tips you’ll have less belongings and use fewer packing materials. The house removal petrol mileage will reduce, saving you money whilst reducing your carbon footprint. So, save the earth and save money too.

P.S. If you have any other tips or comments on what you’ve read please comment below. Any help to go green is much appreciated.

CHOOSE A CARBON NEUTRAL REMOVAL COMPANY

Now, we didn’t score the internet for this one. It all began in our backyard.

buzzmove helps removal companies generate more moving enquiries, while saving home movers time and money. Now, the reality is: moving home is inevitable and the C02 released has a negative impact on the environment.

But instead of just accepting this, we want to try and neutralise the carbon emissions released. We want to help improve the eco-friendliness of an industry that is typically neglected in terms of its carbon footprint. We knew we wanted to do something about this, so we spent a while researching the best and easiest way to neutralise these emissions.

It turned out the best way of doing that is by planting trees. A tree can absorb up to around 22kg of carbon dioxide per year – and as much as 907 kilos by the time it reaches 40 years of age.

We aim to become carbon neutral, based on the total moves our companies generate on our site. To achieve this, our goal is to plant 2,160 trees in 2018. We bought a grove with Trees for Life so there could be a collective space for the removal industry to donate to. This is also something that the removals can easily commit to.

Our project is sustainable. Before now, the removal industry wasn’t doing much do reduce their C02 emissions. We’ve seen an enthusiastic response so far from the removal companies. We’ve offset nearly 25 tonnes of C02. (That’s nearly 118 double-decker buses!) If you want to check out who’s taken part so far, we’ve featured them on our carbon neutral landing page.

Also look out for this eco-badge on their site.

Why use video for your 3rd party removal surveys?

An interview with Grant Hodgkins, Senior Project Manager of Pearson Relocation

More and more removal and relocation companies are choosing to try video surveying. And one of its most popular uses is for carrying out 3rd party surveys.

The benefits of 3rd party surveys are clear, which is why so many firms already do them. First, companies can offer surveys out of hours. Second, they’re great for overflow surveys where capacity is an issue. This means any relocation firm can offer 100% availability – the ultimate convenience for busy customers and corporate clients.

Swap out face to face surveys for remote video surveying, and you get all of these benefits plus a much lower cost.

Pearson: using more and more videos for 3rd party surveys

We recently spoke to Grant Hodgkins, Senior Project Manager of Pearson. Grant and his company have been using video software for 3rd party surveys for several weeks, and we wanted to get Grant’s take on the benefits of video surveys in his own words.

What challenges are you facing in your business that you think video surveys can help with?

Average move sizes are diminishing, but more and more people are moving. A company often has to balance out the costs of sending a surveyor to a property against the potential return on that job if the client books at all.

Potential returns will usually diminish as the volume diminishes, and hence the willingness to perform physical surveys throughout the industry is decreasing rapidly. Video surveys are much quicker and far cheaper than a physical survey, thus increasing the willingness to survey a client once again, regardless of the client’s volume.

Add to this the benefit of out of hours surveying, recorded surveys and being able to perform a survey wherever has an internet connection; then you’re really on to a winner. Being a company that specialises in moving people all around the World, there’s always places that just simply are no go areas for surveyors. If there’s internet, then there can be a survey.

Are you seeing/anticipating more demand in the market for video surveys, for example from millennials or from corporate clients?

Definitely! They’re more private as well, given that you don’t have to invite a stranger into your home. Not so much from corporate clients as many have certain contracted requirements, many of which tend to be a physical survey. It will be a number of years I think before we see that change.

You seem mainly to be keen on us doing full service surveys on your behalf. What are the main benefits to you of full service surveys?

We have the largest moving sales force in the country, and one of the largest in the World. Especially at this time of year, anything that can reduce time is a big bonus, as we’re getting in around 5000-6000 enquiries per month.

How much does it cost you on average to carry out a face to face survey?

In main European Cities, usually €50-€100, €150 for regular areas, and €250 for out of the way or hard to reach spots, and those are generous prices given the volume of trade work we generate.

How do you see yourselves extending your use of video surveys in the near future – say the next 6-12 months?

Fingers crossed, drastically I hope. We aim to be a company that moves with the times, which is often not the case in this industry. Once we start seeing an upturn in bookings or consistent volumes/reports from the video surveys, I’m confident we’ll begin advertising it on our website.

————-

If you’re looking for a 3rd party survey provider you can trust, try video surveys from buzzsurvey…

You get all the following benefits:

  • 24 hour service
  • Just £25 for full-service 3rd party surveys – saving you 83% compared with face-to-face (based on an industry average cost of £150 per survey)
  • Moves are recorded and cubed for you to review
  • Perfect for corporate and international relocations
  • Fully-qualified, presentable and highly-trained professional UK surveyors

For more information, visit Gobuzzsurvey.com

Avoid a disaster: 17 top decluttering tips

Getting through your London house removal experience is one thing…

But decluttering is often the last step of a lengthy moving process. Whether you clear out your old home to reduce the number of boxes you need to move, make sure you get a lower or more accurate removal quote.

When you are decluttering to help you settle into your new home it’s never good to hold on to the past, or to junk you don’t need any more. Especially in London, where you have barely any space to begin with.

When we declutter our house or even just a single room, it can also declutter our mind and therefore our lives. Why? Because it minimises chaos and simplifies your life, and sometimes you need to do this to realise what’s essential to our lives.

So why don’t we do it more often? Or keep on top of it? Usually when we attempt to declutter, it’s ends up being a passing phase and we don’t finish it properly. Often, that’s because we don’t declutter in the right ways.

To help you avoid the common mistakes we’ve written this article with 17 top decluttering tips. By NOT doing these 17 things, your happy space will be clean, tidy and junk-less for a lot longer than usual.

1. DO NOT declutter bit by bit

So, you are ready to declutter, but how quickly do you get tripped up by the very next question… where to begin? A common pitfall is wandering around aimlessly and decluttering as you go.

Instead of decluttering a little bit here and there, we recommend doing one room at a time. This way you’ll see clear progress as you tackle and complete one task at time. *

 2. DO NOT go by someone else’s timeline

When we looked at all the articles online about decluttering, they all recommended different time-frames. The famous Marie Kondo (a Japanese organisation consultant and author who has sold millions of books on the subject, and on Feng Shui principles) claims you can only declutter properly if you take a week off work to do it.

Don’t have a week to take off? Or you’d rather use it to go abroad? No problem. (Us too!) So, declutter for a few hours after work instead. But ask yourself: is it therapeutic to clean after work? Or will this stress you out?

Remember:

Getting organised, decluttering, and creating a more minimalist home and life can and should be done slowly, with a series of small actions. If you reckon a few hours after work is cutting it fine but a whole week off work is too decadent, do it over the weekend. Or… will it annoy you that you are ‘wasting’ a weekend decluttering?

You know how you work most efficiently and what is the least stressful for you. Either way, go at your own pace. Don’t follow someone else’s recommendation. You know how you work best and what is the least stressful for you.

 3. DO NOT rush it

Our decluttering tip is: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t just set aside an entire day to organise your whole house as very few people have the energy and or focus to spend 8 hours decluttering. You’ll likely become frustrated and less efficient as the day progresses.

It’s much better to spend a few hours — 2 or 3 — on one project or space. This way you’ll feel motivated to do more, not burned out by the process.

4. DO NOT buy boxes before you’ve worked out what to keep

Instead of buying loads of pretty storage boxes, decide what you’re keeping and what you’re getting rid of first.

My mother, for instance, already had one wicker basket for important papers in her bedroom. She then bought loads of pretty wicker baskets to match for all her other bits and bobs. She then decided to go through the wicker basket she already had and cleared out the rest of her room.

She ended up throwing away ¾ of what was already in her wicker basket and didn’t even need the other ones. Don’t let that happen to you. Organise first, buy second.

5. DO NOT hoard everything

Reality is, most of us our hoarders. We just hate throwing things away. We kid ourselves we might want to use that thing one day. Or we just don’t want to get rid of the memory that comes with it.

Binning it seems so final. But honestly, you don’t use it. So, instead of throwing an item away, why not give it to someone close to you? Not only will they appreciate it but they might actually use it. And you get to feel as though you’ve helped them out.

Result!

Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.

6. DO NOT, not donate

In the last point, I mentioned that if you have an item that you don’t use, you should give it to a family member, friend or work colleague. However, your tat may just be tat to them, too. Instead of adding to a landfill, why not donate it? Not only will it be useful for someone but it also helps raise money for a charity of your choice.

7. DO NOT start a new task before you’ve finished the last one

Complete each task – completely. Once you have decided where something is going to go, take it there. Never keep bags for charity or boxes for friends in your home to deliver later. Do it now. Finish the process. Take the bags and boxes out to the bin or recycling immediately.

If you’re donating something or giving something to a friend or family member, put the items in your car or make arrangements for dropping them off. You’ve done so much work getting this stuff ready to take out, complete the deal!

P.S. This is a great decluttering tip to follow whilst trying to keep your house decluttered forever. If you live by this rule, we promise your house will remain spick and span and you won’t need to do a massive declutter ever again. Hooray!

8. DO NOT overlook making a list

As usual, it’s important to start with a goal in mind and put a plan together. Write down all the rooms in your house, or areas you want to declutter, then pick the first one on your list. Once you’ve decided on that, then pick an area within that room and focus on getting rid of stuff.

Dana Buyers recommends starting small and “celebrating the victories” once you’ve got rid of your things.

 9. DO NOT forget to ask yourself: does everything have a function?

Seriously, do you really need all those DVDs? Sure, you probably watched The Lord of The Rings trilogy that your dad got you at Christmas. But after that, did you watch the DVD – or any DVD for that matter – again? Don’t you usually just Netflix it?

The same goes for all those CDs. When was the last time you put a CD into your CD player? Do you even have a CD player? Does your stereo even have a CD tray?

It’s time to be honest with yourself about what you use around the house on a regular basis. The Minimalist blog asks: “What unnecessary things are you holding on to just in case?”

Think about:

  • Obscure Kitchenware
  • Mugs (Not every last one – but we all have too many that clutter up our shelves or storage space!)
  • Weird Shoes
  • Linen suits or old-fashioned work clothes
  • Magazines
  • Awkward and uncomfortable furniture
  • Super fancy clothes
10. DON’T keep clothes you never wear

Try the Closet Hanger Experiment.

To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard.

This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items). Or, if you want to quickly identify what clothes to ditch. Use this great flowchart to unf**k your closet:

unfck-your-closet-1-

Via: http://bridgetteraes.com/2013/05/18/closet-cleaning-flow-chart/

11. DON’T forget to ask for another perspective

It’s my home and my things. No one else will understand, right? Wrong. Change the perspective.

Why not invite a work colleague or friend that you know well but isn’t super-close to you? They don’t know all your obvious attachments to a particular item that closer friends or family would know. They will hopefully give you an objective perspective on what they think you do and don’t need.

12. DON’T overlook the fact that you’re only keeping it because of nostalgia

There’s probably quite a few items that you don’t use but you don’t want to give away because of the emotions attached to it.

But let’s face it: You don’t use it and it takes up a lot of space, yet still part of you wants to save it because you don’t want to forget a particular memory. We recommend that you take a photo of it and save it in obscure folder called ‘Nostalgia’. Once you have the picture, you’ll feel better about giving or throwing away the object.

13. DON’T forget to organise your make up bag

We all have that purple eye-shadow that we are never going to use. Or that old mascara that’s all dried up (or that foundation that was never really our skin tone.) Most women struggle with this decluttering tip, purely because we don’t want to chuck away make up we’ve spent our hard-earned cash on.

Doing this will not only help declutter and give you more space while you’re getting ready but it will also be more hygienic!

14. DON’T forget to use your imagination

Get creative. Ask yourself: “If I were to buy this house now, would this piece of furniture put me off, or the fact that all these items or the shelf would minimise the space? Etc. These creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for some with difficulties removing unneeded clutter.

15. DON’T think after you’ve organised your space you’re done

You’re probably here in the first place because you’re not very good at admitting when something needs to be thrown away. Or you probably shouldn’t have even bought it in the first place!

Now, once you’ve organised everything you’re going to feel great. But remember: there is no autopilot. Recognise your new, efficient, and logical system for processing and managing incoming and outgoing items and keep it up.

16. DON’T go too far in search of perfection

Remember good is good enough. Your house will never look like a catalogue because you actually live in it – take time to appreciate how far you’ve come. You will ultimately be disappointed if perfection is your goal. The goal is to set up a space that works well for your needs. That is success.

Oh and finally make sure you don’t ruin all your hard work by…

17. DON’T forget to simplify your personal life

Obviously, you want to see friends and family, but decluttering your diary is also essential for simplifying your life and giving yourself a bit of headspace. So, how can you do this? For starters, you can reduce your commitments and say no to non-essential things. It’s also okay not to answer a call.

It’s okay to delete social media apps that aren’t necessary and waste a lot of your free time. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to want to be alone. It’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to do nothing and take some me-time.

It’s okay to let go.

Check out zenhabits.net for extra help on how to declutter your personal life.

We hope these 17 tips have helped you to declutter you space, mind, body and soul. Let us know in the comment section if this helped or if you have any recommendations of what no to do when decluttering.

>>>Looking for a removal company for your upcoming move but don’t have a clue what one to choose? Here’s our list of the top 50 moving firms in and around the capital, based on value for money, service, reputation and price

 >>> Need storage for your London house move? Check out this list of the top 20 storage companies in the capital, listed alphabetically

Will video surveys ever replace face to face surveys?

Video surveying is gaining in popularity in the removals and relocation industry just lately.

There are dozens of companies in the UK alone already using video for some or all of their surveys. And more trialling the technology and looking to go live soon. Plus there are the international relocation firms based in the US, mainland Europe or Asia with operations in Britain who are also starting to see the potential of video surveys. But, despite all this, some companies are hesitant to try it. Usually, they say something like:

“Video surveys aren’t going to replace face to face surveys though, are they?”

But this is based on a misunderstanding about what video surveys are for and what the real benefits are.

How video surveys work

Video surveying is a way of carrying out surveys over a live video link. The surveyor uses their laptop to call the customer on their smartphone. When the customer answers the call, it opens a video screen on their phone. They can see the surveyor in the bottom right of the screen, so they get a face-to-face connection. That gives surveyors the ability to build a personal rapport.

Then the surveyor directs the customer around their property, asking them questions about what’s being moved, where it’s being moved, and so on. Those tricky areas like kitchen cupboards and bedroom wardrobes become a breeze, because the surveyor can get them to open these up to see what’s inside and get an accurate idea of the volume inside.

More convenience all round

This is easy and convenient for surveyors and customers. It’s quick to connect, and surveyors can carry out more surveys in a day, increasing their chance of closing more jobs. Plus, for busy customers it’s a real boon. They no longer have to wait around all day for a surveyor to come to their property. Now they just have to wait for the call. Instead of taking hours out of their life waiting around, they only have to give up the 20 minutes or so that the survey actually takes.

That’s a great time saver. And for employees at large corporates, it’s increasingly essential, since it’s becoming harder and harder for them to get time off work for physical surveys.

The real benefits of video surveying for removal firms

But the ability to offer greater choice and convenience with video surveys is just the tip of the iceberg for removal firms. The real benefits go much, much deeper, and that’s because video surveys are not designed to replace physical, face-to-face surveys.

Quite the contrary: they’re designed to complement them. Here’s what I mean:

Any removal or relocation company wants to use face-to-face surveys for their highest value moves. In that case, using video only makes sense where the company doesn’t have enough capacity to carry out those surveys face-to-face. And there’s more- because removal companies can’t always control the quality of inbound leads, they often end up surveying small moves. In the case of relocation firms with corporate clients, corporate moves are increasingly moving towards smaller volumes – one or two rooms’ worth of belongings at the most.

“Video is a way for us to do stuff smarter”

In cases like this, it makes perfect sense to use video for those moves. Companies can use video for the lower volumes, freeing up the time for surveyors to do face-to-face surveys for higher value and higher volume moves. So video is a way of being more efficient – NOT replacing face-to-face surveys. Much less putting surveyors out of jobs.

Mike Bentley from Gerson Relocation put it best: “Video is a way for us to do stuff smarter.”

Grant Hodgkins from Pearson agreed, saying: “Especially at this time of year, anything that can reduce time is a big bonus, as we’re getting around 5,000-6,000 enquiries per month.”

And, as Louis Spies from White and Company made clear: “We haven’t gone and sacked all our surveyors. We won’t use video for all our surveys, obviously…. Now, video is a way for us to do surveys quickly when you can’t really get a surveyor to it.”

To use the old cliché – video surveys are a way to work smarter, not harder. And the removal companies that understand this are well placed to close more jobs, win more large accounts and increase margins.

And that’s a win-win-win for all concerned.

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