6 Items You Will Want to Pass Down to Your Children

An older woman gives a younger woman a necklace

There usually comes a time in everyone’s life when it makes sense to downsize and live a simpler life. This change often comes around when your children become adults and live out independently, or you are nearing retirement. Most people are overwhelmed by the thought of downsizing and are afraid to get rid of something that will be needed, wanted, or be of significant value later on down the road. To help with the decision-making process, we have come up with a list of items you may want to hold on to for passing down to your children one day.

  • Family Photographs and Videos – These items can be priceless. The key here is to save only the most significant photographs and pass them on in an organized, orderly fashion. Your children will want only the memories that capture the moment or event and the important people who were present. Duplicates, repetitive photos, and landscape scenes can generally be tossed. You want to save pictures that tell the essence of what life was like, not every moment ever photographed. Take your organization one step further by digitizing the photos.
  • Family Recipes –  Recipes passed down for generations are a way of keeping our loved ones alive while we spend time together in the kitchen. It is also a great way to keep your heritage alive and preserve the memories of special family events. Ask your adult children what meals they remember most from childhood, and be sure to protect those recipes in a binder or digitally.
  • Sentimental Toys, Games, or Books – There is a special bond with a stuffed animal that went everywhere with you as a child. And of course, playing the same board games and reading the same books to your child that you loved in your youth is some of the best kinds of therapy. The key is to limit the items to only the most sentimental and those that have enough life left in them for your grandchildren.
  • Special Jewelry – Timeless pieces, historical pieces, engagement or wedding bands, and pieces that hold emotional value to your children or monetary value should all be saved and passed down.
  • Accent Furniture – Each generation has its own style, so your children may not be interested in your sofa or a bulky antique china cabinet. But small pieces of accent furniture that tell a story may be exactly what your children are looking for. You may also want to ask your children if there is a piece of furniture that they want to refinish to match their style.
  • Handmade Items – A handmade quilt, knitted scarf, carved knick-knack, or a custom-built piece of furniture is an incredibly personal heirloom, reminding its owner of all the hard work put into the piece.

Zippy Shell is the perfect solution for those looking to downsize. Our portable storage containers eliminate the obstacles standing between you and downsizing your life. We offer simple storage solutions, and we can safely store your belongings as long as you need. When the time is right, we will deliver your belongings to your new home or your children’s home!

Should You Buy a Home In Your 20s?

A couple shows the keys to a home.

Being in your 20s usually means having an entry-level salary, college loans to manage, and a desire to have the freedom to enjoy life while you are young. Does that make it the best time to buy your first home? Depending on your circumstance, this stage of life may be the absolute best time to buy your first home. The following questions will help determine your best path forward.

  • What are the benefits of purchasing a home in your 20s?
    • Annual rent hikes will be a thing of the past when you own your own home. Consistent, reliable payments come with homeownership.
    • Think of all the home customization you can do when you own your own home. You want your home to match your personality, and owning means you can integrate the things you love into the decor and design of your new home by painting, upgrading, and renovating.
    • Successfully navigating a mortgage at a young age can help you establish a solid credit history leading to more significant financial opportunities later on.
    • Homeownership can come with several significant tax advantages that can help you lower your tax burden
  • Are you financially secure? Most financial planners recommend that homeowners make a down payment amounting to 20% of the sale price. Depending on the market and the home you choose, this could be a large sum of money. Of course, there are ways around this by paying private mortgage insurance or applying for down payment assistance. Some types of loans only require anywhere between 3-5% down. There are also closing costs to consider, and they typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. Closing costs are paid in addition to your down payment at the close of the sale.

Additionally, owning a home means planning for unexpected home expenses. Unless you buy new construction, an emergency fund to pay for home repairs such as roof damage or water leaks will be needed. Using a mortgage calculator to see how much your mortgage will likely cost is a beneficial tool. Make sure you factor in the costs of maintenance/repairs and your regular monthly expenses like utilities, food, phone, car payment, and more to determine your budget.

  • How is your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio? Your ability to get a mortgage depends on your credit score, your debts, your income, and the home you’re looking to purchase. Mortgage companies will look to see that you have stable employment, solid income, and the funds to cover the mortgage for which you are applying. Mortgage lenders usually require borrowers to have a minimum credit score, and they look at your credit utilization ratio.
  • Do you plan on staying in the area for a few years? Even if you are unsure if your current location is where you want to live permanently, it still may be financially beneficial to purchase a home. There are waves in the housing market, but most properties will appreciate over time, even a short amount of time. You need to be willing to stay in the property long enough to cover your closing costs and any upgrades you make after a resell. You can also plan to rent out your first home for some passive income if life necessitates that you make a move.

Just remember to do your research, and your first home purchase does not have to be your “forever home.” If you have a move coming up this fall, give Zippy Shell a call. We would love to explain how our moving and storage services can help you achieve a smooth and stress-free move. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Puppy Proof Your New Home

A Corgi puppy walks through a backyard

Is your new home ready to welcome a puppy? Puppies are cuddly, adorable, and will add immense happiness to your life, but they don’t come without a unique set of challenges. Let’s talk about how you can puppy-proof your new home to provide the best environment for you and your new best friend. Puppy proofing a home is a lot like childproofing a home! You will want to have all the supplies you will need on hand for a new puppy while also taking measures to protect them from any dangers around your home.

Provide Puppy Supplies

  • Pet Crate – Enclosed spaces create a shelter for your puppy to rest and relax. Dogs instinctively seek small spaces to create protective shelters for themselves. A pet crate is also a major tool to help you housetrain your puppy. Dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping quarters, so they learn to hold their bladder while they’re in their crate. The crates will also keep your curious puppy safe when you’re not able to supervise them. Just be sure to include a pet bed or padding in the crate for more comfort. 
  • Pet Gate –  A gate can section off an entire room dedicated to your puppy. This will give your puppy more room to exercise and explore without compromising your whole home. It is better than closing the door in the room where your puppy is playing because it lets you to supervise them and allows airflow between rooms. Choose a room with dog-friendly flooring and minimal furniture to chew on or scratch.
  • Pet Camera – If you are spending time away from your puppy while at work, it can give you peace of mind to invest in a pet camera. Some even allow you to talk to your pets or dispense treats for good behavior while you are away.

Provide Protection

  • Keep exterior doors and windows closed and locked to prevent your puppy from escaping.
  • Make sure all electrical cords are taped down or out of reach. There is a risk of electrocution for puppies that chew on an electrical cord. A playful puppy might be able to pull a heavy item on top of themselves when playing with or getting caught in a dangling cord.
  • Watch out for choking hazards. Small items like batteries, jewelry, toys, office supplies, and more can cause your puppy to choke if they chew on them. Keep these items high enough where your pet can’t reach them or store them in a secure container.
  • The trash can is an area of temptation for curious puppies, so it is vital to keep your trash secure. Pets can find all sorts of dangerous objects in the trash can, such as raw or spoiled food, household chemicals, or choking hazards. 
  • Store cleaning supplies and other chemicals locked away or out of reach. Antifreeze is a particular danger because it smells sweet to pets and is deadly to them.
  • Keep over-the-counter medicines, prescriptions medicines, and vitamins up and away from your puppy. Plus, keep all medications in their original child-resistant containers relocking safety caps after each use.
  • Update your pet tag or pet chip with your contact information as soon as possible. If your puppy gets lost, you will want to be able to be contacted right away.

We hope these tips help you and your new furry friend get off to a great start in your new home! If you are planning a make a move soon, give Zippy Shell a call today! We can service moves of many sizes and even offer storage options during the course of your move. Contact us today for a free quote and see how we can make moving and storage simple for you!

Get Organized Before Heading Back to School

A group of children in a school hallway

Heading back to school fills both parents and students with excitement each year, but tackling school supply lists, getting used to new teachers, reestablishing a stricter schedule, and the return of academic demands can also be a challenge. Making a plan and getting organized for all that comes your way will save both time and anxiety. To help everyone get off on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of things you can start on now to minimize stress and create a positive back-to-school experience for both you and your children.

  • Before the first day of school is the time to shape your carefree summer daily routine into something closer, resembling a school day. Start shifting wake-up, eating, and bedtimes towards the times those will take place once school returns.
  • Clean out closets donating any items that no longer fit. Make a list of clothing to purchase during back-to-school shopping trips. Take time to make sure closets and drawers are organized and clutter-free, making it easier for everyone to select an outfit each day.
  • Create an after-school landing zone. Having a dedicated space for backpacks, lunch boxes, and other school essentials keeps these items from spreading all over the house at the end of the day. It also prevents the morning scramble of trying to find everything needed for the day.
  • Set up an area for tackling homework. A dedicated location for studying that includes all the supplies they need will help kids stay focused during homework time.
  • Designate files or folders for the family to keep up with permission slips, in-progress assignments, and all other school-related paperwork.
  • Decide how to keep up with the family calendar. You can set up a large wall calendar that is color-coded with everyone’s schedule and activities, or for families with older students, you can utilize a shared electronic calendar. Use this family calendar to track school events and holidays, extracurricular activities, appointments, and anything else that the entire family needs to plan around. 
  • Make sure your medical and emergency contact information are up-to-date with the school. This will ensure you don’t miss any school closings and critical safety information. Review and update your child’s records to ensure allergies, medications, disabilities, illnesses your child may be susceptible to and approved pick-up persons are current.
  • Introduce yourself to your child’s teachers early on and let them know you want to work together to have a successful school year. Ask the teacher their preferred method of communication and show them that you respect their time. Keep the lines of communication open and provide supplies needed by the teacher that will help them provide a great learning environment.

During your quest for a decluttered, organized home to get ready for heading back to school, you may discover that your best option is to store some of your lesser-used items. Zippy Shell is open and ready to serve your storage needs in the best way possible. Call today or click here to get a quote!

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!