5 Tips to Help You Safely Move Your Aquatic Pets

Fish

Many people are familiar with the benefits of having a pet, especially a dog or cat. But you may not know that there are also benefits of having an aquatic pet, specifically fish. According to Deborah Cracknell, a marine biologist, “Fish tanks are often associated with attempts at calming patients in doctors’ offices and dental waiting rooms.” Besides helping to alleviate anxiety, here are some more benefits of our aquatic friends:

  • Helps people with insomnia
  • Helps decrease high blood pressure
  • Helps people suffering from dementia
  • Helps kids with behavioral problems
  • Helps children learn about biology & chemistry
  • Helps teach children responsibility & inspire learning

Now that we know how beneficial it is for pet owners of all ages to have aquatic pets, let’s learn how to safely move them to a new destination. If you have more specific questions regarding the health of your fish during a move, we recommend you contact a veterinarian with aquatic pet knowledge.

Tip #1: Before the move, do not feed your fish for approximately 24-48 hours. Don’t worry! Healthy fish can survive a week or more without food.

Tip #2: Have the proper materials to store your fish in for the move. For short moves, bag the fish individually and keep in a dark place. For long-distance moves, add pure oxygen to the bag. Maintain a normal temperature for your fish by storing in a sealed cooler. Do not leave fish in extreme heat or cold.

Tip #3: Be sure and pack your aquarium last and unpack first to help get your fish back into its normal habitat quicker. Take measures to safely pack your aquarium to avoid damage.

Tip #4: To preserve as much of the good bacteria needed to maintain the tank environment and cut down the cycle time for your tank, store as much of the water and rocks from the tank as you can. If your move lasts longer than six hours, you will need to do a complete refresh of the water and system.

Tip #5: When you reach your destination, set up your aquarium as soon as possible. Allow fish to acclimate to the new temperature and environment by keeping them in the bag, in the tank, for approximately 60 minutes. Once you release them from the bag, they may act a little unusual as they get use to their new habitat. Go ahead and feed them as well.

Continue enjoying the many benefits of your aquatic pets by reducing the risk of harm during a move with these tips. And remember, if you need to store some items that aren’t making the move with you, consider a climate-controlled facility with Zippy Shell!

Top Questions from Our Customers: The “How”

Couple unpacks and uses a checklist

Have you ever wondered how the Zippy Shell process works? How does one receive their container or how does our storage process work? We have the answers to some of those frequently asked questions for you!

A recurring inquiry is a pretty basic one: “How does your process work?”
It’s so easy! You pick the appropriate size container for your project and we will deliver it in our Zippy Shell, which is our trailer on wheels. We bring it directly to you, and you are allotted three days to pack it full. The container has a convenient ramp that pulls out for easy loading. Then, when you’re all done, we’ll swing back by to pick it up and store it at our secure, climate-controlled facility.

Deliveries are usually between 8:00am and noon. Zippy Shell process may vary location to location. To find out the hours of your local Zippy Shell, give us a call at 888-947-7974!

We should add that for insurance reasons, we only allow our certified drivers to move the Zippy Shell. We park it for you and then we place a block on the hitch so that no one can hook up and steal your belongings.

Lots of customers also ask, “Can I just bring my belongings to your facility?”
Sure thing! We can pull a container for you at our facility for you to load on site (and this will save you a delivery fee, too).

Now the big question: “How does payment work?”
Zippy Shell secures 50% of your fees two business days prior to your initial delivery date. The other half is billed once your portable storage container arrives at the Zippy Shell destination warehouse, or on the 31st day after your initial origin delivery date, whichever dates comes first.

Finally, “What if I get the one container and I need another one?”

We will be happy to bring another one to you. We can let you fill up that first one, and when we come to pick that up, we’ll bring an empty Zippy Shell with us for you to load. Just give us a call and let us know what you need and we will make it as simple as possible for you to meet your needs.

So, there you have it! Moving and storage with Zippy Shell is super convenient. Your first step is getting a quote. We are eager to hear about your upcoming move, so that we may provide an affordable quote!

How to Properly Clean Out a Fireplace in Your Piedmont Home

A nice fire going in a home fireplace.

Curling up in front of a wood burning fireplace is one way to stay cozy when the weather turns cold in the Piedmont Triad. If you are lucky enough to own a wood burning fireplace, you know that the comfort and warmth it provides requires a bit of maintenance from time to time. The National Fire Protection Association recommends both your chimney and fireplace be inspected for safety and cleaned annually. Creosote, which is an oily wood-tar by-product that can cling to chimney walls, can cause fires to flare out of control. If you are searching for a potential new property in the Piedmont Triad, be sure to ask for details about recent chimney inspections and cleanings. 

In addition to the annual heavy duty cleaning of the chimney, you will want to regularly clean out your fireplace to keep it looking tidy and keep it burning cleanly. These steps can take it from filthy to flawless!

  1. Wait at least 12 hours after your last fire before attempting to clean a fireplace in order to give all of the ashes and embers a chance to fully cool down.
  2. Wear old clothes or an apron because this can be a messy task. Also, it is a good idea to put on gloves, a face mask, and protective eyewear to keep the soot from irritating your lungs and skin.
  3. Lay a plastic tarp or old sheet in front of the fireplace to catch the mess.
  4. Using a handheld broom, sweep any soot and ash from the floor and walls of your fireplace and collect it into a dustpan. Dump the ash into a heavy duty paper or plastic bag as you work. Do this gently to keep as much dust as possible from flying around. Pro tip: Sprinkle a handful of used coffee grounds on the ashes to minimize flyaways.
  5. For good measure, you may want to vacuum the area to catch any remaining dust. But don’t forget to clean the vacuum brush attachment afterwards – you don’t want to spread soot around the rest of your home!
  6. Now it is time to scrub! Water and hearth cleaner work well for the brick and iron parts of your fireplace. But if you have brick front or facing that’s more than 50 years old, just use water with a light scouring. Old brick is more susceptible to crumbling. For marble and stone, scrub with water and dishwashing detergent. Use old rags to wipe each area after scrubbing.
  7. If you fireplace features glass doors, they can be cleaned with a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar. You can also put the discarded ashes to good use by sprinkling some onto the towel to act as a light, natural abrasive.

Once everything is clean and back in its place, you will need to decide what to do with your ashes. If you would prefer a professional clean your chimney, make sure they are a certified specialist before hiring them. You can find a certified chimney sweep technician near you by visiting the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website and search for a pro today, as well as get other helpful tips.

If you’re looking for a place to dispose of your ashes and your Piedmont Triad home has a garden, we recommend spreading them there. Ashes are a great source of calcium, potassium, and other nutrients for plants and they also repel some garden pests! If you are making plans on moving to a home in the Piedmont Triad area that has a nice fireplace to curl up by, then give Zippy Shell of the Piedmont Triad a call! We would love to make you moving and storage needs simple!

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

Woman cleans her living room.

How many times have you heard New Year/New You? It’s true that millions of us make New Year’s resolutions, but what about resolutions that focus on your space? After all, your space is where you spend a lot of downtime, friend time and family time. Creating an inviting space, whether in your current one, or in a new one, could mean a happier and healthier New Year. It isn’t too late to amend or add to your New Year’s Resolutions and make a better home environment!

Bravely declutter: Take a moment to consider what came into your space last year that maybe wasn’t needed – the extra decorative box picked up at the vintage store, more coffee mugs received from co-workers during Secret Santa or yet another blue shirt because you had a coupon. Be courageous enough to edit down your personal belongings. Donate duplicate items and recycle things that don’t work or are in disrepair. If you aren’t sure about items, consider putting them in temporary storage with Zippy Shell and make the decision after living without them for a while.

Spruce up a single area or a single item: Sometimes planning for an update feels overwhelming. Consider focusing on a single objective in the New Year and make it happen. Ideas include:

  • New paint in one or more rooms
  • A new rug or some new flooring
  • Updating a single new fixture (like in the kitchen or bathroom)
  • Repairing something that’s been broken for a while
  • Adding fresh mulch or a few new plants to the landscape
  • Painting your door or adding a new wreath

Plan to recycle and save more energy (or recycle more): Recycling not only feels good, it does good. If you currently recycle, consider upping your game. If you don’t recycle, consider starting small until it becomes a habit. Small starts include unplugging electronic devices when not in use to reduce using phantom or vampire energy, taking reusable bags to the market, saving and recycling all of your plastics and cans during the week, opting for paperless billing or purchasing a reusable water bottle instead of buying water and drinks in plastic bottles. Next steps could include composting, buying local and eating seasonal and creating your own unique gift paper rather than purchasing wrapping paper or gift bags for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

Stay safe: Your space is your haven. Keep it safe by:

  • Checking for dryer lint. Most people know to check the lint filter at the front of the dryer, but did you know that there may be vents and ducts behind the dryer that could be a hazard and need attention, too?
  • Testing your detectors. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are just two of the items in your space that need routine tests.
  • Changing a/c filters. Checking and changing the filters keeps your unit running more efficiently.
  • Checking for a fire extinguisher. Do you have an extinguisher in the kitchen? How about upstairs, if you have another floor? Check them and any expiration dates they may have.

As the New Year rolls in take time to consider more than just personal resolutions. Make a few resolutions for your space, too.  If you find you need extra space, give Zippy Shell a call! We would be happy to help you safely store some of those extra belongings!

9 Tips to Help You Move with Houseplants

A woman cares for plants in home.

According to Webmd.com, houseplants act as natural filters to catch allergens and other airborne particles. In layman’s terms, rooms with houseplants have less dust and mold than rooms without. Other benefits of houseplants, besides aesthetic appeal, include first aid, relaxation, air purification and more! So, whether or not you have a green thumb, you have a reason to make a trip to your local nursery! But now that you have a move scheduled, there are steps to take to ensure your houseplants arrive at the new destination safely. Here are nine tips to help you before, during and after a move.

  1. Transfer into plastic holders: Transfer plants from decorative pots into plastic holders to avoid breaking. Wrap breakable decorative pots in paper, bubble wrap or linens and pack tightly away for the move.
  2. Inspect plants: Inspect and treat any plants with pests. You don’t want to transfer them to your next destination.
  3. Prune away: Keep your plants healthy and looking better by trimming back any dead or protruding limbs.
  4. Large plants: The safest way to move with large plants is to use packing paper or sheets to gently cover them. This will help protect leaves, limbs and branches from bending or breaking during the move. If moving during chilly temperatures, this will also help protect the plant from the cold.
  5. Pack in boxes: To help avoid plants from falling over, place them snugly in appropriately sized boxes. Place newspaper or bubble wrap around the base of the plant so it won’t shift during the move.
  6. Extended travel: If traveling more than a few days for your move, avoid putting plants in the trunk of your vehicle. Keep them near a window if possible so the plants have sunlight and fresh air to keep them healthy.
  7. Unpack first: Unpack your plants first when you arrive to your new destination. Remember plants are living things so they need to breathe and adjust to the new environment.
  8. Remove from box: If a large plant is stored in a box, cut the bottom of the box and carefully lift the box over the top so it will slide with the grain of the leaves and branches to avoid breakage.
  9. Adjustment period: Once you have moved in and established a location for your plant, water it on a regular basis and give it time to adjust to its new environment. It should recover and acclimate to its new surroundings in a few days and continue to thrive.

Continue enjoying the many benefits of your houseplants by reducing the risk of damage during a move with these nine tips. And remember, if you need to store some items that aren’t making the move with you, consider a climate-controlled facility with Zippy Shell! We can also help you make a local or long-distance move possible! Whatever you needs, Zippy Shell makes moving and storage simple.

Zippy Shell Continues Support of Wreaths Across America

A Zippy Shell mesh container with wreaths stored inside

For its fifth year in a row, Zippy Shell is proud to donate portable storage units to Wreaths Across America this December. Zippy Shell, in conjunction with sister company, 1-800-PACK-RAT, is providing containers for storage in preparation for Wreaths Across America Day on December 14th, with Zippy Shell donating six portable storage units this year.

Formed in 2007, Wreaths Across America was formed by Veterans and other groups and individuals with a simple mission in mind: Remember. Honor. Teach. In 2008, Wreaths Across America participated in helping lay over 100,000 wreaths at military cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, with the help of over 60,000 volunteers. Thanks to these efforts, Congress officially declared December 13th as “Wreaths Across America Day.”

Wreaths Across America has continued its amazing work, and in 2014, the organization and its network of volunteers laid over 700,000 wreaths at over 1,000 locations across the United States and abroad. Other sites the group has visited include Pearl Harbor, Bunker Hill, and the sites of the September 11th attacks. The group also met its goal of covering the entirety of Arlington National Cemetery in 2014 as well, laying 226,525 wreaths across the hallowed grounds. The work was made possible through the donations, in-kind contributions, and fundraising from 2,047 different groups.

Today, the wreath laying is still held on the second or third Sunday in December, with Wreaths Across America making the trek from Harrington, MA all the way to Arlington National Cemetery in what is known now as the world’s largest Veteran’s parade.

This year, Zippy Shell and 1-800-PACK-RAT will be donating a total of eight units, giving Wreaths Across America convenient and safe storage right where they need it, when they need it. These units will be used to store items for Wreaths Across America’s wreath laying at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX. The group will have approximately 20,000 volunteers to help lay around 50,000 wreaths on December 14th.

If you would like to learn more about Wreaths Across America and how you can donate your time or money to the organization, please visit their website.

5 Common Fire Hazards in Your Home

Family plays with cardboard box while unpacking

Home fires are dangerous and can result in devastating property damage and even loss of life. You may consider your home fire-safe, but you should always prepare for the unexpected. Having a fire-safety checklist with you when you are evaluating potential new properties or when updating/remodeling is a great way to help you spot potential hazards that might not be so obvious.

There are several common fire hazards, though, that you can easily identify. Taking steps now to remedy any of these hazards could save a life in the future.

  • Electrical Cords – The first step to reducing fire hazards caused by electrical cords is to make sure all major appliances are plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet and not an extension cord. This includes refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, and other large appliances. Keep in mind, too, that a surge suppressor is not made for heavy loads. Also, make sure all electrical cords are in good working condition and not broken, cut or frayed. Even old extension cords that look as if they are in good working condition may need to be replace from time to time.
  • Heating – To prevent fires, have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected each year. If you are purchasing a new home, be sure to ask about the last time these items were completed. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from all heating equipment. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and portable space heaters. Always use a fire screen or fireplace doors to contain sparks from your fireplace. While asleep or when you leave home always extinguish all fires and candles and unplug all heating appliances. Never assume that the fire will “burn down” or that the flame is contained.
  • Clothes Dryer – Fires involving clothes dryers are usually caused by accumulated lint, which is highly flammable. Lint can build up in both the lint trap and the venting system. The best way to prevent this fire hazard is to clean the lint trap on your clothes dryer with each and every load. It is also recommended to have your dryer vents professionally cleaned every 12 to 24 months.
  • Cooking – Unattended cooking is involved in the majority of kitchen fires. The best way to prevent these fires is to closely supervise your cooking. Also, remove clutter from your cooking area and keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the stove top area.

  • Safety Tools – While there are things you can do to minimize fire risk in your home, be sure you have the tools on hand in case something happens. First and foremost is a working smoke detector. Test your smoke detector and ensure it works. Maintain it according to manufacturer directions and never, ever take the smoke detector down or disable it. Another key safety tool is a fire extinguisher. Every home should have at least one.

A fire can easily occur in your home, regardless of your home’s age, location, or condition. Take the time to reduce and eliminate as many fire hazards as possible before the holidays! 

10 Tips to Consider When Selling Your Home

Couple looking at a new home with a realtor

Preparing your home to sell will take some work, but the results will make a huge difference in how buyers perceive your home. Outside of the typical maintenance such as cleaning, de-cluttering, touch up painting, etc., we have 10 tips that can increase your chances of a successful home sale!

  1. Enlist a professional: Hiring a great real estate agent is key in selling your home faster and for a better price than doing it on your own. They know the area, what other homes in the neighborhood are going for, and have connections to listing sites and other sellers.
  2. Consider professional cleaning: Make the minimal investment and hire a professional cleaning company. Make sure the most common areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms are spotless. If your carpet could use a facelift, get them professionally cleaned.
  3. Clean up your landscape: Your yard will be one of the first things buyers will see when they pull up to your house. You don’t have to have the neighborhood yard of the month – just mow the lawn, trim the bushes and pour some mulch in the flowerbeds! Help a potential buyer imagine how nice their potential new home might look from the outside. The curb appeal uplift is worth it!
  4. Organize the entryway: Another opportunity to make a great first impression is to organize and tidy up your entryway. Add a small bench, entryway rug or small table with fresh cut flowers to jazz it up.
  5. Address all odors: Smell is powerful and can make or break a home sale. Buyers aren’t impressed if they are walking into a stinky home. We suggest using odor-eliminating soy candles and carpet fresheners. Toss some cookies in the oven or grind a lemon in the garbage disposal.
  6. Remove pets during showings: Remove pets and pet odor when showing your home. Having evidence of your pet, including their odors can kill a home sale, especially if a potential buyer has a pet allergy.
  7. Remove personal items: When arranging your home to appeal to buyers, it is important to remove personal items from the home. This may include personal pictures, knick-knack collections, children’s artwork, etc.
  8. Check drains and repair leaky faucets: Clogged drains and leaky faucets won’t leave a good impression on prospective buyers. Be sure drains are clear of clogging debris and faucets are leak-free.
  9. Clean curtains: These dust magnets can turn off prospective buyers. Make sure curtains are clean and fresh.
  10. De-clutter closets: Storage is always at the top of the list when prospective buyers are house hunting. Remove at least half of the inventory (or everything) from closets, drawers and cabinets.

We understand your goal is to successfully sell your home. Consider these 10 tips and you should be on your way! Be sure to check out website for other useful articles about selling and moving. Zippy Shell looks forward to being a worthwhile partner in your new adventure, whether you are moving to a new home or just need storage while staging your current home. Give us a call today at 888-947-7974 or check out our website for a free quote.

Get Solutions for Your Toy Clutter Struggles

Parents play with their children and their toys

Do you have too many toys in your home or do you not have enough storage? Both issues can lead to feeling overwhelmed by the toy clutter. We have good news – the constant clutter of toys doesn’t have to rule your life! Let’s look at these two scenarios separately to provide you with the solutions you need to get the toy clutter under control. With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to get a handle on your children’s toy collections before you add more to them!

Too Many Toys

The first step to deal with too many toys is to sort all of them into groups. Your groups will look different depending on the interests of your children, but sort them into categories such as games, puzzles, dolls, automobiles, books, arts and crafts, building blocks, dress-up… you get the picture. Now that you have a clear impression of all the toys in each category, it is time to do some purging. Set a limit as to how many items your child needs in each category. Help them choose their favorites within that limit and set the rest aside. 

The toys you have set aside can be donated if your child has outgrown or no longer uses them. The rest can be put into a toy rotation bin. Toy rotation is simply storing some of your toys for a time. Then at regular intervals, you’ll swap the current toys for and the ones you stored away. Each rotation is like getting a new set of toys, which brings excitement back to play and helps with clutter!

Too Little Storage

Quite often, clutter is caused by simply not having enough storage or not having the correct type of storage. The first step is to allocate a play area. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, but toys need a designated place to land at the end of every day. Whether you choose to store toys in a basket or bin, on a shelf or in a cabinet, out in the open or hidden, toy storage needs to be practical and easy. Using cut out pictures taped to the appropriate box, bin, or shelf will help children who can’t read yet identify where items belong. Because the ultimate goal is to have your kids put their own toys away.

Once everything is organized, the key to eliminating clutter is to stay on top of it on a daily basis. At the end of each day, set a timer for five minutes. Have your children race to put everything they’ve been playing with back in the appropriate place.

If you are in need of some additional storage, give Zippy Shell a call! We not only offer moving services but can give you flexible storage options to fit any needs you might have. Check us out online or give us a call today at 888-947-7974 for more information.

How to Acclimate When Moving to the Piedmont Triad Area

Happy couple unpacking in new home

The Piedmont Triad is becoming an increasingly popular place to move to, and we can see why! It is a great community, in a great location, with great employment opportunities. Whether you are moving to Greensboro, High Point or Winston-Salem, North Carolina, you may be wondering the best way to get acclimated to your new city. We are certain you will grow to love this area, but initially moving to a new city or town can be overwhelming. Zippy Shell has tips to help you lay down roots and get to know this exciting area.

Make Yourself at Home

Whether you have already found your Piedmont Triad dream home or you are in temporary housing, you will want to make your new space feel like home as quickly as possible. Set up your personal spaces first, like closets and bedrooms. Being able to find your favorite comfy shirt and having a relaxing place to turn in each night will provide comfort. Hang family photos, fill the fridge with your favorite foods, and try to set up familiar routines in your new space. 

Get to Know Your Neighborhood

Go for walks around your neighborhood to make yourself familiar with the area. As you are walking, make conversation with your new neighbors. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask for recommendations and advice for living here. Ask your neighbors about their favorite restaurants and area attractions. If your neighborhood has a social media group, be sure to join for valuable local and neighborhood information. 

Explore Your New City

Make a list of all the fun and exciting things you want to do and try in your new city. It is okay and even fun to act like a tourist when you move to a new place! Don’t forget to add some natural beauty to your to-do list. On the outskirts of the three cities that form the Piedmont Triad there are mountains, lakes, trails, and rivers for you to explore. Power down your devices and soak in the energy of our beautiful region.

A central location, thriving economy, and vibrant culture and history makes the Piedmont Triad in North Carolina a great choice for career and lifestyle! Check out Zippy Shell of the Piedmont Triad today if you need assistance moving to the region or if you need temporary or long-term storage while you are there!