Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with These 7 Tips

Energy Efficient

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with These 7 Tips

When thinking about making a home more energy-efficient, homeowners often worry about the expense. It’s true, you can spend a fortune making your home “green”, but you can also make less expensive changes that can still make a huge impact on energy efficiency. Here are 7 tips to consider when making your home more energy-efficient.

  1. Shade trees and shrubs – The first tip in making your home more energy efficient may already be checked off your list—planting shade trees or shrubs. Often overlooked, by planting this type of foliage around your house, your home will be more shaded, thus resulting in lower air conditioning usage in the summer. Not only will your home be cooler, but you’ll save money!
  2. Seal windows – If your home is older, the windows may not be properly sealed. Unless you have the funds to replace your windows with more energy-efficient brands, consider caulk and weatherproofing strips found at any hardware store for a fraction of the price. When air escapes the home and also allows air from the outdoors to sneak in, your heating or cooling system has to work overtime to keep your home comfortable. And this means increased energy fees!
  3. Energy-efficient light bulbs – If you aren’t already using energy-efficient light bulbs such as LED and CFL lights, you will be excited to know this is an easy and immediate way to make your home more efficient! These bulbs are a little more expensive but pay for themselves by lasting longer and requiring less electricity to generate them.
  4. Low-flow showerheads – Most families use a lot of water on a daily basis. Between showers, baths, dishwashing, washing machines, etc., your water bill adds up! Help reduce that bill by installing low-flow showerheads. These are especially beneficial in areas that are prone to drought.
  5. Unused chargers – Did you know that by simply unplugging your unused chargers when not in use can reduce the amount of electricity you use? Get into the habit (your family too!) of unplugging all those chargers you have for all those devices and save on your energy bill!
  6. Thermostat – When you don’t manipulate your thermostat to avoid extremes in temperature, your HVAC unit works harder resulting in more electricity being used. When it’s hot outside, keep the thermostat a couple of degrees higher and when it is cold out, try keeping the heat a little cooler. Save money and make your home more energy efficient by being smart with your thermostat temperature.
  7. Energy audit – To discover the full efficiency potential your home has to offer, we recommend scheduling an energy audit in addition to the above tips discussed. A professional auditor will identify additional areas for improvement and ways you can save the most energy and money!

Doing your part, whether small or large scale, to reduce your carbon footprint is always a win-win! And implementing these 7 tips can help you achieve a more energy-efficient home without emptying out your bank account! Thinking about making other changes such as storing away some personal belongings or furniture? Our professionals would like for you to consider a climate-controlled facility with Zippy Shell!

Tips to Keep From Going Stir Crazy at Home

yoga

With more and more people transitioning to a “work from home” lifestyle right now, the thought of getting a little stir crazy might enter your mind. We want to help keep you from getting antsy as many of us will be home a lot more often for the foreseeable future. We have compiled a list of things you can do and activities you can try to maintain a grounded lifestyle at home!

Keep a regular routine

One of the most important ways to keep from going stir crazy is to maintain a consistent routine at home. Keeping a daily schedule at home will give you a reason to change out of those lazy pants and into something more regular. If you are working from home, try incorporating some of the things you do at work at home. If the first thing you do when you get to work is to grab a cup of coffee or water, do that at home. Do you take a mid-day stroll or go to a gym for a quick power workout? If so, make it a similar part to your routine at home. Keep yourself engaged and busy with a routine!

Finish that project you’ve started/always wanted to do

We all have that one room in the house we’ve meant to clean or that piece of furniture that needs some TLC. Well, there is no better time to start on those projects than when you are stuck at home! Try to identify something that allows the entire family to participate. It can be an excellent way to get your children involved with picking out paint colors, or learning how to use tools, etc. Also, try to complete little bits of your project at a time over several days rather than all at one time. You don’t want to burn yourself out after only working on something for two days! If you need on-site storage at home for your project, give us a call to see how we can help!

Stay in (virtual) contact with others

Use this time at home to stay connected with those you care about. Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you have to lose contact with people. Take advantage of apps like Facetime, social media, or just a phone call and check in on your friends and family. Maintaining contact with those close to you will also help you keep a sense of normalcy during these interesting times. Also, take time to find out how those around you are doing and be there for each other if you need to talk things out or express how you are feeling!

Take a break when you can

If you are working from home, staring at your computer screen for 8+ hours a day can make you feel very burned out by the evening. Combined with sitting down for almost the same amount of time, and anyone would start to get a little stir crazy. Take some time to walk around, even if it is just around your home. Taking a brief walk outside would be a big way to manage stir craziness. Please be sure you adhere to all local, state, and federal guidelines for your area before doing so. But any sort of break away from the screens or from sitting can help you feel more settled later in the day.

Stay physically active

With many states forcing gyms and the like to close, staying physically active while being at home may seem like a big challenge, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are home workout routines you can do even if you don’t have weights. Here are a few resources you can check out for some at-home workout routines so that you can stay physically active and cut down on the stir craziness. Yoga is also a great way of staying active, and there are many free how-to videos online that you can try out while at home. Zippy Shell hopes that these tips will help you and your family stave off the stir craziness while you stay sheltered at home during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

If you find yourself in need of on-site storage for a home renovation or decluttering project, give us a call! Our portable storage containers are perfect for your needs, and we have locations across the United States that you can also have your container stored at if needed.

Choosing the Best Paint Color

painting

Painting is one of the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective ways to add some life to a room. The biggest obstacle that can come with this project is choosing the color. How do you choose without your walls becoming a crazy quilt of paint swatches or staying up until all hours of the night virtually painting your rooms online? Make a big impact with a new color by using the guidelines below.

  • If the room is already decorated, select a paint color to support all of the other items in the space. If you’ve got patterned upholstery, a colorful rug or large piece of artwork, pull colors you like from the pattern.
  • Take into consideration how the colors will flow from room to room, especially if you have an open floor plan. A great way to add depth and interest is to go a few shades lighter or darker in adjacent rooms or even on a focus wall.
  • Showcase your personal style. Don’t hold back on using a big, expressive color for the walls if that is what appeals to you. Any color can look good as long as it truly suits your personal 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.
  • Once you have narrowed down your selection, the best way to evaluate and embrace a color is to paint a 4×4 foot swatch on the wall and live with it for at least 24 to 48 hours. This will give you the opportunity to see it in natural and artificial light during all hours of the day.
  • If you are moving out or staging a home, choosing more neutral colors will allow the next homeowner to add their own personal touch with color.

Is it time to freshen up your home with new paint? If you are tackling a major paint job, pack away items you need to move out of the way into a secure Zippy Shell!

Creating Space for College Students Coming Home for the Summer

College Students

What fun activities do you have planned for your college student who is home for the summer? Making their favorite meal, game night, movie night, or even a family vacation are all great ideas. But the more important question is, what are your plans for all the stuff your college student will be bringing home for summer break?

Inevitably, your college student will bring home more things than they left with last fall making your home feel more cramped and cluttered than usual. Check out our favorite tips for creating more space in the home so you can enjoy the time spent with your students in a peaceful environment this summer.

  • Find a proper “home” for everything. Staring at boxes for a few days is okay, but it is not something you want to do all summer long. Even if the boxes are going to remain packed, find a place out of sight for them to live for the summer. Trust us!
  • Invest in a few pieces of furniture that can double as storage. Multifunctional furniture such as ottomans, coffee tables, or benches that contain storage areas can stylishly hide items away.
  • Look up! Installing overhead ceiling racks in your garage and closets is a quick and easy way to store items that are not needed regularly. But don’t store anything too heavy up above – no boxes full of books or large appliances! Use small containers that you can easily maneuver up and down.

Store it. Create space in your home by storing everything that will not be needed by either you or your student over the summer. Pack those 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 space. When you are ready, you can bring everything back to your home.

With Many Colleges Across the Country Closing Campuses Early Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) ZippyU and 1-800-PACK-RAT will provide 30 days of free storage to college students within their service area. For more information about this program, contact 1-800-PACK-RAT at 888-282-3022 or commercialsales@1800packrat.com and mention promo code COLLEGE.

ZippyU with 1-800-PACK-RAT Is Offering 30 Days of Free Storage to College Students

ZippyU with 1-800-PACK-RAT Is Offering 30 Days of Free Storage to College Students 

With Many Colleges Across the Country Closing Campuses Early Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), ZippyU Looks to Help Students Move out Quickly and Easily 

ZippyU, along with 1-800-PACK-RAT, LLC, a leader in the portable storage and moving industry, has announced today, it will give college students 30 days of free storage. With campuses closing early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ZippyU and 1-800-PACK-RAT want to help students and families being affected. 1-800-PACK-RAT provides all-steel, secure, portable storage containers that can be delivered directly to a location. Students can pack the container at their own pace, lock it up with their own lock, then call 1-800-PACK-RAT for pick up. The container will be stored at a secure storage facility nearby until the student returns in the Fall. Alternatively, the container can be transported and delivered to a different location within the 1-800-PACK-RAT service area. 

ZippyU and 1-800-PACK-RAT are currently reaching out to universities across the country to see how they can help alleviate some of the stress college students and their families are experiencing during these unprecedented times. “Our goal is to make moving and storage simple; that is what we do at ZippyU and 1-800-PACK-RAT. We are already working with some universities, and we know the services we provide will help both the universities and their students with their move-out process. We make it simple – we deliver storage right to the customer, they can pack it, and we will store it until they’re ready. When the Fall comes around, we can bring their storage container right back to them. This eliminates multiple car/moving truck trips to a storage facility and having to unnecessarily load and unload their items multiple times,” said Andy McDade, President of ZippyU. 

“Helping college students and their families through this difficult period is a top priority for us all. It is incredible to have Andy McDade leading ZippyU with his extensive experience working with colleges and universities across the country,” said Mark Kuhns, Chief Executive Officer of 1-800-PACK-RAT and Zippy Shell. 

1-800-PACK-RAT will provide 30 days of free storage to college students within their service area. For more information about this program, contact 1-800-PACK-RAT at 888-282-3022 or commercialsales@1800packrat.com and mention promo code COLLEGE.

Tips to Up Your Spring Barbecue Game!

food being cooked on a grill

What is your favorite thing about springtime? We enjoy the longer days in spring, the colorful flowers, the warmer temperatures, and the newness of everything after the cold winter. The warmer temperatures and the longer days provide the perfect opportunity to host an outdoor party like a spring barbeque. This is a nice way to spend quality time with friends and family while maybe showing off your grill-master skills. Spring barbeques are also a great way to celebrate milestones like birthdays, engagement, graduations, or family reunions. What are your best tips for hosting a spring barbeque that will create memories to last all season? Here are some of ours:

  • Add a little fun and excitement to your outdoor barbeque with a theme! As an added bonus, having a theme will make the design and planning easier. Once you have a theme, select invitations, decorations, and food that will best showcase your idea. The possibilities are endless, your theme can be casino night, beach party, disco night, Hawaiian luau, or something goofy like a pirate party.
  • Do a little spring cleaning. Make time to clean out the grill, and clear any cobwebs, debris or weeds that may have grown over the winter. Hose off the deck and seating areas and scrub any surfaces that will serve as food stations.
  • Set up some yard games to keep everyone occupied. Games like cornhole, badminton, horseshoes, darts, giant Jenga, and bocce ball give guests a great opportunity to interact and get to know each other better.
  • Don’t forget to set the mood. Set the tone of the barbeque with a great playlist piping through outdoor or Bluetooth speakers. Strategically place string lights and other lighting around to turn the party area into a magical place. It still gets chilly during the evening in the Piedmont Triad, so a fire pit will help keep your barbeque cozy. It will also provide a fun spot to have guests make their own s’mores for dessert!
  • Prepare food and drinks beforehand. Make sure all the food is ready to go on the grill when the guests arrive and that any side dishes are assembled and cooked as needed. This will enable you to spend your time enjoying the company of your guests. Of course, you don’t have to do all the cooking yourself. Ask your guests to bring side dishes and desserts, people love to show off their signature dishes! For the drinks, consider making batch cocktails or mocktails ahead of time. Create drinks that will reinforce your theme to make them more memorable. Offer guests a beverage when they arrive, and then encourage them to help themselves after that.  
  • Pest proof your barbeque by using tightly sealed food and drink containers or coolers. Another option is to serve all food and drinks inside and save your outdoor space for eating and entertaining. You can also light some citronella candles or oil as it masks the smells of humans that are so attractive to insects.

Spring is certainly an extraordinary time of the year! If you are planning on a move this spring, allow Zippy Shell to make all the necessary arrangements. Let us take all of the guesswork out of the moving process!

5 Non-Traditional Spring Cleaning Tips

Smoke detector

Spring cleaning isn’t a new concept. Spring symbolizes “rebirth” and for many folks across the country it is a stimulus to engage in “spring cleaning”. However, there are a lot of things you may not know about “elbow grease” that could be super helpful when you decide to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Let’s explore some of the non-traditional spring cleaning tips outside of the regular spring cleaning protocol.

1. Media Detox: Constant stimulation from media sources can wreak havoc on your psyche, especially teenagers. It’s amazing how many hours we truly spend in front of a screen (think computer at work, phone in your hand, television in the evening, maybe a table before bed). We suggest taking a sabbatical from Instagram, Facebook, Snap Chat, and 24-hour news programming. Studies show that people become more anxious and depressed after being exposed to negative news reports. Trust us, you will feel less anxious by realizing that so much of the media is hyped up for dramatic results.

2. Smoke Alarms: If you already change out the smoke alarm battery on daylight savings dates, you are ahead of the game. The professionals recommend that you test your fire alarm units monthly. Always install new batteries (never mix old and new) as soon as the low-battery warning alarm sounds (or at a minimum once a year). Clean them regularly by lightly dusting or vacuuming them with a small brush connection. You should also replace smoke alarms every 10 years for the best performance. If you have yet to get on a schedule, put it on your spring cleaning list every year.  Avoid hearing the screech of your smoke alarm battery going off in the middle of the night!

3. Art of Mindfulness: It’s time to discover the art of mindfulness. It’s defined as the attentiveness to whatever we are doing – when we are doing it. It is deliberate and in the moment. Learn mindfulness skills and techniques to help you slow down and start living life in the present moment. Educating yourself on meditation is a great way to start this process. You could even embrace this movement with a simple task of adult coloring!

4. Change Filters: With the onset of spring in the south, we are already experiencing warm temperatures. Be sure and change your air conditioning filter so you can help keep out dust and other allergens from invading your home and your lungs!

5. Clean Your PC: This may seem like an odd tip, but it is quite important to help keep your computer performing more smoothly. Add defragging or optimizing your PC drive every spring to the spring cleaning list. Also, remember to set up a backup plan for your data.

These non-traditional spring cleaning tips should also spring clean your mind. Take the time to slow down, and remember that life is short, so enjoy it! And remember, if you need to store some items, consider a climate-controlled facility with Zippy Shell!

Help Your Feline Adjust to a New Home With These Tips

Cat

While some cats may seem aloof and unbothered by distractions, moving to a new environment can really shake them up. They are by nature territorial, so when a new home is introduced, the surroundings aren’t familiar and comfortable to them. Here are a few tips to help you ease your feline through the adjustment period, making it easier for your cat to manage in your new home.

1. Slow introduction: Because of the new surroundings, a cat is going to be unsure of its new environment. Slowly introduce your cat to your new home by assigning a room with all your cat’s essentials (litter box, scratching post, food, water, toys) and keeping your cat in there for a while. If possible, try and unpack as much as possible before introducing your cat to the rest of the home. The sounds associated with unpacking can be unsettling to your cat.

2. Have patience: It may take a few weeks for your cat to feel comfortable in your new home. Your cat may even “act out” or go into hiding during this time. Remember to have patience during this fragile time for your fur baby. Keep the familiar items and toys out and let them explore the new surroundings at their own pace. Before long your cat will feel right at home again.

3. Familiar smells: Try and have familiar scents around to include toys and bedding that will help them feel more comfortable. Cats are scent oriented, so the more you can surround them with familiar smells of “home”, the better they will acclimate to their new surroundings. Another option is synthetic pheromones that will help calm your cat.

4. Secure surroundings: If your cat is an indoor cat, make sure there isn’t an escape route such as an open window or air ducts. If your cat is an outdoor lover or spends time both indoors and out, make sure the outdoor plants are cat-friendly. There are poisonous plants that are very harmful to cats.

5. Outdoor adventures: In addition to making sure you don’t have poisonous plants outside for those cats that like to venture outside the house, be sure they are comfortable indoors. If they are comfortable with their new indoor surroundings, they will fare better when they are exposed to the outdoors.

The process of helping your cat adjust to a new home will take some time, but with these tips (and some patience) they should experience a smoother transition. And remember, if you need to store some items that aren’t making the move with you, consider a temperature-controlled facility with Zippy Shell!

7 Tips to Help You Stay Calm During a Move

happy moving couple

Studies show that moving is one of the most stressful life events. The level of stress may vary depending on the reason for the move (i.e. divorce vs. an incredible new job opportunity). No matter the level, there are still common factors that make a move stressful because of the number of details involved. The key is to stay calm during a move not only for your sake but also for the sake of your family. Here are 7 tips to help you stay calm during a move:

Time is your friend: The best gift you can give yourself to help reduce the stress of a move is ample time to plan your move. Organization is extremely important when balancing all the details of a move. You will not only be more productive; you will also have more time to work through any potential obstacles when you give yourself enough time.

Hit the ground running: The first day you decide to make a move, begin the process immediately. Whether you have the beauty of extra time or not, don’t procrastinate and wait until the week before to get started. Start packing your things as soon as possible, especially those items you won’t need early on. Planning is key in a move and a moving checklist can also help you prepare for success.

Let others do the moving: If planning a self-move is too overwhelming, save yourself the stress and let the professionals worry about moving day. Zippy Shell can help with the heavy lifting and refer you to professional loading and packing services.

Be mindful of your moving expenses: According to the American Moving and Storage Organization (AMSA), the average cost of a move is approximately $4,300 (for a distance of 1,225 miles). Create a budget, stick with it and keep more “green” in your wallet.

Keep important documents with you: Don’t take the risk of losing important documents (passport, birth certificate, bank records, school documents, etc.) during a move. Keep items in a secure folder or lockbox and make sure it stays by your side.

Beat stress with something you love to do: Beat the stress by taking some time to do something you enjoy such as taking a nature walk, reading a book, or enjoying time with friends and family. By “stepping away” from the moving process, you will feel refreshed and energized to keep working on the moving tasks at hand.  

Eat, sleep and focus on the positive: When we are under stress, it’s easy to gravitate to unhealthy foods, sleep deprivation, and negative thinking. Instead of scarfing down a pizza, packing until 3 am while cursing the moving process, fill your belly with healthy options, catch some zzz’s to avoid fatigue and focus on the positives of your move. Whether it’s a fresh start in a new town or city or a chance for a better job, try and keep the negative thoughts at bay.

Whether your move is exciting or a nuisance, focusing on staying calm will help the process goes much smoother. Exercise these 7 tips for moving success (and lower blood pressure!) And remember, if you need to store some items that aren’t moving with you, consider a climate-controlled facility with Zippy Shell!

Jumpstart Spring Cleaning with These 5 Tips

cleaning

Although it seems like we just celebrated the holidays, spring is around the corner. This is a great time for a fresh start to ease into spring cleaning without being overwhelmed. If you are considering storing away some items, you will really be glad you got a jumpstart on your spring cleaning to-do list. While the hardest part is getting started, here are 5 tips to help you tackle this chore head on!

Declutter: A good purge always puts someone in a good mood. “Stuff” weighs us down and streamlining your “extra stuff” can be like a weight-loss tool! Focus on your spring cleaning by decluttering so you can attack the deep cleaning. If the item hasn’t been used in over a year, you may want to consider selling, donating, storing or trashing. If you are having a yard sale, put items away from sight or box up, tape up, and label “yard sale.” This will eliminate the temptation to dig back into the box.

Supplies: Keep an eye out for specials throughout the year on cleaning supplies. Stock up when discounts are available. Get a vehicle, such as a shower caddy, to hold the supplies so you can easily take them from room to room. Look for supplies that cover multi-tasks to eliminate lugging too many cleaning supplies around.

Make a plan: Once you have decluttered and made an inventory of your cleaning supplies, make a plan and set goals if you haven’t already done this. Decide what rooms to tackle first. Some professionals suggest clean each room in a circle or from top to bottom. These suggestions can help with the flow of cleaning making it more effective and manageable.

Think outside the routine: Keeping the surface areas clean is important, but don’t forget to think of areas outside the routine cleaning zones. Here are a few suggestions: between refrigerator coils, on top of ceiling fan blades, inside the washing machine, around HVAC vents, inside light fixtures, on and around windows, around door frames and crown molding, behind the toilet, etc. It’s also a good time to check the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Lighten up: Many people aren’t jumping up and down to tackle their spring cleaning to-do list. But with a shift in attitude, you can make this often-overwhelming feat much easier to bear. Crank up the stereo with your favorite tunes and jump in. Buy yourself something as a reward when you are finished. Another idea is to get the family involved. Assign age-appropriate tasks for the kids and make it a competition. As long as they aren’t adding to the chore list, the extra help should help you whittle down your spring cleaning to-do list quicker!

We hope these tips will help you attack spring cleaning with a positive, yet productive force. Just pretend that every room you clean will put you one step further to enjoying the fruits of your labor! And remember, if you need to store some items that aren’t being used right now, consider storing your things with Zippy Shell!