The Pros and Cons of Living in an Apartment or Condo

A real estate agent in a room with two young people

Is the apartment or condo life for you? Both are similar in structure, being an individual unit within a larger residential building, but ownership is the main difference between an apartment and a condo. An apartment is rented while an individual owns a condo. Whether you decide to rent or buy, there are significant pros and cons of living in a multi-family dwelling instead of a single-family residence.

Benefits of Living in an Apartment or Condo Community

  • Less Maintenance – Does the thought of spending your free time cleaning, maintaining a home, and doing chores leave you feeling frustrated and empty? Mowing the lawn, pressure washing the driveway, weeding the flower beds, and cutting back the shrubs will all become a thing of the past in an apartment or condo.
  • Reduced Utilities – Living in an apartment or condo usually means reducing the square footage of your living space which should equate to lower utility bills.
  • Amenities – Many complexes offer upgraded amenities to what you would find in a single-family dwelling. Things like a pool, fitness gym, walking trails, pet spa, tennis courts, clubhouse, beefed-up security, and even a coffee shop can be found on site.
  • Community – Often, living in an apartment or condo complex fosters a greater sense of community. When you live in such close quarters with your neighbors, it is easier to get to know them and spend time with them.

Drawbacks of Living in an Apartment or Condo Community

  • Smaller Dwellings – Space comes at a premium in apartment or condo life. You may be at a point in your life where “bigger is not always better” and “less is more.” But it would be beneficial to look at how you use your living space to determine if everything would fit your new life. Think about any hobbies that require an open-air space like a patio or garage, as those are much harder to find in these communities.
  • Additional Fees – The lack of maintenance and excellent amenities usually come with a price tag in the form of HOA fees or rental fees. You will need to decide if the ease of living and added extras are worth the added fees. Factor these costs into the complete financial summary of each option.
  • Noise Level – Sharing walls, floors, and the ceiling with neighbors can come with its own set of challenges. Many communities have clear expectations of noise regulation hours. Are you willing to abide by the noise regulations and do you have reasonable expectations for the noise levels of your neighbors?
  • Lack of Control – In an apartment or condo, you will not have complete control over decisions regarding building repair, building upgrades, and even some community issues. Many people enjoy not worrying about these items, but others find the lack of control too hard of a pill to swallow. 

Zippy Shell is the perfect solution for those looking to downsize or move into a smaller space. With portable storage, you can forego the hassle of having to drive your extra belongings to a storage location. A storage unit can be delivered to your home, where you can load your belongings into it directly. You can cut your work in half by only loading and unloading one time into portable storage containers versus multiple times with self-storage. Contact us today for answers to any questions you may have!

Decluttering Tasks You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less

An overwhelmed woman sits on a couch in her disorganizaed living room

Can you imagine the freedom you would feel living a clutter-free life? Of course, you can! The problem of clutter leaves us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. But where do you get started in eliminating the clutter? Our best advice is to start with one area at a time and finish de-cluttering that area before moving on to another. This will give you a sense of accomplishment as you see your successes little by little. Making progress towards a clutter-free life doesn’t have to consume your entire day. Check out the list of decluttering tasks below that you can complete in 30 minutes or less.

Choose one a day and watch how quickly the clutter disappears. Arm yourself with a trash bag and a donate box/bag for each task. When your donation box/bag is full, take it to your car and then donate immediately – out of sight, out of mind.

  • Tackle the dressers in your home one drawer at a time. Take everything out of the drawer, evaluate, and only put back your favorites. The rest can be donated or recycled. Set a thirty-minute timer and see how many drawers you can complete.
  • Purge your beauty products. Gathering all your makeup and beauty products into one area will show how much you have. We are all guilty of trying out products, not loving them, but not wanting to get rid of them because it feels wasteful. 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.
  • Take on the task of decluttering your freezer 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.
  • Challenge yourself to declutter your pantry in 30 minutes or less. 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 members and neighbors or donating what you don’t need.
  • Declutter the catchall area under your kitchen sink. When was the last time you even looked in there? Pull everything out and give the cupboard itself a cleaning. Next, replace only the items you use and are in good condition.
  • Clear your desktop. Your productivity and effectiveness can be lowered when you work in a cluttered environment. Sort and file papers, then put all other items in their respective spaces.

There are no right or wrong ways to declutter, and there is no single set of rules that you must follow. Just do what works best for you. If you own items that you don’t have room for but want to keep, a mobile storage unit may be exactly what you need. Pack your extra items in a Zippy Shell and send them off to a secure, climate-controlled storage center. Then sit back and breathe a sigh of relief in your clutter-free sanctuary of a home!

Housing Considerations for an Aging Relative

An older woman discusses real estate options.

Many families struggle with the best way to adapt housing to help an aging relative. Whether this means making modifications to keep them in their own home, moving a parent into your home, or moving with an aging parent into a new place altogether, there are many factors to consider. Fortunately, you can take steps throughout the entire process to make the experience easier for your aging relative.

The first step is to have an open discussion. The best thing you can offer to yourself and your aging relative is a candid assessment of the situation. Even if a sudden illness or a financial setback seems to be forcing a decision, it’s worth exploring how that decision will impact the entire family.

Creating a Safe Environment

If the aging relative is in overall good health, there are many things that can help seniors continue to live independently. If you need to make modifications in the home for an older adult, consider hiring professionals with accessibility improvement experience who can complete the work successfully.

  • Decluttering helps clear out rooms and walkways, giving older adults more room to move, hopefully reducing the possibility of trips and falls.
  • Create a more open environment, ensuring all hallways, stairs, and paths are well lit and clear of random objects.
  • Moving kitchen items that are frequently used to lower shelves can prevent older adults from reaching and losing balance or using stools or stepladders to reach what they need.
  • Set the thermostat on the water heater no higher than 120° F to prevent accidental burns.
  • Replace standard doorknobs with lever handles that are easier for older adults to grasp.
  • Thoroughly inspect the stairs looking for uneven steps or wobbly floorboards. Apply non-skid treads on the steps if necessary. You can also paint stair tops contrasting colors, making them easier to see.
  • Install grab bars around the tub, shower, and toilet. You can also get a unique shower chair or bench and a raised toilet seat.

Moving an Aging Relative

Moving is a stressful life event, and it can be even more stressful for older adults. Aging relatives may need a lot of help and support during a move, but they are usually the expert on exactly what they need. Also, be prepared for the emotions. If the move requires a significant amount of downsizing, it can be emotionally and physically challenging. You can eliminate some negative emotions by making sure your aging relative has a fair amount of control over as many aspects of the move as is reasonable. Having others around to share memories with can make the process less painful. Also, engage in regular talks about current feelings and fears of what may come.

Your communication, patience, and support will help make the transition smoother for your aging relative. The most important thing to focus on is their physical and emotional health.

If you are moving an elderly relative to a new home, Zippy Shell is a terrific moving and storage option for you! Zippy Shell can service both local and long-distance moves, no matter how big your move might be. If you need time in between your move or aren’t ready to move just yet, we offer flexible storage options as well. Go online and get a free quote today and see how we can make moving and storage simple for you and your family!

Deep Cleaning List to Tackle Before and During the Holidays

A woman cleans in her house

There is certainly enough to stress about before and during the holidays without worrying about a messy house. Use this list to welcome the holidays with a home that is clean and cozy giving you more time to celebrate and create traditions rather than clean! Plus, it is always easier to have a literal clean slate before putting up any holiday decorations.

  • Most ovens are self-cleaning but usually require a more detailed cleaning a few times a year. The self-clean option doesn’t reach the gunk around door hinges and frames and the crumb-catching space around the oven. Make sure to remove racks and clean separately. To give your turkey, ham, or other holiday main course a clean room to cook, follow your manufacturer’s directions for best practices.
  • It seems like an appliance like a dishwasher would be self-cleaning, 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 by placing a dishwasher-friendly cup or bowl on the top rack filled with about two-thirds of white vinegar, then running 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.
  • Before holiday baking begins, it is time to do a deep clean on the 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 for the best-tasting holiday meals.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer to make room for all the holiday leftovers. Tackle this task the day before trash day so that if you do have to throw out the mystery or expired items, it does not have to sit in the trash for too long. Working in sections, take food out to clean away crumbs and spills inside the refrigerator. Using clear bins is a great way to get this area organized.
  • Wash blinds, curtains, and other window treatments to remove dust and lingering odors.
  • Clean in and around your furniture. Remove all cushions and vacuum the creases where pet hair and popcorn love to get lost. Move the furniture around to clean underneath it and behind it if it sits against a wall.
  • Dust all the areas that usually get overlooked. Focus on areas like air vents, ceiling fan blades, window sills, crown molding, and baseboards.
  • All the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the floors, and the kitchen cabinets/counters will also need some attention before the holidays. Make it easier by grabbing the rest of the family, putting on some holiday music, and tackling a few of these items each day.

We hope this deep cleaning list will be helpful to you as you get ready for a wonderful holiday season filled with long-lasting memories. As always, Zippy Shell is prepared to partner with you if you need a storage solution or are looking at a local or long-distance move. Contact us online for more information on our moving and storage options.

4 Strategies to Live Large in Your Small Home

A home with a red door located in a suburban neighborhood

Small space living is a trend that is becoming more popular, but living in a small home does not have to pinch your style. Everyone wants their home to feel open and welcoming, no matter the size. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can find a way to live large in your small home.

Get creative with multi-purpose furniture. This will not only save space, but it will also save money as there’s no need to purchase multiple furniture pieces if you can have one item that can do more than one function. For instance, swap out your lounge chair or sofa for a sleeper couch. Replace your coffee table with an ottoman to double up as extra seating for guests. Try a room divider that includes built-in shelving. Buy tables and consoles with drawers to incorporate more storage space. Wall-mounted furniture is also another great space-saving option. It is easy to find wall-mounted tables and desks that pull down when needed.

Look up! Create storage where there was none by adding floating shelves to your walls utilizing the vertical space. Mounted storage cabinets are also a great space saver and give you more storage options. Televisions and lamps are other items that can be mounted on the wall to help turn wall space into floor space. Decorating the walls with subtle vertical stripes can make a low ceiling seem higher by drawing the eye up. The same effect applies to a fun light fixture, crown molding, tall window treatments, or high shelves.

Keep scale in mind. A larger room can handle furnishings and decor that are larger in scale. But the smaller the room is, the more petite the furnishings and decor should be. Low-slung furniture looks proportionally better in rooms with lower ceilings. Remember to leave “white space” in a room giving the eye a place to rest. A room rarely looks good when every square inch of it is filled. In the kitchen, slimmed-down appliances, including a 24-inch-wide gas range and a 27-inch-wide refrigerator, can give a small space a gourmet feel.

Be selective with patterns. Large areas of pattern can make a small space look busy. Try layering smaller patterns over larger textured pieces to lighten the room’s look. Contrasting colors or an abundance of dark colors in a small space can also feel overwhelming and like the room is closing in on you. Conversely, a monochromatic color scheme or even varying shades of the same color can make your space feel larger. Soft, pale, neutral colors on the walls and floor will give the biggest illusion of space.

Zippy Shell is the perfect solution for those looking to downsize their home or move into a small space. With portable storage, you can forego the hassle of having to drive your stuff back and forth to an off-site storage location. With Zippy Shell, we will deliver a storage unit to your home, where you can load your belongings into it directly. Make your moving and storage needs simple with Zippy Shell today!

Avoid Moving-Related Stress with These 5 Tips

A couple looks at a computer in their home.

At Zippy Shell, we understand just how stressful a move can be, whether you are moving cross-country or just relocating one town away. Even thinking about the enormity of a move can bring on stress. Here are a few tips to help you overcome the anxiety of moving-related stress and help you tackle this like a pro!

Get Organized!

There is a reason why the word ‘’organized” or “organization” is consistently mentioned regarding moving and moving-related stress. When you plan ahead and implement organizational tools, your chances of a successful move (and less stress!) are much greater!

Implement a Schedule and Stick with It!

Whether you use an online calendar and to-do list, or go “old-school” with an Erin Condren LifePlanner, use what system works best for you to stay organized. Get the family involved. Post a hanging calendar on the fridge and circle essential dates (the day you want your kids to pack up their rooms, moving day, utility cut-off date, etc.). If you are a visual person, seeing the dates right in front of you in bright colors can effectively remind you and your family!

Kick Out Procrastination!

If you wait until the last minute to plan your move, you will be scrambling to finish, and this will undoubtedly cause stress. This isn’t the time to procrastinate. Give yourself plenty of time in your schedule to find a moving provider (or round up some friends and family), pack up your belongings, change addresses, disconnect utilities, etc. Procrastinating will not only cause stress, but it will also cost you money.

Enlist Friends and Family to Help!

If you are lucky to have friends and family nearby, enlist their help! They are a vital resource on moving days and will help relieve some moving day stress! Enlist those that are the most helpful. If your fraternity brother still dresses like he’s going to a big hair 80’s band concert and just came for free pizza and beer, you may want to leave him off the list. Be sure and offer your gratitude, and some food and beverage, to those around you that offer their help!

Prepare Mentally and Physically to Move!

Regardless of the enormity of your move, whether moving cross-country or across town, the process can still be stressful. If you are physically prepared (get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy and fueling breakfast, be in healthy shape), you will be ready to tackle your move easier. Mentally you have to push out any anxiety or trepidations about your move and focus on the positives of this overwhelming task. Maybe you are moving closer to family or closer to the beach! Focusing on the positive can help push out the negative!

Take these five tips to heart when preparing for your next move, and you will be relieved to see how much easier your move can be! If you aren’t organized and tend to procrastinate, identify someone in your family or even a close friend to help you along the way. Share these tips with them, and you might be surprised how efficient you can become! Be sure to give Zippy Shell a call if you need any moving and storage help!

Don’t Forget These Tasks when you are 30-Days Away from a Long-Distance Move

A couple sits and looks at a computer and paper

The countdown has begun! You are only 30 days out from your big, long-distance move. Whether it’s across the country or international, you won’t want to forget these essential tasks. This is the point in time when your insurance, utilities, and more may get overlooked in the hustle of your other moving responsibilities. Let’s review some things you still need to keep in mind when you are about 30 days away from the new chapter in your life!

Find and return! Do you have library books, game rentals, or movies that need to be returned? Now is the time to gather them. The last thing you want is for those things to make it in your suitcase and travel 2,000 miles only to realize you need to mail it back (and pray it makes it where it’s supposed to go so you don’t get charged).

Update your voter registration. States across the map differ in their voter registration guidelines. So, if there is an important election that you wish to be a part of, it will be vital to do your research ahead of time. Sometimes, it can take weeks to get your status reassigned to another state.

Research new doctors for the family. If you haven’t had time to speak with your new neighbors, coworkers, or friends near your new place of residence, now is a good idea to start looking for a new doctor. You don’t want to wait until someone in the family is ill before you start looking. It will also be helpful to have your patient records transferred ahead of time!

Consider your new utility options. Your new residence may have several options for cell phone carriers and cable and internet service companies. It will pay you to look for specials and discounts ahead of time so that you’re not caught in a last-minute trap and choose the most expensive one. Calling ahead to have your utilities ready on move-in day is essential to a stress-free move. Oh! And be sure to notify your current service providers that you’ll be leaving soon. Some require a 30-day notice so that you do not get charged an additional month.

Change of address. Along those same lines, now is the time to file a change of address with the Post Office. You don’t need important mail being delivered to your old residence. This form may be completed online at the USPS website.

Consider your insurance coverage. It may be time to start the process of shifting your insurance to a new state. You may also want to think about purchasing moving insurance, so your belongings are covered during the long-distance move. It may be pricey, but it can save you some stress if the worst were to happen.

Continue to pack! If you haven’t begun packing, now is the time to pack non-essential items and round up vital financial records. Documents and belongings that you will not need to handle over the next month can be stored now (seasonal décor, holiday dishes, etc.). As for personal documents such as immunization records, passports, and other financial items, you might need to access them quickly, so place them in the luggage you plan to carry on your person.

Check out Zippy Shell if you require moving services. Our portable containers are perfect for any move, local or long-distance. And if you need more time to unpack or set your home up, we even offer temporary or long-term storage. Give us a call today to see how we can help you!

6 Ways You Can Reduce Your Moving Costs

A couple carries a box through their home

The expenses of a move can add up quickly and wreak havoc on your wallet. Moving supplies, moving company fees, and time off from work all add up after a while. And if you are moving into a new home, you can expect down payments, closing costs, and broker fees! With a bit of research, planning, and patience, you can reduce moving costs with the following six tips.

  1. Eliminate & Save: A move is a great time to eliminate clutter and items you don’t need. Moving companies base their prices on things you are shipping, so lighten the load and save some cash. Toss, donate, sell or store these items. Remember, donations count as a tax deduction.
  2. Savvy Scheduling: If possible, avoid scheduling during the peak moving season (summer). The least expensive time of the year to schedule a move is between October and April. Discover additional savings by scheduling during the middle of the week or the middle of the month.
  3. Packing Supplies: Avoid hefty fees from moving companies and provide your own packing supplies. Use containers you may already have, such as suitcases and plastic bins. For padding, use everyday household items such as blankets, towels, t-shirts, and socks. Ask for free used boxes at grocery and beverage retailers.
  4. Portable Storage & Delivery: An option to consider instead of hiring a moving company is to get portable storage and delivery. Zippy Shell can deliver portable storage to your door, pick it up, and deliver it to your new home. And you’ll save money packing it yourself.
  5. DIY Move: One more cost-effective way to move is to pack and load your stuff yourself. Enlisting friends and family to help can make the process smoother and even a bit more fun. Be sure to reward their efforts with breaks, snacks, and meals. Sandwiches and pizza are great options for feeding a hungry crew on a budget.
  6. Tax Deduction: Save your receipts and deduct your moving expenses from your taxes if you relocate at least 50 miles for a new job. You can deduct the cost of packing, transporting, or storing your household items from next year’s tax return.

Consider these essential tips to help reduce moving costs during your next move. Saving cash getting your stuff shipped will free up a few bucks to spruce up your new home or to save for a rainy day! And if you are looking to schedule a storage container or seek moving advice, contact Zippy Shell today!

8 Ways to Create a Welcoming Environment in Your New Home

A couple holds each other as they look at a house

Congratulations on your new home! The boxes are unpacked, and you are getting settled into a new routine. Now that the hard part is over, you can focus on the fun part. Turning your new place into a home that will feel welcoming to your family and visitors can be very exciting. If you are having a hard time deciding where to begin, start with the tips below.

Start with the curb appeal. People are drawn inside your home when your curb appeal is on point. Have a well-manicured lawn, pressure wash everything until it shines, take care of any needed exterior repairs, use vibrant pops of color in your entryway, and make sure your external illumination is ready to welcome.

Create a feeling of coziness with your lighting. Aim to have lots of soft light sources rather than a single bright one. Turn off the overhead lighting and strategically place lamps for a warm, festive glow. Place lit candles (or use flameless candles) throughout the house. Using mirrors can help to magnify the warmth of your light sources.

Decorate your home to reflect your personality and style. Find a way to integrate the things you love in the design of your new home, and you will see how quickly the space will gain personality and warmth. Your guests will take notice and feel welcomed if your house matches your personality.

Liven up your home with some color! Don’t hold back on using a prominent, expressive color for your new home if that is what appeals to you. Any color can look good as long as it truly suits your style. Of course, you can always paint an accent wall to introduce a pop of color without going all out. Choose a wall that is seen the moment you enter the space for the most impact.

Incorporate some live greenery. Plants are a fantastic and inexpensive way to add color and life to a room. From tall leafy plants to fragrant flowers, experiment with different plants to bring life to your rooms and make them more inviting. Plants are not only a beautiful decorating tool, but they are proven to balance humidity and clean household air as well. 

Texturize your home. Adding different textures to your home design is a simple trick to make your home more welcoming. Surrounding yourself and guests with items like fluffy carpet, textured rugs, smooth wooden furniture, faux fur pillows, and other cozy items will make them feel comfortable. 

Create pleasing aromas and fragrances. Welcome home your family and other guests with a pleasant aroma. Scented candles, essential oils, fragrance sticks, fresh flowers, or fresh baked goods will make your home feel super inviting!

Put family photos on display. While artwork you adore certainly has its place, it is the family photos and kid-made art that will give your home a personal touch. Hallways and stairwells can be ideal for family photo galleries making it easier to stop and get a closer look. 

Most importantly, enjoy your new home and the new adventure it brings. Zippy Shell will always be here to help you with any future moves or provide storage as you are getting set up in your new life! Give us a call if you need moving or storage services in the future and see how we can make it simple for you!

6 Things You Must Do When You Move into a New Place

A family brings boxes into a home.

Whether it’s a new home or a new apartment, there are a few things that should be at the top of your to-do list on move-in day. Zippy Shell has compiled a vital checklist of these essential things so that everyone in your household feels safe and comfortable from day one.

  1. Clean it! Even if you’re moving into a brand new space, it’s essential to make sure it’s clean (and sanitary). You’ll want to pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms where things can get extra dirty. Put some real elbow grease into place to make it shine. This will be not only beneficial for your health but also for your mental state of mind.
  2. Change the locks. “Better safe than sorry,” as the saying goes. It’s great to be a trustworthy person, but when you place all of your belongings in a new home that someone else has access to, you might want to be cautious. Plus, who knows to whom the last owner gave a key? It’s always a good idea to be safe! You’re not only protecting your assets but your family, too! A professional locksmith can have those locks rekeyed in no time. Set this up early in the moving process. (And while you’re at it, check those smoke detectors as another safety precaution. Make sure they are in working order.)
  3. Figure out furniture placement! Hey, the movers are about to arrive, and you’re going to want to take advantage of that muscle while you have it. You don’t want to be caught trying to move a sleeper sofa by yourself after everyone has gone home. Masking tape is a great way to mark the exact spots for your sofa, refrigerator, grandma’s huge bookcase, and even Fido’s doghouse. (Pro tip: Have some cash on hand to tip these guys!)
  4. Does the Wi-Fi work? Oh man, it’s true, and we don’t know what to do without it. Hopefully, you’ve thought ahead and had your utilities switched over by move-in day, including your Internet Service Provider. Remember, lots of new gadgets, including doorbells, thermostats, and security devices, work off Wi-Fi. So, as soon as you arrive, have someone in the family plug in the modem/router and get things set up. You will have plenty of time to troubleshoot before everyone’s ready to watch a movie tonight.
  5. Locate and inspect utilities. This is mostly in case of an outage or emergency water leak, but it’s good to know where they are at the outset of moving in. We’ve seen folks put heavy pieces of furniture in front of electrical panels, which makes them impossible to find or extremely difficult to get to in the dark. Keep these things in mind as you arrange furniture and store large items during move-in.
  6. Order some food. My goodness, after a long few days of moving and unpacking, the last thing you will feel like doing is cooking. Check for some coupons to some local restaurants and order food for the crew that’s been helping you make your move. It will be an excellent way to thank everyone for their assistance, and it means you won’t have to wash any dishes.

There’s plenty that goes on during move-in, but a few essential things that should come first. We hope you find our checklist handy and if you need extra storage while you’re getting everything situated, please think of Zippy Shell’s options for portable storage.