Prevent Frozen Pipe Problems this Winter with These 7 Tips

Kitchen faucet running in a home

One of the most important things you can do as a homeowner is to winterize your pipes to prevent them from freezing. When water freezes in pipes, volume expands and puts pressure on pipes from the inside. The result of this pressure will cause the pipes to crack or rupture entirely, causing expensive damage to your home.

Here are 7 tips to help you avoid a frozen pipe issue this winter.

  1. Pipe Insulation: Pipes located in unheated areas such as garages, attics and crawl spaces need insulation. Pipe insulation can be found at most home improvement stores for very little cost. It comes in long strips that can be cut to size with a utility knife. You can also consider heat tape for a few dollars more.
  2. Seal Cracks: Look for cracks or openings that might let cold air in on pipes that run from inside to outside the home (i.e. dryer vents, water pipes). Seal these cracks or openings with caulk.
  3. Outdoor Spigots: Turn off the outside water supply, disconnect garden hoses from spigots, and drain any water from the pipes. For optimum protection, purchase an inexpensive insulated faucet cover to be placed around each outdoor spigot.
  4. Garage: If water supply lines are in the garage, be sure and keep the doors closed. If you park your vehicle in the garage, minimize the length of time the garage doors are open to help keep water supply lines warmer.
  5. Kitchen & Bathroom: Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  6. Faucets: Let your faucets drip to keep water moving through the water system. This will reduce the water pressure and help prevent frozen pipes. If a pipe does freeze, it is less likely to rupture due to the lower water pressure.
  7. Vacation: Prevent frozen pipes by setting your thermostat to 60 degrees or above while away on vacation. Ask a neighbor to check inside and outside your home to ensure your pipes have not frozen and ruptured.

Although you can’t wrap your house in bubble wrap, these preventative measures can help you prevent a costly disaster this winter. If you discover frozen pipes, call a professional plumber immediately. The team at Zippy Shell hopes you don’t encounter a frozen pipe disaster, but if you need to store your belongings, consider Zippy Shell for any short or long-term storage needs you might have!

8 Kitchen Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed

Young woman making food in her kitchen

Holiday gift-giving season is upon us and whether you are purchasing for yourself or others, we’ve got a fresh list of kitchen gadget goodness that will amaze and astound you and your recipients. Feel free to go to any of your favorite online (or sticks and bricks) shopping destinations and pop these items in search to find all of the top brands.

Veggie Spiralizer or Noodle Maker: Paleo, keto and gluten-free are popular diet movements at the moment, which means limited or no pasta in the diet, but you can craft pasta out of sweet potatoes, zucchini or squash. The pre-made squash or zucchini noodles in the market area of your store can be very expensive and they might not necessarily be that fresh, so if you are craving a past-like experience minus the carbs, this may be the gadget for you.

Sparkling Water Maker: Interested in ensuring that your sparkling water is fresh and free of additives? Make your own! There are several CO2 infusers on the market. Grab some recipes off the Internet and create your own flavored sparkling water.

Ice Ball Makers: What, you didn’t know that ice balls were a thing? Cubes melt quickly, diluting those expensive beverages. Ice balls not only look really cool, but they take much longer to melt, thus keeping your beverage cooler longer.

Insta Pot: We’ve been told by Insta Pot addicts that it can replace up to 8 of your other small kitchen gadgets. There are a variety of these pressure cookers on the market, but these aren’t the pressure cookers your mom had. Oh, no. These new cookers take only 20 minutes to do what once took an hour and wash only a pot and lid, as opposed to multiple pots and pans. Some even come with pre-programmed recipes!

Griddle: Yes, we know that griddles aren’t a new thing, but these aren’t the griddles of the past. Today’s griddles are streamlined and loaded with features that make them indispensable on those days you don’t want to stand outside in the rain or cold to grill or use the expensive outdoor cooker. The newer countertop griddles boast a ridged side for a grilled look and snap in, non-stick plates. You could easily make an entire meal in one swoop.

Air Fryer: Air fryers are relatively new and most on your gift list won’t even know they needed one – until you give it. These gadgets use very hot air to “fry” your favorite foods, eliminating fatty oils. Most require no preheating, saving you time, too. Reviews are varied on this kitchen gadget, but for those trying to eliminate traditional frying and fatty oils, an air fryer may just be the ticket.

Electric Jar Opener: It’s ok to admit it – sometimes we have difficulty opening that pickle jar, no matter how many times we hit it with a fork! Fortunately, someone thought of that and an electric jar opener may be a great, inexpensive stocking stuffer for anyone. It’s simple to operate, too: position it, push a button, watch it rotate. Voila, that pesky jar has been opened!

Color-Coded Cutting Boards: Thinking about that cutting board soaking up the chicken while trying to slice a cucumber on it is no fun. Today’s cutting boards are hygienic, color-coded and do not transmit bacteria. They are nonporous and easy to store, too. Many come in their own carrier. They don’t crack and are long lasting. Even better these boards are colored according to the food: meat, cooked, veggies, seafood and more.

New and innovative kitchen gadgets are hitting the market every day. When you move into that new space, toss out the old and consider some new kitchen gadgets to save you time and money.

Ingenious Ways to Make Small Spaces in your Home Bigger

Living room in a spacious home

Whether you’re in a cramped apartment, the kids are home for the summer, or your in-laws are coming to stay for a few weeks, we’ve compiled some creative ways to give your home some space. Goodness knows, we love their personal space.

Consider these top four ideas for enjoying a spacious, clutter-free atmosphere in your home.

  1. Spread out your living space. If you have outdoor spaces that are adjacent to your indoor ones (balconies, decks, patios and porches), consider how you might arrange those areas to compliment your spacing needs. Maybe a decorative cover or an umbrella outside will invite folks to sit there. Add some cozy furniture and a small television and boom! you have a whole new room.
  2. Put the excess in storage. Clutter – it can make you crazy. Even if you’re not having extra people in your home, the clutter has got to go. One quick way to clear it out, is to put it in storage. This way you still have access to your things, but they aren’t in the way. You don’t want to trip on that magazine rack from 1974! Separate what you need from what you don’t and save yourself some space in your home and peace of mind.
  3. Invest in some space-saver bags! These things are amazing. You can find them at most big box or home improvement stores. Put your out-of-season wardrobe, winter coats, extra pillows, and even those crocheted family blankets in these ingenious bags. Pile your stuff in, use your vacuum to suck out the air, and voila! It’s all been reduced to a third the size. Slip the bags under your bed or in a closet and you’re done.
  4. Consider multi-functional furniture. Some people are so clever and the ones who design and manufacture furniture that can be used in multiple ways need to be applauded. Benches that open and can store shoes by the front door. Tables that can be transformed into desks. Even beds that can be turned into tables. Really cool!

Then, when everyone heads back to school and back home, you can bring all your favorite things back in your home. If you think you may want to employ the use of a portable storage container, we hope you’ll think of Zippy Shell, too. Give us a call at 888-947-7974 or go online for a free quote to see how we can make moving and storage simple for you!

How to Maximize the Space in Your Bathroom

bathroom

Is your bathroom feeling a little cramped? Small bathrooms can be a challenge and adding square footage through a renovation isn’t always an option. But you can use these tips to make your cozy space feel larger and stay more organized.

Give the Illusion of Space

There are several tips and techniques you can use to provide an expansive feeling in a small bathroom or any small space:

  • A monochromatic color scheme or even varying shades of the same color can make your bathroom feel larger. Soft, pale, neutral colors on the walls and floor will give the biggest illusion of space.
  • Use reflective surfaces like glass and mirrors. Replacing a shower curtain with a clear glass door will open up the shower space giving the appearance of a bigger overall area. Larger mirrors will bounce light from windows and create the illusion of more square footage.
  • Keep your floor space clear and uncluttered. Less breaking up of the floor lines equates to less visual chopping with your eyes. Also freeing up your floor space gives you more room to move around!  
  • Draw the eye upward with a fun light fixture, crown molding, tall window treatments, or high shelves.

Organizing Your Way to More Space

Even a large room that is cluttered will feel small, so let’s get organized:

  • Create storage where there once was none by adding floating shelves to your walls utilizing the vertical space. 
  • An over-the-toilet shelf or storage cabinet is a great space saver and will give you more storage options.
  • Installing floating shelves or recessed storage in the shower can keep all your shower necessities organized. Another option is to use a hanging shower caddy.
  • Use a Lazy Susan or other revolving storage underneath your bathroom cabinet to corral cleaning supplies or hair products.
  • When you are really low on storage options, find an alternate place in the house for things like medicine, first aid supplies, and extra rolls of toilet paper.

Zippy Shell’s portable storage containers are perfect for storing items from the home, giving you more space to renovate, rearrange, and organize. Check us out today for answers to any questions you may have!

Budget-Friendly Seasonal Decor Ideas for Fall

Fall Trees

Fall is in the air! Pumpkin Spice Lattes, cozy sweaters, colorful foliage, bonfires, and college football are sure signs that fall is here. Another favorite of the season is decorating our homes with festive, seasonal décor. Here are a few ideas to display your love of fall décor without breaking the bank.

  • Pumpkins: The holy grail of the fall season! This time of year you can find pumpkins of all shapes in sizes at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, road-side pumpkin stands and even in your own garden! Display pumpkins in your home and on your porch. Carve or paint them to make your Halloween more spooky! Create great family memories by visiting a local pumpkin patch and baking pumpkin pies!
  • Colorful gourds, squash & corn: Again, easy to find at your local grocery store or farmers’ markets. Arrange them in a wide round straw basket for a great centerpiece for your table. Add a few miniature pumpkins for the full fall effect!
  • Fall flowers: For a quick and easy fall decoration, add flowers to your décor. Visit your local nursery or home décor store for ideas to include potted flowers such as mums, pansies and other fall offerings. Give your green thumb a try and plant an autumn garden.
  • Door wreaths: Pick up a fall wreath at your local décor store or get crafty and make your own. Make it a fun fall project by having your kids collect natural items to use such as wheat, leaves, branches, pinecones, acorns and berries.
  • Collect & display fall leaves: For a simple and fun, kid-friendly project, gather leaves of different colors and sizes. Laminate leaves and hang with clear fishing line around your home or doorframes. For a different touch, add a framing mat around the laminated leaves and make a display collection on the wall in your foyer or living room.

For more information regarding storage or moving solutions, please give us a call or visit our website www.ZippyShell.com.

3 Ways to Naturally Remove/Reduce Mold in Your Home

Young couple cleaning their kitchen

Whether you are preparing your home for sale, have just moved into a new home or are cleaning your current home, you may be surprised to learn that mold can be found anywhere. Mold is not limited to moisture-heavy areas like bathrooms. It could be floating invisibly throughout your home and can trigger serious health risks, including allergies, headaches, sneezing and more.

Here are 3 tips to naturally help keep mold out of your home:

A) Remove moisture from your home: Clean, dry air is important since mold thrives in moisture-rich environments. Keep a close eye on areas that could be prone to mold, including kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

  • Be sure to change your HVAC filters on schedule.
  • If you live in an area that has high humidity, consider a dehumidifier.
  • Pro tip: Declutter, especially in areas that are damp or prone to leaks. Don’t give mold places to hide and grow. Consider throwing out and storing items you don’t need to improve air flow.

B) Put the white vinegar to work: Vinegar has long been valued as a “green” cleaning option and for good reason. Vinegar has mild acidic properties and is an anti-bacterial agent, as well. Spray the mold and mold-prone areas with full-strength white vinegar and let it set for an hour. Wipe the area clean and let dry.

C) Use Baking Soda: Another natural cleaning staple, baking soda is great not only because it is safe for your family and pets, but because in addition to great scrubbing properties, it absorbs moisture, which is key to keep mold away. Add baking soda to a little water and then spray it on the mold. Scrub it clean, wipe it off and let it dry.

A clean, decluttered, dry space is one that doesn’t help mold grow. Consider storing unused items with Zippy Shell in a climate-controlled facility, reducing moisture in your home and tackling any moldy areas with natural cleaners.

How to Boost the Curb Appeal of Your Piedmont Triad Home

A Well Kept Home's Front Yard

What exactly is curb appeal? It is essentially how appealing your home looks when first viewed from the street, like a first impression. Of course, we all know first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo. Increasing your curb appeal can add thousands of dollars to the value of your Piedmont Triad home and cut the time it takes to sell. Even if you don’t plan on selling anytime soon, sprucing up your property can provide a more positive first and lasting impression!

  • The simplest way to boost curb appeal is to have a well-manicured lawn. Set the foundation for great curb appeal with healthy, evenly trimmed, weed-free grass. Next put any dead, dying, or sad-looking plants and shrubbery out of their misery and out of your yard. When bringing in new greenery, mix things up with a variety of plants that will bloom at different times during the season.
  • Create an inviting walkway to the door you use as your main entrance. Pavers or stone are extremely popular options for a beautiful walkway. Flank the area with colorful landscaping and incorporate illumination to finish the look.
  • Speaking of illumination, entryway lighting is crucial for setting a welcoming mood and providing security. A combination of pathway, landscaping, and entryway lighting is the perfect recipe for perfect curb appeal.
  • Add a splash of style to your home with bold, vibrant colors. Go big by painting your front door or front shutters with an exciting color or you can go smaller by adding vibrant accessories like flowers, planters or door decorations. Welcome signs, welcome mats and porch furniture are also a great place to incorporate pops of color.

Inspired yet? Just think of the amazing feeling you will get each and every time you drive up and realize that gorgeously maintained Piedmont Triad property is all yours! If you are looking to make a move to the Piedmont Triad area or need local storage services, give your local Zippy Shell of the Piedmont Triad a call at 336-499-3386 or visit our website to learn more!

Top Tips to Reduce Summer Energy Bills

Person changing the temperature on a thermostat

When the dog days of summer meander in, it can get sweltering in both the city and the country. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of Summer run from July 3 through August 11, coinciding with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Without question, those are some of the warmest days of the year, requiring your home’s a/c to run overtime to keep things cool and to keep the occupants comfortable.

You can help reduce summer energy bills during the hottest days of the year with a few simple tips.

  1. Choose a higher thermostat temp: A consistent 78 degrees is the suggested temp if you want to conserve energy during the summer. If you have others in your space who prefer it cooler, put additional fans in their area. If you are going to be gone for extended periods and are not leaving pets in the space, move the thermostat higher for the duration of your absence.
  2.  Cover your windows: Keep your blinds closed and your shades drawn during the hottest part of the day. You may even want to consider reflective or room-darkening curtains to keep the sun from baking your home.
  3. Cook outside:  It doesn’t take long for a stove or oven to heat up the home. Every chance you get, grill outside or make dinners ahead of time for microwaving. It’s also a great time of year for chilled soups and fresh salads.
  4. Change the filters: Increasing your a/c efficiency keeps things cooler and extends the life of your unit. Check it monthly and change it if in doubt.
  5. Close off rooms: If you have rooms in a house that are not occupied or don’t have items that require a consistent heated/cooled temp, then close the vents. The same goes for fans that may be in running in rooms with no occupants. Turn them off and save energy.

It sometime feels hard to stay cool during the hottest months of the year, but with a little planning you can cut the energy costs. Stay cool! And if you need help making a move during these hot Summer days, give Zippy Shell a call or go online for a free quote today!

Tips to Keep Your House in Tip-Top Shape during the Summer

home cleaning

Summer is a great time to tackle your seasonal household upkeeping items. There are a lot of small projects you can tackle during these warm months to protect your house from the elements. Be sure you are protecting it from the extreme weather conditions it is enduring. Check out some of our pro tips below to maintain your home this summer to keep it in tip-top shape!

Wash your windows

Throughout the year, your windows can build up a good amount of grime, but there’s an easy way to fix this! To see if your windows need a good cleaning, do one swipe of cloth along one of the low windows on your house to see if there’s any dirt or grime present. Even if your windows look fine, you may see some dirt after giving them this test. Getting your windows clean is a quick and easy project – just get some warm water and soap or glass cleaner to scrub off the debris.

Clean your grill for barbecuing

Keeping your grill clean all summer long will truly make your bar-b-ques enjoyable. If you have a charcoal grill, empty all of the old ashes and safely dispose of them. Wipe away the remaining dust, then finish off the grill by washing it down with soap and water. For a gas grill, close the lid and heat it on high for about thirty minutes to burn away any old food particles. Scrub the grates with a grill brush to clean out the remaining pieces in between the cracks. Finish it off by wiping it down with a sponge and changing out the drip tray. Just a few minutes of cleaning and you’ll be ready to cook up some delicious food for your friends and family!

Repair cracks

Summer is a great time to check your driveway or patio at your home to see if there are any cracks in it. A lot of concrete cracks can be easily fixed yourself with a store-bought sealant. Asphalt can be tricky to seal but can also be done yourself if you are feeling up to the challenge! If not, both your patio and driveway can easily be sealed by a professional. Sealing these will ensure a longer life for your patio and driveway and will give your house a much more pleasing aesthetic.

Plant a new layer of mulch

If you have a garden in your yard, adding fresh mulch every year will really help to keep it growing strong. You’ll want to remove some of the older mulch and properly dispose of it. The fresh mulch will not only look more beautiful, but it also helps to hold water in for the plants and resist more weeds.

Give your deck a makeover

If you have a wooden deck in your backyard, summer is a great time to see how it’s doing. If any boards are rotting, be sure to remove them and replace them. For a painted wooden deck, as the paint starts to chip over the years, decide if it is time for another coat. Check to make sure no loose nails are lying around and hammer them in or remove them if you find any. This all also applies if you have a wooden fence.

5 Important Summer Safety Tips

Man in Summer staying cool

Sweet summertime is just about upon us and it’s prime moving and storage season! It’s also that time of year when the kids are out of school, relatives visit and folks enjoy the longer days. Summer has its own set of safety concerns, though, and we’ve collected a number of great tips to help you and your family stay safe during the summer season!

Beat the heat: It’s already very hot in many parts of the country, so if you are moving or just enjoying events outside, be sure to be heat-safe. The National Safety Council suggests several ways to avoid heat-related stress, including:

  • Staying hydrated: Whether your friends are helping you pack or laying on the beach, ensure you have enough water on hand.
  • Work shorter shifts: If you are working outside, don’t push it! Take frequent breaks.

Be food safe: Picnics and BBQs abound during the summer season, but you don’t want them to result in an ER visit. Keep any foods made with mayo out of the sun and ensure they remain refrigerated right up until it’s time to eat.

Protect your skin: Sunburns not only can ruin a great time outdoors, but also increase your risk of skin cancer. Be sure to apply sunscreen before any outdoor activity, even if it is cloudy outside! Reapply after fun in the water.

Stay bug savvy: Insects love summer, too, and it’s important to protect yourself from painful stings and tick bites. The CDC suggests that you apply an effective insect repellent and use these tips to create a tick-free backyard.

Make safety a priority: Ensuring a safe summer may take a little planning. When you plan your events and outings, take into consideration who will be there (kids? pets?) and what could happen (sunburn? stings?). Make a kit to have on hand to ensure all goes well.

Whether you are experiencing your first summer in a new location after a move or just gearing up to enjoy a staycation, we want you to stay safe. If you are looking to make a move soon as well, then check out what Zippy Shell has to offer and see how we differ from traditional moving services!