How self storage can help you downsize after retirement

When you retire, downsizing makes a lot of sense. The kids have long since flown the nest, their rooms are now collecting dust and the maintenance of your large family home is getting harder. Why would you spend your retirement in a half empty house when you could move somewhere more manageable, in an area of your dreams and release the equity to kick off your retirement with a bang?

If your retirement is round the corner and you’re considering downsizing your home, this post will help explore the various benefits of downsizing, as well as the best way to go about it. The hardest part will be deciding how to spend all of the leftover cash.

Benefits of downsizing for retirement

Release equity

The chances are that downsizing from a large family home to a smaller property will result in a sizable leftover lump sum. With this money you’ll be able to pay off your mortgage, buy your new home outright or just have a nice chunk of change to act as a cushion for life after retirement. Splash out on a long holiday, spoil the grandkids or save it for a rainy day. Spend it however you would like – it’s your hard-earned money after all!

Cheaper cost of living

By downsizing, it’s very likely that your utility bills, council tax and maintenance costs will all experience a similar downscaling. Smaller properties require less energy to heat, are generally susceptible to lower council tax and have both less chance of maintenance mishaps, which will be easier to remedy when they do occur. We know, life isn’t all about money but the financial benefits of moving to a smaller home cannot be underestimated. As they say, look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.

Live where you want

When looking for a smaller property with money to play with, you open up your options. From urban apartments to country cottages, the world is literally your oyster. In fact, many retirees choose to invest the money they make from downsizing in a second property overseas. Spend your winters sunning yourself in warmer climes and the rest of the year making the most of the British summer, enjoying the best of both worlds.

Have a clear out

What better excuse to tackle that build-up of belongings in the loft than when downsizing your home? If you’re like most people, years of clutter has probably accumulated in any viable storage space in your house. From the car garage to the cupboard under the stairs, most homes in the UK have acquired a surplus of ‘stuff’ that is either no longer needed or requires proper storage in a more effective space. Those items that you can’t bring yourself to say goodbye to will struggle to fit into your smaller home, which is where self storage can help…

How to downsize for retirement

  • Tell your friends and family – get your kids, grandkids, friends, neighbours and anyone else over to take back their belongings and anything else you no longer need off your hands. Donate, recycle or responsibly dispose of all other clutter so that only your treasured possessions remain.
  • Get sorted – pack your belongings away using sturdy boxes, remembering not to over pack as boxes and their contents may break in transit. Also remember to keep hold of any old newspapers to use as padding in boxes. Make sure to mark each box and keep an inventory so you know exactly what items are in each box.
  • Find a self storage facility – a self storage facility will not only be able to help pack your items and supply industrial strength boxes, but they can collect them too, saving you a great deal of time and energy. Renting a self storage unit will allow your new downsized home to remain clutter free, while you can rest easy in the knowledge that your belongings are safely under lock and key in a secure self storage facility.

For more details on the various self storage services we provide at Flexible Storage, get in touch with our friendly team today and even receive a quote.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Paperless Office?

For many businesses, the paperless office seems to be one of those concepts promised in the 80s that has never really come to fruition, along with hover-boards and 8-minute abs.

In theory the paperless office sounds great – no need for any more paper files, cumbersome filing cabinets or bursting storage cupboards. All documents are digitised, floating in the cloud and instantly accessible – anytime, anywhere.

In practice though, things aren’t quite that simple. Today, business practices and legal compliance make it necessary to store documents for long periods of time. There are also serious questions being raised around the security of online systems, and many businesses do not have the time, budget or ability to transfer their entire document archive into digital form.

To help clear the air, we have listed the main advantages and disadvantages of a paperless office so that you can decide how realistic it is for your business.

Advantages of a paperless office

Saves storage space

It’s pretty simple – less documents means less space needed to store them. While many of us deal with online documents on a daily basis, paper files still play a crucial role in our day-to-day working lives. If 100% of these files were online, there would be no more need for physical storage space. In crowded cities such as London, space saving is an advantage that can’t be underestimated.

Easily accessible

No need to go rummaging through the office paper mountain to find that one business record. With a paperless office, all files are accessible with just a few clicks of your mouse. As long as you have Internet connection and the files have been correctly stored, a digitised document system will improve efficiency and save a great deal of time searching.

Environmentally friendly

As the name suggests, a paperless office should produce no paper waste. This is great news for trees and the environment as a whole. Nothing will need to be printed so printers are redundant, saving even more energy. These all contribute to reducing your office’s carbon footprint.

Disadvantages of a paperless office

Security risks and viruses

Probably the number one concern around a paperless office is the security risks associated with transferring the entire document trail of your business into digital form. Cyber security software is constantly playing catch-up with online fraudsters. Paperless offices share data via online networks that are increasingly susceptible to hacking and damaging viruses. Much of the data and files stored online by businesses – especially those in the medical, legal and financial industries – contains highly sensitive information that could be incredibly damaging if they fell into the wrong hands.

Installing security software that properly encrypts data can be complicated and very costly. Most data security platforms charge by the month with prices that increase with the amount of data storage you use. These costs can quickly add up and there’s no guarantee that they’re secure from all cyber attacks.

Dependence on technology

A paperless office requires all of your files and data to be stored on hard drives and increasingly in online cloud storage. This works as long as your electronics do. If there is a problem with your online system, Internet connection or even power supply, then you will not be able to access any of your documents. Backing up your important files is always advisable but many businesses either forgot to do it or lack the capability.

Environmentally friendly?

Even though most businesses around the world have taken paper-reducing measures over recent years, global paper usage is not actually reducing at any great rate, according to Andrew Morrison, managing director at Xerox UK and Ireland. This is by no means a call for office-based UK businesses to abandon paper-saving efforts but suggests that other sectors of the economy should be carrying their fair share too.

While paper waste may be significantly reduced, a paperless office will still need to dispose of its electronic equipment from time to time. These items contain dangerous chemicals and are often made of unrecyclable plastics. Improper disposal of such equipment can have very damaging effects on the environment so make sure you dispose of your electronics responsibly.

The verdict

The reality is that a “paperless office” is currently just a buzzword. For the foreseeable future, there will always be a practical need to handle paper in the vast majority of modern businesses. Legal documents still need to be signed, wills and deeds have to be retained and even items as small as receipts will have to be collected. All of these documents will need to be stored somewhere where they are systemised, secure and accessible.

So, how can Flexible Storage help?

  • Storing your documents at our archiving centre will free up space in your office as well as ensure they are always protected and stored in compliance with GDPR and data protection laws.
  • Our online file management service makes it easy for you to retrieve and manage your indexed files, so accessibility need not be a problem.
  • Once you no longer need your documents we can have them professionally shredded where 100% of paper waste is recycled. Alternatively, you can rent our confidential waste consoles to collect all of your paper waste. They’ll keep your sensitive documents secure until they can be collected for complete, confidential destruction.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to see how our document storage services can keep your paperwork safe while saving your business space, time and money.