3 Inspiring Outdoor Trends for Summer

A back porch pergola arranged with flowers

As the weather warms up and the sun comes out, outdoor spaces become the place to gather. The past year of a pandemic has shown us the value of having inspiring outdoor spaces at our homes to welcome small groups of friends and family safely in an open-air environment. What would your dream outdoor space look like? Here are some trends to help you envision an area where you can cheer on summer!

Pergola

Beyond being beautiful, pergolas offer many benefits. One of the most important benefits of a pergola is that it defines your outdoor space. While a deck or patio can also define your space, a pergola does this with more beauty and style. Going the extra mile by combining your pergola with flooring such as pavers, a concrete patio, or a deck creates a much more cozy atmosphere. Adding to the beauty of pergolas is that they can support landscaping features such as climbing flowers, vines, and ivy. Pergolas can also provide that perfect combination of shade and sun. You can still see the beauty of the sky and stars with slight breaks from the sun’s full force.

Fire Feature

There are so many options for having a fire feature in your outdoor space. Of course, some are more budget-friendly than others. You can choose from a DIY concrete paver ring, a stone fireplace, a chiminea, a kerosene fire table, or a wood-burning fire pit. A fire feature adds ambiance, and it will become a focal point for meaningful conversation. It can also take the chill out of the air once the sun goes down. Bring out a basket of lap blankets on especially chilly nights. Depending on the type of fire feature you choose, cooking over a fire can be a fun option. Who doesn’t love fireside s’mores?

Backyard Entertainment

While you are spending time in your backyard this summer with friends and family, make memories by having some fun. Outdoor movies under the stars are always a hit, especially with younger kids. Many adults could also get behind a movie night filled with “classics” from way back when. Backyard games can fill the night with laughter. Think along the lines of bocce ball, ladder golf, corn hole, giant checkers, or badminton. Or maybe your idea of “entertainment” is just quiet relaxation. If that is the case, lounge chairs, hammocks, or an outdoor daybed for reading may increase your speed. Adding a water feature can enhance the relaxation factor. 

If you need extra on-site storage for tools or materials while working on the backyard of your dreams, Zippy Shell makes it easy. Portable storage containers are a popular option during remodeling or construction because they give you the flexibility of having extra items on hand for the duration of your project. Learn more about our storage solutions by visiting www.zippyshell.com today!

6 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Not Skip

A nice home front in a neighborhood

It is essential to keep up with the maintenance around your home and property to keep everything in good repair. There is nothing worse than an ill-timed breakdown when some simple maintenance could have prevented it. We have listed six commonly skipped maintenance tasks that we think are too important to forget. Take a look!

Have your HVAC unit serviced

If you have your HVAC unit serviced at least once a year, you will find that you maintain peak energy efficiency and prolong the life of the unit. Just like with your vehicle, regular maintenance helps prevent breakdowns that could potentially end with you needing to replace the whole unit.

Check your sump pump

If you have a sump pump, you know how vital it is to be in good working condition. If it stops working, you want to know about it before a big rainstorm, not after! You should consult the owner’s manual for your sump pump and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance. You can also have your sump pump professionally inspected if you prefer.

Clean your refrigerator condenser coils

The condenser coils on your refrigerator are located at the bottom of the back of the fridge. They work to cool and condense the refrigerant. If they get covered with dirt, dust, debris, and pet hair, they will not be able to release heat efficiently and will make your fridge work harder and harder until it eventually gives out. It’s a relatively easy job to clean them. You can purchase a coil cleaning brush to scrub off the coils, vacuuming as you go. Be sure you unplug your fridge anytime you work on it.

Clean your exhaust fans

Your bathroom exhaust fans are important for making sure that condensation doesn’t build up in your bathroom, causing mildew and mold. If it gets full of dust, it can stop working efficiently. You should make sure to clean it once a year. This task requires a little more effort but will be worth it. First, turn the power off to the fan at the circuit box. Remove the grate covering the fan and wash it with a gentle dishwashing liquid and warm water. You can then remove the dust on the fan assembly with compressed air or a vacuum attachment. Once everything is clean and dry, you can replace the grate and turn the power back on.

Clean your dryer vents

If you have ever noticed that your clothes are taking longer and longer to dry, they are coming out of the dryer hot (not warm) to the touch, or you smell something burning, it is time to clean out the vents to your dryer. This is an easy task, but you may need to visit your local home improvement store to purchase a dryer vent cleaning kit. It usually will include a long brush and vacuum attachment that can fit into the vent.

Check for dead limbs and trees around your home

Dead limbs and trees near your home present a real danger. It would be best to do regular checks on the trees close to the home or hire an arborist to do an evaluation.

We hope these tips help as you make your home maintenance list this year. If you have a move coming up, feel free to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online. Our portable storage options are perfect for any move or storage needs you may have.

We look forward to hearing from you!

5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Home

Some plants sit in the sun on a home window sill

Live houseplants are becoming more and more sought after since the global pandemic began. Plants are a great way of bringing the outside in and giving your home a boost of nature. If you haven’t jumped on the houseplant trend, take a look at 5 other reasons we think you need plants in your home.

#1 They can be functional

Not all houseplants are meant to be looked at. You can choose houseplants that are functional to you as well. Aloe vera, eucalyptus, lavender, dwarf lemon trees, and various windowsill herbs are popular choices for people who want houseplants that can also be used in everyday life.

#2 Plants are great for mental health

Studies are showing that houseplants can provide benefits to our mental health. They can lower stress, increase happiness, and even improve our concentration and productivity. In fact, there are even some reports of medical practitioners prescribing potted plants to patients who are experiencing anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

#3 Plants can be an inexpensive way to interior decorate

If you open any interior decorating magazine, you are going to see houseplants. That is because they are a beautiful and inexpensive way to add dimension, color, and life to practically any room. According to the size and type of lighting you have, you can use large trees or even a succulent garden. No matter which direction you go, we know it will add character and color to your space.

#4 Certain plants can help purify the air

In the 1980’s, NASA published a study that indicated plants could have a positive effect on indoor air quality. There have been mixed results on this topic ever since—with some studies showing they do help filter the air, while others say you would need a room full of plants to achieve positive results. But with some careful selection, they couldn’t hurt! Spider plants, English ivies, ferns, snake plants, peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, aloe vera, and pothos are some of the most common varieties of houseplants said to filter different harmful toxins in the air.

#5 Caring for houseplants can become a relaxing hobby

Keeping live houseplants can become a satisfying hobby. The daily act of checking on them, watering, pruning, and inspecting can be very cathartic for some people. Just be sure to not overwhelm yourself with more than you can realistically care for or it may have the opposite effect and become a source of stress.

We hope this helps inspire you to try your hand at keeping houseplants this year! If you have a local or long-distance move coming up, give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation estimate. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about our portable storage containers or how the process works and help make moving and storage simple for you!

Eliminate Safety Concerns on Moving Day

A young couple holds their newborn baby

The average moving day usually passes without incident or injury, but moving can be more physically challenging than most people realize. Protecting yourself and everyone involved with your move should be a top priority on moving day, especially if you have opted for a do-it-yourself move. On moving day, protecting yourself and your loved ones is even more important than protecting your belongings. Find out how to eliminate safety concerns with these top suggestions.

  • Dress appropriately on moving day. Extra thought should go into your shoe selection for the day. Select fully closed shoes that are comfortable but will also offer protection, flexibility, and traction. While you also want your clothing to be comfortable and flexible, avoid wearing clothes that are too baggy as they can easily get caught on things. Wearing high-quality work gloves will give you a better grip on items and protect your hands throughout the day.
  • Sturdy boxes are a must. Weak or overused packing boxes can break down when being carried, leading to an injury to the foot or toe. Before packing your boxes, double tape the bottom with strong packing tape to minimize breakage risk.
  • Don’t overpack your boxes with heavy items. As a general rule, smaller boxes should be used for heavier items such as books. Larger boxes should be used for bulkier items, not necessarily heavier items. Each box should not be packed to exceed over 50 lbs.
  • Prevent injury by using proper lifting techniques. When lifting a box or other heavy item off the ground, squat down, bending at the knees, never at the waist. Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees, not your back. Carry heavy items close to your body while keeping good posture. Avoid lifting heavy objects above shoulder level unless you absolutely must.
  • Hand trucks or dollies are a safer way to move boxes or heavier items. When loading a stack of boxes onto a dolly for safety, be sure you have straight, balanced, fully aligned stacks that won’t topple over once you start rolling. Place heavier boxes at the bottom of each stack for stability. Also, make sure the top box is not blocking your view and that it is at least partially resting against the bars so that it won’t slide off.
  • Eliminate tripping hazards by keeping all hallways and pathways clear on moving day. The outside path leading to the storage container should be kept clear of debris, mud, water, snow, and ice.
  • If your moving day involves children, pets, or anyone with special needs, arrange for help to keep everyone safe. Ask a trusted neighbor, grandparent, or loved one to care for them on moving day or at least part of the day. Moving a day with a baby can be especially challenging. If baby proofing can’t be done right away, create a smaller space in your new home that is safe for the baby until you can get it completed.

If you have a move coming up this spring, give Zippy Shell a call. We would love to explain how our moving and storage services can help you achieve a smooth and stress-free move. We look forward to hearing from you!

DIY Fence Installation Tips

A wood fence in a backyard

More and more people are making improvements to their homes during the pandemic, especially improvements to their outdoor space. With the price of lumber currently at all-time highs, many people have been thinking about doing a DIY fence installation to cut down on costs. Depending on the size of the fence you are installing it can take a weekend to a week or even more to complete, but there are some things you need to know before beginning. Keep reading to see if this is a project you think you can tackle on your own.

  • The first step is to determine if you need any building or zoning permits to build a fence on your property. Also, check your survey to determine exact property lines and find out about any easements. Do some research into your neighborhood bylaws as they may contain specifications for fence height, materials, or appearance.
  • Sharing a fence line across the edge of your property with a neighbor is a good way to share the cost. If you choose to go this route, be sure to have a written agreement in place before beginning any construction. Even if you aren’t going to be sharing a fence with your neighbors, it would be courteous to discuss your plans with them before breaking ground.
  • Always call 811 before you dig. Underground utilities need to be clearly marked to avoid a dangerous situation or a service interruption.
  • Choose your materials wisely. Wood fences are beautiful and economical, but they require regular maintenance. Cedar or redwood is typically used as these woods are more resistant to rot and decay. Always use pressure-treated wood for the posts as the parts that go into the ground are susceptible to insects and moisture. Composite, vinyl, or metal fence materials cost more upfront, but require much less in time and money for maintenance.
  • Mark the layout of your fence clearly with stakes and line. Determine the location of all the posts and mark those spots for digging. Fence posts should be installed a minimum of 36” into the ground. Adding gravel to the bottom of the hole will provide extra drainage that will prevent water from affecting the bottom of your fence posts. Use a level to ensure fence posts are plumb in both directions. The more secure your fence posts, the longer your fence will last. After securing the posts with cement, allow them to dry for 24 hours.
  • Installation of the fence panels will vary depending on the type of fence you choose. Be sure to use galvanized or stainless steel screws and nails as they are resistant to rust and corrosion.
  • Secure the gate. Gates are often the most difficult part of your fence installation as you have to be spot on with your measurements and you often need at least one additional pair of hands to hold it in place while you attach the hardware.
  • If using wood, protect it. Staining helps extend the life of a wooden fence by protecting it from elements that cause rotting.

Take advantage of the warm weather this spring to make some home improvements. We can deliver all-steel, weatherproof storage containers to you for all your home improvement storage needs. If you want a simple way to store your stuff, look no further than Zippy Shell

Tips to Protect your Valuables When You Move

A young couple looks at their laptop

What is valuable to you? Each person asked that question would probably have a different answer. When speaking of material possessions, we all have different ideas of what we consider valuable. When discussing tips to protect your valuables during a move, we will define a valuable as any item that, if broken or lost, would be irreplaceable or hard to replace.

Have an up-to-date inventory list.  Keeping track of all the items you own can be a tedious process, but it can be a lifesaver if you’re ever in a situation where you need to replace your personal property after a loss. Sortly is a digital organization app that lets you catalog your home inventory in several different folders and subfolders to make things easier to locate. It also allows you to record an impressive level of detail for each item you own, such as serial number, purchase date, warranty expiration date, and up to eight photos.

Have adequate insurance for your valuables. The first step is to get an appraisal by a qualified service or individual. In addition to obtaining an appraisal, make sure you have clear photographs or video if you need to file a claim. While researching insurance options for your valuables while being stored or transported, contact your current renters or homeowners insurance company to see what might be offered. While insurance won’t replace the items that get broken, lost, or stolen, at least you know you’ll be financially compensated.

Protect your valuable identity. Unfortunately, identity thieves target those in the process of moving. Phones, tablets, laptops, and computers are a treasure trove of personal data. Make sure that all electronic devices are shut off and password protected. Consider transporting these valuable possessions yourself. Birth certificates, passports, wills, tax returns, financial statements, health insurance, medical records, and other personal documents should stay with you throughout your move. Place these important documents into a locked box or briefcase and transport them with you. This will also give you peace of mind that you can access them at any point during the move if necessary.

Pack and label with care. For valuables that will need to be boxed up and moved with your other belongings, take special care when packing. Choose a sturdy box that is the right size for the object or objects. Use extra packing materials such as packing paper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and tape. This is not an area where you want to scrimp. Think carefully about how you label your boxes. You will want to mark the box as FRAGILE on all sides as a helpful reminder for everyone who touches the box on its journey. But depending on who is helping you move, you might not want to write the contents on the outside. One option is to label all sides of the box with a number corresponding to a handwritten or electronic inventory list. Creating an inventory list gives you more room to describe the contents in detail and keep the contents a secret. This is a list you will not want to lose!

If you still have questions about how to safely and securely move your valuables, give us a call and let us know what you need. Zippy Shell aims to make the moving and storage process as simple as possible!

6 Tips for Moving in With Your Significant Other

A couple unpacks items in their home

If you have decided to move in with your significant other, you may be wondering how you can combine two households smoothly and peacefully. We have put together a few points you should consider before taking the leap. With some preparation, we know you can work together to plan a pleasant and fulfilling move.

  1. OPEN COMMUNICATION: Before you make any tangible moves toward cohabitation, you should have a sit-down conversation to discuss any aspects of living together that are unclear or causing anxiety. Share your expectations, goals, and boundaries for the new living arrangements. If you enter the experience with open communication and understanding, the process will be more enjoyable, and you are less likely to have unexpected roadblocks.
  2. BE PATIENT: Remember, you are taking two separate lives and merging them into one. This is a big deal. Prepare yourselves in advance to be patient and kind with one another as you traverse this new landscape.
  3. BE READY TO COMPROMISE: Any relationship is going to require a degree of compromise. No two people are exactly alike with identical tastes and ideas. Be ready to make concessions and to work on compromises that will make both of you happy.
  4. EVALUATE YOUR STUFF: When two people each have an entire house or apartment worth of stuff, it will take some honest evaluation to decide what gets kept and what goes. You won’t need two sets of dishes, two sets of living room furniture, and so on. Work together to decide what is going to work best for the both of you. You can sell or donate what you don’t need. If you have any sentimental items that you do not have room for, you can put them into secure storage.
  5. DON’T FORGET TO DISCUSS FINANCES: Maybe even more important than going through all your stuff is going through the finances. Expectations on who is paying what should be discussed before the move. If you intend to share a bank account, you should consider creating a budget you both intend to stick to.
  6. ASSIGN HOUSE DUTIES: Okay, so assign is a strong word. Maybe you and your partner don’t need a chore chart on the fridge. You do need to have, at the very least, a loose understanding of who is doing what around the home. Maybe the house chores rotate based on each other’s work schedules or specific tasks they always do. Determine what is going to work best for both of you to keep the household running smoothly.

We hope these tips help as you prepare to move in with your significant other. If you have any other suggestions that we missed, stop by our Facebook page and share with our online Zippy Shell community and us. When you are ready for your move, give us a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online. We offer services for local and long-distance moves, as well as storage for every need. We look forward to hearing from you!

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a New City to Call Home

A young couple looks at their laptop

So, you are thinking about moving to a brand-new city? Maybe your job allows you to work from home, or you have the flexibility to transfer to a location of your choosing. Or perhaps you are just in need of a major change in your life. Before choosing which new city to call your home, we have some essential questions you should ask yourself. Take a look!

  1. Is this a permanent move? Do you plan to live in this new city for just a short time? If so, some issues may not be as important to you. But if you plan for it to be your “forever” home, you will want to make sure you cover all your bases before making such a big decision.
  2. Do I have any limitations? What needs do I have? Before choosing a new city to move to, something you should think about is any limitations that may hinder full flexibility. Maybe you do not have a vehicle and will rely on public transportation. Or perhaps, you do not want more than a certain distance between yourself and your family members. Do you have any chronic medical conditions that require a specialist or frequent doctor visits? If so, you need to make sure that there is someone nearby who will accept you as a patient. Do you have kids or plan to have children in the future? If so, you will need to research school districts and childcare in the cities you are interested in.
  3. Which cities might have friends, family, and activities I enjoy doing? You may want to consider cities where you have loved ones and familiar faces. If that is not a significant deciding factor, perhaps you consider cities where you are close to things you enjoy. If you enjoy museums, theatre, and concerts—this can influence the city you choose to reside in. If you love hiking or biking, you will want to make sure you are near some trails.
  4. Is the cost of living in this area in line with my budget? Different regions of the country can have vastly different cost-of-living expenses. Do your due diligence and research the areas you are interested in before making any decisions. You can do this by looking into rental and purchase prices for the homes in all the areas you are looking at to compare them. Be sure you can afford to live there first!

We wish you great success as you do your research and choose a new city to call your home. When you are ready to move, be sure to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online. We offer a variety of moving and storage options for local and long-distance moves. We can create a move customized to your needs, timeframe, and budget. For more information or to receive a free, no-obligation estimate, give us a call today! We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Cope with Relocation Depression After a Big Move

A couple sits next to the moving boxes in their new home

Everyone knows a big move can be one of life’s most challenging events, both physically and emotionally. So if you feel stressed or anxious during a move, that is perfectly normal. Many times just the sheer physical exhaustion of moving is enough to throw you into a temporary funk. Making a move can indicate a positive change in our life, like a new job or a new relationship. Still, no matter how positive you expect the move to be, there can be pre-existing depression or even a new feeling of depression that moves with us. It can also happen to anyone, so there is no shame if you begin to feel down during a big move. If you have recognized and determined that you are suffering from relocation depression, here are some things to focus on.

  • Feelings of depression or anxiety are often heightened when you are rushed or forced to move quicker than comfortable. Allow plenty of time to prepare for your move and start the process as early as you can. Expect to need time after the move to get back to normal. If you can, book some time off work to unpack and recover from the physical and mental effort. It will give you space to adjust to the changes.
  • Try to carve out space in your new home that will automatically “feel like home.” Set up a favorite rug, blanket, or pictures that make you feel like you are home. Having this little bit of comfort can help your new home feel safer and more settled. Find a way to integrate the things you love in your new home’s design, and you will see how quickly the space will gain personality and warmth.
  • Recreate some of your old routines. You may have a big desire to push ahead with unpacking, but it might be better for your mental health to stay on an established schedule. Little things such as familiar meals, regular exercise routines, reaching out to friends and family that you usually talk to can go a long way towards easing the transition. In other words, do the things that made you happy in your old place, even if you have to do them in a new way.
  • Find something to be excited about in your new city. Put on your tourist hat and head out and do all the touristy things your new city has to offer. This has the added benefit of giving you a chance to familiarize yourself with the city. Walking increases calmness, so explore the walkable sections of your new city on foot!
  • Try to make relationships in your new city by getting involved with local interest groups, taking a class, volunteering, or extending invitations to neighbors and coworkers to hang out. Just be sure to set realistic expectations about the amount of time it takes to foster new relationships; it can be tricky!
  • Above all else, if your relocation depression or anxiety is debilitating or lingers longer than you think it should, speak with a professional. You may need additional help. 

Moving is stressful, and we want to make sure that we go above and beyond what the competition does to ensure your satisfaction. Zippy Shell is here to take the stress out of your move allowing you to focus on your physical and emotional health during this exciting time. Give us a call today to see how we can help make your move simple.

How Social Media Can Help Your Move to a New City

A young woman looks at her phone.

A recent survey by LendingTree shows that nearly half of Americans are considering making a move within the next year. Many of those looking to move are wanting to reduce living expenses. Plus, those who work permanently work remotely now have the flexibility to move closer to family or move to an area of the country where they have always wanted to live. If you are among the many who have decided to move to a new location, we have a list of the many ways social media can help you make a move to a new city.

  • Research – From low crime rates, climate, affordability, to a great education system, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect place to live. Social media can help you research cities and neighborhoods before making your ultimate decision. Twitter is a great news source, and by using a Twitter List, you can create a personalized news feed of information for a specific location. Look for news about local crime, transportation issues, property costs, the housing market, local events, and environmental risks.  
  • Downsizing – When getting ready for a move, it is always a good idea to downsize your belongings. You certainly don’t want to end up making an effort to move items you no longer want or need to your new home. Selling items online on social media sites like Facebook Marketplace has gained a lot of popularity because of its effectiveness and practicality.
  • Moving Supplies – Reaching out to your circle of friends on social media is a great way to score free or reduced-price moving supplies. Plus, neighbors will post about moving boxes that can be picked up for free in local online neighborhood, trade, or garage sale type social media groups.
  • Decorating – One of the best things about moving is the opportunity to decorate a new place! You can find all the home decor and design inspiration your heart desires on Pinterest. Create a “dream home” pinboard and visually organize all of your ideas in one place.
  • Getting Settled – Nearly every town and city has its own social media accounts, where you can learn about everything from community events and trash pickup to parks and local history. You can also read customer reviews and learn about the restaurants, gyms, and community centers available in your new neighborhood via social media. Connect with your neighbors using the social media platform NextDoor. This company utilizes address verification to help ensure that the people you are communicating with are actually your neighbors.

Speaking of social media, we would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. We believe partnering with Zippy Shell for your relocation will give you the power to customize your moving solution to fit any budget and need. Check out Zippy Shell today for assistance with moving or if you need temporary or long-term storage.