‘When you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.’ So said Dr Samuel Johnson – clearly not a man who had to spend his non-working hours sharing a Balham flat with two ‘media professionals’ and a web developer. Not that we’re complaining too much. It’s still London, after all. We just wish it could be London with maximum glitz and minimum sweeping up someone else’s toenail clippings.
Maybe it can be. Maybe all we have to do is look a little harder.
In fact, it turns out that many of the startups coming out of London in recent years exist solely to remove the chores from daily life, leaving you to get on with living a legendary life in one of the world’s greatest cities. Here are five that have caught our eye in recent weeks.
Self-storage – possibly the least razzmatazz London thing you can imagine. But the guys at Boxman have taken a dusty, frustrating mega-chore and turned it into something interesting. They do London self-storage with a difference, delivering boxes to your door within a few hours, digitally tagging them, and then they taking them away and securely storing them until you’re ready to get them back again. All you have to do is pack. A life-chore knocked on the head thanks to innovative South London tech.
One of the problems we constantly run up against in our ‘Balham paradise’ is the fact that one of us (not mentioning names) regularly fails to pay his way. This leads to untold arguments, and – we’re not sure why – a surprising increase in toenail clippings (some kind of dirty protest?) With Splittable, an app that ‘keeps your sanity intact’, arguments are kept to a minimum, as it allows you to keep track of who owes what, and offers an easy way to make payments with minimal fuss. It also does away with spreadsheets, which – in our book – is worth the download alone.
The biggest barrier to the bling lifestyle here in Balham is the cleaning up. The media pros throw the best parties (sometimes we can squeeze 7 or 8 people into the flat at once!), but the planning and cleanup afterwards are a ball ache. With Hassle, the startup that brings you trusted cleaners instantly (and for just £10 per hour) you get someone willing with you in minutes. And for those with a bit of a conscience, it’s nice to know that you’re supporting local independents – keeping the business in the area. They’ll even get rid of those omnipresent toenail clippings. We can’t live without them.
Of course, there are some things the cleaners just can’t fix for you, and during those frustrating times when the attic won’t renovate itself, a new extension simply won’t grow, or the kitchen refuses to give itself a makeover, then you’re probably best off reaching for 1Roof. These chaps find the professionals for you, vet them and guarantee their work, so you can go about the life to which you’ve grown accustomed without having to waste Saturday morning lie-ins looking for a handyman.
Which just leaves you with the hassle of working out how to fill all this spare time. We recommend Dice – the Shoreditch-based app that finds gigs and nights out local to where you are, gets you tickets without charging exorbitant fees, allows you to invite friends, and then guides you all the way to the venue door. Sometimes it seems as though they’ll do everything for you except drink your beer… which of course they will do, if you ask them nicely.