6 Things to Look for in a New Neighborhood

A view of homes in a neighborhood

Deciding to relocate is a big step, and you know what they say in real estate – it’s all about location, location, location. So how do you choose a new neighborhood? From low crime rates, climate, affordability, and an excellent school system, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect neighborhood for you and your family. Here are the top 6 things to look for in a new neighborhood.

Safety – It is unrealistic to expect to find a completely crime-free neighborhood, but you can look up crime trends in an area to see how they compare to national crime statistics. Check here for five free online tools to check the safety of a neighborhood. Another thing to look for is a good amount of street lighting as this can deter crime, and be sure to walk around at night to see how safe it feels. Seeing people out walking and playing in a neighborhood lets you know that they feel safe.

Commute – When you evaluate a neighborhood for commute times, pay attention to what traffic is like in the area around rush hours. Also, check the mass transit options available if that is how you prefer to get around.

Convenience – Before visiting a neighborhood, think about what types of stores and businesses you frequent. You want to be sure there are shopping venues to meet all your necessities and entertainment options that excite you.

Schools – The quality of nearby schools can impact the future sale price of the home, so even if you don’t have children or don’t plan to have children, this is an area you want to investigate. It’s not all about test scores. Check out the academic offerings, extracurriculars, and sports programs offered by the schools in the area.

Amenities – Are sidewalks and walking trails important to you? What about parks or nearby green spaces for playing, exercising, and dog walking? Making a list of essential amenities and prioritizing them will help you view the neighborhood with a sharp eye.

Noise Level – Visiting a neighborhood at different times during the day and night can give you a better picture of what living there is really like. Pause and listen carefully to decide if you can live with the noise levels of nearby businesses, neighbors, or city noises.

Finally, go for a walk around the neighborhood to make yourself familiar with the area. As you are walking, make conversation with any friendly faces you find. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask for thoughts about the neighborhood. Ask them about their favorite restaurants and area attractions, how long they have lived in the area, and what they like and dislike about it. Many will be happy to talk to a potential new neighbor.

Zippy Shell offers affordable and convenient options that will simplify your move. Having someone in your corner who cares about your belongings just as much as you do will reduce the stress that can accompany moving. We aim to take the stress out of your move, allowing you to focus on your family during this exciting time.

4 Packing Tips From the Professionals

A man packs boxes in his living room

Many special life occasions call for packing your belongings away – remodeling, relocating, downsizing, extended stay house guests, heading off to school, or extensive travel. Of course, you want all of your belongings to be intact at the end of their time spent packed away in boxes. We hope to alleviate some of your worries with these great packing tips from the pros to make packing as smooth as possible.

  • Be particular about the boxes that you use. Every box needs to be in good shape and sturdy enough to protect your belongings. Before packing, check all boxes for bugs, cracks, tears, or pre-existing water damage. Double tape the bottom of any box that will contain fragile or heavy items. Cardboard boxes are most commonly used because they are inexpensive, stackable, easy to label, and recyclable. But if you are planning on storing your items long-term in a place that is not climate controlled, you may want to consider using plastic bins. They will protect your belongings from moisture, heat, and pests.
  • Never skimp on packing materials. Packing paper is relatively inexpensive and can be used to wrap objects or crumpled up to fill empty spaces in boxes. Packing peanuts made of small pieces of styrofoam can also be used to fill empty spaces. Fragile items should be wrapped before filling your box with packing peanuts because they do not provide enough cushion on their own. Bubble wrap is best used to wrap around delicate or fragile items. You will still need to use crumpled packing paper or packing peanuts to fill the box around the bubble-wrapped item. You can save money by using packing materials that you already have on hand. Thick household blankets can be used in place of moving blankets, and towels or clothing can be used to wrap items before packing.  If boxes are not tightly packed, there is the potential for shifting and damage. So pack boxes as tightly as possible and fill any leftover space with your packing materials.
  • Protect odd-shaped items that will not fit in a box. The best thing to do is to wrap these items as securely as possible. Protect delicate elements and protruding parts with bubble wrap, covering the entire piece in moving blankets, and secure everything with packing tape or plastic wrap.
  • It is important to remember that not all of your belongings should be packed in a box. Important personal documents should be placed into a locked box or briefcase and transported with you. Items such as aerosol cans, fertilizer, pesticides, charcoal, disinfectants, ammunition, fireworks, pool cleaning chemicals, paint thinner, fire extinguishers, car batteries, and gas cans are considered too hazardous for moving. You can consider giving these away to neighbors before moving or properly disposing of them. Your delicate, leafy friends will almost certainly not survive a trip in a portable storage container or moving truck. You will be better off moving your plants yourself or gifting them to a friend before moving.

With Zippy Shell, you get the peace of mind your belongings will stay safe when stored at one of our secure warehouse facilities. When you are ready, we can redeliver your storage container or move it to your next destination. We want to make moving and storage simple for you and your family, so give us a call today to see how we can help you!

How to Avoid Some of the Biggest Moving Mistakes

A man and his son carry boxes into a room

Mistakes happen. Life is unpredictable, and even the best of plans can get derailed. So what do you do? You expect the best but prepare for the worst. Be prepared for moving day by reading the following tips for avoiding some of the biggest moving mistakes.

  • Be selective when hiring movers. Thoroughly research your moving company by asking friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations. Check online reviews to see what other customers are saying about the company you have in mind. Get a detailed estimate in writing. You want to be sure you understand all the fees associated with the estimate and be suspicious if an estimate is unusually low or lacks specifics.
  • Be prepared for rain on your moving day. When dealing with a rainy moving day, the goal should be to get everything moved to or from the truck/container and out of the weather as quickly as possible. This means parking your belongings at whatever door you can get physically closest to, with an added benefit if an awning or porch covers that door. If you are dealing with rain and not high winds, consider using pop-up canopies. You can line canopies up on the path between your container or moving vehicle and the door of your home. Protect your home by lining the entryway with old rugs and towels to catch the mud and water off everyone’s shoes. Dry cardboard or newspapers can be laid down throughout the home to keep carpets and flooring as clean as possible.
  • Pack an essentials box. In a clear tote, place cleaning supplies, a basic tool kit, garbage bags, light bulbs, box cutter, scissors, power strips, and paper products like toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, paper plates, and disposable cups/utensils. Keep this box in a personal vehicle that will be making the move. This could save you a trip to the store on an already stressful day by having these necessities on hand.
  • Secure your personal documents. Birth certificates, passports, wills, tax returns, financial statements, health insurance, medical records, moving documents, leases, 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. Phones, tablets, laptops, and computers are also a treasure trove of personal data. Make sure that all electronic devices are shut off and password protected.  Identity thieves target those in the process of moving, so it is a critical time to keep your guard up and protect your personal data.
  • Be present. Supervise everything, especially if you are using a moving company. Your presence can deter ill intent. If you can’t be there, designate a trusted person to be your eyes and ears.

The best solution to avoiding moving day mishaps may be a DIY move with Zippy Shell. A portable storage container big enough to fit just what you need will be delivered, and you can pack it at your own pace. Check us out online today to see how we can help you!

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!

A Moving Playlist: 10 Songs You Must Add for the Big Day!

A happy couple dances in their home

It is just a fact of life that music makes everything better. Music can improve your mood by reducing anxiety and providing comfort. It can also help with coping and is a great way to express your feelings. To help your move be as calm and stress-free as possible, we have compiled a list of ten songs you must add to your moving day playlist.

  • “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! This 80s classic will start your moving day with a burst of energy and serve as a reminder to not leave anyone or anything behind on the big day.
  • “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash. You already know the answer, it is moving day after all. But just for fun add this one to the list to remind yourself if you go, there will be trouble, but if you stay it will be double.
  • “I Like to Move It” by Reel 2 Real. There couldn’t be a more fitting song for moving day. Singing “I like to move it, move it” all day as you are literally moving box after box from one location to another will never get old, well probably never get old.
  • “Bust a Move” by Young MC. If you do get tired of moving your boxes to “move it, move it”, you can always bust a move while pretending that Young MC is actually talking about moving all those boxes.
  • “Moving Out” by Billy Joel. Because that is exactly what you are doing today and because Billy Joel is an icon.
  • “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles. When you are all packed up and ready to hit the open highway, play this song and play it loud. Leave all your worries behind and look forward to your bright future.
  • “Life Is a Highway” by Rascall Flatts. Unless you are just moving down the street, chances are you will be riding the highway during your move. You might not want to drive it all night long as the song suggests, but sometimes it is necessary on moving day.
  • “Takin’ Care Of Business” by Bachman–Turner Overdrive. This song will motivate you to take care of business once you arrive at your new home and begin the unloading/unpacking process. And yes, you probably will be working overtime.
  • “Home” by Phillip Phillips. You are ready to make this place your home! Turning your new place into a home that will feel welcoming to both your family and visitors can be both exciting and overwhelming, but take time to enjoy the process and the new adventure it brings.

The team at Zippy Shell knows all too well how stressful moving across the street, across town, or across the country can be for anyone. Portable storage units allow you to pack at your own pace, letting go of the feeling of being rushed. We also offer flexibility as delivery dates and storage dates can all easily be rescheduled when you use a portable storage unit. We think our portable storage and moving containers offer tons of flexibility with a predictable cost that will make your move much easier.

Don’t Forget These 5 Things on Your Moving Checklist

checklist

Moving is a stressful experience–no doubt about it–but there are things you can do to help keep your sanity and to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. A moving checklist is one of the most important things you can do to keep everything organized. There are some things, however, that is commonly looked over when making the official moving checklist. Take a look at 5 things you may not have thought about when making your moving checklist.

THE ATTIC

It is not uncommon for people to forget about the stuff they have stored in the attic. When you have a lot of stuff you haven’t seen for many years, it is easy to completely forget about them. Make sure you put the attic on your moving checklist so you don’t leave any of your cherished items behind.

OUTDOOR ITEMS

Another area that people forget to plan for is outdoor items like the lawnmower, propane tanks, grills, smokers, and more. These larger items require special preparations and planning to make sure they are cleaned well, flammable materials properly disposed of, and packed. Make sure you add these items to your moving checklist so you don’t find yourself scrambling on moving day to figure out how to get all your outdoor items to your new home.

PETS

If you have pets, moving day can be stressful on them too. It’s important to make special preparations for your fur-family members so they can be kept safe and looked after during the chaos of moving. If you do not have someone who can keep them while you are moving stuff out of your house, be sure to keep them in a secure area so they are unable to run out the door with all the people going in and out. You also want to make sure you have plans to safely transport them to your new location.

HOUSEPLANTS

If you have houseplants, they will need special attention during a move, especially if you are moving during the winter. Most plants cannot handle extreme temperatures, so you will want to make sure they are still in a warm place until it is time to move them. They should be packed in a way where they can’t fall over and lose soil or break foliage. You can also purchase heating pads for them to sit on to keep from getting too cold during transport.

CHANGING YOUR ADDRESS

Another common moving mishap is forgetting to change your address. You can change your address online or in-person at the post office to have most of your mail forwarded, but you should also change your address with all your important accounts. You should alert all your credit card companies, doctors, magazines that you subscribe to, banks, and anywhere you receive mail from to give them your new address. We hope these tips will be helpful to you as you create your moving checklist. As always, Zippy Shell is ready to partner with you for your local or long-distance move. Give us a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us through our online form for more information on our moving and storage options. We look forward to hearing from you!

Pros and Cons of a Winter Move

winter move

If you are planning to move in 2021 and have the flexibility to determine when you are going to move, you may be trying to decide if you would rather wait until the summer season. It can be a hard decision, especially if you are ready to move right away. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of a summer move before you decide.

PRO: DOESN’T DISRUPT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL YEAR

If you have kids that are in school, waiting until the school year ends can be of benefit to them–especially since this past year has had so many disruptions already. This is of even more importance if you are planning to move to an entirely different school district. Waiting until the summer will allow them to finish off the current school year with their friends and not interrupt their learning. Many families opt to wait for the summer season just for this reason.

CON: MOVING COMPANIES ARE BUSIER

Since summer is peak moving season, moving and storage companies are busier. This can be a problem if you wait until the last minute to get on their schedule, but this can be remedied by some advance planning. As soon as you have your summer moving dates, go ahead and schedule your moving and storage services so you can beat the rush.

PRO: YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT FREEZING TEMPERATURES

It’s hard to move in cold or even freezing temperatures. If you live in an area of the country that stays under constant threat of snow and ice in the winter and spring seasons, being able to wait until the warmer season will be a big help to you.

CON: IT’S HOT!

On the other hand, if you live in an area of the country where you see summer temps of 90 degrees or greater, a summer move may be more difficult than a winter move. Just as it can be dangerous to move when it is snowing or there is ice on the ground, moving in extremely hot weather can be dangerous. Since moving takes a lot of physical and manual labor, it is easy to get dehydrated or experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

PRO: YOUR HOUSE CAN SELL FAST

Because summer is peak moving time, you will be able to sell your home faster than you would during the winter season. If you plan to sell your home over the summer, be sure to have arrangements to leave quickly because homes were selling faster than lenders could keep up with over this past summer!

CON: IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO FIND A HOME YOU LOVE

Because there are more people looking for homes to purchase over the summer, the home inventory can be slim when you go to find a home for yourself. You may need to widen your search and make some changes to your home wish list.

We hope this list of pros and cons will be helpful to you as you decide whether to plan a summer move. Be sure to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us through our online form when you are ready to schedule your move and storage. We look forward to hearing from you!

7 Ways to Prepare Before a Home Inspection

home checklist

During the process of closing a home sale, the buyer typically hires a home inspector to identify health issues, safety issues, or major defects in the home. Things like water damage, structural damage, roof damage, electrical issues, plumbing problems, pest infestations, and HVAC issues can come out in an inspection report. Home inspectors are typically not concerned with purely cosmetic defects in a home. The home inspection report offers a deeper understanding of whether the home has been well-maintained or needs major repairs. If a buyer is not satisfied with the home’s current condition, they can request the seller address the repairs or offer a credit toward the cost of repairs at closing. A home inspection is not a pass or fail situation, but there are ways you as the homeowner can prepare for the inspection and help it go as smoothly as possible.

  • Declutter and clear access areas. The home inspector needs to have easy access to everything on the property including the attic, basement, crawlspace, electrical panels, HVAC systems, and plumbing. The home inspector being unable to access an area due to clutter or for any other reason will send a red flag to the buyers.
  • Make sure your home is pest free. A pest inspection is a separate process performed by a licensed pest inspector who’s trained to look for signs of infestations, but a home inspector can recommend a pest specialist take a closer look based on their findings.
  • Repair any water related issues. Home inspectors definitely focus on leaks and water damage. Check for leaks under sinks, around faucets, around your toilets, bathtubs, showers, and under any appliances that may leak, such as dishwashers and refrigerators. After repairing the leaks, also repair any water damage that you find. While you are looking for leaks, do a little multitasking and also check and clear any clogged drains.
  • Look over the roof. Any damaged or missing roof tiles should be repaired before the inspection. You will also want to remove any roof debris, be sure your gutters are free flowing, and trim trees that are near or hanging over the roof line.
  • Test the functionality of items in your home where the inspector will be focused. Try all the light switches and replace any burnt out bulbs, flush all the toilets, open and close all the windows, run all ceiling and bathroom fans, make sure all pilot lights are lit, and replace the furnace filter.
  • Be prepared to show paperwork with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home. If you’ve had an insurance claim on your house, include those papers as well so you can prove that you took care of the problem.
  • On the day of the inspection, make plans to be out of the house for several hours. Make arrangements for your pets to also be out of the way. Leave any garage door or ceiling fan remotes accessible and leave any keys needed for electrical boxes or storage areas. Empty any the dishwasher and washer and dryer if they are included in the sale.

From decluttering, to preparing for a home inspection, to packing, to moving, Zippy Shell is available for all your moving and storage needs. We are ready to partner with you for an easy and stress-free move.