Archive for the 'Tips and Tricks' Category

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Space in your Home

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Regardless of whether you live in a mansion or your parent’s box room, there just never seems to be enough space! However, the answer need not be as drastic as moving to a bigger house. We’ve compiled a list of simple solutions that can increase the space in your home and give it that fresh feel.
First things first…

Move nonessential items out.
We all have things that we use a few times a year then leave in a corner for the rest of it. Whether it’s those woolly jumpers for winter or the paddling pool we can rarely enjoy in the British “heat”, not all items need to be within immediate reach at all times. Attics, garages and garden sheds; all of which are still close enough just in case the sun comes out, are great home storage solutions.

Buy multifunctional items.
There’s heaps of choice on the market for products with more than one function. Do you have too many DVDs and magazines in the living room or maybe too many cushions? Why not buy a footrest which doubles up as storage? Many furniture retailers now offer these handy additions in their ranges; see Harveys’ Paloma range for some stylish inspiration.

Talking of “two become one items” why not fold away your home office clutter?
For those of you who don’t have the luxury of a separate office, ‘fold away’ offices are ideal. Keeping all your work in one fold away place not only allows you to escape from the constant reminder of having that email to get back to, but it also allows you to relocate your office as and when space is needed.

Stack onwards and upwards.
The less floor space a room has, the smaller it feels. Go with your natural instinct and pile it high. Not only can you get a number of brilliant storage units that make the most of ceiling space, but even simple storage boxes can now be part of the decor thanks to the huge amount of choice on offer. Think woven baskets for a traditional feel or cool blue plastic to compliment a modern interior.

Don’t just change your room, change your habits.
Regular clearouts may seem like the boring option but the less stuff there is to store, the more space there’ll be! You’d be surprised by what can be achieved just by going around the house once a month removing clutter.

Remember, not everything is destined for the bin. Donate anything that is in good condition to your local charity shop and help others as you clean. On the other hand, you could consider storing your extra items at Big Yellow with storage space starting from just £5 a week.

Hot BBQ tips for a cold British Summer

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

We’re not all about industrial units, business storage and warehouse space at Big Yellow Self Storage. We’re also about making the most out of what you have whether it is space, furniture or even the British weather.

A British summer wouldn’t be the same without a barbeque or two, but with the weather as it is, barbeques are few and far between. How can you make the most out of these brief and rare sunny spells? Here at Big Yellow we’ve been trying to master the art of the barbeque and we think we’ve cracked it! Read our tips and tricks to perfect your “summer” barbeque…

1. Invest in a good barbeque. If you don’t have the right tools how can you expect to cook up a good feast? Whilst the price makes disposable barbeques very tempting, and let’s not forget the fact they require no cleaning, you will taste the difference when you cook on a quality barbeque. The heavier the grill the better. We recommend stainless steel grills as not only are they easier to maintain but their thickness will both retain the heat and distribute it more evenly.

2. Bring food up to room temperature before cooking. The hardest thing to achieve on a Barbie is meat which is cooked in the middle but not burnt on the outside. Letting your meat come up to room temperature before cooking is a great way to reduce burning.

3. Oil the surface of your barbeque. Not only will this mean less struggle if something decides to stick but it gives your meat that typical barbequed taste. Use a tea towel or cloth which you’re happy to throw away, lightly coat it with vegetable oil and brush over the grill.

4. Come rain or shine, dine on time. Choosing the right moment to start cooking can be a bit touch and go. The only thing you need to know about lighting a Barbie is that 100% charcoal works best. Not only is lump charcoal less messy, but it also has a higher fire control rate. Leave to burn till a whitened ash grey colour appears evenly over the surface.

5. Experiment! Even though the weather may be dull it doesn’t mean your barbeque has to be. Adding unexpected ingredients and combinations can make it a meal to remember for you and your friends or family. How about hot cheddar and ciabatta kebabs? Or prawns marinated in rum, pineapple juice and Cajun spice for that Caribbean dream?

6. Finally, clean it well. We all know that by the time you have finished cooking for everyone and finally sat down to your own food the last thing you want to think about is the washing up. In most cases a wire brush and some elbow grease will do the job, but if you are finding it particularly tough, leave your grill to soak in warm water and vinegar to loosen the dirt. Think about it, at least if you clear the aftermath now, there’ll be less of a stress next time the sun decides to come out.

A Whatever-the-Weather Guide to Festival Packing

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

With weather warnings continuing to interefere with this year’s festival optimism, we thought we’d give you some tips on how to ensure you’re prepared to tackle the music without dampened spirits.

We’ll start with the pre-festival essentials:
Getting to the festival requires more planning than just making sure there’s room for you in the car. Quick access to your belongings will save you stress and time at the motorway services. Side loading rucksacks are a great way to pack practically, without having to unload your things when you’ve left your wallet or tickets in the bottom of the bag.

Admit it. You’re not looking forward to carrying your bag from the car to the campsite. Well guess what, we’ve found a solution! Pick up a trolley for as little as £15 – make it collapsable for added ease. The big wheels on this one from are not only gentle on your purse strings but give you extra space and added comfort. Get one from as little as £28.96.

Before you leave stock up on bin liners for those damp clothes and for the moments when you can’t find a dry seat in the house (or tent). They also make a cheap alternative to a poncho, so long as you remember to cut or rip a hole for your head.

And now for tips while you’re there:
We’ve all read the “what’s hot and what’s not” of festivals. Every year the same “festival chic” re-appears, although hardly ever does fashion think practical. Here’s our number one practical fashion tip for festivals:

Pack as many clothes as you can fit by rolling not folding. The more kit you have, the greater chance of keeping dry – but don’t forget to save spares for the journey home!

Also, the trusted Wellington boot is a festival man’s best friend – or so we say. Don’t follow the crowd though, go for something a little different this year with this colourful pair.

Why not go Royal with a pair of Le Chameau wellies?

Finally, keep in your bag:

• An umbrella. If the British weather continues as it promises to it will quickly become a summer festival staple. Go for quality with these designer umbrellas at Fulton.
• A plastic torch with batteries. After a long day of festival madness the last thing you want to be doing is running round to find your tent, belongings or friends in the dark. Save yourself the embarrassment of falling in mud or puddles by lighting the way back to a dry night’s sleep.

One last and dare we say it, most important tip…

Don’t forget the wet wipes. Let’s face it you won’t always get to the front of the shower queue and have you seen the state of the toilets?

How to Turn Your Shed into a Man Cave!

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

As it’s National Shed Week we’re hitting you with our final instalment of shed-themed content. This time we are going to advise you on how to make the perfect man cave.

Does your other half always moan at you when you watch an action movie with the surround sound turned all the way up when all they want to do is watch soaps? Maybe you want to play air guitar with your work tie around your head and Bridget Jones is on the TV, on repeat, again? Or are you the one doing the moaning? Now ask yourself, do you have a shed? Is it empty or just wasting space in the garden? If the answer is yes (or no), you could turn it into the perfect getaway to relax and do all those things you’re not allowed to do indoors.

First things first you’re going to have to clear out the shed, if there is anything in there. You can dispose of it at the bottom of the garden, take it to the dump or alternatively think about putting it into storage. Make sure you tell the family where their items are getting moved to if they own anything in there to avoid getting into trouble! Once this is done, you need to make your shed habitable, which means you are going to have to think about waterproofing, heat, insulation and power.

• Make sure your shed is waterproof as the last thing you want is to set up your ‘escape pod’ and have water leaking in through the roof. Wait for a rainy day, (which shouldn’t be too long in England) and observe for any leaks. If there are, patch them up with a waterproof caulk.
• Next, wire up your shed and get some electricity in there. You should contact an electrician to do this at a reasonable price. Make sure they install plenty of sockets in there to plug in your appliances. Be sure to get them to run an Internet connection to your shed too if you don’t have the option of wireless. If you can’t find a good electrician, then you could go to your DIY store and get a waterproof extension cable. Make sure you always roll it back in the house overnight or when you leave the shed.
• To insulate your shed you should hang dry walls. You can buy a dry wall that already has an insulation layer on the back, which will save you time and effort. Make sure you line every crack and crevice as you want to be nice and cosy, especially if you are going to be in there for a long time.
• Now your shed is waterproof, insulated and ‘powered up’. You need to think about heat and a simple electric heater will suffice. You should get a timer to ensure that this isn’t left on. If you want to be properly green then you should invest in some solar panels for the roof to provide you with a limitless supply of juice!

Your shed is now habitable and ready for to be accessorised with all your manly, non-partner friendly, gadgets and gizmos. Make sure you have all the essentials in there, we suggest some of the following:

• Flat screen TV
• DVD or Blu-Ray player
• Surround sound system
• DVD’s
• Gaming console
• Games
• A comfy chair or sofa

Be sure to make this space completely your own, don’t let your partner influence you on the lamp shade that will go ‘perfectly’ with the colour of the dry wall. Think about some posters, a carpet, a portable fridge, magazines and most importantly, security. This can be as simple as fitting a lock on the door or even fitting a padlock to ensure your cave is safe. You’re never going to be able to get it as secure as Big Yellow, but if you want to prevent your stuff being stolen then ensure that you find a good shed alarm system. Your local hardware store can help with this.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy your favourite action movie (on full volume) with a cold drink.

Top Tips for organising your Shed

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

As it’s National Shed Week we thought it would be a great opportunity to throw some shed themed advice your way. In this blog we’ll be discussing some of the essential tools for your garden and some of the best ways to organise your shed.
Firstly let’s talk about some essential tools you’ll need to maintain your garden and keep it looking marvellous for the upcoming summer weather (fingers crossed). When buying tools make sure you buy good quality ones as they will be able to take the wear and tear – so buy cheap and buy twice! Some great quality brands that you won’t go wrong with are: Fiskars, Spear & Jackson, Wolf, McCulloch and Bosch.

No shed would be complete without:
• A lawnmower. Now there are a few choices so it really depends on the size of the garden and what you feel comfortable with. If you have a fairly small area of green and not that much to keep under control then an electric lawnmower will suffice. However, if you have a bit more space to tame then you should, perhaps, look at a petrol lawnmower that can handle a larger workload.
• A spade and fork. Couple these with a trowel and small hand held fork to ensure all your gardening tasks can be dealt with.
• Loppers and secateurs are essential for managing small hedges and bushes. You might want to consider a hedge trimmer if you have more of a forest to trim.
• Gloves are also a must to keep your hands clean and to handle those brambles.

Note: this list isn’t extensive. The more you can fit the better!

Now you must be thinking “Well I can just throw all of this in my shed”, but how do you store all of this leaving room to walk and find it all?

Organising your shed isn’t just for the perfectionists among us. Making sure your shed is tidy, maintains a safe environment, saves you searching time and looks magnificent.
• Different clamps, hooks and brackets are perfect for long handle tools such as spades and forks.
• Invest in some shelving. Stand-alone shelves that are adjustable are perfect for customising your space and making sure tools aren’t thrown on top of each other
• A magnetic bar might be something you only think of in a kitchen but these can be great for storing your smaller tools such as trowels and secateurs.
• Installing a potting bench can be a super edition to the shed giving you some more space to store tools and gardening bits in baskets and boxes of course! This also means you can re-pot some of your favourite plants regardless of the English weather.
• Hang a wicker basket on the back of the door for some of those odd bits and pieces such as gloves. This again is a great space saver!

Not enough room in the shed? Then visit us at to find out more about our storage services.

Student Finishing Term? Get Summer Ready With These Handy Storage Tips.

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Your exams are over and another year of your schooling life has flown past like it was yesterday with the focus now firmly on the summer of fun ahead!

Thinking about all of your university furniture and belongings and what to do with them at the end of term is probably at the bottom of your list of things to do, but nonetheless it’s a reality, unless you want to come back to your room next term and find your Xbox isn’t there anymore! So why not check out our top tips on packing for the summer now so you can get the boring stuff sorted and really start to enjoy the festival season.

OK, so you need to move out of your student accommodation but you have no idea what you are going to do with your things or where you are going to put them. First off we’re going to give you some tips on how to pack your stuff up.

Here are a few tips:
• Use good quality storage boxes (sturdy cardboard and plastic boxes)
• Make sure you buy a roll of bubble wrap, as you will need it
• Protect fragile things with bubble wrap
• Fill boxes to capacity, as partially full or bulging boxes may tip or collapse
• Pack heavy items into small boxes so they’re easy to lift
• Wrap dishes and glasses in tissue paper or bubble wrap
• Wrap pictures and mirrors, then stack them on their end in boxes marked ‘fragile’
• Don’t just throw your laptop in a box, put it in a case and in your main bag so you know where it is
• Try and organise your clothes into dirty piles before you pack them so you don’t have to do it when you get home
• Wrap up any cables neatly, don’t chuck them in a box because they will all tangle up and you will regret it when you are unpacking.

Now where do you put all your Uni stuff? You could cram it all in your car or you could load it off with Mum and Dad, but then where does it go? Do you have a mate that lives nearby that you could leave your stuff with? You may well have to, but would you want friends things crammed in your house for months? Next option is taking it home but do you really want it sitting in your bedroom at home cluttering up your room? Your parents won’t let you dump it in the lounge and leaving it in front of the front door is a no-no. Time to think of a better place, time to start thinking like the youth of today; resourceful, spontaneous and fresh! Now is the best time to start thinking pro actively and sort out your stuff.

Using a storage facility is not such a daunting idea as it seems and it’s easy and pain free to arrange and can be done online. More and more people are using it to store their things that are non-business related. For example, families that go skiing once a year and have all the equipment stored in a cupboard leave it in storage out of the way until they hit up the ski season again. People that have far too many clothes and don’t have room for them at home use it as an overflow until they have a clear out of last season’s get up. With storage at Big Yellow catering for students, offering affordable deals, you can afford to keep your stuff safe with us over the holidays.

For any more information or to get a quote for storage visit the Big Yellow Self Storage website here at:

Euro 2012 – Opportunity for a Shopping Spree?

Friday, June 8th, 2012

It’s the start of the Euros! We’re right behind our lads and will be cheering them on. However, if you don’t fancy a month of football use it as an excuse to go shopping and find out what to buy in our summer trends blog!

With the Euro’s in full swing, for most it’s a time for male bonding, good quality beer and an unprecedented amount of football chanting. However, for the fairer sex, this can often feel like a time of neglect, so why not use this time as an opportunity for some much needed retail therapy and bag yourself the latest fashion trends.

The top Spring/Summer 2012 trends are a mixture of bright neons, audacious lip colors, statement necklaces, dip dye hair looks, sheer pieces and much more. These fashion trends are chic, bold and most importantly, extremely wearable. With that said, here are a few handpicked fashion must have’s that are certain to have you adorning bang on trend looks for Spring/Summer 2012.

Colour blocking it:

There’s nothing like vivid colour blocking to grab someone’s attention, what’s more, colour blocking is the perfect accompaniment to great weather. Fun and playful dresses in striking combinations are in, even Hollywood A- listers are donning a mix of hot pink, emerald green, lemon, tangerine and a slew of other vibrant colours and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t too. Try layering for a fun and edgy look.

Floral chic:

Nature isn’t the only one which gets to boast blooming flowers; this season’s trend embraces floral prints, giving some of our otherwise standard daily fashion staples a botanic twist.
Add floral accents to your wardrobe with pretty as a petal jeans with a healthy injection of soft pastels as well as hues with Spring flowery images.

Maxi dress to impress:

A summery maxi dress is an essential piece in every woman’s summer wardrobe. These floor length dresses are not only elegant but flattering and a smart way to stay cool in the humid summer heat.
Team this with a nicely fitted blazer and sandals and you’re on your way to a great summer.

Trail blazer:

Possibly the most eye catching trend of them all, is the neon blazer trend. Aside from its fabulous array of colours, the neon blazer trend adds just the right amount of oomph to anything, easily transforming a mediocre outfit into a hot off the catwalk certified winner. If you’re a bit of dare devil, mix and match with other colourful pieces and statement jewellery.

Make a statement:

A chic and chunky necklace is the perfect way to finish off a trendy summer look. From oversized gold necklaces to multi – coloured gemstone necklaces, edgy metallic silver chockers and uber big pearl pieces, there’s a style to suit everyone. This trend is a perfect complement to a strapless playsuit or a simple summery cocktail dress.

Say it loud lip colour:

The top lip colours for Spring/Summer 2012 are electric tangerine, hot red, neon pink and bright coral and they have one objective, which is to make a statement. Don’t be afraid to play up with your look by painting your lips with loud hues – a definite winner!

With your fashion essentials sorted, you can let the boys be boys and enjoy countless days of fun in the sun.

If by chance your new wardrobe is bursting at the seams, Big Yellow can help you out with storing your winter possession until Autumn/Winter 2012. We can keep your possessions safe until they’re ready for collection and storage space starts from a pocket friendly £5 a week.

Top tips on packing a Caravan…

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Now that the sun has finally decided to join us for the summer, it’s the perfect time to dust off the caravan and head for that road trip that you’ve been planning all year. However, deciding what makes the all important ‘what to pack’ list is no mean feat and much like most great accomplishments, it takes highly skilled planning before you can claim victory.

The old age adage, “less is more” couldn’t be more fitting an expression for this process, so it is advisable to think light before you pack the essentials – but no need to worry if this all seems daunting because we’ve devised a few handy tips to get your summer road trip off to a sunny start.


Despite being semi Tardis-like, caravans aren’t the actual Tardis and won’t carry everything and the kitchen sink, so make sure you plan carefully what you really need before you go on your holiday. Start at least 2 weeks beforehand by preparing a list of all essentials you’ll need.


The caravan cannot function without its fuel and neither should you, which is why Food is at the top of our list. After all, half the fun is in the type of food you consume throughout the journey but whilst it’s tempting to eat carelessly, it’s important to maintain a well balanced diet. Here are a few non – perishable suggestions:

• Sugar
• Salt and pepper
• Coffee
• Bottled Water
• Tea
• Pasta
• Tinned baked beans and tomato sauce
• Dried herbs

Cooking Utensils

Luckily, most caravans are already equipped with suitable sized stoves and also a microwave oven, which means the hard part, has already been taken care of. This just leaves good quality cooking utensils to pack, including the following:

• Plastic cooking bowls
• Tongs
• Bottle opener
• A cutting board
• Can opener
• A good sharp multi-purpose knife
• Disposable cutlery
• Oven proof holder


Depending on where you are going and how long for is an obvious indication of how much clothes you should pack. Travelers in search of more sunshine should definitely pack light weight clothing with something warm for the chilly nights and comfortable shoes for the day time to explore the meadows. If in doubt, these key items should keep you in check:

• T-shirts (no less than 5 pairs)
• Long sleeve fleece
• Sandals
• Trainers
• Shorts
• Jeans
• Umbrella
• Clean underwear

Above all, relying on a photographic memory is an easy way to forget a great experience, so make sure you pack a camera to capture all the golden moments and slip the credit card in your wallet just in case things don’t quite go to plan. Hopefully, after digesting all the above tips, you’ll have a top notch caravan holiday!

After you’ve finished your holiday, why not swing by Big Yellow and drop off the stuff you won’t need until your next trip in one of our secure lockers. It’s safer than leaving it in your caravan for months and with easy access to our premises you can drive your caravan straight up to the loading bay! Just visit our website at and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction of our latest storage offers.

Decorating your home Mad Men style!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

For many the 1960’s are well and truly long gone, however for a growing few the 60’s are coming back. From the start of time (well fashion) people have done the ‘in-thing’ and followed what’s trending and it appears with the hit US TV show, ‘Mad Men’ starting its 5th series the next biggest trend is to kit your house out ‘Mad Men Style’.

You may be thinking this is just ‘hearsay’ but the TV show is starting to influence the interior market in a big way due to the high demand and popularity for the new trend. This means that the ‘new’ look is now easy to achieve.

This is not just hitting our homes; it is starting to change the office space too! Combine brass, teak and leather to create an understated yet powerful vibe. American walnut is a staple of the mid-century look. Try the modern-retro steel lines of the Danish oil-stained Clybourn desk, from Crate & Barrel.

Vintage phones are also popular again, for example the Sagemcom Sixty cordless version (available here) that comes in an on-trend burnt orange. This combines the modern trend and high street fashion with a vintage feel.

Retro prints are also back in vogue, and you cannot do the Mad Men look without ‘Lucienne Day’s’ textiles. Use them on a variety of surfaces, including soft furnishings and wall coverings. Try spirografica for an exclusive range of cushion designs. A selection of fabrics and wall coverings is also available from the Victoria and Albert.

Don’t think you have to make this change right away. Start attending car boot sales and vintage markets to pick up bits and pieces here and there. As you build up your collection watch your space change style with a very small amount of effort!

If you decide to take on the ‘Mad Men Style’ but think the modern chic look of today might creep back into fashion in the future, you can store your current furniture at Big Yellow Self Storage for as little as £5 a week!

Spring clean your office!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Are you drowning under a mountain of paperwork, do you struggle to find things you need in a hurry, is your desk looking like the base of a bonfire?

Fear not, help is at hand with our top tips for spring cleaning your home office and organising your desk. Follow these and you could save time hunting for that missing file you were after and improve creativity at the same time!

Starting out:

First off, spend a day getting organised and de-clutter. Arm yourself with a roll of bin liners, some archive storage boxes (from as little as £3.74) and handy tidy trays. Decide what you need daily, once a week, occassionally or never (but need to keep) and put them to one side, everything else – chuck!

Be ruthless, what do you really need, old bus tickets, flyers, invitations to events that have long gone can be binned. Tidy up loose cables and take off any accessories, old chipped coffee cups etc that you don’t need.


If you have space, build some storage shelves to tidy away files and documents you need to access on a regular basis, leaving your desk space clear for working on. There are plenty of options online and Big Yellow Self Storage also has a range of easy to assemble light but durable shelving that can store all your files, books and miscellanous items starting from just £50.

If there’s other stuff you just can’t get rid of (eg receipts, old tax returns etc.) these can be safely and easily stored away at Big Yellow Self Storage in one of our lockers from as little as £7 per week

Once you’ve de-clutterd it’s on to the fun stuff! Make your home workstation somewhere fun to work and brighten it up a bit. Here’s some inspirations:

stylish frames to hang photos on the wall like this one from Habitat for £10
handy desk tidy from Muji £6.95
Owl notebooks £7.00
cat highlighters £2.50
colourful polka dot pens £4.00
bird-themed sticky notes £6.00
bird-themed ring binders £3.00
butterfly paper clips £2.00
Buro stapler £11.00
Buro hole punch £11.00

Add a quirky twist with some funky desk accessories and gadgets for when you need a break from the work for inspiration

Cordless retro phone (no unsightly cables) £89.99
Canon camera lens drinking flask £17.99
Times crossword jigsaw puzzle £24.99
Gyroscope mini helicopter £28.79

Now you’ve got a de-cluttered office, take a deep breath and enjoy your new found space.