Who said new babies take up little space?!

By admin on May 2nd, 2012 | No Comments

Who said new babies take up little space?!

Ben Rogers of Storemates.co.uk explains the inspiration behind this innovative storage business, and why it is different.

There’s a curious irony about babies – they are tiny, but the space they need is huge!

Becoming a parent soon becomes a mission to find more space: space for the toys, clothes, nappies, kitchen extras, gifts (wanted or not).

Then there’s the grandparents who seem to be around a lot more, and usually demand their own living quarters within your now makeshift bed and breakfast.

And then there is the baby itself and all the household space they seem to need! Yesterday’s yoga space, study or guest room soon becomes today’s nursery, baby overspill or Buggy Park!

Storemates to the rescue!

With space at a premium and self storage costing more than most new families can afford, Storemates decided to stand up for space-starved parents everywhere.

Storemates was co-founded by parent and flat-dweller Shaff Prabatani, who ran out of living space himself when he and his partner Louise decided to start a family.

Because expensive commercial self storage was not an option they could squeeze out of their new household budget, Shaff dropped home-made flyers through the letterboxes of all his neighbours asking if they had any room to store his extra items in return for a small monthly fee. Shaff explains:

I was amazed; within a few days, fifteen neighbours who I didn’t even know contacted me offering to store my belongings in their lofts, garages, spare rooms, even under their bed. Eventually I stored my belongings in a neighbour’s garage for less than half the monthly price of the cheapest local self storage centre in my area, and the idea of a website that could provide that service was born.

Inspired by his own positive experience of communities getting together to sort out their own storage arrangements, he co-founded Storemates.co.uk which has now grown into a UK-wide service providing affordable storage solutions.

The Storemates formula

Like all good ideas, the concept is a simple one. If you are fortunate enough to have some spare space in your home/garage/shed/loft, you can ‘rent’ it out to people nearby who don’t.

Depending on the size and details of your space, you could earn anywhere from £5 to £25 per week, a welcome addition to household income in these current times.

Storemates only takes the first two weeks ‘rent’ as an admin fee – the rest is all yours!

And if you are more community minded, you don’t even have to charge at all and instead can suggest swapping a local service like gardening, DIY or Spanish lessons.

If you are in need of storage – maybe it’s the gap between babies and you don’t want to part with all the clothes, toys or other baby stuff until the next one arrives, but lack space in your own home – Storemates is a great solution compared to costly commercial options. Plus you are likely to get to meet someone new in your neighbourhood, which is always interesting and potentially invaluable.

The small print

When you find a ‘Storemate’, both parties sign a Storage Agreement (a template is provided by Storemates on the website). All the belongings are checked, and an itemised list is created by both parties to make sure everything is above board.

There are even downloadable labels on the site to make it easier to remember what you put in those boxes later on when you come out of the other side of sleepless nights.

The Storemates website walks you through the process and all the legal jargon.

So parents everywhere can now learn to love their space again (as well as their neighbours for looking after their belongings!)

Photo copyright Justin de Deney/Storemates
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