Ultimate List For Cleaning Kitchen Appliances

cleaning appliances

Are there actually people who enjoy cleaning, especially cleaning appliances that have all those nooks and crannies? If so, send them my way! Cleaning appliances is a dreaded chore for most, but it is an absolute must to keep bacteria out of your kitchen and keep your appliances performing at optimal levels. So, if it has been a while, start with one item on this list and enjoy a feeling of accomplishment when all is clean.

Microwave – Fill a microwave-safe container with a cup of water and a squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar. Microwave it until the water boils, about one to four minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe all the loosened gunk away with a damp sponge. Leave the door open to let it thoroughly dry.

Stovetop – Your stovetop should ideally be cleaned after each use to remove all the spills and splatters that naturally happen during cooking. But a little baking soda and vinegar can be used to scrub away spills that have set in over time. Wipe everything down with a cleaner specific to your type of stovetop and use a toothbrush to clean out all the ridges and crevices. 

Oven – Spilled food and crumbs can lead to odors and smokiness that can cloud your kitchen and possibly affect the taste of your food. Make a habit of wiping spills quickly after using the oven, and you may never have to scrub it again! Most ovens are self-cleaning, but usually require a more detailed cleaning about every three months. The self-clean option doesn’t reach the gunk around door hinges and frames and the crumb-catching space around the oven. You may need to clean more often depending on how often you’re using it. Make sure to remove racks and clean them separately. Follow your manufacturer’s directions for best practices.

Dishwasher – It seems like an appliance like a dishwasher would be self-cleaning, right? But over time bacteria and leftover bits of food can create unwanted odors and make your dishwasher less effective at its job. It’s easy to clean your dishwasher about once a month by placing a dishwasher-friendly cup or bowl on the top rack filled with about two-thirds of white vinegar then run it on a normal cycle with hot water to sterilize. Afterward, use a rag or towel to wipe the edges of the door and rubber seal with white vinegar or your favorite all-purpose cleaner. Also, check the drain in the bottom of the machine for unwanted debris.

Refrigerator – Working in sections, take food out to clean away crumbs and spills inside the refrigerator. A little soapy water or a 50-50 solution of water and white vinegar will clean odors and make it shine. Every now and again you should clean the area around and behind your refrigerator as well. Pull it out from the wall and mop away the gunkiness you find back there.

Coffee maker – No matter what type of coffee maker you have, they all should be cleaned regularly for both good tasting coffee and to prevent bacteria growth. All removable parts should be hand washed with warm, soapy water or placed in the top rack of the dishwasher. To remove mineral deposits that can clog your machine, pour a solution of two parts water and one part white vinegar into the water chamber, insert a coffee filter, and run the solution through the machine. Then run clear water through twice to remove any lingering vinegary taste.

Deep cleaning, decluttering, and organizing can help you feel more in control and more productive. If you get in the mood to do even more deep cleaning, Zippy Shell’s portable storage units are perfect for storing items, giving you more space to clean and organize. Visit us at www.zippyshell.com for answers to any questions you may have and a free quote!

Are You Making These 5 Laundry Mistakes?

laundry room

Laundry mistakes are not uncommon and can often cost you money. If you have ever pulled your favorite sweater or pair of jeans out of the dryer to find them too small, you understand what we are talking about! Even a person with years of adulting experience is bound to make a mistake occasionally. Take a look some of these laundry mistakes you may be making.

NOT CLEANING YOUR WASHER AND DRYER

We tend to neglect cleaning our washer and dryer and it can come back to bite us in a big (and stinky!) way. The washer can get a lot of mildew and grime that will cause your laundry to smell musty—something no one wants. Take the time once a month to give your washer and dryer the attention they deserve.

NOT SORTING YOUR CLOTHES

Sorting your clothes is important to make sure you run the correct wash and dry cycle for each category. Most of us at least sort by darks and lights, but you should also be sorting by types of material as well. A nice blouse should never be washed or dried with towels even if they are both the same color. Not only is sorting your clothes important to maintain the color and vibrancy of each piece of clothing, it preserves the health of your clothes.

LEAVING ZIPPERS UNZIPPED OR BUTTONS BUTTONED

When you leave the zippers on your pants or jackets unbuttoned during the wash, the metal can damage other pieces of clothing that are in the wash. Always make sure you zip them up to minimize the contact the zipper has with other things. On the opposite spectrum, button up shirts should be unbuttoned so the movement of the button inside the eyelet does not weaken the threads and stretch out the holes. And while we are on the subject, be careful of washing items with Velcro with your clothes. We recommend washing them separately. Velcro always seems to attach itself to your favorite shirt and cause damage.

USING TOO MUCH DETERGENT

Not accurately measuring your laundry detergent or using too much detergent is another common mistake. The lines on the included measuring cup can be hard to see, so we often end up estimating. Take a sharpie and draw the lines where you can see them. Too much detergent does not make your clothes cleaner. In fact, you may find your clothes appear dirty because the suds hold a lot of dirt and if you use too much, the rinse cycle will not rinse away all the detergent. Not to mention, using more detergent than is needed costs you more money in the long run.

DRYING CLOTHES FOR TOO LONG

Some dryers have sensors that assist in making sure you don’t over dry your laundry, but many do not. And we have all have procrastinated putting up our clothes and used the “I think they still feel a little damp” excuse to run them through another cycle. But unfortunately, over drying our clothes can be doing quite a bit of damage. The more you put your clothes through the dryer, the more the fibers will break down. In the end, this means a shorter life for your clothes.

Have you made any of these laundry mistakes? Stop by our online Zippy Shell community and share your laundry horror stories.

If you need a portable storage container for mobile storage or a move, give us a call at 888-947-7974 for a free, no-obligation estimate. We look forward to hearing from you!

5 Ways To Upgrade Your Patio This Fall

fall patio

Now that fall has arrived, it is time to upgrade the outdoor patio to create a cozy place to hang outdoors during the cooler temperatures. We love bundling up in a throw blanket and enjoying the vibrant scenery the fall season always brings. Take a look at 5 of our favorite patio upgrades for the perfect Fall spot.

SET UP A FIRE PIT

Fire pits are perfect for those beautiful, yet chilly, fall nights. You can sit around the fire with your family or close friends, making s’mores and telling stories. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a fire pit either. You can now find small portable fire pits at most home improvement retail stores for less than $300. Or, if your budget allows, you can have a professional landscaping company install a permanent structure on your patio or in your yard.

INSTALL NICE LIGHTING

Putting up some new lighting is a very affordable way to change your outside atmosphere from drab to fab. You can use a variety of different stringed lights for an instant upgrade to your porch or patio. You can choose novelty lights, like globes or Edison bulb lights, or you can go for the classic Christmas tree style lights. Just make sure whichever style you choose is meant for exterior spaces and will be able to hold up to fluctuating temperatures and weather.

OUTDOOR KITCHEN

If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, we love the idea of an outdoor kitchen. It is a great way to expand your living space and it adds instant value to your home. Perfect for entertaining, an outdoor kitchen will give you and your family the perfect place to spend those fall evenings. No need to go eat out in a restaurant when you have a gorgeous cooking and eating location outside your own home.

RAISED PLANTER BEDS

Raised planter beds on the patio look amazing, but they are functional too. You can grow beautiful flowers or even herbs and vegetables. Some veggies that grow great in the fall in raised beds are brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, radishes, carrots, snow peas, bok choy, and turnips. You can make growing veggies a family project that you will all enjoy. If you have not tried your hand (or thumb) at growing vegetables before, we suggest starting small and getting the advice from someone with experience.

INSTALL SCREENS

We are looking forward to the day that we are no longer hounded by mosquitoes, but the temperatures have not dropped low enough to get rid of them and their buddies just yet. Install screens around your patio for an upgrade that benefits you all year-round. We like eating outdoors, but it can be hard to enjoy it as we should when mosquitoes, gnats, bees, and flies are terrorizing us. A screened-in area where you can eat without bother will be the highlight of your home. This will also add value to your home if you were to ever decide to put it up for sale.

If you are moving soon or need mobile storage, give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation estimate. We have a variety of storage and moving solutions to meet any need. We look forward to hearing from you.

5 Ways to Brighten a Dark Room

bright room

If you have one or more dark rooms in your home, you may be wondering what you can do to easily brighten the space. This is a common interior design issue, but fortunately there are many ways to take a dark and drab room and turn it into a bright and beautiful space. Dark spaces in the home can negatively affect your mood and even your mental health, especially during the winter months. Take a look at 5 of our favorite ways to create an uplifting and bright space in your home.

MAKE USE OF BRIGHT COLORS

While you want your walls to be light colors to expand the space, your art and accent pieces should be bright pops of color. Using bright and vibrant accent pieces will give your room some cheer and will draw the eye no matter how dark the rest of the room is.

PAINT THE CEILING

This may be the most difficult of our suggestions, but if it is within your budget, it is certainly worth the effort. A glossy white ceiling will make a small room feel bigger and a dark room much brighter. Another idea we like is painting the ceiling a sky blue. It gives the appearance of being outside, creating an instant brightness to your home.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Embrace whatever natural light that you have available. Take down the heavy curtains and install sheer window treatments or skip them altogether! One common mistake is relying on overhead lighting when you should be supplementing with lamps and other light sources, especially in a naturally darker room. Not only will lamps brighten your room, but they can help give the area a warm and comforting atmosphere in the evenings.

USE REFLECTIVE SURFACES

You have probably heard this tip before when talking about making a small room feel bigger, but reflective surfaces are also great for brightening a space. We love large mirrors that you can lean against a wall, glass tabletops, or even crystal décor. If you place your reflective pieces strategically where they catch natural light from the window, you will add instant brightness to your room.

USE GREENERY

Bringing a little of the outside indoors is another easy way to brighten a dark space. Don’t worry if you do not have a green thumb and need to use artificial plants. Artificial greenery has come a long way over the past several years and is practically identical to the real thing.

We hope these tips help as you work to brighten your dark rooms this fall and winter. Stop by our Facebook page and share with our online community your best tips for brightening a dark room.

If you have a move coming up soon, give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation quote. We offer storage and moving services to fit every need and would love to partner with you.

Curb Appeal Ideas for Fall

Fall Trees

Whether you want to sell your home, welcome your friends and family, or if you just want to feel a sense of pride every time you drive up, updating your curb appeal throughout the year is how to accomplish your goal. Now that the season of Fall has arrived in all of its gloriousness, get your home in the seasonal spirit by bringing some fall design trends to your curb appeal!

  • The simplest way to assess your curb appeal is to take pictures of your home from the sidewalk, focusing in on the front door, front walkway, and landscaping. Try to view the pictures with the fresh, critical eye of someone who has never been to your home before. Or evaluate the pictures with a friend whose opinion you value and whose style you admire.
  • Having a well-manicured lawn is essential to curb appeal and that doesn’t change just because the weather is cooling down! Giving your grass some autumn TLC now will ensure you’ll be seeing a healthy green lawn come spring. Take care of visible weeds, aerate your lawn, reseed bare patches, and overseed the whole lawn with added fertilizer if necessary. Stay on top of frequent raking throughout autumn. Allowing leaves to accumulate and lay on your lawn for more than a few days can cause damage to grass blades. Keep clean lines around walkways and flower beds and trim bushes and trees to set the foundation for curb appeal you can be proud of!
  • The days will get shorter and the sun will set sooner during the next few months so now is the time to update your outdoor lighting. Make a statement with a combination of wall sconces, lanterns, step, and path lights that highlight your architecture and showcase the landscaping.
  • Add a fresh splash of color by planting fall flowers either in your flower beds or get creative with festive combinations in containers. Mums, pansies, black-eyed susans, sweet alyssum, dianthus, perennial sage, goldenrod, and autumn crocus are all excellent choices. These varieties will withstand the chilly nights and bring vibrant color to the shorter days of autumn.
  • Highlight your front door by hanging an autumn wreath adorned with pumpkins, fall leaves, and other icons of the harvest. If you really want to turn heads, update your front door with a bright, bold colored paint. Updating the hardware with a new knocker and doorknob in a matching finish will complete the look.
  • Create an inviting walkway to your updated door. Pavers or stone are extremely popular options for a beautiful walkway, and this will be an update that will last for years. Flank the area with colorful landscaping and incorporate path lights to finish the look.
  • The mailbox area is often a forgotten space when considering curb appeal, but it can also use some fall flair!  Dress up your mailbox by adding corn stalks, pumpkins, some floral swag, or a seasonal flag.
  • Leaving behind the sweltering days of summer may mean more time in your outdoor space for you and your family. So, add some cozy fall blankets and pillows to your outdoor seating and some lanterns for a cozy touch.

Inspired yet? If you need extra storage space to work on big fall projects, Zippy Shell has onsite and portable storage solutions perfect for the job. You can learn more by visiting www.zippyshell.com today.

6 Tips For Packing Up The Garage

packing a garage

The garage can be an overwhelming area to pack up. We all tend to let the garage get out of control with the amount of stuff we store there. With a little planning and some extra materials, you will have your garage packed up in no time. Check out our 6 tips for packing up the garage.

DECLUTTER FIRST

We always recommend taking some time to declutter before you move. The sooner you can get rid of any items you no longer use or want, the better! Your garage probably holds a lot of things that you don’t use anymore. Spend a weekend going through the garage and pulling out items for a yard sale or donation. You will be glad to have even less to pack up.

KEEP A SMALL TOOLBOX ACCESSIBLE

Make sure you put aside a toolbox with your most-used tools. You will likely need screwdrivers, a hammer, and other small tools as you continue to pack up your home. You will also want to know where your tools are when you get to your new home.

KNOW WHAT YOU CAN’T MOVE

There are several items that you will not be able to move or store. Flammable or hazardous items like propane tanks will need to be disposed of as a waste facility that accepts those items, or you can ask a neighbor or friend if they need any of the items. Make your plans in advance so you do not find yourself with hazardous materials that you cannot move but haven’t found anyone to take them off your hands.

KEEP ALL PARTS TOGETHER

If you are disassembling large furniture or appliances in the garage, be careful to keep all the pieces and parts together. You can put all screws or bolts in a tightly closed Ziploc bag and tape the bag to the inside of the item, so it does not get lost. Use a permanent marker to label the Ziploc bag just in case it falls off.

TAKE CARE WITH SHARP OR POINTY ITEMS

Any tools or items in your garage that have sharp edges or sharp points that could potentially injure someone need to be packed differently. You can use bubble wrap to completely cover the sharp parts and tape it down so those items can be moved safely.

BUNDLE LIKE ITEMS TOGETHER

Some things just can’t be packed in a box. Items like brooms, mops, and outdoor tools will have to be packed separately. You can use plastic shrink wrap to bundle them together so they are easy to move. You can also put them in a large outdoor trash can to keep them from moving around in your container.

We hope these tips will help you get your garage packed up quickly and efficiently. If you have an upcoming move, give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation quote. We offer a variety of moving and storage solutions that will make your next move a breeze. We look forward to hearing from you!

4 Tips To Make a Small Laundry Room Seem Larger

laundry room

If you have a small laundry room, you probably know the struggle of trying to keep all your needed items organized and accessible. Fortunately, you don’t need an over-sized space to create a functional and pleasant room to wash, dry, and even fold laundry. Check out our 4 favorite tips for making a small laundry room feel bigger.

GO VERTICAL

Many small laundry rooms have quite a bit of vertical space. It tends to go unused because most of us cannot reach high shelves or cabinets. But you can use install shelves of varying heights and organize items by usage. For instance, if you rarely ever use your iron, you can store that on the top shelf while keeping your detergent and fabric softener on the lowest shelf. If your budget allows, you can invest in a stackable washer and dryer. This would create useable space for cabinets or a table.

BE CREATIVE WITH THE SPACE

Modern problems require modern solutions! That means you need to get creative. If you have a side-by-side washer and dryer, you can lay down a board across the two appliances to create a table of sorts. You can use this as a flat space to fold your laundry. Another place that goes overlooked is the doors. You can hang pantry organizers or even over-the-door hooks in order to store even more items.

HANG A ROD

If you have a lot of air-dry only clothes, you need a place to hang them up when they come out of the washer. You can install a curtain rood or even a sturdy tension rod for a great place for your more delicate laundry. If you have cabinets in the way, you can install a hand towel holder (the ones meant for bathrooms) upside down that will hold hangers.

HANG CURTAINS INSTEAD OF DOORS

If you have doors on your laundry room that cause problems or take up more space than they are worth—take them down! Sliding laundry room doors can’t be used for storage and they take up space on both sides of the door frame, even when they are open. You can take these down and hang decorative curtains to keep the area hidden.

We hope these tips will be helpful to you as you try to open up the space in your small laundry room. Be sure to stop by our Facebook page and share your laundry room organizational tips with our online Zippy Shell community. If you have an upcoming move, give us a call at 888-947-7974 for a free, no-obligation estimate. We also offer storage services that allow you to pack up your things at your own speed. When you are done, we will safely transport the portable storage container to one of our secure storage locations. We can store your things for as long as you need. When you are ready, give us a call and we will transport the container to your new home. Whatever your moving or storage needs, Zippy Shell has got you covered!

6 Decluttering Tasks Perfect for Fall

organization

Fall is the perfect time to declutter your home and life. The cooler temperatures are refreshing and the changing leaves provoke the feeling that it is time to move on from old ways. Decluttering is the first step to organizing and having an organized home can give you a feeling of control over what is happening in your world. With home organization comes order and with order comes calmness. Plus, the less clutter you have to deal with, the easier home maintenance becomes. And who doesn’t want to spend more time making memories and less time on home maintenance? Let’s get started!

  1. Summer Gear – Empty out the pool/beach bag and throw away any items that are worn, outdated, or broken. Store all of your summer gear and freshly washed beach towels in a plastic bin with a top to keep the dust away during the off-season.
  2. Summer Clothing – Before storing away those summer tops, shorts, bathing suits, cover-ups, and sandals, take a closer look at them. Be honest about what you really wore this summer and only keep those items. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area that has warm temperatures all year long, keep your most worn summer clothing out. For those of you who must endure a cold winter, now is the time to make sure that the summer clothing you are keeping is cleaned and stored away until the spring.
  3. Beauty Products – Gathering all your makeup and beauty products into one area will give you a visual of how much you really have. We are all guilty of trying out products, not loving them, but not wanting to get rid of them because it feels wasteful. Keeping these unwanted items around can become discouraging by adding to your mental clutter and guilt. Now is the time to be thorough and toss anything you aren’t using. As a bonus, this will make getting ready so much easier, because you only have exactly what you need on hand!
  4. Pantry – Start by removing everything from the pantry, checking expiration dates, and wiping down the shelves. Take special note of the expiration dates in your spice rack. Spices don’t get used up as quickly, but they can lose potency over time and may need replacing. If you have an excess of some items, consider reaching out to elderly family and neighbors or donating what you don’t need.
  5. Freezer – Fall is the perfect time to get the freezer cleaned out to make room for soups, chilis, and holiday baking items. Take on this task the day before trash day so that if you do have to throw out mystery items or items past their prime, it does not have to sit in the trash for too long. Label everything you place back in your freezer with the contents and the date to make future freezer purgings easier!
  6. Gardening Tools and Supplies – Clean up, repair, and purge your garden tools and supplies so they’ll be ready for you in the spring. Decluttering and getting rid of any supplies that won’t last the winter will make it easier to know exactly what you need to get started gardening next spring.

During your fall quest for a decluttered, organized home, you may discover that your best option is to store some of your lesser-used items. Zippy Shell is open and ready to serve your storage needs in the best way possible. Call today or click here to get a quote!

4 Reasons to Get Renters Insurance

Couple at home on their laptop

If you rent your residence, you have probably heard of renters insurance and wondered if you needed to pay for this service. Some landlords or property management companies require their tenants to purchase a renters insurance policy. A common misconception is that renters insurance is not needed since the property owner likely has a homeowner’s insurance policy. But the policy that they pay for is for the home, not your belongings. Here are 4 reasons we think you should cover yourself with renters insurance.

THE COST IS WORTH IT—Renters insurance is very affordable. You can typically get a policy that works for you for under $20 a month. One mistake that some people make is undervaluing their belongings. Sometimes it seems like the things we own don’t actually cost that much, but if you look at what it would cost to replace a living room set, the $20 a month doesn’t seem that bad.

YOU GET LIABILITY COVERAGE—If you have a guest over that get hurts in your rental home and decides to hold you responsible for expenses and damages, if you have a rental insurance policy, you will be covered and not have to pay out of pocket for these bills. Most policies cover up to $100,000 in personal liability coverage, but you should double-check with the insurance company to find out what your policy limits are.

YOUR THINGS ARE COVERED OUT OF THE HOME TOO—This is a little known part of renters insurance. Your things are covered no matter where they are. If you take something out of your home and it gets stolen out of your car, you can file a claim to be reimbursed for a certain percentage of that item’s value.

LIVING EXPENSES WHEN YOU CAN’T BE AT HOME—If you are unable to stay in the rental home due a covered event, your policy will pay for your hotel and living expenses while repairs are being made. This is an important part of a renters insurance policy, so make sure the policy you choose has this included. Without it, you will be on the hook for finding a place to stay while your residence is being fixed.

Renters insurance policies are not all created equal. Get a few different quotes from different companies to find the best fit for you. And don’t forget, most policies will not include flood coverage. If you live in an area where flooding is an issue, we recommend you upgrade your policy to include flood damages.

We hope this helped you as you decide whether or not to purchase a renters insurance policy. If you have a move coming up soon, give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation estimate.

6 Houseplants Anyone Can Keep Alive

watering houseplants

You have probably noticed that houseplants are making a major comeback right now. Through this pandemic, we have all endured some stressful times. As people have been spending more time at home, a lot of us have turned to houseplants to bring some calming nature inside. If you have been tempted to pick up some plants but aren’t sure if you have the time or know-how to keep them alive, we have some suggestions for some of our favorite plants that anyone can keep alive. If you have small children or curious pets, be aware that most houseplants are toxic if consumed—artificial plants may be better for your household in that case.

SNAKE PLANT

The snake plant, or sansevieria, is one of the most tolerant plants in existence. Known for its air-purifying capabilities, there are over 70 varieties and they can adapt to many different atmospheres. Even if your home has low-light and you constantly forget to water your snake plants, it will forgive you and keep growing on. If you have bright light in your home, you can expect your snake plant to grow much more rapidly.

POTHOS

One of the many varieties of pothos will be a great beginner plant. It tolerates low-light but will thrive in medium or high light situations. The pothos will look beautiful in a hanging basket or even as a trailing centerpiece on your dining table.

IVY

Like the snake plant, the varieties of ivy are known for their air-purifying effects and can even help with mold spore issues in the home. While ivy will be content in low-light situations for a while, they prefer medium to high light to thrive. The ivy will forgive you for forgetting to water it now and again but be careful to not overwater it or it will turn brown and crispy on the leaves.

ZZ PLANT

The ZZ plant, or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a highly tolerant plant that is perfect for practically any situation. You can even grow a ZZ plant in your office under fluorescent lights. With beautiful waxy leaves, the ZZ plant is prepared to survive drought and low light situations. You can’t go wrong with this hardy plant.

SPIDER PLANT

These plants will grow best in bright light but will tolerate any low or medium-light areas in the home. This plant has long cascading leaves that will look beautiful in a hanging basket while offering you air purification capabilities.

PEACE LILY

You have probably seen the peace lily featured in interior decorating magazines or television shows. The big, green leaves and gorgeous flowers are known for their beauty and tolerance. A talkative plant that will let you know when it needs water with some drooping. But as soon as you give it water, it will perk right back up. They tolerate many light situations and is another great option for the office under fluorescent lights.

We hope these suggestions help you delve into the houseplant world. We’d love for you to stop by our Facebook page and share with us your favorite, low-maintenance houseplants.

If you have a move coming up, be sure to give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation estimate.