Read the November 2018 APDO Newsletter here.
Read the August 2018 newsletter here.
Read the May 2018 newsletter here.
Read the February 2018 newsletter here.
Moving house can be an expensive and stressful experience, that much is a given. But with 40% of buyers overspending on associated moving costs, it’s important to organise your finances by putting aside enough to help your home buying along, as well as making sure you’re getting a good deal.
Reallymoving aims to make moving home easier, and make those costs transparent, helping you to get quotes for surveys, conveyancing and removals. Once you’ve saved up the deposit, here are their 5 top areas you’ll likely need funds for and whether you can get a better deal:
Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid when a property is bought. The amount you pay is based on the price of the property, and is fixed by the government as follows:
|Purchase price bands (£)||Percentage rate (%)|
|Up to 125,000||0%|
|125,001 to 250,000||2%|
|250,001 to 925,000||5%|
|925,001 to 1,500,000||10%|
Changes to Stamp Duty in the 2017 autumn budget mean that first time buyers are now exempt from paying Stamp Duty on properties up to £300,000, and will not pay any on the first £300,000 of a property worth up to £500,000.
How is a first time buyer defined? You can never have owned residential property before, either in the UK or abroad. If you are buying with a partner you both have to be first time buyers.
If you are buying a second home, or a buy to let property, a 3% increase on Stamp Duty has been introduced.
You must pay your Stamp Duty within 30 days of completing on your new property, and it can be paid through your conveyancing solicitor.
A conveyancing solicitor, or licensed conveyancer, will be able to formalise your sale, dealing with transferring money, paying fees and organising the transfer of the deeds. Conveyancing costs will include the time of your conveyancer, but also ‘disbursements’- these are fees associated with your purchase, that the conveyancer pays on your behalf. These include things like local searches of the property, paying estate agent fees, land registration fees and if you need to pay it, Stamp Duty.
You can work out an approximate cost of conveyancing using our moving cost calculator, as it will depend on whether you’re buying, selling, or both.
Getting a survey is one of the most important things you can do when buying a property, and remember, a survey is NOT a valuation. A mortgage lender will offer a valuation to assess how much they are willing to lend you. A survey however, carried out by a Chartered Surveyor, will check the quality of the house, from the foundations to the wiring, and make sure your investment is solid. A survey will tell you what issues may arise and how much it might cost to fix, giving you room to bargain when buying.
There are two main options: a HomeBuyer’s Report and Building Survey. A Building Survey is more in depth, recommended for older properties, those that have had a lot of work done to them, or ones you intend to do a lot of work on. A HomeBuyer’s Report has been recommended by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) as a good, in depth option for most other homes. You can chat to your surveyor about which one suits your property.
You want to choose a great value removals team who can be depended on to turn up, but there are a few ways to manage costs and make sure you get the best deal. Choose a removals team who will survey your property – they can see how big the home is, if there’s any issues with access and parking, and can assess how much stuff you have and how long it will take to move. This means a more accurate quote and no nasty surprises.
Get rid of as much stuff as you can – throw away those old children’s toys and clothes from years ago, or even better, donate and sell stuff! Removals are charged based on the amount of stuff to move – the less you have, the cheaper it is. Engaging an APDO declutterer and organiser could help you reign in your belongings and help you identify what’s truly needed in the next phase.
Think about which items need to be disassembled in advance, and give your removals team notice that this is needed. Make sure you know exactly when you’re picking up the keys. Delays in conveyancing on the day can keep a removals team waiting around for hours, which you’ll be charged for.
Also work out if taking advantage of a packing service is better for you. A professional team know what they’re doing and can work efficiently, meaning safer items and less stress for you.
If there isn’t any crossover between leaving your old home and moving into your new one, paying for storage will be necessary. Look for companies that have great security at their units and maybe pick a removals company that can offer this along with their main services – it may work out cheaper for you. Consider if you need access to your items between moving days and if so, what times of day or the week you’d want to get in. As a rule of thumb, storage is more expensive the more flexible access you require.
When getting a mortgage, you will be required to purchase buildings insurance, starting from the day of exchange. Confirm with your existing insurers if you can transfer your home and contents policy to the new premise or if there are any admin charges to set up a new policy. Decide if you want to pay these policy costs upfront for the year or make monthly direct debits to manage cashflow during this period of heightened expenditure.
Most removals companies will have removals cover, but check their small print so you know the process for making claims, and whether this still applies if you have packed the boxes yourself. Be sure to make a list of any furniture/large items as well as your boxes (or better yet, number them as well as naming them with the contents, so you can tick them off on arrival). Be sure to compare removals companies’ rates and reviews, so you know you’re getting the best deal.
Planning for these supplementary costs can make your moving experience much more manageable; do your research well in advance so that you know likely timeframes when each cost will hit your bank balance. Always compare services to make sure you’re getting the best deal and avoid any unexpected extras.
Best of luck in your new home!
We’re delighted to share this guest blog by APDO member Hannah Young about bite-size decluttering tasks. Hannah is also a contributor for Houzz, the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device (Original article first published on Houzz)
Got half an hour to spare? Spend it productively with these small organising jobs that will have a big effect:
A really thorough declutter and organising blitz should be done in short chunks over several weeks, but if you don’t have time for this there are still ways to get your home in order. These simple half-hour ideas will be perfect to help you organise the most visible and frequently used areas of your home, to make daily life that little bit easier.
Clear your kitchen surfaces
Kitchens can be a clutter magnet, with all sorts of things ending up on the worktop. Items that are used most days can be kept out if you prefer, but try to keep similar items together in attractive storage canisters. This means that multiple items become a single entity, which looks more streamlined, and it also makes cleaning underneath much easier.
Start by clearing all the surfaces in your kitchen – you may be surprised at how much you have accumulated. Think carefully about which items you want to display on the surfaces. A good tip is to keep only those items that you find beautiful, or that are used daily.
Sift out items that you’re happy to let go of, and those that don’t belong in the room. The other items can be stored in cupboards and drawers out of sight.
Streamline your toiletries
Gather together all your toiletries and cosmetics from around your home. Throw away or recycle anything that’s old. You can find out the shelf life of toiletries by looking for a number next to a picture of a pot. There are a few charities who specifically accept new and nearly-new toiletries and cosmetics, such as Give and Makeup. Check online to find organisations locally, too.
As you go along, make note of which items you haven’t used, to ensure you avoid buying them again in the future.
Put items back in cupboards and on shelves and corral smaller things into pretty jars and baskets. This will keep them all together and make it easier to clean the bathroom.
Sort the silverware
How many things in your cutlery drawer have ended up there without you realising? Set aside half an hour to completely empty the drawer and sort through everything that’s there. When the drawer is clear, give it all a thorough clean. This is a good time to replace an ill-fitting drawer divider with one that sits neatly, too.
Put aside any unwanted utensils, tools or cutlery to donate to your local charity shop or recycle at the local household waste centre. Then only put back what you want to keep, allocating a section for each type of item, including utensils and baking accessories. The roomy drawer divider pictured even has a section for clingfilm.
Investigate under the sink
Slide-out storage that fits in the awkward area underneath your sink is a great solution to avoid having half-used bottles of cleaning products festering at the back of the cupboard. A good immediate solution is a small box or two that you can pull out like a drawer to easily access products stored at the back.
There are so many single-purpose cleaning solutions available now that it’s easy to end up with zillions of products that are rarely used. With a few exceptions, multi-purpose cleaning products are the best option. And many people are now choosing chemical-free products, or microfibre cloths that can be used simply with water.
Hang up that broom
Broom cupboards can easily get out of control, with mops and brooms falling out every time you open the door. Keep things in order by hanging as much as you can from hooks on the wall. It’s then easy to locate the cleaning implement you need, and to pop it away securely.
Hanging pockets or baskets like those pictured are also a great way to organise your cleaning products, keeping them up high out of the reach of pets and children. Allocate a basket for your cleaning cloths, too. Storing them in this way has the added benefit of allowing them to dry and air between uses.
Post your mail
Do you have somewhere to put the post in your home? Or do you end up finding unopened mail in random places? A post and stationery station will hopefully make it easier to deal with your incoming letters.
You won’t be able to create a recessed area like this in 30 minutes, but you can easily invest in some wall-mounted pockets or box files. Remember to label each box in a way that works for you. A good place to start is by having a slot for each of the following categories: mail in, to action, to file, mail out.
Tackle the desk
If you need to work from home, it helps to have a clear desk space and everything you might need close to hand.
Before you organise, you’ll need to try out all your pens and chuck any that don’t work. Donate any duplicate tools to charity. Make a note of what you tend to over-buy and put it on your ‘no-need-to-buy’ list.
Utilise shelves for books or relevant files and hang up a pocket tidy to keep all your stationery items in order. If you’ve space for a drawer to hold pens and other stationery essentials, a great way to keep it in order is to use a cutlery tray to compartmentalise different items.
Sift your socks
A whole wardrobe declutter can be a daunting prospect, but tackling your socks and tights is a perfect place to start. In fact, professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn advises clients to “start with your sock drawer” and has written a book with just that title.
Empty out the drawer onto your bed. Get some shallow boxes to use as dividers and pop these in the drawer. Pair and fold up the socks you’re keeping and pop them away – keep like with like so you can find sports socks or long socks, for example, more easily.
For any socks or tights that are past their best, pop them in a bag, label it ‘rags’ and send it to your local charity shop for recycling. If this motivates you to tackle the rest of your wardrobe, find your local professional organiser through the APDO website.
Encourage your kids
Get your children involved with a 30-minute clear-out in their bedrooms. Empty just one cupboard or toy box, and ask your child what they would like to do with each of the items inside. If they no longer play with a particular toy, ask them if they would like to give it to another child to play with, and introduce the idea of giving to charity.
Start small and avoid overwhelming them with lots of decisions. When one cupboard is tidy, you could give yourselves a reward by playing together with the toys they’ve decided to keep. You can declutter another cupboard or toy box next time.
Love your linen
A neat and tidy airing cupboard with plenty of space makes putting away linen much less of a chore, so this is a great place to have a 30-minute blitz.
Take an inventory of what sheets and towels you have. You only need two sets of bed linen for each bed – one on the bed and a clean set. The same goes for towels – a maximum of two per person, plus one for each guest that you might have at any one time. Once you’ve done a linen count, you can put any additional sets in the charity bag.
Now put everything back in the cupboard as neatly as possible. Place towels with the fold at the front as it looks neater. A good trick is to keep bed sets folded inside the coordinating pillowcase, so that everything’s together when you need it.
Sometimes your decluttering tasks can appear too overwhelming to tackle alone. If you need specialist expertise and support, look no further than the APDO directory of accredited members. Find your nearest organisers here.
We’re excited to share Tracy Marquiss guest blog on ‘the most wonderful time of the year’
The kids are back at school! But how organised do you feel?
Whether you have children to get to school or not, mornings can feel more tense than tranquil. No don’t fear, follow these simple tips for a serene start to the day.
- Use school organisers to help create a checklist of what children need to take to school each day.
· Lunch money/voucher
· Homework/project materials
· Gym kit
· Library books
· Musical instruments
· Permission slips
· After-school club kit/instruments/money
· Special event items
- Spend a few minutes each evening checking the list and put all the items by the door so they are ready to grab and leave.
- Make packed lunches the night before. Or even make a week’s worth in one batch – freeze sandwiches in separate freezer bags and label with the filling – peanut butter/deli meats/tuna.
- Remove sandwiches in the morning; they will defrost by lunchtime. Prepare little bags of salad to add to the defrosted sandwiches (mayonnaise and jam do not freeze well).
- Select outfits/uniforms the night before and hang on a single hanger in the wardrobe or lay out on a chair so they are not searching for clothes in the morning.
- Layout the breakfast table before going to bed (kids can help) with breakfast cereals, bowls, glasses and cutlery.
- Put water in the coffeemaker and coffee in the filter. Breakfasts will be so much calmer; all you have to do is to switch on the kettle/ coffee machine and take milk, juice, water out of the fridge.
For further help with a more organised home, do consider enlisting the expertise of an accredited APDO member. Find an organiser here.
Sarah Bickers (Free Your Space), an experienced APDO member working across South East London, is passionate about helping her clients simplify their lives. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holiday season can feel more tense than tranquil. If this sounds familiar, read Sarah’s guest blog below…
Does Christmas feel more chaotic than calm?
At this time of year, we’re under a lot of pressure to put on the “Perfect Christmas”; TV ads and magazines are full of this year’s Christmas tree and table-dressing trends… Not to mention a fortnight of planning seasonal feasts. On top of that you have to find the perfect gift for everyone, which then has to be beautifully wrapped with tasteful paper and ribbon.
All the festive craziness is enough to make anyone look forward to January; even if the New Year heralds the dreaded post-Christmas diet and exercise plan.
Our own expectations can add to the pressure. My mother did a wonderful Christmas, but I struggled to maintain her traditions whilst working full-time. Adjusting expectations was essential to avoid slaving away to preserve a Christmas I was too busy to really enjoy.
Home-made sweets had to go, but traditions that we love and continue include the turkey dinner and stockings for everyone (yes, even for the adults). We have also started some new traditions; so for us, Christmas really begins when we snuggle up as a family and watch ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’.
Let’s just stop for a moment, and take a deep breath… We don’t have to jump headfirst into the festive chaos. It’s worth taking a little time to talk with your family or friends to focus on what you all really enjoy about Christmas. When our family first did this, we were surprised to hear that rather than getting presents, what our children really loved was opening stockings together and having lots of family time.
So, how could we approach our Christmas plans differently? Working with clients, my approach to de-cluttering is: ‘Less in; More out; Organise’, so this means:
Take on less
- If you know you’re susceptible to the illusion of ‘The Perfect Christmas’, try to avoid magazines and TV programmes on the subject. Maybe this year you could talk with your family about doing a secret Santa? If people ask for gift ideas, be specific; encourage them to consider consumables or experiences. A trip to an art exhibition will always be more memorable than the latest iPhone model.
- Be ready to decline invitations to parties you know you won’t have fun attending. Remember, your aim is to enjoy Christmas!
Clear out more
- If you have children, suggest that they make space for new toys by sorting through their room and donating anything unwanted. This encourages generosity and reminds them that there are others less fortunate.
- Sort through all your winter wear and give anything you don’t wear to charity; someone else might really benefit from your old warm jacket.
- The holidays are a perfect time to clear out your fridge and freezer: chuck out all those past-their-best pickles and unlabelled freezer bags and clear some freezer shelves so you have lots of space for Christmas ingredients and later, for leftovers.
- Keep a Christmas present list on your mobile or in your bag, so you don’t forget what you’ve bought (try and avoid bad quality presents which will get ditched).
- Plan your big meals, and cook a couple of dishes for the freezer, but don’t get too caught up in panic shopping– it’s only a couple of days! Write a food list on your computer and use it for one big internet shop (you can use it again next year).
- If you are creative, then invite your friends around to make cards or biscuits, so that it becomes a fun part of your Christmas rather than just another job to do.
Lastly, keep reminding yourself that the reason for all your efforts is to make your Christmas special to you and your loved ones.
APDO would like to wish all readers, clients, colleagues and friends a wonderful holiday season and a very happy, healthy and successful 2018!
National Organising Week (NOW)
National Organising Week is an annual initiative led by APDO, a thriving professional community with over 250 accredited experts across the UK and internationally.
The aim of NOW which takes place annually in November, is to inspire people to think about the clutter they are living with and take action to do something about it. Although APDO members provide one to one support all year round, it was wonderful to showcase their passion and enthusiasm to inspire the UK (& beyond!) to organise homes, minds and lives.
As APDO reflects on 2017, NOW was surely one of the highlights. This blog post looks back at the range of activities which took place, the camaraderie between members and the new connections forged.
Donate-a-Day to Charity
This is a brilliant initiative which started in 2016. It gives APDO members the opportunity to volunteer their time and expertise to a worthy charity. Three official charity days took place during NOW 2017, with other more informal ones occurring through the actions of inspired members.
Four enthusiastic APDO members donated a day of their time to the charity Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Fiona Bennett (Simplify Your Home), Hannah Young (Revive Your Space), Kate Ibbotson (A Tidy Mind) and Miriam Osner (The Decluttering Queen), donated their time to support the Saint Michael’s Bilton store, which had recently seen a change in staff and a new recycling provider, resulting in a back log of donations building up.
Retail Operations Manager, Rob Watson said:
“I have to say how grateful both myself and the team are for the hard work that was put into making the store a tidier, more organised and safer environment for them to work in. Hopefully this will give them a good basis to work from and continue with the systems that you have put in place.”
A large team of APDO members met up to re-organise the stock room in TRAID’s Wood Green charity shop and were certainly a force to be reckoned with as they worked together to get the most out of the day for the clothing charity.
Isabelle Lamy (Idea for your Space), Katherine Blackler (SortMySpace), Liz Aitken (Carefully Sorted), Tracy Muir (Support to Sort), Shula Levy (Out of Space), Chloë Howat (Declutter with Chloe), Sam Hofer (Untangled), Juliette Harding (Tulips Decluttering Service) and Marcella Caricasole (Think Tidy) pooled their ideas, energy and creativity – and had a lot of fun along the way!
Retail Manager, Rodrigo Flores said:
“The difference in our restock process is incredible. We weren’t digging through numerous cartons to get stock ready for the shop floor. Giving instructions to staff became far simpler as the stock was clearly visible. The time we spent doing the re-stock reduced down to 3 hours instead of the previous 8 hours so we could open up to customers again by lunchtime. What’s also great is that all the empty racks now upstairs are ready and waiting for us to line up the next re-stock onto. We can do that at our leisure before the restock is scheduled in January and save ourselves time and stress again then! Thank you APDO. You certainly got us sorted!”
Read more about the day in this blog by TRAID.
Two professional organisers in Scotland put a note on Facebook a few weeks before NOW asking if any local charities needed some assistance and their adventure with Massive Outpouring of Love (MOOL) began!
Mel Carruthers (More Organised) and Kate Garraway (Better Organised) worked in the dispatch area and got stuck in organising packed boxes for a collection the following day, heading to Calais, as well as organising the store room and sorting area.
Mel said: “It was a privilege to arrange so many donations, knowing that in 48 hours time they would be in France and the contents keeping people warm”
Blogging Here, There & Everywhere!
APDO members wrote a different daily guest blog for the APDO website throughout NOW, providing motivation and inspiration on all aspects of organising. So much free expertise was shared from our members who proved themselves to be huge fountains of knowledge! Catch the blogs below, in case you missed them:
- Shula Levy (Out of Space) shares her wisdom on how families can get sorted for the school year ahead.
- Jasmine Sleigh (Change Your Space) tackles the challenging area of children’s toys and games.
- Ingrid Jansen (Organise Your House) manages to simplify the often dreaded area of finances and budgeting.
- Zoe Short (So Sorted) delves into those kitchen cupboards to help you streamline and sort the kitchen.
- Mel Carruthers (More Organised) helps you clear a way through piles of paperwork and adopt simple systems.
- Sarah Owen (A Place For Everything) tells you how you can run your life like clockwork using your diary.
- Sarah MacNaught (Rightsize) helps you move past the overwhelm of moving house and empowers you to move with minimal stress.
APDO members also wrote a number of blogs for partnership organisations. Even more pearls of wisdom were shared, ensuring the UK (and beyond) were armed with as much knowledge as possible.
- Love Space brought together tips from no less than SEVEN professional organisers in this blog about getting organised at home.
- Could this blog be packed with any more expert advice!? EIGHT APDO members reveal their favourite organising tips to Avery UK and check out this further blog with fascinating results of a survey on how mess impacts on your mind.
- Sometimes the clutter problem is more serious and APDO has specialist members who deal with hoarding disorder, some of whom contributed to this help for hoarding blog through Anxiety UK
- Sue Darby (Dot the i’s Organising) shared advice with Organise My Home on how to get the most out of your crafting hobby.
- For everyone who feels overwhelmed at the mere thought of moving home, read this blog now! Helen Cousins (Fresh Spaces) writes for Really Moving on how to organise your house move
- Arianna Steigman (Clutter Bug) reminded us of the importance of a clutter free bedroom and Jules Langford (Cluttered to Cleared) suggests how you can create a calm kitchen with their blogs for Hammonds.
For yet more kitchen advice, Hannah Young (Revive Your Space) shows you how to maintain the most organised kitchen ever with more top tips for Organise My Home.
The enthusiasm for NOW spread the length and breadth of the country with APDO members posting on social media, delivering workshops, writing for publications, public speaking and giving special offers to clients. APDO is proud to represent so many members dedicated to empowering the UK to organise their homes and work spaces.We hope it led you to reap the benefits of being more organised, which include more time, greater productivity and a calmer mind. If you need help, remember we have over 250 accredited organisers across the UK, ready to assist. Find your nearest organisers here.