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UK House Prices Show First June Dip Since 2009

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June has traditionally been the month where the UK housing market really gains momentum. It is the time when those in the housing know expect a surge in properties going up for sale and likewise buyers seeking property. However, recent reports from Rightmove suggest a distinctly lacklustre month of inactivity and falling house prices to boot. Add to the mix that this June is the first since 2009 that house prices have fallen and it paints a very gloomy picture indeed.
According to industry experts uncertainty around the June general election is what may have stalled many into a wait and see approach to housing matters. The end result of course has done nothing much to improve things and put this together with continued uncertainty around Brexit and it leaves a rather large politically shaped hole in the UK housing market.
The June figures from Rightmove’s price index show that prices fell in June by 0.4% (between 14th May and 10th June). Their director Mike Shipside lays blame clearly at the door of the political landscape leading to low buyer confidence. Inflation is also having an impact as people struggle with rising household costs and static or diminishing wage packets. Tough times are both here and ahead for UK people.
Figures published earlier in June from the Land Registry showed the biggest increase in house prices since last October for April this year. This left the average UK house price at £220,000 – a £12,000 increase on the previous April. However, figures from last year were skewed due to the introduction of stamp duty on buy to let properties in March 2017 leading to a bumper March and dwindling April figures in 2016. On balance the year on year comparison could be seen as flawed by many.
What the future holds is anyone’s guess as political events continue to pan out. It could be that the housing market continues this stop start pattern for some time to come as buyers and sellers tread cautiously over what path to take in line with external factors.

Reducing waste could help navigate through bin collections

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Residents in Luton are almost 12 months into the experience of a reduced bin collection service. Since the start of last May the council adopted a four day service and made changes to bin collection days for many households in Luton. The timetable meant that there are no bin collections on Mondays and affected households had their day changed for their bin collection. In addition glass collections were also amended by changing to four weekly pick-ups rather than two weekly.
The change was reported to have the potential to save the council around £200,000 at year and also meant that disruption was reduced to those customers who were affected by having no collections on bank holidays. The council issued new calendars and conducted publicity to householders at the time. It is a strategy that has been adopted around the country as bin collections are reduced in order to save money and encourage greener ways from householders when disposing of waste.
Understandably some householders still struggle with Luton rubbish removal arrangements, particularly those in larger properties or households. However bin collection changes don’t necessarily need to be a hardship and a few changes could help to reduce overall waste problems such as:
Purchasing less: It stands to reason if people buy less they will have less waste. Food waste especially is a big contributor to rubbish removal in Luton and so planning a weekly shop in advance could reduce the amount of excess food purchased and avoid so much going to waste.
Outsource large waste projects: If a family is planning a reorganisation or a clearout they could use private waste services to remove the rubbish. Engaging with a private licensed firm could help to organise excess waste and avoid items that are unwanted both going into household waste and being stored at the property.
Recycle: Ensuring that a household is recycling as much as possible could have a reduction on household waste. Checking what waste can be recycled from council information could mean being able to use other bins for some waste. Recycling centres could also be used between rubbish removal Luton collections.

Recycling Easter Waste

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When it comes to holidays and waste it is Christmas that typically wins hands down on the excessive front. However with Easter typically falling in spring time it seems to naturally tie in to people’s spring cleaning schedule and has the potential to bring out one big waste headache for householders, businesses and local councils. Already squeezed refuse collection services have to make up time with two bank holidays to contend with and not only that but Easter egg waste alone produces 160 tonnes of aluminium foil waste and 4370 tonnes of card! In the UK each child will receive 8.8 eggs on average with sales overall of around 80 million. There’s no wonder that some families are looking for ways to cut down on Easter waste and make the holidays about spending quality time with each other instead.
Ways of reducing Easter waste could be to opt for experiences over gift giving and set money to spend on eggs aside to spend on getting out of the house or taking up a new hobby. Research has proven time and again that spending time together is much more valuable to families and children in particular than a multitude of gifts.
Spring cleaning over Easter brings about its own set of problems when bin collections are reduced and could mean extra trips to the recycling centres or refuse sites which are more likely to be busier. Hiring an outside waste removal company could be the ideal solution – particularly if planning a complete overhaul. Making green choices and donating or reusing our waste could make the biggest difference to waste at this time of year. Adopting a different approach to the way we get rid of our household rubbish could help us make our items last longer and reduce the impact on our surroundings.
If you simply can’t resist the lure of a chocolate egg then opting for more waste friendly options could be a solution. Eggs that use less packaging or recyclable packaging could cut down on waste considerably. Making the effort to purchase these kinds of chocolate treat could make a difference to the resulting waste at the end of the Easter period.

Methods of decluttering

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Spring has sprung and maybe your desire to declutter your home has too. However, to many people the prospect might seem a little too much to take in as we find ourselves surrounded by ‘stuff’ with no idea how to tame it or remove it.
Contrary to popular belief though decluttering is not simply about throwing ‘stuff’ away but about reorganising areas, rooms or the whole house if you’re feeling really brave. Here’s some ideas that might be worthy of further exploration for you and your family.
Four box method
This method unsurprisingly uses 4 boxes (we suggest fairly decent size ones). The boxes are then labelled Put away, Sell/Give away, Bin and Storage. The next step is to tackle an area or room at a time and decide which box all the items within it belong in. You might need to be ruthless or ask yourself questions about what you really need to keep. Sometimes it’s useful to think about the last time something was used or worn to give you an idea of what to do. Once you have filled the 4 boxes then you need to do exactly what each one says. Bin the rubbish, give away or sell items and assign homes to the rest by storage or displaying in your home. Tackling this all at once rather than waiting until you’re passing a charity shop or the tip means getting on top of the clutter quicker.
Box and pack away method
This adopts a similar start to the 4 box method but this time the boxes are only required to sift out items that are no longer used or you want to sort through to get rid of. Going around each room to remove all the unwanted things should leave extra space and clear surfaces. Dealing with the boxes then and there will help people feel free of clutter but some might choose to quarantine/store the boxes for a while just to make sure they really want rid. It’s probably a good idea to set a timescale on this so things don’t overstay their welcome.
Kon Mari method
This method has been introduced by author Marie Kondo and in a nutshell means you will only sort items by type rather than the area they are kept. It seeks to identify only the items that ‘spark joy’ in the owner and pretty much getting rid of everything else by giving away, selling or binning. It also includes different ways of shopping, storing and even folding things to help avoid needing a major declutter in the future.

The Realities of 4 Weekly Bin Collections

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Weekly bin collections have all but disappeared for UK residents and now the realities of recycling are very much part of waste routines in UK households. However, the recent introduction of 4 weekly bin collections is causing a kafuffle for some residents in Conwy.
The bin collections have been reduced in a bid to meet pressure from Government who wish to comply with EU targets which want to see a minimum of half of household waste recycled by 2020. Conwy is one of the first councils to introduce these measures with more due to follow in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Failure to comply with these targets by 2020 could see councils fined up to £500,000 a day.
Unfortunately, Conwy residents are finding the drop in collections a stretch and are forced to find alternative ways of getting rid of their rubbish such as burning or seeking help from neighbours. For families, the time between bin collections is too long and leaves them trying to find space in anywhere possible and increased time sorting all the rubbish into different bins. Taking the extra rubbish to waste recycling centres could be difficult for some residents who may not have transport or cannot access the centres conveniently.
The strict plans from councils show no signs of abating so the reality is that households may need to find ways of managing their household waste sooner rather than later.
The costs of disposing of waste in Conwy alone is said to be £2.9million each year with the 4 week collections expected to save around £558,000 a year. Conwy council states that recycling has increased by 15% in the early months of the trial so despite some misery from residents it could be a permanent roll out with the savings involved.
Managing household waste is really key in being able to maximise the bin collections in any area. Measures such as being mindful of what you are buying and trying to reuse and recycle as much waste as possible are big factors in not having excess waste. It could also be useful for householders to engage with local waste collection services to help with excess waste removal or bulk collections as they adapt to less frequent council collections.

Finding house clearance services when a loved one dies

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Nobody wants to spend much time thinking about what they would do if their loved ones die however there could be certain practicalities that are worthy of consideration. This may be especially true if the person that has died has left behind a property with contents included. Having a plan in place for what happens to their belongings once they die might be something that is discussed with close family whilst the relative or friend in question is still alive. This way they could let their family know which priority items they would like passed on rather than treating everything like waste. If it isn’t possible to be organised in this way it could be worth considering engaging the services of a house clearance company.
At such a difficult time it can be hard to know where to start when property is involved. There may even be the added stress of vacating a rental property in a timely manner. A house clearance firm might take away all the stress, focusing on the practical side of clearing the property promptly and yet sensitively. Finding a reputable and careful company that can fully cater for a person’s needs could really help them in a time of emotional distress.
Once someone has made the decision to use a professional company then it’s probably a good idea to ring around for various quotes. It might not be about getting the cheapest quote but being around the company that makes someone grieving feel at ease. Here the company should discuss the different aspects of their service as well as planning a convenient time to call to evaluate the task at hand. A house clearance company shouldn’t be pushy but should present options clearly and let the family make the approaches rather than come across forceful or as having a keen sales approach.
A house clearance company should be confident and yet compassionate to deal with upsetting circumstances. They should also be up front about costs and the likely return on any items of value. An honest and direct approach should leave the families of loved ones comfortable in engaging such services.

Is selling a home at Christmas a good strategy ?

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For many people the prospect of selling their home over Christmas is a horrendous idea. The thought of potential buyers coming for viewings or worse still getting a moving date over the festive season could fill many with dread! However, could Christmas actually be a great to sell and is there actually such a thing as a good and a bad time to put a property up for sale – here we explore the options available:
Less competition
Selling at Christmas might be very attractive for this reason alone – having less competition from other vendors because they are waiting until Spring could mean getting ahead of the game. It could also mean that whilst people are off work over the holiday season they are actually more likely to investigate potential property. Christmas tends to mean less people going abroad and even those that do usually schedule in some down time at home too so it could actually be the perfect time to get their attention.
More transparency
Whilst it may be possible to stall buyers over the festive season for the most part it probably isn’t a wise move to remove a property altogether from the market over Christmas should it have been listed earlier in the year. This might have been done in previous years to avoid the hassle of marketing over Dec/Jan period but house buying and selling can now be tracked online and so everything is much more transparent than pre online. There could also easily be a cost to listing and removing a property which vendors could well do without.
Be prepared
Being ready to sell over Christmas probably means that a person is well prepared for the move ahead. This could also signal to potential buyers that the vendor is serious about selling rather than just dipping their toe in the water. It also gives sellers ample opportunity to clear out unwanted items and rubbish from the property ensuring that it fit for viewing at any time. It could even reduce the cost of Christmas as people only spend money on the things they really need rather than overindulging.

Autumn Tidying Up

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Getting Rid of Autumn Leavestring
Autumn could certainly be described as a picturesque time of year however falling leaves can prove a troublesome consequence of the season change. Leaves can litter pathways, drives and gardens and in some cases can cause a slip hazard once rainfall lands and the temperatures drop bringing frost and ice. Many councils reduce garden waste collections in winter months too so even if you are vigilant enough to gather leaves together getting rid of them from your property might seem a thankless task. Here are some tips on removing leaves without too much stress.
Get garden waste removed professionally
Gathering in leaves yourself and bagging them up could be an option. Depending on the size of the property and the time available this may not be viable. Therefore employing the services of a waste professional could be much more appealing. Generally speaking they could gather and remove any garden waste, albeit for a price. This could be an invaluable service for anyone with a busy lifestyle or for older people that may not be physically able to take on the task themselves.
Do it yourself
Bagging up garden leaves could be made fun by getting the whole family involved and whilst bin collections might have stopped householders could take their unwanted leaves to the local refuse site. Whilst it could be time consuming there is no additional cost and setting aside a fine weather day could be the perfect excuse to enjoy the garden before temperatures plummet to more wintry levels. Excess leaves could be composted or mulched to use on the garden again come the spring.
Leaf blow
For those with larger gardens or a bigger haul of leaves than most then investing in a leaf blower could be a quick and easier way of managing the autumn leaves. Using such a tool could mean that you can adopt a little and often approach to leaf gathering, making the job seem less overwhelming.
Check for small animals
When gathering leaves it’s a good idea to check piles first for small animals like hedgehogs that might have burrowed their way in to hibernate or set up home for winter. Alternatively you could designate a leaf pile in your garden for the purpose of giving these animals a place to seek refuge.

Mentioning the C word in September…

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wasteFor many people getting ready for Christmas is a chore they’d rather forget but the truth be told after the summer holidays and back to school it is typically the next major milestone that people aim for as the days become shorter and the nights draw in.
Mentioning the C word this early might seem a bit mad but in actual fact getting ready for Christmas sooner rather than later could have untold benefits further down the line and save families from the mad panic that occurs towards November and December. Here are a few tips to try and avoid a Christmas rush:
Get your garden ready for winter: whilst the weather is still pleasant and some summer bedding plants still in bloom there’s still plenty to be done to prepare a garden for winter. Dead heading, weeding and getting rid of garden waste that could otherwise build up over the winter months could mean an easier Spring when the time comes. Shed or garage clearing now could also free up valuable storage or potential hiding places for Christmas presents.
Declutter inside: there is nothing worse than getting to Christmas and finding that in January you’ve nowhere to put everything new – decluttering items like toys, books and clothing could free up cupboards and help prioritise what to buy other family members as gifts. With unwanted items they could either be sold and the money reinvested for Christmas, donated or removed as a job lot of household waste by a professional waste removal firm.
Free up kitchen cupboard space – there’s no denying that a lot of food is consumed around Christmas – making space now in cupboards and freezers could help the whole process run smoother. It could also make things cheaper in the long run as it may help planning of the food that is actually needed to cover the festivities rather than getting carried away.
So despite it seeming too early to think about now could be exactly the right time to think about what to do to prepare for Christmas and avoid wasteful practices of previous years.

National Zero Waste Week Encourages Waste Management Evaluation

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waste week

The 5th-9th September signals the start of National Zero Waste Week in the UK which gives individuals and businesses to reflect on the way that they personally manage waste and ways they could do better.

The campaign began in 2008 with the purpose of helping raise awareness about the volume of waste sent to landfill as well as helping people save money and resources by evaluating the things they throw away. By signing up for Zero Waste week, both commercial and individual consumers can receive updates and practical tips on how best to handle their own waste requirements.

Here we examine waste problems that people face and ways to reduce them:
•Contaminating recycling – most UK councils have introduced recycling collections however it is reported that up to a fifth of ‘recycled’ waste has to be incinerated or sent to landfill due to it being contaminated. When people place incorrect or unsuitable items in recycling bins it costs a huge amount to resort appropriately. Getting educated about what can be recycled and where could help reduce this problem.
•Fly tipping – despite recent changes to the law enabling councils to have greater powers for detection and prosecution of fly tippers it is still a problem. People should ensure that they work with a reputable company that is legally entitled to remove waste and dispose of it responsibly. It is to be expected that excess waste will occur from time to time but it is the responsibility of the business or individual to ensure it is collected and removed within the law. A waste carrier’s license is required by all approved waste companies for commercial and domestic waste.
•Wasteful practices – both businesses and individuals are guilty of wasteful practices. Some businesses strive to be more sustainable and set targets for this and there is no reason why others can’t do the same. By evaluating what is spent compared to what is thrown away could easily identify areas where savings count be made. Cutting down on waste could save money and is of course beneficial to all, including the environment.