5 Ways to Brighten a Dark Room

bright room

If you have one or more dark rooms in your home, you may be wondering what you can do to easily brighten the space. This is a common interior design issue, but fortunately there are many ways to take a dark and drab room and turn it into a bright and beautiful space. Dark spaces in the home can negatively affect your mood and even your mental health, especially during the winter months. Take a look at 5 of our favorite ways to create an uplifting and bright space in your home.

MAKE USE OF BRIGHT COLORS

While you want your walls to be light colors to expand the space, your art and accent pieces should be bright pops of color. Using bright and vibrant accent pieces will give your room some cheer and will draw the eye no matter how dark the rest of the room is.

PAINT THE CEILING

This may be the most difficult of our suggestions, but if it is within your budget, it is certainly worth the effort. A glossy white ceiling will make a small room feel bigger and a dark room much brighter. Another idea we like is painting the ceiling a sky blue. It gives the appearance of being outside, creating an instant brightness to your home.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Embrace whatever natural light that you have available. Take down the heavy curtains and install sheer window treatments or skip them altogether! One common mistake is relying on overhead lighting when you should be supplementing with lamps and other light sources, especially in a naturally darker room. Not only will lamps brighten your room, but they can help give the area a warm and comforting atmosphere in the evenings.

USE REFLECTIVE SURFACES

You have probably heard this tip before when talking about making a small room feel bigger, but reflective surfaces are also great for brightening a space. We love large mirrors that you can lean against a wall, glass tabletops, or even crystal décor. If you place your reflective pieces strategically where they catch natural light from the window, you will add instant brightness to your room.

USE GREENERY

Bringing a little of the outside indoors is another easy way to brighten a dark space. Don’t worry if you do not have a green thumb and need to use artificial plants. Artificial greenery has come a long way over the past several years and is practically identical to the real thing.

We hope these tips help as you work to brighten your dark rooms this fall and winter. Stop by our Facebook page and share with our online community your best tips for brightening a dark room.

If you have a move coming up soon, give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation quote. We offer storage and moving services to fit every need and would love to partner with you.

Curb Appeal Ideas for Fall

Fall Trees

Whether you want to sell your home, welcome your friends and family, or if you just want to feel a sense of pride every time you drive up, updating your curb appeal throughout the year is how to accomplish your goal. Now that the season of Fall has arrived in all of its gloriousness, get your home in the seasonal spirit by bringing some fall design trends to your curb appeal!

  • The simplest way to assess your curb appeal is to take pictures of your home from the sidewalk, focusing in on the front door, front walkway, and landscaping. Try to view the pictures with the fresh, critical eye of someone who has never been to your home before. Or evaluate the pictures with a friend whose opinion you value and whose style you admire.
  • Having a well-manicured lawn is essential to curb appeal and that doesn’t change just because the weather is cooling down! Giving your grass some autumn TLC now will ensure you’ll be seeing a healthy green lawn come spring. Take care of visible weeds, aerate your lawn, reseed bare patches, and overseed the whole lawn with added fertilizer if necessary. Stay on top of frequent raking throughout autumn. Allowing leaves to accumulate and lay on your lawn for more than a few days can cause damage to grass blades. Keep clean lines around walkways and flower beds and trim bushes and trees to set the foundation for curb appeal you can be proud of!
  • The days will get shorter and the sun will set sooner during the next few months so now is the time to update your outdoor lighting. Make a statement with a combination of wall sconces, lanterns, step, and path lights that highlight your architecture and showcase the landscaping.
  • Add a fresh splash of color by planting fall flowers either in your flower beds or get creative with festive combinations in containers. Mums, pansies, black-eyed susans, sweet alyssum, dianthus, perennial sage, goldenrod, and autumn crocus are all excellent choices. These varieties will withstand the chilly nights and bring vibrant color to the shorter days of autumn.
  • Highlight your front door by hanging an autumn wreath adorned with pumpkins, fall leaves, and other icons of the harvest. If you really want to turn heads, update your front door with a bright, bold colored paint. Updating the hardware with a new knocker and doorknob in a matching finish will complete the look.
  • Create an inviting walkway to your updated door. Pavers or stone are extremely popular options for a beautiful walkway, and this will be an update that will last for years. Flank the area with colorful landscaping and incorporate path lights to finish the look.
  • The mailbox area is often a forgotten space when considering curb appeal, but it can also use some fall flair!  Dress up your mailbox by adding corn stalks, pumpkins, some floral swag, or a seasonal flag.
  • Leaving behind the sweltering days of summer may mean more time in your outdoor space for you and your family. So, add some cozy fall blankets and pillows to your outdoor seating and some lanterns for a cozy touch.

Inspired yet? If you need extra storage space to work on big fall projects, Zippy Shell has onsite and portable storage solutions perfect for the job. You can learn more by visiting www.zippyshell.com today.

4 Reasons to Get Renters Insurance

Couple at home on their laptop

If you rent your residence, you have probably heard of renters insurance and wondered if you needed to pay for this service. Some landlords or property management companies require their tenants to purchase a renters insurance policy. A common misconception is that renters insurance is not needed since the property owner likely has a homeowner’s insurance policy. But the policy that they pay for is for the home, not your belongings. Here are 4 reasons we think you should cover yourself with renters insurance.

THE COST IS WORTH IT—Renters insurance is very affordable. You can typically get a policy that works for you for under $20 a month. One mistake that some people make is undervaluing their belongings. Sometimes it seems like the things we own don’t actually cost that much, but if you look at what it would cost to replace a living room set, the $20 a month doesn’t seem that bad.

YOU GET LIABILITY COVERAGE—If you have a guest over that get hurts in your rental home and decides to hold you responsible for expenses and damages, if you have a rental insurance policy, you will be covered and not have to pay out of pocket for these bills. Most policies cover up to $100,000 in personal liability coverage, but you should double-check with the insurance company to find out what your policy limits are.

YOUR THINGS ARE COVERED OUT OF THE HOME TOO—This is a little known part of renters insurance. Your things are covered no matter where they are. If you take something out of your home and it gets stolen out of your car, you can file a claim to be reimbursed for a certain percentage of that item’s value.

LIVING EXPENSES WHEN YOU CAN’T BE AT HOME—If you are unable to stay in the rental home due a covered event, your policy will pay for your hotel and living expenses while repairs are being made. This is an important part of a renters insurance policy, so make sure the policy you choose has this included. Without it, you will be on the hook for finding a place to stay while your residence is being fixed.

Renters insurance policies are not all created equal. Get a few different quotes from different companies to find the best fit for you. And don’t forget, most policies will not include flood coverage. If you live in an area where flooding is an issue, we recommend you upgrade your policy to include flood damages.

We hope this helped you as you decide whether or not to purchase a renters insurance policy. If you have a move coming up soon, give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation estimate.

6 Home Improvements to Make Before Selling

House at dusk

If you are getting ready to place your home on the market, now is the time to sneak in some home improvement projects. Sometimes even the smallest home improvements can have a huge impact on potential buyers. All of the improvements listed below have the potential to immediately change the buyer’s perception of your home and raise its value.

Landscaping

Great landscaping can create a lasting first impression. Even if you don’t really have a green thumb, it’s important that your landscaping looks neat and that it complements your home’s exterior. Make sure your yard is looking its best by clearing out debris, watering the grass, trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn, and putting in a few annual flowers to brighten things up.

Exterior Shine

Making the exterior of your home sparkly clean can probably add more power to your curb appeal potential than anything else. After everything is cleaned up, take time to repair any places that need attention. Focus on chipping paint around the windows, missing shingles, or siding that needs repair.

Interior Paint

Painting is a great cost-effective way to completely transform the look of your home. Freshly painted rooms are a natural attraction. Using a light or neutral shade will allow buyers to more easily picture themselves living in your home. Plus, lighter colors will make your home seem larger, cleaner, and more appealing. If your walls are still in pretty good shape, washing them can give the same desired look.

Updated Fixtures

Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, doorknobs, cabinet hardware… making updates in these areas can make a huge difference. Fixtures go in and out of style pretty frequently and can easily make a beautiful home look dated.

Refresh Cabinets

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are highly visible because they are at eye level. For cabinets that are in good structural shape, a deep clean may be all that is needed to get them in showing condition. If that fails, painting or refacing them is a much cheaper option than replacing them altogether.

Depersonalize and Declutter

To prevent potential buyers from getting distracted, you should remove all personal memorabilia, such as family photos, collections, hobby items, and personal hygiene items. Your goal is to help prospective buyers visualize the space as their own. Clutter makes rooms look smaller and distracts buyers from seeing the beauty of the space. Make your home look bigger and more desirable by editing down to just the basics.

To give the illusion of space in your home, it may prove useful to store excess items off-site. We can deliver all-steel, weatherproof storage containers to you for all your storage needs. Zippy Shell delivers the container directly to your door to be loaded then safely stores all your furniture and other belongings back at our climate-controlled facility – out of sight and mind for you and your potential buyers. If you want a simple way to store your stuff, look no further than Zippy Shell.

8 Things That Every New Homeowner Should Do

Brick Home

Congratulations on making it through the long and stressful process of homebuying! If you are getting ready to settle into your very first home, you may feel overwhelmed as you navigate this last step. Some things need to be done immediately—like turning on utilities—but others you can start as you get settled in and through the next few months. Take a look at 8 things we think every new homeowner should do in their first year.

INVEST IN A HOME WARRANTY

A home warranty can be a lifesaver if a major appliance, or the HVAC system goes out in the first year of owning your home. Not every company or policy is created equal, so make sure you do plenty of research before deciding who to go with. We recommend asking your friends and family, or even your real estate agent, for recommendations.

START AN EMERGENCY FUND

Even if you do have a home warranty, it is still a good idea to start an emergency fund in the event something breaks that is not covered or even for a potentially bad financial month where your emergency savings could help you make all your payments on time until things improve.

TEST FIRE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS

This is something that should be done sooner than later. Just because you see smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed, doesn’t mean that they are working. Replace all the batteries and set a reminder for six months out on your phone or in your planner to change them again. Be sure to test each alarm after replacing the batteries to make sure they are working as they should.

MAKE A PRIORITY LIST

If you had a home inspection, you may have a report full of small to medium things that need to be fixed. Go through the report and prioritize the things that are safety issues and most important to you and your family. You don’t have to do everything all at once, so take some time to research the issues, determine costs, and make a long-term plan.

START A FILE WITH RECEIPTS AND INVOICES

As you start to make improvements and repairs around the home, keep a file with receipts and invoices. If you were to try to sell the home, many improvements can be shared on the home listing to draw in buyers. Things like septic tank maintenance can be very important to a potential buyer.

HAVE A HVAC CHECKUP

HVAC maintenance is important to making sure your system doesn’t break down on you, especially during extreme temperatures. Have a professional come out and do an assessment and “tune up” to make sure it is in good working order. Don’t forget to replace the filter.

KNOW WHERE ALL YOUR SHUTOFF VALVES ARE

If you have a home inspection report, the inspector may have listed where the gas and water shut off valves are located. It is important to familiarize yourself with these so you can act quickly in the event of a burst pipe or a gas leak. You should let the other members of your household know where they are as well.

LEARN (AND LABEL) THE BREAKERS

You probably have seen the circuit breaker by now, but have you opened it up and check to see if it is clearly labeled? If the previous owners didn’t already label each one, it’s now your very important task to complete. You can essentially map your home by turning off all the circuit breakers and turning them back on one at a time to determine which lights, outlets, and major appliances are on each one. This information will come in handy one day.

Do you have any other tips to share with a new homeowner? Stop by our Facebook page and share with our Zippy Shell community. If you are getting ready to move into your new home, be sure to give us a call and we will provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. We look forward to hearing from you!

5 Tips to Maximize Your Pantry Space

Organized Pantry

In most homes, the area designated for the pantry is typically far too undersized for our needs. The standard pantry tends to be packed full of overflowing boxes and bags of food. This sometimes leads to waste when the “out of sight, out of mind” food in the back goes unnoticed for too long. If this has happened to you and you are ready to try something new in your pantry, take a look at 5 of our favorite tips to help get that space back under control.

MOVE YOUR SHELVES

If you have adjustable shelves, change the heights of your available space to more closely fit your needs in the pantry. Depending on the types of foods you are storing in the pantry, you may benefit from adjusting your shelving to have less height, giving you the ability to add an extra shelf or two. If your shelving is not adjustable and you feel you are unable to appropriately use the large spaces without stacking boxes and cans, try using hanging shelves. These are racks that have “arms” that hold onto the shelf and giving storage space underneath. You can find these in many sizes and choose the ones that work best for you.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Adding lighting, whether motion detected or touch-activated, will not necessarily add space to your pantry, but will make it feel bigger and more accessible. Lighting is not typically added to the standard pantry, but you can buy lights that you stick onto the wall to give your pantry some much needed illumination. We suggest opting for rechargeable lights as opposed to ones that use up a lot of batteries.

USE YOUR DOOR

You can use the back of your door to increase the storage space in your pantry. You can buy specially designed shelving, or you can DIY some extra storage space using a hanging shoe holder.

ARRANGE CAREFULLY

Sometimes, simply changing how you arrange your food items will create a lot of space. You not only need to arrange items of most use in the front but try to arrange the taller, more visible items in the back and the shorter items in the front so they do not get lost. Don’t waste space by putting small cans on your largest shelf unless you intend to have them stacked to take advantage of the vertical space.

UNIFORM CONTAINERS AND BINS

Anyone who has ever played Tetris knows there are a few pieces that you wait and hope for because the uniformity helps fill out the space. Instead of trying to fit together a bunch of different sized cereal boxes and bags of flour, buy clear plastic containers of similar shapes and sizes to better arrange your food items. This will also help keep household pests out of your food! Buy bins that you can pull out easily to store loose items.

We hope these tips are useful to you as you work to maximize your pantry space! If you have a local or long-distance move coming up, give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 for a free quote. We also offer mobile and onsite storage to help you cover all your moving and/or storage needs. We look forward to hearing from you!

Are the Mosquitoes Ruining Your Summer?

Summer outdoor party

We have all been spending a lot of time outside enjoying the summer weather and fun backyard activities. But we aren’t the only ones! The mosquitoes have been out in droves threatening our peaceful evenings outside. With their constant buzzing and biting, it’s hard to tolerate for too long. Some use pest control companies to treat their yards when it gets bad, but we have a few tips you can try first.

KEEP IT DRY AND TIDY

We can’t control the weather, but we can do our best to limit standing water and active water sources around the home. Mosquitoes love water, and if given the opportunity, will use the available water to lay eggs in. This means a mosquito population that you won’t be able to ignore this summer. Walk around your home and yard looking for any possible water sources that would allow mosquitoes to thrive. This includes toys that hold water, buckets, wheelbarrows, or anything that allows water to accumulate. You should also make sure your gutters stay clear of debris.

NATURAL REPELLANTS

While there are many chemical sprays and DEET repellants available in most stores, there are natural options you can use in your yard or on yourself to help keep the mosquitoes at bay. Citronella candles are great for smaller areas. There are many different types of oils that you can get to make your own repellant sprays. Citronella, lemon-eucalyptus, cedarwood, and lavender are some of the most common oils that are used for DIY mosquito repellant. You can do a quick search on Pinterest to find hundreds of different recipes to fit your needs. A word of caution: not every repellant recipe will be appropriate to use on children or around pets.

AVOID SCENTED LOTIONS AND BODY PRODUCTS

Some people attract more mosquitoes than others. There are a lot of different theories to explain why one person is untouched by mosquitoes, but another ends the evening with 20 bites. Some believe your blood type determines your mosquito magnetism, while others believe it has to do with your hormones. We don’t know if these are true, but we do know that certain scents attract and repel mosquitoes. It has been theorized that mosquitoes are attracted to scented body lotions and products. Try to avoid applying scented products before going to hang out outdoors to keep the mosquitoes away.

WEAR LONG SLEEVES

Sometimes, despite all our best efforts, you will find the mosquitoes are relentless. If this happens in your yard, try wearing lightweight long sleeves and pants. It’s not ideal to wear long sleeves and pants when it is hot outside, but if nothing else works to keep the mosquitoes off, the cloth barrier will give you a needed reprieve from the unwanted bites.

We’d love to hear how you keep the mosquitoes from ruining your time outdoors. Stop by our Facebook page and share with our Zippy Shell community.

If you have a local or long-distance move coming up, give us a call for a free, no-obligation quote. We are standing by to assist you with all your moving or storage needs!!

Fresh Curb Appeal Ideas

House at dusk

Many people have transitioned to more of a “work from home” lifestyle. In many cases, this means a much shorter commute that can add hours to your day. So you may finally have the time to freshen up your curb appeal! Of course, now you may be wondering what exactly is curb appeal? It is essentially how appealing your home looks when first viewed from the street, like a first impression. Curb appeal matters if you want to sell your house, if you want to welcome your friends and family, if you want to feel a sense of pride every time you drive up, or if you just don’t want to make the neighbors mad!

Front Door – The entry door is artistically referred to as “The Portal to the Soul of Your House” – sounds important, right? Fix minor imperfections by sanding the area down, filling it with wood filler, and repainting or staining. Speaking of paint, a brightly colored door will definitely turn heads. Check out the inspiration found here to help your front door stand out from the crowd. When you update the front door, don’t neglect the hardware. A new knocker and doorknob in a matching finish will complete the look.

Bold, Vibrant Accents – If a boldly colored front door is not your style, consider 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.

Exterior Illumination – Well planned outdoor lighting is essential to curb appeal. Done right it will set the mood and welcome nighttime guests. Use the right combination of wall sconces, lanterns, step and path lights to highlight your architecture and showcase the landscaping. Also, fresh new light fixtures can cast a brighter light and they give the impression that your home has been updated recently.

Make it Shine – Making the exterior of your home sparkly clean can probably add more power to your curb appeal than anything else. After everything is cleaned up, take time to repair any places that need attention. Focus on chipping paint around the windows, missing shingles, or siding that needs repair.

Landscaping – The simplest way to boost curb appeal is to have a well-manicured lawn. Healthy looking, weed free trimmed grass, clean lines around walkways and flower beds, and trimmed bushes and trees will set the foundation for curb appeal you can be proud of. Put in a few perennial flowers to brighten things up.

Paint Your Mailbox – Your mailbox sees a lot of wear over the years as it is constantly attacked by the elements so a little paint can provide an instant curb appeal boost. You can use inexpensive craft store stencils to let the kids add a creative design.

Looking for some extra storage space to clean up the outside of your home? Zippy Shell has onsite and portable storage solutions perfect for the job! You can learn more by visiting www.zippyshell.com today!

Home Inspection Facts for the New Home Buyer

home inspection

If you are getting ready to buy a home, you probably know that it can be a long and tedious process. There are a lot of different steps and many of those must be completed under certain time restraints. Knowledge is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal when it is time to start making offers on the homes you like. While you likely have a real estate agent and a mortgage lender guiding you through the many steps, doing your own research will help you feel confident in the process. One aspect of homebuying that can be confusing is the home inspection. Who pays for it? Is it necessary? What do they look for? These are important questions that we are going to address.

WHO PAYS FOR THE HOME INSPECTION?

The buyer almost always pays for the home inspection. If the home inspection turns up issues that you do not want to fix, you can negotiate with the seller to have them pay for repairs. You also have the choice to walk away or accept the home as-is.

WHEN DO YOU GET THE HOME INSPECTION?

Once you make an offer and the seller accepts, you are under time constraints to complete each step. It is important that you already have a trustworthy home inspector ready to make a quick appointment. Some home inspectors stay scheduled out for weeks, so don’t wait until the last minute to find one that will be able to get you on the schedule.

IS A HOME INSPECTION REALLY NECESSARY?

While not always mandatory, home inspections are a necessary part of buying a home. It can be tempting to skip the inspection to save the money, but it could cost you far more in the long run if you decide to forgo the inspection. Inspectors know to look for things that we just are not attuned to. The last thing you would want is to move into your new home and find major issues when it is too late.

WHAT DO HOME INSPECTORS LOOK FOR?

Home inspectors look for many different types of things. They will check for water damage, damage that could affect structural integrity, roof issues, electrical system and plumbing problems, HVAC issues, pest problems, and more. You could also purchase radon and air quality tests. Hopefully, your inspection report does not show many problems, but if it does, you can make an informed decision on your next steps.

HOW TO CHOOSE A HOME INSPECTOR?

Ask around for recommendations from friends and family. Word of mouth is a great way to find someone that you can trust. The home inspector you choose should be current on all their certifications and training. You will also want to make sure they are fully insured and experienced in the type of property you are purchasing.

We hope this information on home inspections will be helpful to you as you enter the homebuying process. When you are ready to move, be sure to give Zippy Shell a call. We are ready to partner with you for an easy and stress-free move.

7 Tips for Working at Home

Working From Home

If you are one of the millions of Americans now forced to work at home, you may be wondering how you can be productive in an environment with less accountability. If you are new to remote work, it can take some adjustments to work in an area that is usually associated with rest and relaxation. Everyone has their own set of unique challenges when it comes to working from home, but we have some tips to help you succeed.

Dedicated Workspace

Not everyone has a designated office in their home. If you do, great! Make sure you keep it organized and free from clutter to minimize distractions. If you don’t already have an office, it can be challenging to find a place in the home to call your own. Many are also trying to work with their kids in the home, which can be even more tricky. In this case, you will need to find a place that will be free from the distractions of a busy household. Maybe this is simply a corner or nook in your bedroom that you can set up a comfortable workspace.

Dress for the Part

Some people can be productive in their pjs or house clothes, but some of us need to feel dressed for the part. If you find that you don’t feel as motivated while dressed in casual clothes, try dressing as you normally would for work. This can help you create a daily routine that keeps you feeling normal.

Create a Regular Schedule

You should create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Your schedule may need to be tinkered with in the beginning to find something that best works for you and your household, but when you get it figured out, try to make it your daily routine.

Set Expectations with Family

This may be the biggest hurdle many are facing as they are expected to show up to virtual meetings with bored children and pets in the background. Have a family meeting to explain the schedule you need to keep and the times you will need to have a quiet background. This will allow everyone in your family to plan their daily activities in a way that will provide an acceptable working environment for you.

Block Distractions

Distractions can come in many forms: the pile of laundry on the bed, the barking dog in the backyard, or even the temptation to check social media while on the clock. Take some time each day to make sure your workspace is clean and tidy. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind! If the outside noises make it hard to concentrate, think about getting yourself a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. If you are struggling with checking social media or other websites, try installing a browser extension that will block those sites during set work hours.

Take Breaks

We all need breaks, maybe even more than ever before. Be mindful to schedule certain times during the workday to take some time away from your chair and your screen. Go for a walk around the block, check in with your family, or use this as a time to rest.

Set Expectations with Yourself

This is a confusing time for everyone, and we are all just doing our best. Go easy on yourself as you try to establish a new working environment. If the day doesn’t go how you planned or how you wanted, try again tomorrow!

Zippy Shell is still here and working to cover all your moving and storage needs. If you have a move scheduled during this uncertain time, click here for a quote or give us a call 888-947-7974!