Get Your Grill Ready for Summer!

A family stands around a grill ready to eat

What is your favorite thing about Summer? Many enjoy the longer days, the warmer temperatures, fun times in the sun, a more relaxed schedule, and grilling on the patio! The longer days of Summer provide the perfect opportunity to perfect your grill master skills. Summer barbeques are also an excellent way to spend extra time with family and friends, and they are perfect for celebrating milestones like birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, or graduations. While many have already started their grilling seasons,we have some tips for those getting a late start or breaking in that new grill:

  • If you didn’t use your grill over the colder months, now is the time to check for any insects or other pests that may have made your grill its home and kindly evict them.
  • Check for signs of rust, especially if your metal grill has been exposed to the elements. To remove rust, use a cup of baking soda and add vinegar little by little until you have a consistent paste. Apply the paste to the grill using a sponge, and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub it clean with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with warm water.
  • For cleaning the inside, first, run the burners on high for five minutes and turn them off. When cool enough to handle, dry scrub all the baked-on crud off grates, burners, and inside surfaces with a nylon scouring pad or a ball of aluminum foil. Another trick to remove stuck-on gunk is to use a portable steamer. Stainless steel wire brushes work well, but there is the risk of leaving behind tiny metal bristles that will get stuck in your food. For deeper cleaning, soak the grates overnight in a mix of two cups of vinegar and one cup of baking soda. Rubbing the grates with a paper towel soaked in oil before each grill session will reduce the amount of food bits left behind.
  • Scrub the exterior down with warm soapy water and wipe to dry. If your exterior is stainless steel, you can use a cleaner specifically made for stainless steel.

After your grill is clean and ready to go, it is time to try it out on your guests. Our best tip to enjoy your barbecue is to 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. Offer guests a beverage when they arrive, and then encourage them to help themselves after that.  

We hope you and your family enjoy sweet, sweet summertime and all it has to offer. If you plan on making a move this Summer, allow Zippy Shell to make all the necessary arrangements. Let us take all of the guesswork out of the moving process! Give us a call today or go online for a free quote to see how we can make moving and storage simple for you.

7 Hacks to Keep Your Home Cleaner

A woman cleans her kitchen countertops.

Try to imagine owning a self-cleaning house. That would be living the dream! While it is probably an unattainable dream at this point in history, the good news is that there are tricks you can use to keep your home cleaner every single day automatically. Using these hacks is probably about as close as you can get to a self-cleaning house right now.

  1. Place a washable mat on both the inside and the outside of your main entrance. This will cut down on the majority of the dirt that gets tracked into your home.
  2. Another way to prevent dirt and allergens from entering your home is to adopt a no-shoes policy. This is a simple rule to enforce with your family; create a drop zone for all shoes either outside or inside the home. It becomes a little trickier to implement with guests. You will generally need to provide house slippers or shoe covers, so you may decide that just keeping away the daily dirt your family brings inside is good enough.
  3. Minimize pet dirt and grime inside your home by cleaning your pet outside before they ever get a chance to track it in. At the very minimum, clean dirty paws before bringing them inside. If they are a dirt roller, a full spray down may be required. Keep towels on hand to dry everyone off before coming inside.
  4. The hard truth is that a decluttered home is easier to clean. Kitchen counters, night tables, coffee tables, entry halls, and bathroom counters can all be a battleground for endless clutter. Consider organizing with attractive baskets and containers in these areas to house items you like to have at your fingertips. Containers are easy to move out of the way when the cleaning mood strikes.
  5. Have all your cleaning supplies gathered together in one portable cleaning bucket or caddy. It is so much easier to get the job done efficiently when you have all the tools right there at your side. So whenever you have a few minutes to clean, grab the bucket, and you are good to go!
  6. Work from top to bottom in each room. Starting with the cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling and cleaning your way down to the floors will work with gravity to ensure you never have to clean anything twice.
  7. Remove lingering smells from your upholstery and mattress with baking soda. Just sprinkle baking soda on furniture that needs freshening up, let it sit for 20 min and then vacuum away with a vacuum attachment. Of course, that same vacuum attachment is also great for cleaning the blinds, vents, cabinets, shelves, and pretty much anything else you notice is dusty as you make your way through the house.

Consistent cleaning, decluttering, and organizing can help you feel more in control and more productive. We hope these hacks will be helpful to you as you create a home for yourself and your family. As always, Zippy Shell is ready to partner with you if you need a storage solution or are looking at a local or long-distance move. So give us a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online for more information on our moving and storage options.

Invest in Your Home With These DIY Projects

A family takes a break from painting their house

It is never a bad idea or a wrong time to invest in your home and capitalize on the long-term benefits of home improvement. DIY home improvement projects reduce the amount of money you spend on a project giving you the most significant return on investment. Plus, the satisfaction and enjoyment you will receive from creating a better home environment and learning new home improvement skills are just bonuses. We have rounded up a list of DIY projects you can start on today.

  • Painting – This is an easy one to start developing your DIY skills. Painting anything and everything is a great cost-effective way to completely transform your home’s look and give you the most bang for your DIY buck. It can be messy, and you will have to move things around, as it can take a while for the paint to dry between coats. But trust us, it is worth it!
  • Update Fixtures – Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, doorknobs, and cabinet hardware are all easy DIY updates that can make a huge difference.  Fixtures go in and out of style pretty frequently and can quickly turn a dated-looking home into a beautiful home. 
  • Upgrade Your Doors – A new front entry door will add to the beauty of your home and will reduce utility bills. It also has one of the highest returns on investment. Replacing your garage door is another DIY option. You can upgrade to a spiffy new steel model and save some cash by keeping the same motorized opener.
  • Go Green – Instead of building a privacy fence, plant one! By planting a living privacy fence, you can create the seclusion you crave, block noise, and create a natural windbreak. While a living privacy fence is not a quick fix, your patience will be rewarded with a unique botanical barrier that serves your purposes and helps save the earth. There are a wide variety of plant options for your living fence. Evergreen trees, evergreen or flowering shrubs, or ornamental grasses are all good ideas. You can also consider a trellis covered in vines or a structure that will support a vertical garden.
  • Finished Basement or Attic – Depending on the size, this project may take a little more time and will likely require professional help. The result will provide you with additional square footage that everyone could use right now. Think about using the new area for a home office, a guest room, a workout area, or a place to entertain.

Are you inspired yet? If you need extra storage space to work on DIY home improvement projects, Zippy Shell has onsite and portable storage solutions perfect for the job. You can feel confident knowing that your furniture, appliances, and personal belongings are safe and within easy reach during home improvement projects. You can also use our storage containers to house your project materials and tools. A portable storage container is like having your very own storage facility located right on your property. Learn more and receive a free, no-obligation quote by visiting www.zippyshell.com today.

3 Inspiring Outdoor Trends for Summer

A back porch pergola arranged with flowers

As the weather warms up and the sun comes out, outdoor spaces become the place to gather. The past year of a pandemic has shown us the value of having inspiring outdoor spaces at our homes to welcome small groups of friends and family safely in an open-air environment. What would your dream outdoor space look like? Here are some trends to help you envision an area where you can cheer on summer!

Pergola

Beyond being beautiful, pergolas offer many benefits. One of the most important benefits of a pergola is that it defines your outdoor space. While a deck or patio can also define your space, a pergola does this with more beauty and style. Going the extra mile by combining your pergola with flooring such as pavers, a concrete patio, or a deck creates a much more cozy atmosphere. Adding to the beauty of pergolas is that they can support landscaping features such as climbing flowers, vines, and ivy. Pergolas can also provide that perfect combination of shade and sun. You can still see the beauty of the sky and stars with slight breaks from the sun’s full force.

Fire Feature

There are so many options for having a fire feature in your outdoor space. Of course, some are more budget-friendly than others. You can choose from a DIY concrete paver ring, a stone fireplace, a chiminea, a kerosene fire table, or a wood-burning fire pit. A fire feature adds ambiance, and it will become a focal point for meaningful conversation. It can also take the chill out of the air once the sun goes down. Bring out a basket of lap blankets on especially chilly nights. Depending on the type of fire feature you choose, cooking over a fire can be a fun option. Who doesn’t love fireside s’mores?

Backyard Entertainment

While you are spending time in your backyard this summer with friends and family, make memories by having some fun. Outdoor movies under the stars are always a hit, especially with younger kids. Many adults could also get behind a movie night filled with “classics” from way back when. Backyard games can fill the night with laughter. Think along the lines of bocce ball, ladder golf, corn hole, giant checkers, or badminton. Or maybe your idea of “entertainment” is just quiet relaxation. If that is the case, lounge chairs, hammocks, or an outdoor daybed for reading may increase your speed. Adding a water feature can enhance the relaxation factor. 

If you need extra on-site storage for tools or materials while working on the backyard of your dreams, Zippy Shell makes it easy. Portable storage containers are a popular option during remodeling or construction because they give you the flexibility of having extra items on hand for the duration of your project. Learn more about our storage solutions by visiting www.zippyshell.com today!

6 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Not Skip

A nice home front in a neighborhood

It is essential to keep up with the maintenance around your home and property to keep everything in good repair. There is nothing worse than an ill-timed breakdown when some simple maintenance could have prevented it. We have listed six commonly skipped maintenance tasks that we think are too important to forget. Take a look!

Have your HVAC unit serviced

If you have your HVAC unit serviced at least once a year, you will find that you maintain peak energy efficiency and prolong the life of the unit. Just like with your vehicle, regular maintenance helps prevent breakdowns that could potentially end with you needing to replace the whole unit.

Check your sump pump

If you have a sump pump, you know how vital it is to be in good working condition. If it stops working, you want to know about it before a big rainstorm, not after! You should consult the owner’s manual for your sump pump and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance. You can also have your sump pump professionally inspected if you prefer.

Clean your refrigerator condenser coils

The condenser coils on your refrigerator are located at the bottom of the back of the fridge. They work to cool and condense the refrigerant. If they get covered with dirt, dust, debris, and pet hair, they will not be able to release heat efficiently and will make your fridge work harder and harder until it eventually gives out. It’s a relatively easy job to clean them. You can purchase a coil cleaning brush to scrub off the coils, vacuuming as you go. Be sure you unplug your fridge anytime you work on it.

Clean your exhaust fans

Your bathroom exhaust fans are important for making sure that condensation doesn’t build up in your bathroom, causing mildew and mold. If it gets full of dust, it can stop working efficiently. You should make sure to clean it once a year. This task requires a little more effort but will be worth it. First, turn the power off to the fan at the circuit box. Remove the grate covering the fan and wash it with a gentle dishwashing liquid and warm water. You can then remove the dust on the fan assembly with compressed air or a vacuum attachment. Once everything is clean and dry, you can replace the grate and turn the power back on.

Clean your dryer vents

If you have ever noticed that your clothes are taking longer and longer to dry, they are coming out of the dryer hot (not warm) to the touch, or you smell something burning, it is time to clean out the vents to your dryer. This is an easy task, but you may need to visit your local home improvement store to purchase a dryer vent cleaning kit. It usually will include a long brush and vacuum attachment that can fit into the vent.

Check for dead limbs and trees around your home

Dead limbs and trees near your home present a real danger. It would be best to do regular checks on the trees close to the home or hire an arborist to do an evaluation.

We hope these tips help as you make your home maintenance list this year. If you have a move coming up, feel free to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online. Our portable storage options are perfect for any move or storage needs you may have.

We look forward to hearing from you!

5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Home

Some plants sit in the sun on a home window sill

Live houseplants are becoming more and more sought after since the global pandemic began. Plants are a great way of bringing the outside in and giving your home a boost of nature. If you haven’t jumped on the houseplant trend, take a look at 5 other reasons we think you need plants in your home.

#1 They can be functional

Not all houseplants are meant to be looked at. You can choose houseplants that are functional to you as well. Aloe vera, eucalyptus, lavender, dwarf lemon trees, and various windowsill herbs are popular choices for people who want houseplants that can also be used in everyday life.

#2 Plants are great for mental health

Studies are showing that houseplants can provide benefits to our mental health. They can lower stress, increase happiness, and even improve our concentration and productivity. In fact, there are even some reports of medical practitioners prescribing potted plants to patients who are experiencing anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

#3 Plants can be an inexpensive way to interior decorate

If you open any interior decorating magazine, you are going to see houseplants. That is because they are a beautiful and inexpensive way to add dimension, color, and life to practically any room. According to the size and type of lighting you have, you can use large trees or even a succulent garden. No matter which direction you go, we know it will add character and color to your space.

#4 Certain plants can help purify the air

In the 1980’s, NASA published a study that indicated plants could have a positive effect on indoor air quality. There have been mixed results on this topic ever since—with some studies showing they do help filter the air, while others say you would need a room full of plants to achieve positive results. But with some careful selection, they couldn’t hurt! Spider plants, English ivies, ferns, snake plants, peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, aloe vera, and pothos are some of the most common varieties of houseplants said to filter different harmful toxins in the air.

#5 Caring for houseplants can become a relaxing hobby

Keeping live houseplants can become a satisfying hobby. The daily act of checking on them, watering, pruning, and inspecting can be very cathartic for some people. Just be sure to not overwhelm yourself with more than you can realistically care for or it may have the opposite effect and become a source of stress.

We hope this helps inspire you to try your hand at keeping houseplants this year! If you have a local or long-distance move coming up, give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation estimate. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about our portable storage containers or how the process works and help make moving and storage simple for you!

How to Cope with Relocation Depression After a Big Move

A couple sits next to the moving boxes in their new home

Everyone knows a big move can be one of life’s most challenging events, both physically and emotionally. So if you feel stressed or anxious during a move, that is perfectly normal. Many times just the sheer physical exhaustion of moving is enough to throw you into a temporary funk. Making a move can indicate a positive change in our life, like a new job or a new relationship. Still, no matter how positive you expect the move to be, there can be pre-existing depression or even a new feeling of depression that moves with us. It can also happen to anyone, so there is no shame if you begin to feel down during a big move. If you have recognized and determined that you are suffering from relocation depression, here are some things to focus on.

  • Feelings of depression or anxiety are often heightened when you are rushed or forced to move quicker than comfortable. Allow plenty of time to prepare for your move and start the process as early as you can. Expect to need time after the move to get back to normal. If you can, book some time off work to unpack and recover from the physical and mental effort. It will give you space to adjust to the changes.
  • Try to carve out space in your new home that will automatically “feel like home.” Set up a favorite rug, blanket, or pictures that make you feel like you are home. Having this little bit of comfort can help your new home feel safer and more settled. Find a way to integrate the things you love in your new home’s design, and you will see how quickly the space will gain personality and warmth.
  • Recreate some of your old routines. You may have a big desire to push ahead with unpacking, but it might be better for your mental health to stay on an established schedule. Little things such as familiar meals, regular exercise routines, reaching out to friends and family that you usually talk to can go a long way towards easing the transition. In other words, do the things that made you happy in your old place, even if you have to do them in a new way.
  • Find something to be excited about in your new city. Put on your tourist hat and head out and do all the touristy things your new city has to offer. This has the added benefit of giving you a chance to familiarize yourself with the city. Walking increases calmness, so explore the walkable sections of your new city on foot!
  • Try to make relationships in your new city by getting involved with local interest groups, taking a class, volunteering, or extending invitations to neighbors and coworkers to hang out. Just be sure to set realistic expectations about the amount of time it takes to foster new relationships; it can be tricky!
  • Above all else, if your relocation depression or anxiety is debilitating or lingers longer than you think it should, speak with a professional. You may need additional help. 

Moving is stressful, and we want to make sure that we go above and beyond what the competition does to ensure your satisfaction. Zippy Shell is here to take the stress out of your move allowing you to focus on your physical and emotional health during this exciting time. Give us a call today to see how we can help make your move simple.

Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?

house in a storm

Hurricane season has officially begun and will drag on through November. NOAA recently released predictions for an “above-normal Atlantic hurricane season”. The outlook they released states we have a 60% chance to see more activity than a normal year. If you live in a potential hurricane zone, now would be a great time to make sure your home is ready, and even more importantly, that you and your family are ready. Take a look at some of the things you can do now to be more prepared for an active hurricane season.

EVALUATE YOUR POLICIES

Make sure your insurance policies are up-to-date and will cover the full cost of a rebuild. You should also consider adding flood insurance to your policy. Go over your policy from top to bottom to make sure in the event of minor to severe damage, you will be covered. This would also be a good time to evaluate your valuables and belongings to make sure you have a current list of what you would need to replace.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR ROOF

If you live in a hurricane zone, you probably already give special attention to your roof. In case you haven’t, here is your reminder to make sure your roof is sealed and secure. You can use waterproof tape to seal the seams and purchase roof straps to secure your roof from your attic access. If your budget allows, hire a roofing professional to come out and inspect your roof. They will be able to tell you if there is any need for further upgrades or maintenance and will be able to give you a pricing estimate.

SEAL IT UP

Over time, the seals around windows and doors can become worn down and start to do a bad job at keeping out the elements. You can find tutorials on Youtube that will teach you to fix these yourself if you do not want to hire someone to do it for you. Take the time to go around and inspect your home looking for holes or cracks that may need to be filled and sealed. Bonus: this will help your energy bills year-round.

SECURE IT

You shouldn’t have anything laying around outdoors that you wouldn’t want to lose or that could become a projectile in high winds. Secure your outdoor items or bring them in if you have heavy storms enter your area. Other home features like your porch, carport, and garage doors should be inspected to make sure they are anchored and secure.

HAVE A PLAN

Sit down with your family and make a plan for what you will do if you enter a hurricane watch or warning. Discuss evacuation routes and make sure everyone has a disaster bag packed with essentials. The Red Cross has a very easy to follow action plan that you can review that covers what you should do before, during, and after a hurricane. You could print your plan and place it in an accessible area of the home.

We hope you all stay safe and healthy this summer. If you have any other preparedness tips, we’d love for you to stop by our Zippy Shell Facebook Page and share with our online community. We look forward to hearing from you.

Summer Lawn Care Tips

lawn care

With Summer just a few days away, it’s time to start thinking about Summer lawn care. The hot and dry weather over these next few months can pose some problems when you are trying to keep your lawn lush and healthy. We have a few tips that will help you make sure your lawn stays beautiful and magazine-worthy through these hot summer months.

WATER, WATER, WATER

One of the hardest parts of taking care of your lawn during summer is making sure it receives enough water. The combination of high temperatures and lack of rain can be extremely damaging to your grass. The general rule of thumb is to make sure your grass is receiving 1-inch of water each week, sometimes even more according to how hot it gets in your area. You can place a flat-bottomed container on a flat area of your yard to keep track of how much water your lawn is really getting each week. Timing is important as well. You generally see people out in the morning watering their lawns because watering in the evening—just as the sun is about to go down—can create the optimal environment for fungal growth.

MOW IT

You should change the height on your mower blades to allow taller grass in the summer. Different types of grasses require different heights, so be sure to adjust accordingly. Generally, warm-season grasses are cut at 2”-3” and cool-season at 3”-4”. Keeping your grass longer during these hot months will give the ground some shade, keeping it from drying out as quickly. It will also encourage root growth and make the grass more tolerant to droughts. Another tip to remember is to not cut too much at once. If your grass has gotten exceptionally long, do not cut more than a third of the blade’s total height. If you cut too much at once, it can stress the grass and leave too thick of a layer of grass clippings. You also want to make sure your mower’s blades are sharp. If the blades are dull, it will tear away at the grass instead of giving it a clean cut.

MINIMIZE WEAR AND TEAR

Just as we use area and walkway rugs to protect high-traffic areas of our indoor flooring, you can do the same for your lawn. If you have high-traffic areas that you are struggling to keep looking healthy, consider installing purposeful walkways. You can install permanent concrete walkways, or simply use stones or pavers. This will also encourage people to stay off the grass if there are designated walkways to use.

HIRE A PRO

If you have not had any success keeping your lawn healthy through the hotter seasons, you may find it helpful to hire a professional company to come out and assess your lawn. Many great companies will offer a free estimate and will not only get your yard looking amazing, they will keep it that way.

Zippy Shell is standing by to help with all your moving and storage needs. We have facilities across the country so you can securely store your things while you move. Give us a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online.

Pool Safety Reminders for the Summer

swimming pool

The temperatures are getting hotter every day, and many are spending time in their backyard pool to cool off. It’s a great way to stay cool and get some exercise, but it is also important to remember some key safety tips to make sure your time at the pool is a fun day with no mishaps. Take a look at some of the things you can do to protect your family in and around the water.

SUNSCREEN

It may not seem like a big deal, but keep your child covered in sunscreen will help protect them from potential health issues down the road. And more immediately, from the pain of sunburn and even sun poisoning. Check the brand you use for their recommendations on how often you should apply it for optimal efficiency.

SUPERVISE THEM

If you have children in or around the pool, you or another adult should be in charge of keeping an eye on them at all times. Infants and toddlers should be within reach. If for any reason you need to walk away, bring your child with you or ask another adult to take over. Accidents can happen quickly, so keep the little ones looked after the entire time.

TEACH

You can begin teaching pool and water safety to your children from a young age. Let them know your expectations and rules regarding the pool and explain the dangers of unsupervised trips to the water. You should also make sure your children know how to swim and know what to do if they become fatigued in the water and need to rest. If you feel more comfortable having a professional teach them, you can often find group classes year-round to enroll them in.

USE FLOTATION DEVICES

If your child does not know how to swim or cannot swim very strongly, use proper flotation devices. Some may tell their child to stay in the shallow end and allow them to swim without flotation, which is fine if you are right there and you are watching. But if you plan to go chat with your friend, put the child in floaties and watch to make sure he doesn’t struggle in the water.

SECURE THE AREA

If you have a backyard pool and young children, it is a particularly good idea to have the pool gated off so they cannot wander in on their own. You can even invest in a pool alarm system that lets you know if someone has gotten into the pool.

LEARN

Learn CPR by finding a nearby class. This is an important skill that everyone should acquire, but it is especially important if you have children. Classes are generally very affordable, and some will give you a certification. If an accident were to occur, you would be the first responder while waiting for help. This could save a life!

Swimming is great fun for the whole family! We hope these reminders will help you have a safe and cool summer. Don’t forget to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 when you are ready to schedule your local or long-distance move. We are here and ready to help!