Tips for Upgrading to a Larger Home

Whether you are moving into a bigger apartment with your significant other or moving into a house and getting ready to start a family, the time has come for you to upgrade your living situation! Leaping into a bigger home may seem very fun, but there are some critical things to consider before picking out your new, larger home. Use these tips to make sure you are fully prepared for the upgrade!

Consider when big is too big

Bigger may not always be better. Sometimes, the more rooms a home has, the smaller each room is. Determine how many rooms you need, and which rooms and spaces are most important. That will help you find the ideal-sized home.

Prioritize your goals

Make a list of all the goals you have in your life. This will help you figure out the specific reasons you wanted to upgrade in the first place. Consider the family size you want to have, if you need a big dining room to host dinner parties, if you want a large backyard for BBQ’s, and anything else that may relate to the size of the home you purchase. 

Compare neighborhoods

Upgrading to a bigger home can often mean moving into a completely new community. If you are moving from an apartment to a house, picking out a specific neighborhood will be a crucial part of the process. Your dream home will only be your dream home if it is in the right neighborhood. Be sure to consider things like proximity to the city as well as to your other neighbors.

Prepare for more expenses

Moving into a bigger home means taking on more significant payments. Large expenses such as your mortgage and taxes are going to increase. The greater the house, the more utilities it will use. More lights, sinks, and toilets will add to your electricity and water bills. Be prepared for the size of the upgrade you can handle considering what you can afford monthly. Also, the more rooms you have, the more furniture you will need and the more space you will have to clean!

Six Appliances You Should Deep Clean This Summer

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the little bit of extra free time you have to tidy up your home. Summer brings on a lot of heat, so you can spend your time cleaning indoors, and save the outdoor cleaning for in the fall as the weather begins to cool down.

  1. Your Wood Floors

Even though you might think you need to mop your wooden floors every week that could ruin them. Instead, you should only wet-clean them once every one to two months and spot clean as needed. Make sure you use trivets and saucers under plants to avoid any water damage and use furniture protectors to avoid scratches. Summer brings in a lot of dirt from outside and you don’t want any of it sticking to your floors permanently.

2. Washing Machine

Summer brings on extra sweaty clothes, socks, sheets, and so much more. Your washing machine has probably been through a lot this summer and will need a cleanse. Disinfect it with distilled white vinegar and baking soda to keep it fresh and high-functioning. Run the machine with hot water, then add the cleaning agents, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Afterwards, restart your machine, let the water drain, and wipe it dry.

3. Dishwasher

A lot of times people simply think you can just throw dirty dishes in the dishwasher and they will get cleaned. This is not always the case. To ensure this heavy-duty cleaning appliance gets all the tomato sauce stains off your dinner plates, you have to clean it too. First, remove any bits of the food on the bottom. Then, run a second cycle with a specialty cleanser made for your dishwasher about once a month to keep it clean.

4. Refrigerator

Refrigerators are also an important item to keep clean since it holds food! This means the outside and inside. Pull out all of your fridge’s interior shelving and make sure to wash them with warm soapy water to take care of any spills or stains. The wash the inside of your refrigerator – sides, top, and bottom. If your fridge is clean, then your food will be cleaner which is always a good thing.

5. Oven

If you ever start to smell something burning when you first turn on your oven, it might be time for a deep clean. First, chip off loose pieces from your range, then spritz burnt-on food with ammonia. Sprinkle baking soda and a few drops of white vinegar on the bottom, let it bubble up, then wipe away the grime and dirt with a sponge.

6. Your Closet

Organizing your closet is the first step to organizing the rest of your home. Get rid of unused clothes and accessories and organize the rest by how you get dressed in the morning and by color. Use some of these tips to make your closet look appealing, and your everyday routine easier and quicker!

Don’t Let Mosquitoes Ruin Your Summer Fun

Family having dinner in backyard

Is there any insect more annoying than a mosquito? And central North Carolina definitely has our share of these annoying pests! While there are other insects that rank pretty high on the annoying scale, mosquitoes are infamous for spreading harmful diseases. Meaning they can leave behind more than just itchy, red bites. Your best defense is to make your Piedmont Triad yard as inhospitable to them as possible. Don’t let these pesky pests ruin your summer fun!

Tips to Reduce the Amount of Mosquitoes in Your Yard

  • The number one way to achieve mosquito control is to reduce the amount of standing water on your property. Without water, mosquitoes don’t have anywhere to lay their eggs. Buckets, toys, tarps, watering cans, and other containers that can collect water should be stored indoors or emptied at least twice a week.
  • Clean leaves and debris out of roof gutters so that water flows freely and does not attract mosquitoes.
  • Fight off these pests with strategically placed fans. Flies and mosquitoes are not strong fliers and do not like moving air. As an added bonus, the breeze tends to dissipate all the body odors and the carbon dioxide that people give off which attracts mosquitoes.
  • Place specific plants in your yard to naturally deter mosquitoes. Here are a few to try: lavender, garlic, sage, eucalyptus, mint, basil, citronella, marigolds, and lemon balm.
  • Frequently change the water in wading pools, bird baths, and other outdoor water features. Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.
  • If you have a mosquito infestation that persists despite your best efforts, it is always best to call in the professionals. A reputable pest control service can evaluate and treat your yard accordingly.

Use these tips to enjoy a magical Piedmont Triad summer without the risk of bites and potential infections. We live in a fast-growing area and your local Zippy Shell of the Piedmont is here to meet all your moving and storage needs!

Tips for College Freshman Moving Away from Home for the First Time

Even after deciding where you want to go to college, it may not feel real until you have to pack up your belongings to take with you. Packing for an entire year away from home can be a challenge. Check out these tips to help make your move to college as smooth and efficient as possible. 

Declutter your items

Often, people have way more belongings than they need. By cleaning out all of your items and prioritizing what you actually use, you will be able to determine what is necessary to bring with you to college. Use some of these decluttering tips to help get you started! After you get rid of some of the items you will need, your move to college will be a lot easier – and lighter!

Start packing early

Giving yourself extra time to pack will ensure that you pack your items efficiently. Being organized ahead of time will allow you to make sure you have all of the things you are going to need. This will also help you identify the items that you don’t yet have that you will need for the year. As long as you have started packing within the week before your move-in date, you will be fine!

Plan out what you need to purchase

You are going to be missing out on the luxuries of a fully-stocked house for an entire year. Make a list of the items you are going to need to purchase for your new school year. This will prevent you from showing up to school and realizing you are missing essential items to survive your freshman lifestyle.

Be prepared for move-in day

If you can, arrive early on move-in day. Beat the hustle and bustle of all of the other students who are trying to move in at the same time as you. Unpacking early will give you extra time to make sure that you have everything that you absolutely need. If you find that you have forgotten a necessary item, this will provide you with the extra time you need to run over to the nearest store to pick it up. Try to bring an additional family member or a friend to help you move in to speed up the process. 

Are you packing up for the entire year? Contact Zippy Shell for during your winter or summer break so that when you leave campus, your items don’t have to. Our storage options will save you the effort of moving your items back and forth every time you have to go home on break. Read more about how Zippy Shell can help all college students move and store their items here!

How to Pack Your Fridge for a Move

Packing for a move may seem straight forward, but there are a lot of factors that make it harder than packing for a vacation. You will have to pack every single item in your house, including the awkward, large ones. There are going to be a couple of steps you will have to go through while packing your fridge. Make this process as simple as possible with these tips!

Clean out your fridge

To prepare your refrigerator for its move, you first need to clean it out completely. This is going to be one of the last things you clean out before you move because you use your fridge daily. Most likely, you will do this within a week of your move if not less. This way, you will be able to use your fridge for as long as possible until you must move out. Start by emptying any unwanted, expired food, and throw it away or run it through your garbage disposal. After you empty it, you should unplug it, and open the doors for a few hours to make sure any remaining water has evaporated. Once you have completely emptied your fridge, wipe down all of the drawers and shelves so that no residue remains. Make sure the entirety of the outside is clean as well.

Disassemble your fridge

It may not seem like your fridge has any pieces to be taken apart, but this is a crucial step. Remove any drawers or sliding shelves from the inside of your fridge and freezer. This will prevent them from sliding around or breaking inside the fridge while being transported. Wrap up these pieces in blankets or towels to keep them safe without having to purchase any packing material. Secure the doors of your fridge with a rope so that they do not fly open during transportation.

Measure your fridge

Take simple measurements of the dimensions of your fridge before you attempt to move it. This will allow you to know which hallways and doorways your fridge will be able to fit through. You can then move it outside to the moving truck through the easiest route in your home.

Use Zippy Shell Moving & Storage

Don’t want to load up the fridge yourself? No problem! Ask about our loading and packing service referrals to help with your heavy lifting. We will bring the moving container straight to you and can help load everything up for you. Whether it’s across town or the country, we will pick it up and move it safely to your new home right away.

5 Easy Ways to Save Money When Traveling

Traveling to new places can be fun and exciting but the expenses themselves can quickly rack up. Some costs are going to be unavoidable, but you can lower your total price if you use some of these strategies!

Be truthful to yourself when booking a room

When booking a room, you will quickly learn that there are many options to choose from. Most hotels offer countless amenities that seldom get used. Consider what resources you will actually need during your stay. If you are barely going to be in your room all day, consider opting for a smaller room with a less-impressive view. Also, decide if you are going to be using your hotel’s pool or gym. If you are not, try finding a hotel that does not offer one, which may lower the price of your room overall.

Take advantage of your hotel’s amenities

Your hotel will most likely offer a complimentary breakfast, so check to see if they are serving one. On top of that, try out the coffee in your room to save yourself the time and money it would take to go out and buy a fresh cup of coffee at a café. “Dining in” will allow yourself to get fueled up early in the morning and have more time to explore where you are traveling. If you have leftovers from any of your meals, keep them in your room’s refrigerator to use as a “free” snack later.

Book at a central location

If you are going to be sightseeing around the city, consider booking your hotel in a central area of town. This should place you within walking distance of more places. See if there is a subway, bus route, or if your hotel has a shuttle as a cheaper alternative to calling multiple taxis.

Check for free activities

There is almost always going to be a free activity in the area that you are traveling to. If it seems there isn’t, consider merely going on a stroll through the new area you are exploring and take in some of the sights and views it has to offer. Often, cities will offer free outdoor movie showings, museums, fireworks, and so much more, so make sure you search to see if any activities are going on where you are traveling and what days they are available.

BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks)

If you are planning a long day of exploring the city, make sure to bring snacks with you. This is even more important if you are traveling with children. Having snacks with you will quickly add up savings from not having to buy vendors’ snacks. This will also help you make it through the day with three solid meals versus having to continuously purchase munchies along the way. Pack waters with you as well to stay hydrated and avoid overpaying for a single bottle of water.

7 Activities to Do When the Summer Heat Is Too Hot

As Summer is coming to a close, you may have had enough of the heat. Have fun while staying indoors with some of these activities!

See a movie

Avoid the spoilers by being one of the first to watch a new film! Watching a movie at a movie theater can be a fun activity for date night, a family activity, or an outing with friends. Sitting on your couch watching a movie doesn’t compare to the movie theater experience, not to mention the movie theater popcorn!

Do crafts

There are plenty of locations that offer crafting classes for your kids and you as well! Attend a local kid-friendly crafting class where you can create art with your child. You can also go purchase art supplies and create something from home as well. Often times, you won’t even need to buy supplies; the materials you have at home can be pieced together into a fun craft. For an evening craft activity, check out a wine and painting class closest to you.

Go ice skating

Many people may forget that ice skating rinks are open in the summer! This makes it the perfect opportunity to go because you will not have to worry about dealing with a crowd!

Go bowling

Bowling is the perfect, inexpensive activity to do for some fun out of the house. People of all ages can have fun bowling so make the most of it!

Go to the aquarium

The aquarium is the perfect balance of fun and education for your kids. They get to learn about various sea creatures, all while having fun doing it! Plus, you get to have some quality bonding time with your children while you all have fun.

Play board games

Don’t spend a dime by staying in for game night. Play any of your favorite games for a whole night of fun. Turn it into family bonding time or invite a few friends over for some food and fun.

Tidy up your home

If you are really this bored, use some of your free time to clean your house. Although it may not be one of the most fun activities, you will feel very productive and clear of mind afterward. Start with easy locations such as your closet or kitchen with these simple tips!

The Best Ways to Sell Your House When You Have Pets

Many buyers and sellers of homes are pet owners. However, marketing your home as one that is full of pets does not appeal to all buyers. A buyer will want to picture themselves living in your home, and if there are clear signs of a pet previously living there such as pet fur or pet smells, it may cause them to stray away from purchasing your home. During your open house, your home should appear as if a pet had never lived there at all. Use these tips to help hide your pets’ evidence as you put it on the market!

Depersonalize your home

Throughout the process of cleaning your home, you are going to remove a lot of personal items that sit in plain sight. This also applies to any of your pet’s items. This includes water and food bowls, beds, toys, and anything else that belongs to your pet. Put all of these belongings into a bin and store them for the duration of your open house.

Remove all signs of a pet

Although you may think your pet has not done anything to change your home, to fresh eyes, it can be more noticeable what the differences are. Get rid of that pet smell you have grown so used to by cleaning your entire home with these tips!

Find a pet sitter

Even if you have the most well-behaved pet in the world, a buyer will not want to interact with it while they are looking for a new home to buy. Before having an open house, make sure that you have somewhere to keep your pet for a few hours. Ask a neighbor or family member if they could take your pet in during this time. Avoid leaving your pet in your backyard for this duration of time, as the heat may be dangerous if it is outside for too long. If you can’t find a pet sitter, do not attempt to hide your pet. Simply leave your pet in a secure room in a kennel.

Use Zippy Shell

After you have used these tips to help sell your home, contact Zippy Shell to help you with your move! We can service moves of many sizes, and even offer storage options if you need it. Check out Zippy Shell’s storage options to store some of your belongings to make your home more spacious while you are hosting an open house. Contact us today for a free quote and see how we can make moving and storage simple for you! 

How to Get Back into the Business Routine After a Summer Vacation

After a long vacation in the sun, going back into the office can be a tough transition. However, with just a little planning, you can make your return much easier and less stressful!

Tie up all loose ends before you leave for vacation

Start planning for your trip a few weeks before you leave so you have plenty of time to get organized. Do what you can to finish up all of your time-sensitive work before you leave for vacation. Anything that can wait until after you get back can wait. This way, you won’t have as many urgent projects immediately upon your return.

Communicate

Make sure you tell your team and your colleagues well in advance of your vacation. Give them ample time to ask you questions or get your input on a project, so your leave won’t hold anything up.

Balance out the work you must do

If you are gone for a week, or even two weeks, you will likely get a little behind on your work. Don’t stress about it too much! Put a detailed list together, estimate the time each project will take, then schedule how much work you need to catch up on each day. This way, you can finish all of your makeup work efficiently, rather than trying to tackle it all in a day or two. You won’t be expected catch up on everything on your first day back, so ease yourself back into all of the work.

Prioritize your tasks

A full inbox is nothing to be afraid of. Read through your oldest emails first, so you do not miss anything due relatively soon, and finish with the most recent emails. Keep in mind that you will not need to reply to all of these emails as well. Reply to the ones that require an urgent response and leave the rest for another time. Once you have read through all of your emails, write out all the tasks that have been assigned to you. Prioritize their deadlines, so you know where to start.

Don’t forget to give yourself a break

Yes, you were just on vacation and got to relax, but that doesn’t mean you are not allowed any downtime now that you are back to work. While you are working hard to complete your tasks, stop, and give yourself a coffee break or a short walk. You will only be able to make up all of your work if you have the energy and focus. Don’t try to push through an entire day without stopping for a couple of breaks.

Replicate a vacation

The vacation may be over, but the fun isn’t! Take some time to catch up with your coworkers. It’s also a great idea to plan a fun activity for that following weekend, or a nice dinner out Friday night. This will help you push through your first week back in the office.

Tips to Keep Your House in Tip-Top Shape during the Summer

home cleaning

Summer is a great time to tackle your seasonal household upkeeping items. There are a lot of small projects you can tackle during these warm months to protect your house from the elements. Be sure you are protecting it from the extreme weather conditions it is enduring. Check out some of our pro tips below to maintain your home this summer to keep it in tip-top shape!

Wash your windows

Throughout the year, your windows can build up a good amount of grime, but there’s an easy way to fix this! To see if your windows need a good cleaning, do one swipe of cloth along one of the low windows on your house to see if there’s any dirt or grime present. Even if your windows look fine, you may see some dirt after giving them this test. Getting your windows clean is a quick and easy project – just get some warm water and soap or glass cleaner to scrub off the debris.

Clean your grill for barbecuing

Keeping your grill clean all summer long will truly make your bar-b-ques enjoyable. If you have a charcoal grill, empty all of the old ashes and safely dispose of them. Wipe away the remaining dust, then finish off the grill by washing it down with soap and water. For a gas grill, close the lid and heat it on high for about thirty minutes to burn away any old food particles. Scrub the grates with a grill brush to clean out the remaining pieces in between the cracks. Finish it off by wiping it down with a sponge and changing out the drip tray. Just a few minutes of cleaning and you’ll be ready to cook up some delicious food for your friends and family!

Repair cracks

Summer is a great time to check your driveway or patio at your home to see if there are any cracks in it. A lot of concrete cracks can be easily fixed yourself with a store-bought sealant. Asphalt can be tricky to seal but can also be done yourself if you are feeling up to the challenge! If not, both your patio and driveway can easily be sealed by a professional. Sealing these will ensure a longer life for your patio and driveway and will give your house a much more pleasing aesthetic.

Plant a new layer of mulch

If you have a garden in your yard, adding fresh mulch every year will really help to keep it growing strong. You’ll want to remove some of the older mulch and properly dispose of it. The fresh mulch will not only look more beautiful, but it also helps to hold water in for the plants and resist more weeds.

Give your deck a makeover

If you have a wooden deck in your backyard, summer is a great time to see how it’s doing. If any boards are rotting, be sure to remove them and replace them. For a painted wooden deck, as the paint starts to chip over the years, decide if it is time for another coat. Check to make sure no loose nails are lying around and hammer them in or remove them if you find any. This all also applies if you have a wooden fence.