Top Tips to Reduce Summer Energy Bills

Person changing the temperature on a thermostat

When the dog days of summer meander in, it can get sweltering in both the city and the country. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of Summer run from July 3 through August 11, coinciding with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Without question, those are some of the warmest days of the year, requiring your home’s a/c to run overtime to keep things cool and to keep the occupants comfortable.

You can help reduce summer energy bills during the hottest days of the year with a few simple tips.

  1. Choose a higher thermostat temp: A consistent 78 degrees is the suggested temp if you want to conserve energy during the summer. If you have others in your space who prefer it cooler, put additional fans in their area. If you are going to be gone for extended periods and are not leaving pets in the space, move the thermostat higher for the duration of your absence.
  2.  Cover your windows: Keep your blinds closed and your shades drawn during the hottest part of the day. You may even want to consider reflective or room-darkening curtains to keep the sun from baking your home.
  3. Cook outside:  It doesn’t take long for a stove or oven to heat up the home. Every chance you get, grill outside or make dinners ahead of time for microwaving. It’s also a great time of year for chilled soups and fresh salads.
  4. Change the filters: Increasing your a/c efficiency keeps things cooler and extends the life of your unit. Check it monthly and change it if in doubt.
  5. Close off rooms: If you have rooms in a house that are not occupied or don’t have items that require a consistent heated/cooled temp, then close the vents. The same goes for fans that may be in running in rooms with no occupants. Turn them off and save energy.

It sometime feels hard to stay cool during the hottest months of the year, but with a little planning you can cut the energy costs. Stay cool! And if you need help making a move during these hot Summer days, give Zippy Shell a call or go online for a free quote today!

7 Simple Steps to Protect Your Home When You Travel

A nice home exterior on a sunny day

According to a recent AAA travel survey, nearly 100 million of us are planning to take a family vacation this year, with 70 percent of those getaways happening during the summer months. And it is hard to imagine a worse ending to a summer vacation than returning to find that your home has been damaged or burglarized. To have peace of mind while you are on vacation, take time to protect your home with this checklist:

  • If you have a home security system, alert them of your travel plans and make sure the alarm is set properly when you leave. Display your security stickers prominently near your most obvious and accessible entry points like your front and back door.
  • Set timers on interior lights to give the illusion that someone is always home. Motion-sensor exterior lights can also prove to be useful for general home security when you are home and away.
  • Place a hold on mail, newspapers, and packages in your absence. Overflowing mailboxes and newspapers piled in the driveway are dead giveaways that you aren’t home.
  • Make a plan for lawn care maintenance. Have a friend or lawn care service mow the lawn at least once a week during your absence.
  • Alert a trusted friend or neighbor of your travel plans and have them check in every few days. They can take care of any unexpected deliveries and carry on with normal routines such as watering plants and bringing trash cans to the curb. 
  • Be prepared for a power surge while you are away. Unplug all electronics or make sure they are plugged safely into a surge protector.
  • Do not broadcast your travel plans on social media sites either before or during your vacation. Before your trip, inform only those who need to know. There will be plenty of time to share thoughts and photos of your vacation after you are safely home. 

If you are taking an extended leave from your home, we would love to talk to you about the storage solutions that Zippy Shell has to offer. Contact us today for a free quote and see how simple storing your belongings away while you travel can be!

Moving to the Piedmont Triad Area with Children

Family with children playing during a move

Whether your new home is in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, or a surrounding city, your new Piedmont Triad home is in one of the most family-friendly areas around! Your children will grow to love this area, but initially moving to a new city or town can be overwhelming for any child. And while you can’t totally eliminate the challenge of moving with kids, there are tips that can help ease the process. Here are our top tips for helping kids transition into your new life.

Give them something to be excited about. In the midst of saying goodbye to familiarity, do some research into the Piedmont Triad area to find events or attractions that will get them excited. There are a variety of family friendly attractions in this area that are open year round. You should have no problem finding something for everyone to enjoy at any age.

Involve them in the process whenever possible. Even the littlest task can make a difference in your child’s feelings towards their new home. Allow them to help you run a yard sale before packing. Give them markers and stickers to decorate their moving boxes. Let them help pick out decorations for their new room or choose where to eat dinner after a day of house hunting.

Give them space to say goodbye. Before your move, make one last trip to say goodbye to some of your child’s favorite places. You can also host a party at your old home as a celebration of the time your family spent there. Invite all of their closest friends for a special goodbye. 

Pack a “moving day” bag for each child. Pack a bag for each child that includes several of their very favorite belongings. Keeping these items close by can provide assurance throughout the move and allow access as soon as you arrive at your new home. You and your family are going to love the Piedmont Triad area! Zippy Shell is here to take the stress out of your move allowing you to focus on your family during this exciting time.

Showing Appreciation to Your Piedmont Triad Friends and Family Who Help You Move

Mother and daughter pack for a move

Are you moving in or around the Piedmont Triad area in North Carolina? Having help from family and friends during the sorting, packing, and moving processes is a great distraction and more importantly it makes the work go faster. But how do you thank them for sacrificing their time and muscles for you? Follow these tips to help show your loved ones how much you appreciate their help.

So often people want to help, but they don’t know how. Not everyone in your life has the physical ability to help you move a couch up a flight of stairs. Asking friends and family to help in ways that play to their strengths will be appreciated! You can ask for assistance in organizing, packing, providing meals, watching children or pets, bringing supplies, or just providing company during the long hours you have ahead of you.

  • Provide water and snacks for your helpers. For those that are with you for the long haul on moving day, make plans to provide them with a meal or even two. The Piedmont Triad area has delicious food delivery options that can feed your moving crew!
  • If you’re moving, chances are you’re purging also. Offer your helpers first dibs on any items from your donation pile that will not be making the move with you.
  • Once you are settled, throwing a housewarming party is a great way to thank your friends for all the hard work. Nothing says “thank you” like yummy food and drinks.
  • Return the favor. Offering to help your family and friends with something in return is one of the simplest but best ways to show your gratitude. 

Make your move easier on yourself and your helpers by using portable storage units from Zippy Shell. You load up your belongings at your convenience, and we will simply move them for you! Contact your local Piedmont Triad Zippy Shell today to get a quote.

8 Genius Bathroom Storage Hacks

Modern bathroom with storage space

Your bathroom contains a lot of important items that you use daily to get ready. It is hard trying to fit all those valuables into a small space, so use these tips to fit all your toiletries into your bathroom. Your morning routine will become a breeze and your items will be much more organized!
 

1. SPICE RACKS

All your bottles of shampoo and lotions can fit nicely into spice racks, as spice racks are meant for storing small containers.  Just screw them to the wall to create extra space for them.

2.HIGH SHELVES

Install extra shelves in unused empty space, such as above the door.

3.MAGNET STRIPS

You can use magnet strips to keep track of all the tiny bathroom items you have. They are great way to organize bobby pins, tweezers, nail clippers and most hair clips because these are already magnetic. You can also glue small magnets to the backs of your makeup to keep them organized.

4. COAT HOOKS

Hang up coat hooks instead of towel rods to maximize space. You can hang up multiple coat hooks within the space that just one towel rod would fit. This is great if you are sharing a bathroom with someone.

5.TOILET SHELF

Build a shelf over the top and sides of your toilet.  This extra space doesn’t seem like much, but it can fit a lot of your small items like small hand towels, candles, etc.

6. PVC PIPE

Attach a PVC pipe to your wall to store your hair tools, like a blow dryer.  After using your tool, it is very hot and having the PVC pipe gives it a place to sit and cool down and stay out of your way.

7. SMALL WINE RACK

Use a small wine rack to efficiently fit your hand towels on your sink by rolling them up to fit in each slot.  It is very elegant, yet practical.

8.  SHOE HANGER

On the back of your door, hang a shoe organizer. You will be able to fit countless bottles or items without having to take up any of the space within your bathroom!

How to Organize and Pack a Bedroom When Moving

Your bedroom is one of the most critical rooms in your house, so when you pack it up, you want to make sure you do it correctly. Use these tips to make your packing process as simple as possible when packing your bedroom. If you have multiple bedrooms that you need to pack up, start with one of your least used rooms, such as a guest bedroom.

Sort through your belongings

You first want to make sure you are only packing items that you actually need and will use. Otherwise, there is no point in keeping the item. Declutter your items to prioritize what you should pack with you with these decluttering tips. This is especially helpful for a long-distance move to help you lighten your load.

Pack up your lamps

A lamp is something that goes without much thought that will be a simple thing for you to pack. While packing up your bedside lamp, be cautious to keep it intact. Firstly, remove the lampshade along with the metal “U” that holds it together, so that it does not get dented during the moving process. Remove the lightbulb to avoid broken glass on your move. Gather the cord of the lamp and secure it together with a rubber band. Place the lamp in a box upright for the move itself.

Pack up your child’s room

Moving is always tough on a child, so make this process as smooth as possible for them with these tips. Get them involved with packing up their room so that they can decide if they have grown out of some clothes or toys to prioritize what they need to take for the move.

Move large furniture

Packing up your bulky furniture will be one of the last steps you take when packing up a bedroom. The furniture has a use every day, so it will need to stay put until very close to moving day. Carefully remove nightstands, desks, beds, and more, with professional help if necessary. Seal shelves together on desks, dressers, and more that way the drawers do not fly open while in the moving van.

Secure decorations

If you have any picture frames, posters, or any other décor on your walls, make sure to package it up properly. Wrap up your picture frames in towels that you are moving with you to secure your pictures without having to purchase any packing materials. If you have any miscellaneous decorations, see if this packing tip will work on packaging them as well. Package posters by tightly rolling them up and securing them with a rubber band.

Contact Zippy Shell

Get a free quote today from Zippy Shell to get started on your moving process! We will move your secured belongings to your new destination or a Zippy Shell storage center, with up to 30 days of free storage with every long-distance move.

How to Save Money Back to School Shopping

As summer is coming to a close, we are approaching the start of another school year. Prepare yourself and your children for their upcoming school year by getting a head start on back-to-school shopping. Check out some of our tips below to save some money while you shop! 

Tax-free week

Many states have tax free weeks throughout August to help families when they are doing their back-to-school shopping. Take advantage of this opportunity to buy all your school supplies and back-to-school clothing during these weeks. See if your state holds a tax-free week here and take advantage of this opportunity to stock up!

Use leftovers

Many kids do not realize that a lot of their old supplies from previous years are still in good shape and can be used again. Children will use half of a notebook and then believe that is it no longer of value. Go through their old material and see if they have anything salvageable. Recycle old paper that is written on, while taking advantage of the blank sheets that have yet to be used. You can also re-sharpen old pencils to make them good as new.

Shop without the kids

When your children go school supply shopping with you, there is a much higher chance that you’ll buy unnecessary items. When you shop by yourself, you can make sure you stick to your list and only buy the essentials. Sure, you can purchase a few fun items for the kids to enjoy, while avoiding overspending in this category.

Look for coupons

Don’t forget how valuable coupons may be when shopping! Almost every back-to-school store offers coupons for school supplies, so keep your eyes peeled as you begin your back-to-school shopping. Be sure to shop smart when using coupons. Focus on the items you need to buy, not the brand or style of the item. A lot of times, coupons will be offered for the less flashy supplies, so capitalize on these opportunities to save yourself even more money!

Shop clearance aisles and dollar stores in your area

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your school supplies. Shop clearance isles and dollar stores and get the exact same quality of items for less.  

Start early

When you get a head start on your back-to-school shopping, you’ll be able to take advantage of various sales throughout the season. Keep an eye on circulars and sales to get the best deals leading up to the start of school!

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!