4 Packing Tips From the Professionals

A man packs boxes in his living room

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

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

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

How to Avoid Some of the Biggest Moving Mistakes

A man and his son carry boxes into a room

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

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

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

Eliminate Safety Concerns on Moving Day

A young couple holds their newborn baby

The average moving day usually passes without incident or injury, but moving can be more physically challenging than most people realize. Protecting yourself and everyone involved with your move should be a top priority on moving day, especially if you have opted for a do-it-yourself move. On moving day, protecting yourself and your loved ones is even more important than protecting your belongings. Find out how to eliminate safety concerns with these top suggestions.

  • Dress appropriately on moving day. Extra thought should go into your shoe selection for the day. Select fully closed shoes that are comfortable but will also offer protection, flexibility, and traction. While you also want your clothing to be comfortable and flexible, avoid wearing clothes that are too baggy as they can easily get caught on things. Wearing high-quality work gloves will give you a better grip on items and protect your hands throughout the day.
  • Sturdy boxes are a must. Weak or overused packing boxes can break down when being carried, leading to an injury to the foot or toe. Before packing your boxes, double tape the bottom with strong packing tape to minimize breakage risk.
  • Don’t overpack your boxes with heavy items. As a general rule, smaller boxes should be used for heavier items such as books. Larger boxes should be used for bulkier items, not necessarily heavier items. Each box should not be packed to exceed over 50 lbs.
  • Prevent injury by using proper lifting techniques. When lifting a box or other heavy item off the ground, squat down, bending at the knees, never at the waist. Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees, not your back. Carry heavy items close to your body while keeping good posture. Avoid lifting heavy objects above shoulder level unless you absolutely must.
  • Hand trucks or dollies are a safer way to move boxes or heavier items. When loading a stack of boxes onto a dolly for safety, be sure you have straight, balanced, fully aligned stacks that won’t topple over once you start rolling. Place heavier boxes at the bottom of each stack for stability. Also, make sure the top box is not blocking your view and that it is at least partially resting against the bars so that it won’t slide off.
  • Eliminate tripping hazards by keeping all hallways and pathways clear on moving day. The outside path leading to the storage container should be kept clear of debris, mud, water, snow, and ice.
  • If your moving day involves children, pets, or anyone with special needs, arrange for help to keep everyone safe. Ask a trusted neighbor, grandparent, or loved one to care for them on moving day or at least part of the day. Moving a day with a baby can be especially challenging. If baby proofing can’t be done right away, create a smaller space in your new home that is safe for the baby until you can get it completed.

If you have a move coming up this spring, 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!

Tips to Protect your Valuables When You Move

A young couple looks at their laptop

What is valuable to you? Each person asked that question would probably have a different answer. When speaking of material possessions, we all have different ideas of what we consider valuable. When discussing tips to protect your valuables during a move, we will define a valuable as any item that, if broken or lost, would be irreplaceable or hard to replace.

Have an up-to-date inventory list.  Keeping track of all the items you own can be a tedious process, but it can be a lifesaver if you’re ever in a situation where you need to replace your personal property after a loss. Sortly is a digital organization app that lets you catalog your home inventory in several different folders and subfolders to make things easier to locate. It also allows you to record an impressive level of detail for each item you own, such as serial number, purchase date, warranty expiration date, and up to eight photos.

Have adequate insurance for your valuables. The first step is to get an appraisal by a qualified service or individual. In addition to obtaining an appraisal, make sure you have clear photographs or video if you need to file a claim. While researching insurance options for your valuables while being stored or transported, contact your current renters or homeowners insurance company to see what might be offered. While insurance won’t replace the items that get broken, lost, or stolen, at least you know you’ll be financially compensated.

Protect your valuable identity. Unfortunately, identity thieves target those in the process of moving. Phones, tablets, laptops, and computers are a treasure trove of personal data. Make sure that all electronic devices are shut off and password protected. Consider transporting these valuable possessions yourself. Birth certificates, passports, wills, tax returns, financial statements, health insurance, medical records, and other personal documents should stay with you throughout your move. Place these important documents into a locked box or briefcase and transport them with you. This will also give you peace of mind that you can access them at any point during the move if necessary.

Pack and label with care. For valuables that will need to be boxed up and moved with your other belongings, take special care when packing. Choose a sturdy box that is the right size for the object or objects. Use extra packing materials such as packing paper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and tape. This is not an area where you want to scrimp. Think carefully about how you label your boxes. You will want to mark the box as FRAGILE on all sides as a helpful reminder for everyone who touches the box on its journey. But depending on who is helping you move, you might not want to write the contents on the outside. One option is to label all sides of the box with a number corresponding to a handwritten or electronic inventory list. Creating an inventory list gives you more room to describe the contents in detail and keep the contents a secret. This is a list you will not want to lose!

If you still have questions about how to safely and securely move your valuables, give us a call and let us know what you need. Zippy Shell aims to make the moving and storage process as simple as possible!

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a New City to Call Home

A young couple looks at their laptop

So, you are thinking about moving to a brand-new city? Maybe your job allows you to work from home, or you have the flexibility to transfer to a location of your choosing. Or perhaps you are just in need of a major change in your life. Before choosing which new city to call your home, we have some essential questions you should ask yourself. Take a look!

  1. Is this a permanent move? Do you plan to live in this new city for just a short time? If so, some issues may not be as important to you. But if you plan for it to be your “forever” home, you will want to make sure you cover all your bases before making such a big decision.
  2. Do I have any limitations? What needs do I have? Before choosing a new city to move to, something you should think about is any limitations that may hinder full flexibility. Maybe you do not have a vehicle and will rely on public transportation. Or perhaps, you do not want more than a certain distance between yourself and your family members. Do you have any chronic medical conditions that require a specialist or frequent doctor visits? If so, you need to make sure that there is someone nearby who will accept you as a patient. Do you have kids or plan to have children in the future? If so, you will need to research school districts and childcare in the cities you are interested in.
  3. Which cities might have friends, family, and activities I enjoy doing? You may want to consider cities where you have loved ones and familiar faces. If that is not a significant deciding factor, perhaps you consider cities where you are close to things you enjoy. If you enjoy museums, theatre, and concerts—this can influence the city you choose to reside in. If you love hiking or biking, you will want to make sure you are near some trails.
  4. Is the cost of living in this area in line with my budget? Different regions of the country can have vastly different cost-of-living expenses. Do your due diligence and research the areas you are interested in before making any decisions. You can do this by looking into rental and purchase prices for the homes in all the areas you are looking at to compare them. Be sure you can afford to live there first!

We wish you great success as you do your research and choose a new city to call your home. When you are ready to move, be sure to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online. We offer a variety of moving and storage options for local and long-distance moves. We can create a move customized to your needs, timeframe, and budget. For more information or to receive a free, no-obligation estimate, give us a call today! We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Prepare for a Winter Power Outage

house in snow

As the cold weather continues to set in, now is a good time to discuss how to prepare for a winter power outage. Below are some steps anyone can take to ensure that you and your family are prepared to keep warm and keep fed for at least 72 hours of a winter weather power outage. Hopefully, you will never have to use your preparations, but they can be a lifesaver if you do.

Power Outage Supplies

  • Water for drinking and cooking – Sometimes during a power outage, the water supplied to your home by your local water utility may no longer be safe to drink without additional treatment. Packages of bottled water are great to keep on hand because the water stays good for years as long as the seals are not broken.
  • Non-perishable food – During a power outage, eat food from the refrigerator first, then from the freezer, then from your non-perishable food stash. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Be sure to keep a manual can opener in your non-perishable food stash!
  • Emergency lighting – Stock your power outage supply bin with enough flashlights for everyone in your family and make sure to keep extra compatible batteries. Battery powered LED lamps are also helpful to place around the home, especially in dark bathrooms. Place LED lamps or flameless candles in front of mirrors to magnify the light to a larger area.
  • Portable battery bank – Keep a couple of portable battery banks regularly charged that can support your mobile phones and any other important electronic equipment.
  • Alternative source of heat – In addition to heavy blankets and sleeping bags, a fireplace or kerosene space heater will be your best solution if the temperature drops below the level of comfort or safety for you during a power outage. Be cautious as some portable heaters can cause fires or other safety hazards when not used as specified by the manufacturer. Be sure to review the safety specifications of your specific model before using it during an outage.
  • Portable camping stove – Having a way to heat food and water during a power outage is a necessity. If your regular stove runs off of electricity, consider keeping a portable camping stove that runs off of propane in your emergency kit. Store extra propane tanks so you don’t run out!
  • Generator – If it’s in the budget, a generator can provide emergency power to your home during an extended power outage. You can have peace of mind by keeping the lights on, keeping the food refrigerated, keeping the heat running, and keeping a fully charged phone to be able to receive updates. Take care to not operate a generator indoors or in an enclosed area such as a garage where exhaust fumes and the considerable amount of heat produced can cause accidents. Position the generator outside and use a generator specific tent or cover to keep it out of the elements.

For those of you who have weathered a winter power outage in the past, let us know what items were most helpful to you. Check What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out Unexpectedly from the CDC and Winter power outages: Are you prepared from the Red Cross for more information.

Grocery Shopping Tips During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Grocery Shopping

One of the few things that are an absolute necessity for us all is grocery shopping, even during the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. We have assembled some tips for you to use to ensure the groceries you buy are safe and ready to use when you need them! Please keep in mind that you do not need to fear the food that you buy! Just make sure what you purchase is clean and sanitized before storing or consuming.

It Starts in the Store

Practicing good hygiene habits while you shop is the first step. If you are going to the store to purchase your groceries physically, make sure your shopping cart handles are all properly sterilized. Many hard-working grocery store employees are diligently cleaning as many surfaces as possible throughout the day; however, for peace of mind, try sanitizing your cart before use. Be mindful of the surfaces and items you touch, especially when it comes to produce.

Or It Starts With Delivery or Pickup Services

The best way to avoid the grocery store is to avoid the store altogether. While this isn’t an option for everyone, this is a way to practice social distancing easily. If you have groceries delivered to your home, try to instruct the delivery person to leave them at your door for contactless delivery. If picking up at a store, notify the delivery person to leave them in your trunk or another area in your vehicle. This reduces the number of people in the store, reducing everyone’s chances of transferring the virus.

Shopping Bags

Even plastic shopping bags can be a surface where the virus can live on for a few days. When it comes to plastic or paper bags, either recycle or throw them away. If you use reusable cloth or other types of material bags, leave them somewhere isolated for a day or so or wash them. Doing this will give the virus time to dissipate harmlessly. And when you bring groceries home, do not place the bags on your kitchen counter. If the virus is present on your bags somehow, it can easily get transferred to your countertops.

How to Handle Non-Perishable Goods

There are different ways to handle these goods. You can get a sanitizing liquid or spray and clean items such as bagged rice or canned items and wiping them down. You can also store items such as chips in Tupperware or glass storage containers you own. Items that are bagged inside a box such as cereal you can remove from the box and store that way. Clean as much as you can or take loose items out of handled boxes to ensure your safety during this time.

How to Handle Perishable Goods

For groceries such as fresh vegetables, be sure to wash them very thoroughly. It is likely many people had touched the produce you bought before you purchased it. For lettuce and similar produce, immerse in water, swish, then let it sit for a minute or so to allow any dirt to fall to the bottom. Then rinse under cold water thoroughly. For root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, they are already quite dirty from the ground, so scrub good with a scrub pad to remove the dirt and rinse thoroughly. For soft fruits, rinse generously under a steady water stream. For produce like apples or tomatoes, you can wash with a small amount of soap to be certain, be sure to rinse very thoroughly afterward to remove the residue.

Practice Good Hygiene Habits

We will get through this current pandemic soon enough! By practicing good hygiene now and in the future, we can prevent future outbreaks of other viruses from occurring. Be sure to follow all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for hygiene, stay at least six feet apart, and we will all get through this just fine!

Zippy Shell hopes you and your family stay safe during the Coronavirus pandemic. We also want to thank all the hard-working grocery store employees who are helping keep our homes stocked with what we need while sanitizing as much of their stores as possible! And if you are social distancing at home and looking to get some home projects done and need storage, give Zippy Shell a call!

How to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Guests

welcome sign by a plant

When you have friends or relatives coming to stay overnight, make their visit a pleasure by thinking ahead and offering the same generosity you would like to be shown. And while hosting guests definitely takes some prep work, everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Just spend some time focusing on the following areas and all will be well. 

  • A Place to Sleep – Your overnight guests will need a comfortable place to lay their heads each night. Not everyone has the luxury of an extra guest bedroom, and there is nothing wrong with having guests sleepover in your living room, den or office – just make an extra effort to help them be comfortable there. To prepare a sleeping area for your guests be sure to include comfy pillows, freshly cleaned sheets, extra blankets, a wastebasket, a lamp or nightlight, and privacy curtains. A nightstand by the bed is a nice added touch because your guests are able to keep their phones and other personal items nearby at night.
  • A Place to Get Ready – Your guests will need a place to store their belongings during their stay. Clear out a drawer, part of a closet, or a flat surface for your guests to place their suitcase on. Stock the bathroom they will be using with extra towels, toilet paper, and toiletries. If you will be sharing a bathroom, it is a good idea to discuss shower schedules. Bonus tip: To keep guests from getting confused about whose towel is whose, give them towels in different patterns or colors.
  • A Place to Eat – Check with your guests about any dietary restrictions and be sure to plan meals around those. Keep meals simple and incorporate self-service as much as possible. You can prep items for fun meals like a waffle bar, a taco bar, or make your own pizzas or sandwiches. This gives everyone options and allows your guests to be involved in the process. Show guests where to find extra snacks and beverages to serve themselves when it is time for a little off-hours nibbling. Coffee, tea, or something else – of course have on hand their beverage of choice to wake up to!
  • A Place to Play – Check in and see if there is anything your guests would like to do or see while they are in town and offer some fun activities to supplement their time with you. Keep both kids and adults amused by creating a designated fun zone in your home. Stock it with games, puzzles, and a few decks of cards for those in-between times when there’s no scheduled activity.
  • A Place to Relax – Everybody needs a little downtime. Cushion your scheduled events and outings with unplanned time so that everyone has a chance to relax. You can provide books or magazines for your guests to enjoy in their own space. And always provide them with the WiFi password.

Of course, you want your home to sparkle when guests arrive. But the most important thing you can do is clear the clutter giving your guests space to feel comfortable. And as hard as you try, everything won’t go perfectly. So more than anything, relax and just enjoy your guests. If you stay relaxed and comfortable, most likely your guests will also!

Top Questions from Our Customers: The “How”

Couple unpacks and uses a checklist

Have you ever wondered how the Zippy Shell process works? How does one receive their container or how does our storage process work? We have the answers to some of those frequently asked questions for you!

A recurring inquiry is a pretty basic one: “How does your process work?”
It’s so easy! You pick the appropriate size container for your project and we will deliver it in our Zippy Shell, which is our trailer on wheels. We bring it directly to you, and you are allotted three days to pack it full. The container has a convenient ramp that pulls out for easy loading. Then, when you’re all done, we’ll swing back by to pick it up and store it at our secure, climate-controlled facility.

Deliveries are usually between 8:00am and noon. Zippy Shell process may vary location to location. To find out the hours of your local Zippy Shell, give us a call at 888-947-7974!

We should add that for insurance reasons, we only allow our certified drivers to move the Zippy Shell. We park it for you and then we place a block on the hitch so that no one can hook up and steal your belongings.

Lots of customers also ask, “Can I just bring my belongings to your facility?”
Sure thing! We can pull a container for you at our facility for you to load on site (and this will save you a delivery fee, too).

Now the big question: “How does payment work?”
Zippy Shell secures 50% of your fees two business days prior to your initial delivery date. The other half is billed once your portable storage container arrives at the Zippy Shell destination warehouse, or on the 31st day after your initial origin delivery date, whichever dates comes first.

Finally, “What if I get the one container and I need another one?”

We will be happy to bring another one to you. We can let you fill up that first one, and when we come to pick that up, we’ll bring an empty Zippy Shell with us for you to load. Just give us a call and let us know what you need and we will make it as simple as possible for you to meet your needs.

So, there you have it! Moving and storage with Zippy Shell is super convenient. Your first step is getting a quote. We are eager to hear about your upcoming move, so that we may provide an affordable quote!

How to Find a Reliable Moving Company

Couple at home on their laptop

How do you know which moving company will be a good fit for your situation? It can be overwhelming when wading through all the options. To make sure you hire a reliable mover, consider taking these steps.

  1. Get Referrals. Start by asking friends, family members, and coworkers if they can recommend a moving company. If you’re working with a real estate agent, you can ask the agent for a referral.
  2. Do your research. After narrowing down the field, check online reviews to see what other customers are saying about the company. Pay attention to comments about a moving company’s attitude throughout the entire moving process. You can also do a background check through the Better Business Bureau or the American Moving and Storage Association
  3. Ask for an estimate. You will want to have a detailed estimate in writing from any moving company you are considering. You also want to be sure you understand all the fees associated with the estimate. Be suspicious if an estimate is unusually low or lacks specifics.
  4. Look for red flags. If the company has no physical address, scratch it off the list. Be wary of companies that require a large deposit. Many don’t require any payment until your belongings are delivered. Make sure the moving company you hire plans on doing the move themselves, as opposed to contracting the job out to another mover.

If you would prefer to have a little more control over your moving process, consider Zippy Shell!  Your portable storage unit will arrive in your driveway or on your street ready to be loaded. You can conveniently pack up your storage unit right from your original destination. Then you get to leave the driving to us which means leaving the stress behind. Visit www.zippyshell.com today to learn more about the services we offer.