Storage World

Indoor bike storage

Everybody knows that bike theft is extremely common now days, with thieves becoming more expert and brazen at dealing with modern locks and bike security. With many bicycles costing over £1,000 they are a big draw for the thief. Current advice is: keep your bike indoors. That would be fine if we all lived in large houses, but many of us don’t and have to exist in slightly larger than rabbit hutch “modern” housing.

So where do you keep that shiny new bike you’ve bought with your hard earned cash?

There are many options on the market at the moment for getting your bike off the floor and out of the hallway where you no doubt keep tripping over it. One of my favourite bike storage hangers is this one by Hood. It’s basically a hook that “fixes your fixie” (see what I did there) to the wall, but still manages to have keep a pleasant architectural form. Made totally in England, the Hood bike wall mount is manufactured from folded steel with a nice piece of leather to prevent your bike from getting scratched. They come in “Urban Grey” and “Flat White,” but can be made in any colour you fancy.

Lok’nStore flexibility helps Vintage Vibe success.

Over the years at Lok’nStore we’ve heard of many success stories where businesses have used our storage facilities to their benefit, especially when first setting up and starting out.  Our flexible business model allows small (and big) companies to rent just enough space for their needs at the time, without having to sign long contracts that commit them to expensive warehouse space that they may not then need.

Shabby Chic

One such business that has used our facilities to their advantage is Vintage Vibe.  Lisa and Wendy both put £50 each into a bank account to start Vintage Vibe back in 2008 with a view to using any money they earned as a pension pot – by selling over 400 quirky items described as ‘Shabby Chic,’ including furniture and classically styled candelabras over the internet.  What had started as a couple of pals looking to earn few extra pounds turned into a runaway success with Vintage Vibe now a limited company whose turnover is on course to reach £500,000 in the next few months – with the target of hitting £1 million annual turnover in the next two years.  Lisa and Wendy had a success story on their hands and found that they needed warehouse space for their expanding stock.

Space that grows with your business. 

They rented warehouse space at Lok’nStore Tonbridge, which has given Vintage Vibe the flexibility to expand without the need to move to new premises.  By using Lok’nStore’s flexible storage space they have ended up in the happy circumstance of being able to expand or contract their warehouse space depending on their level of current business and stock.  This has proved to be a great model for all types of businesses – especially new start ups – with eBay companies, small and large, loving this type of flexibility offered by Lok’nStore.  For more information about how we can help your business please call or visit us today.


Lack of storage space in new British homes

Lack of storage space in ‘new affordable’ British homes is proving to be a problem for homeowners says a recent survey for the Institute of British Architects. 

In the ‘Way We Live Now’ report (for the independent Future Homes Commission’s investigation into how the UK can build enough of the right kind of homes for modern British households) homeowners described all types of comical home storage situations caused by a lack of general household storage space including:

  • A vacuum cleaner being kept at a parent’s house – which was a twenty minute drive away, because of an absence of general equipment storage space.
  • ‘Buy one – get one free’ supermarket goods being kept in the boot of a car, because of a lack of kitchen storage space.

The most common complaint was not the lack of long term storage space for seasonal items like the Christmas Tree and nostalgic belongings like old photograph albums, but the shear lack of space available for storing ‘day to day’ equipment, like the ironing board, clean linen and clothes, the kitchen bin and even in some cases: food.

The RIBA / Iposos MORI report revealed the eight key features that people want, and need from their modern homes, of which two are based simply on the need for more storage space.  In fact; all eight of the features either involved: ‘lack of storage space’ in the home in general, or just the feeling that simply more space is needed for people and families to live in. Privacy of storage space was also an important consideration: many participants felt that they had things they wanted to store yet access regularly, but which they wanted to keep private from visitors, such as clothing, bed linen and food.  Homeowners felt that new-build house or flats would not offer them enough storage space for their clothes, food and other everyday items and also for longer-term storage.

It appears from the survey that the two requirements homeowners want from their homes in regards of ‘space’ are:

  • Long-term and short-term storage for functional items, and for personal possessions people have chosen to keep during their lives.
  • Dedicated space for domestic utility tasks, such as, washing, drying and ironing clothes, as well as for storing vacuum cleaners, rubbish bins and recycling – everyday storage.

The report (conducted with members of the general public who were all looking to buy an affordable new home in the next 12 months) also highlighted the lack of knowledge among first time buyers as to the amount of storage space they will need in a new home.  Although it’s not unusual, or even new for people to buy property with their hearts rather than their heads –opting for a home that ‘feels right’ – it seems that first time buyers struggle to estimate just how much basic space they will need for ‘daily activities, storage and utility requirements,’ which sometimes lead to problems when choosing a home.  Harry Rich, RIBA Chief Executive said: ‘It has been over half a century since a government-tasked committee researched how households live, yet the size and designs of homes being built now are still defined by that great but out-of-date report – from a time when we had sewing boxes in our living rooms and indoor toilets needed regulating. Until today there has been no evidence base that sets out how we are living now and what we want from our homes. This new research provides important evidence on which we can base some changes to the way our homes are designed, delivered, marketed and sold to us.’ Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI, Ben Page said: ‘The research graphically shows just how cramped and poorly planned much of our housing is today, and the extraordinary lengths people go to cope with it.  RIBA is absolutely right to draw attention to it.’

The ‘Way We Live Now’ report makes for interesting reading, but you can hardly be amazed or surprised at its findings.  Did modern architects and housing planners not realise that people like to have light airy rooms with big windows?  And space outside for children to play in safely, or for adults to relax in (hardly ‘new news’)?  And yes, of course householders want to have the ability to store their personal belongings actually under the roof of the home they live in; not down the road at their mum’s house!  The most telling thing in the report maybe the desire and preference for new homes to have ‘period features’ – like high ceilings; large windows, and just that simple feeling of a little bit more space around you – rather than the rabbit hutch sized homes that have become the norm for the ‘new affordable housing’ sector in the UK.  Have the UKs planners, architects and builders, become so totally detached and removed from the storage and living space needs of the average nuclear family living in new build housing?

If you do have a problem with lack of storage space in your home, and are wondering about your options; please give Lok’nStore a call for free friendly advice from the industry experts.  Storage at one of Lok’nStore’s 22 facilities isn’t expensive – you can rent a small storage unit from just a few pounds per week – enabling you to create a little space in your home, no matter what its size.  Please visit our website at where you will find the location of your friendly local storage centre.

By Kevin Carter


Self Storage In Southampton

Giving you friendly; free, expert advice is what we do at Lok’nStore Self Storage.  This letter was received by our storage centre in Southampton, Hampshire and sums up what we do for our customers on a daily basis.

Dear Nicola,

A few months ago I was put in a rather precarious situation, as my parents rather suddenly decided to move house. On their premises was a large Fairground Organ that I had been restoring, and I had to find new premises for it. I had 8 weeks to do this.

As a precaution, as a temporary measure, I investigated “Self Storage” companies in a 50 mile radius. In each and every case I had a problem as the door height to get this item in needed to be 7 ft 7 “. It was simply not possible, and time was running out.

When I contacted your Southampton storage centre, I was greeted with a much more “Can Do” attitude from your team. Discussions took place, and measurements were given. They went away and found me an ideal large unit, down stairs, with easy access…but more importantly, investigated the height issue, and found that they could unscrew a panel above the door giving me a 10ft height.

This all sounds simple, but, out of all of the 10’s of firms I spoke to, they were the only people who got up and made an effort for the customer. This is a rare commodity in today’s world…..staff that goes that extra mile.

Hence, I want you to know that Wendy, Kay and Brian deserve to be thanked.  At the 11th hour we found a home for the organ, a private collector, so the problem was solved……but, if I need storage, then I know exactly who I will talk to, and recommend.

Please pass this email to the appropriate management, please telephone if you wish.

Kind Regards

Mr. Noyce

What is compulsive hoarding?

Did you see last weeks Channel 4 documentary: The hoarder next door?  It’s a brand new de-cluttering series about the growing numbers of ‘hoarders’ in Britain.  Last weeks opener started with poor 55-year-old Liverpudlian hoarder Nigel, who’s house has become so crowded with personal belongings that he can only sit down in one place: a single mattress.  Apparently, Nigel has so much stuff packed into his house that he hasn’t seen some of the rooms for over seven years!   Over this episode and the rest of the series, Psychotherapist Stelios Kiosses and his team of professional ‘De-clutters’ will attempt to  help extreme hoarders by empting their properties a little; helping the hoarders to let go of some of the unwanted belongings; creating a little more space.

Compulsive hoarding

Compulsive hoarding.

Wikipedia describes compulsive hoarding (or pathological collecting) as: ‘characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that would seemingly qualify as useless or without value.’  Hoarding is something that I have had experience of myself in the past.  Many years ago, I worked one summer for a painter and decorator.  One of his regular customers was a lovely old lady, who lived on her own in a bungalow.  The first time we arrived at her property to commence work, I remember it looking very respectable and tidy on the outside, in a very well-to-do neighbourhood.  Once inside however, it was a different story.  Nearly every room was full, floor to ceilings, with old newspapers.  Each room had a little path through it with just enough space to turn around in amongst the old copies of The Telegraph and The Times.  We had to gradually move her collection of newspapers around each room as we decorated the walls and ceilings of her bungalow. Don’t though, for one minute think that this is an isolated case, because research suggests that hoarding is highly prevalent – approximately 2-5% of the population: that is potentially over 1.2 million people in the UK alone.  This particular old ladies hoarding habit isn’t actually an uncommon one, with the keeping of junk mail; old catalogues, clothes that ‘might’ be worn one day, freebies, general broken things and rubbish being the most common. Many hoarders’ end up with homes so cluttered and inaccessible that they:

  • Can no longer sleep in a bed.
  • Have unhygienic kitchens that cannot be cooked in.  This can also include refrigerators full of rotting food.
  • Dinning room and kitchen tables that can’t be used or sat at.
  • Chairs or sofas that cannot be used for seating.
  • Filthy insanitary conditions in bathrooms; piles of human faeces collected in areas of the home.  Sometimes there are animal faeces over the floors of the home, or giant bags of dirty nappies hoarded for many years.
  • Hoarders are also known to keep too many animals, that cannot be even marginally cared for in their cluttered home.

The clutter and mess is often so bad that it causes the hoarder illness, distress and impairment.  Examples of this can be the hoarder not allowing friends or family into the property, because of embarrassment; curtains being kept closed so that neighbours can’t see inside, and a general feeling of depression or anxiousness because of the clutter.  Also add to this, the risk to the hoarders health from infestation by rats or mice, and even the chance of fire in a property with little space to escape!

Help for those who maybe suffering, or should you know someone who is struggling with compulsive hoarding can be found at Help for Hoarders or apdo-uk: the Association of Professional De-clutterers & Organisers. Free, friendly advice can also be obtained from your local Lok’nStore Self Storage facility, including everything you need to de-clutter any home, with a range of low cost cardboard boxes and storage services to help any hoarder or collector make a little more space in their home.

April showers leave time for home de-clutter

Despite there being a hosepipe ban in place over much of the South East of England, the April showers seem to have truly arrived in style over the last few weeks? Just when everyone was looking forward to getting out into the garden to plant flowers; light the BBQ, and have a good clear out and tidy up, the country has been hit by torrential rain, tornados and high winds – although to fair, we shouldn’t moan, we do need the rain. It seems only a few weeks ago that Lok’nStore was inundated with customers wanting to store hoses, lawn sprinklers, and gardening equipment due to the ban and water shortage. All is not lost though, because this bad weather could be a fantastic opportunity to clear out your garage or shed, whilst still staying reasonably dry.

  • Those bicycles that you haven’t used since last summer, that are chucked on their sides on the floor, just waiting to trip mum or dad up (where the kids left them), could be hung up on the wall. All the major home improvement stores sell special brackets that enable you to easily store away a bicycle, safely and securely.
  • The same goes for ladders, which take up huge amounts of space, but are only needed occasionally round the home. There are a number of wall fixings available that will hold a ladder safely, and securely on a wall, whether in the garage or on a wall out round the side or back of your property.
  • Remember those expensive golf clubs that you said you ‘just had to own’? The ones in that fancy golf bag; slung into the corner of your garage.  These can be neatly stored away in a golf storage rack in your garage, or maybe even put into self storage.
  • That day-glow ski equipment that you used in Klosters last month, isn’t going to be seeing the light of day for a while now. Why not put the skis / snowboard / pink ski suit into a small 25 sqft self storage unit at your local Lok’nStore for a very small cost. They will be kept safe, and out of way over the summer until you need them again.
  • Garages and sheds seem to acquire allsorts of general clutter. Have a look at what you have and be ruthless. If you think you’ll use the item again in the future, box it up and pop it onto a shelf; up into the loft, or put it into a small storage unit at Lok’nStore.  But should you look, with great regret at the ‘Abs and Tummy Flexer’ – that has a large spiders web built onto it – and think ‘I’m never going there again,’ then drop it off at your local charity shop or maybe even your local council dump!

De-cluttering your garden shed or garage is easy, even during periods of bad weather.  With just a little (ruthless) effort, you could even create enough space in your garage to fit the car back inside! De-cluttering is a great way of tidying up your home (plus your mind), and generally giving yourself more space.

Is there anything Lok’nStore cannot store for you?

An excellent question: Is there anything Lok’nStore cannot store for you (also known as: ‘Please can I put my pet elephant into self storage’)?

Given that you can store almost anything at a Lok’nStore self storage facility, you might be surprised to find out, that there are a just few items that you cannot put into self storage.  To be fair though, it is not something you should worry about too much:  Most of the items on Lok’nStore’s forbidden list are not the typical type of thing, that a householder, or business would want to put into a storage unit in the first place.  Remember:  You can store almost anything at Lok’nStore self storage centres, as long as it’s not perishable, flammable or illegal!

So what are examples of the items, that you cannot store at a Lok’nStore self storage facility?

  • ‘Can I store 200 punnets of strawberries and half a ton of freshly caught mackerel while I go off travelling round the world, for the next 6 months?’  – Now, let’s have a little think about that:  While you are off gallivanting around the world sightseeing, your strawberries will have turned green, and your fresh mackerel will have developed a slightly unfriendly aroma!  Unfortunately, you cannot put any perishable food or goods into storage at Lok’nStore.
  • ‘Can I store all my spare petrol and diesel in a Lok’nStore storage unit, so that I’m covered for the next fuel shortage?’  -  Obviously it goes without saying that you cannot store gas, petrol, diesel or anything flammable at a Lok’nstore storage facility.
  • ‘I have recently brought a lorry load of fireworks from my mate Monkey Harris; and need storage for them.  Can you help?’ – Once again, fireworks or explosives cannot be put into storage at Lok’nStore.
  • ‘I represent a company that needs to store barrels of chemicals whilst the safety inspectors are at our factory.  Can we use Lok’nStore please?’ – Dangerous chemicals are most definitely on the Lok’nStore forbidden list, but ask your local Lok’nStore for free advice if you are unsure.
  • ‘My name is “Robin Banks,” and I have a large consignment of used £20 notes that I need to store away for a bit till the heat dies down.  How’s about letting me use your storage facility, because I’ve never trusted banks <nudge nudge wink wink>?’ – You cannot store any items of an illegal nature at a Lok’nStore storage facility. Our staff have been highly trained to spot such items and are always on the lookout.
  • ‘I recently purchased an African Elephant on EBay, and I’m struggling to find room for it at my home, as I live in a small cluttered 2 bedroom house.  Could Lok’nStore rent me a Nelly sized storage unit?’ – As much as we might enjoy a menagerie of pets and animals in our centres, we would have to inform you: Animals are also on our forbidden list and cannot be put into storage.   We might however; suggest that you could clear out the clutter from your spare bedroom, and then put ‘these items’ into storage at a Lok’nstore centre?  You could then squeeze Nelly into your spare bedroom – problem solved!

That’s it!  The Lok’nStore forbidden items list is very small as you can see, and is only for the benefit, wellbeing and safety of our customers and staff, at our 22 storage locations.  Please do give us a call if you have any questions about what you ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ store at a Lok’nStore facility.  The staff at our storage centres are very knowledgeable about the world of self storage, and may in fact be able to help you find alternative storage for your forbidden items at a more suitable location.  For your nearest self storage centre please visit our website storage location page or if you’re not sure use our handy postcode locator, or give us a call on 0800 587 3322.


Underground bike storage in Japan

Here at Lok’nStore; we are always on the lookout for innovative, exciting and cool ideas from around the world of self storage.  From the smallest kitchen storage jar, to the biggest automated mechanical robot car parks – it is all about ideas that push the boundaries of storage that little bit further!  Not for the first time (remember the bike bank vault / bike shelf / bike wall store and the folding storage bike?) we have spotted a brilliant idea for storing bicycles when they are not in use.  It seems that the cycling industry produces some of the more interesting ways of utilising storage space, and this invention fromJapanmakes no exception.

As cities strive to maximise and find space in their modern construction projects, Japan has had to become one of the specialists in this area with Tokyo - and several surrounding prefectures - being the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.  Space here comes at a premium, so anywhere and everywhere has to be used for storage: even if it means building underground!  The Gilken Company (Designing under the concept of “Culture Aboveground, Function Underground”) in Japan has found an ingenious way to store bicycles for commuters, by literally building their buildings: upside down.  Gilken have constructed these Eco friendly, fully automated underground garages that on first glance look a little like ATM machines.

To use these unmanned (unlike Lok’nStore storage centres which are always manned during open hours) bike storage facilities, you just have to place the front wheel of your bike onto the runway.  There is a slot opposite to pop your membership card into, and once the machinery has recognised you, it sucks your bike away safely into the abyss.  It takes around 15 – 20 seconds for your bike to descend into the underground storage facility, where it is placed automatically into its own little underground slot, with space for up to 144 bikes.  The retrieval process works in opposite, with your bike being safely returned to you once the machine has verified your id membership card.  It takes Gilken about fifty days to build one of these facilities from scratch by using prefabricated structural cylinder piles that are ‘pressed-in’ to the ground with large piling machines to minimize vibration and noise.

The biggest advantage to be found in using this type of storage facility for your bicycle obviously has to be security.  Your bike is safely stored out of the way, and out of the sight of potential thieves, thus leaving you able to go about your daily chores without the worry of having your bike stolen or damaged. These facilities also tend to be built in locations with the commuter in mind, so also have huge environmental benefits.  The other positive aspect is that it keeps bikes from being chained up to lampposts and railings, which at times can cause a dangerous obstruction to pedestrians, or are at least an annoyance to non cyclists.