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6 Tips to Make Your Home Storage Sustainable

Because going green starts at home.

Sustainability as a way of life has several interpretations and perspectives. That being said, it is important to understand its meaning to correctly apply it in our lives. The Oxford Dictionary definition of sustainability is “the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”. This means we do not use up the resources that our future generations will need later.

Another definition I came across is this one from Investopedia: “Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social. These three pillars are informally referred to as people, planet, and profits.” What I love about this definition is that it also considers the money we spend, along with the environment and future generations to come.

Fighting consumerism is a constant battle. We are always tempted to buy more and buy better. When spending our money, we need to be mindful of what we spend it on, so that it can be better used for the more important things in life like education, health, and recreation. If all people bought only what they needed, made that last, and bought less, this planet would be a happier place. 

Here’s How You Can Green Your Home Storage

When decluttering and organising a home, you should be aware of what can be donated, repurposed, and recycled. In my experience, many homes already have solutions that can solve many storage problems – they just haven’t been recognised. Here are six tips to help recognise and create storage solutions that are sustainable

1. Reuse Storage Containers

Be aware of all containers, baskets, and bins in the home. Are there some items that are not really being used to their full potential? Can some be moved to a different cupboard or room where they would make more sense? Often, we buy storage containers for one specific reason. However, as we change over time, our homes change too. The reason you bought that storage item might no longer exist, and it could be repurposed elsewhere.

For example, I might have bought an attractive basket to store my daughter’s toys in the living room and, now that she no longer plays with those toys, I would rather use the same basket in the hallway to store the family sports equipment. Similarly, you might have containers, say, in the kitchen that you no longer need, as you bought some new bins for your fridge. You could take the old ones and reuse them in the bathroom to keep toiletries sorted.  

2. Repurpose Furniture

Are the moveable furniture items being used to their full potential? Are those set of drawers being used regularly or for long-term storage? Can you move some furniture into another room or space where it will be better utilised?  Some cube storage units can be flipped on their side to create a different look and function. Maybe a set of drawers can be moved from one room to another where it can be better used. Before buying new storage cabinets, analyse what is already in the home. Before throwing old furniture out, check if there is a way that it can be repurposed to provide better storage elsewhere in the home. 

3. Buy Neutral Colours

When buying storage items, buy containers that are neutral in colour – clear, white, cream, grey, brown, or black. You might be tempted to buy something with a pop of colour to suit your current aesthetic. However, over time, this might change. And if your storage containers are neutral, they can be kept in a space longer without clashing with the colour scheme. They can also be moved around to different areas of the home, fitting in easily with the surroundings. 

Sustainability

When buying hidden storage like containers and bins that go inside cupboards, keep all the colours – preferably white or transparent – identical if possible. This will make the cupboard or cabinet appear calm as the colours are monotone. When buying visual storage items like baskets on display, buy neutral colours or natural textures like wood or grass that can fit in any room you have. Doing this will allow you to keep these items for longer, saving you money to spend on décor rather than storage items. 

4. Stick to a Budget 

You can find storage items in almost any home store nowadays. Plastic bins, fabric boxes, and natural baskets are available in most shops at various prices. Let’s say you’re buying a bin for your kitchen pantry. This bin has one purpose: to store your kitchen goods. However, you can spend three times the money on a similar container from a high-end store compared to a budget store. There is no logical reason to spend more money on an item that performs the same function as the cheaper item. 

Fortunately, most storage items are neutral-hued, so there is very little difference to the look of the item. Storage items that are on display do require a bit more attention as you want it to look good in your home. With some knowledge of where to find these, you will be surprised at the price difference of the same wicker basket or any fancy container from one store to the next. 

5. Label Only if Needed

Many people promote labelling containers all over the home so that their family members know exactly where everything goes. This is very helpful for some areas, especially if you have a large family and things like toys, school items, and clothing get mixed up easily. Labelling also helps maintain storage systems, as everyone knows where to put things back after using them. 

However, if you are in a small household, knowing where things go becomes a habit quickly. The problem with labelling all containers is it limits the use of the storage box. Make sure labels are not too specific, and address what you always have in the home. For example, a “spaghetti” container is good if you always have spaghetti, but not good if you only buy it sporadically. If you want to reuse containers elsewhere or for different food items, then a label can be limiting. Be mindful of what labels are necessary for organising your home. 

sustainable

6. Think Green 

When storing items, think about what you buy and how environmentally friendly it is. Can it be recycled, or can you use it for a long time? To be sustainable, constantly remind yourself of where our unwanted items go – the majority end up in landfills. Find ways to reduce what you throw away. Donate or give away old storage items. You will be surprised how many people appreciate such items. 

If you get bored of your storage containers, repurpose them for use elsewhere around the home instead of buying more. Painting them is a quick solution for a change of colour. Spray paint is easy to buy and refreshes visual storage items instantly. When you do throw away containers, bags, and bins, put them in the recycling bin if possible. Be mindful about the waste your home creates and minimise it as much as you can. This is the easiest way to help protect our planet. 

Follow Fern McGahey from Calm The Clutter on Instagram and Facebook, or visit www.calmtheclutternow.com if youwant to learn more about home organisation.

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Your Guide on How to Rent in Dubai

Stretch Your AED

Dubai is a bustling city with a thriving real estate market, making it a popular destination for expats and locals alike. With a wide range of apartments and villas available for rent, finding the perfect place to call home can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of renting in Dubai and provide tips to help you find your dream home.

Understanding the Dubai Rental Market

Before diving into the rental process, it’s important to understand the current state of the Dubai rental market. In recent years, there has been an increase in the supply of rental properties, leading to a decrease in rental prices. This means that now is a great time to rent in Dubai, as you may be able to find a better deal than in previous years. However, the opposite is true during certain months of the year. Rental prices in Dubai tend to increase during the peak season, which typically falls between September and April. This period coincides with the cooler months in Dubai. Residents and tourists coming in during these months increase the demand for rental properties rises, leading to an upward pressure on prices.

Types of Properties Available for Rent

Dubai offers a variety of rental properties, including apartments, villas, and townhouses. Apartments are the most common type of rental property, with a range of options from studio apartments to large penthouses. Villas and townhouses are typically larger and more expensive but offer more space and privacy.

Popular Areas for Renting

When it comes to choosing a location to rent in Dubai, it’s important to consider your budget, lifestyle, and proximity to work or school. Some popular areas for renting include Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, and Jumeirah Lakes Towers. These areas offer a mix of residential and commercial properties, with easy access to amenities and transportation.

The Rental Process

Now that you have an understanding of the rental market in Dubai, let’s walk through the steps of renting a property.

Determine Your Budget

Before you start your search, it’s important to determine your budget. This will help narrow down your options and prevent you from overspending. In Dubai, it’s common for landlords to require a security deposit and multiple rent cheques upfront, so be sure to factor these costs into your budget.

Start Your Search

With your budget in mind, you can start your search for the perfect rental property. You can browse listings online, work with a real estate agent, or visit properties in person. It’s important to view multiple properties and compare prices and amenities to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Submit Your Documents

Once you’ve found a property you’re interested in, you’ll need to submit your documents to the landlord or real estate agent. These documents typically include a copy of your passport, visa, and Emirates ID. You may also be required to provide proof of income or employment.

Sign the Tenancy Contract

If your application is approved, you’ll need to sign a tenancy contract. This contract outlines the terms of your rental agreement, including the duration of the lease, rent amount, and any additional fees or clauses. It’s important to read and understand the contract before signing.

Pay the Rent and Security Deposit

Before moving into your new rental property, you’ll need to pay the first rent cheque and security deposit. The security deposit is typically equivalent to one month’s rent and will be returned to you at the end of your lease, provided there is no damage to the property.

Register Your Tenancy Contract

In Dubai, it’s mandatory to register your tenancy contract with the Ejari system. This can be done online or through a typing centre. The cost of registration is typically split between the landlord and the tenant.

Tips for Renting in Dubai

Now that you know the rental process, here are some tips to help you find the perfect rental property in Dubai.

Work with a Real Estate Agent

While it’s possible to find a rental property on your own, working with a real estate agent can make the process much easier. They have access to a wide range of properties and can help negotiate the terms of your lease.

Consider Your Commute

Dubai is a large city, and traffic can be a major issue during rush hour. When choosing a location to rent, consider your commute to work or school. Living closer to your daily destinations can save you time and money on transportation.

Negotiate the Rent

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the rent with the landlord. In the current rental market, landlords may be willing to lower the rent or offer additional amenities to secure a tenant. It’s always worth asking for a better deal.

Read the Contract Carefully

Before signing the tenancy contract, be sure to read it carefully and ask for clarification on any terms you don’t understand. This will help prevent any surprises or issues during your tenancy.

Be Prepared for Additional Fees

In addition to the rent and security deposit, you may be required to pay additional fees such as a commission to the real estate agent, a maintenance fee, or a fee for using the building’s amenities. Be sure to factor these costs into your budget.

Renting in Dubai can be a daunting process, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can find the perfect rental property for your needs. Remember to determine your budget, work with a real estate agent, and carefully read and negotiate the terms of your tenancy contract. With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to finding your dream home in Dubai.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key factors to consider when choosing a neighbourhood for renting in Dubai?

Choosing the right neighbourhood involves considering factors such as proximity to work, amenities, lifestyle preferences, and budget. Our guide provides insights into popular neighbourhoods, helping you make an informed decision based on your unique needs and preferences.

How can I budget wisely when renting in Dubai, and what additional costs should I be aware of?

Budgeting wisely is crucial for a successful renting experience. Our guide outlines average rental prices in different neighbourhoods and explores additional costs such as security deposits and agency fees. Understanding these financial aspects ensures that you find a rental property that aligns with your budget and financial goals.

What legal aspects should I be aware of when renting in Dubai, and how do I navigate the tenancy laws?

Navigating tenancy laws is essential for a transparent and fair renting experience. Our guide provides an overview of Dubai’s tenancy laws, including standard lease durations, the renewal process, and the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. Understanding the legal aspects ensures that you enter into a rental agreement with confidence and clarity.

What is Ejari?

Ejari is an online registration system in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that aims to regulate and document rental contracts. It is a government initiative designed to ensure transparency and fairness in the rental market. Ejari requires landlords and property management companies to register their tenancy contracts and obtain a unique Ejari number. This registration provides legal protection for both tenants and landlords and helps maintain a reliable database of rental agreements in Dubai.

Are there any fees associated with Ejari registration?

The cost of Ejari registration typically includes a government fee, a typing center fee for document preparation, and any additional service charges from the registration service provider. The specific fees may vary depending on the type of property and the registration period.

Who are the top rental agents in dubai for renting a property?

Here are some of the most reputable real estate agencies that are known for their expertise in property rentals:

  1. Betterhomes: A leading real estate agency in Dubai with a strong presence in the rental market.
  2. Asteco: A well-established real estate firm offering property leasing services in Dubai.
  3. Hamptons International: Known for their premium property offerings, Hamptons International specialises in high-end residential properties.
  4. Allsopp & Allsopp: A popular real estate agency with a dedicated rentals team that focuses on finding suitable rental options for clients.
  5. Chestertons: Another reputable agency of rental properties in Dubai with expertise across different areas and cater to both residential and commercial rental needs.

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