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.

Moving Myths You Can do Without

Young couple and dog unpacking boxes

You’ve heard about popular myths, but have you heard about these moving myths? We’ve taken time to outline a few moving myths that might surprise you–because they aren’t true!

Myth #1 – Moving is overwhelming!

So, yeah, moving isn’t an easy thing to tackle. There are the kids, the dog, the scheduling, the packing, the electricity transfer, and coordinating help. But, with the right planning, a lot of patience, and a great moving partner, you can accomplish amazing things with as little stress as possible. We advise creating checklists! There are lots of great ones online to get you started.

Myth #2 – Moving and storage companies are all the same!

So, cousin Joe stopped by while you were sorting out your moving ideas and informs you that moving and storage companies are the same. Well, he couldn’t be more wrong. Like any other service company, these companies vary by price, services offered, credibility and many other critical factors. It’s important to note that lots of moving companies rent vans and trucks, but Zippy Shell rents portable storage units that you may place on your property and pack at your own convenience. We bring it to you, and we pick it up! The best thing to do is determine what is most important for your move and find a company that works well to meet your objectives.

Myth #3 – I have to move every single thing at one time!

It’s simply not true, especially if you are moving long distance. Portable storage units give you added time during your move. Send the things you need right away to the new place and then put your other things in storage. Doing this will mean you have less hassle on moving day and you can leisurely unpack all the extra stuff.

Myth #4 – I don’t need to label my boxes.

If you want to create a chaotic moving day, label nothing. However, if you want to minimize the stress, grab your favorite color marker and put a quick label on every single box. You can get really fancy and use different colors for different rooms, but at the very least mark what’s inside the box and which room you would like for it to be placed in. This will save you so much time moving stuff from room to room in your new home!

So, when you get ready to move, tell cousin Joe, “thanks but no thanks” for his advice. And when you get ready to begin planning for your move, take some time to check our website for helpful tips, lists and maybe even a few discounts, www.ZippyShell.com.

10 Creative Graduation Party Ideas

As the end of the school year wraps up, graduation is right around the bend for many students.  Get started planning for you or a loved one’s graduation party with these ideas!

  1. Graduation cap cupcakes

Top a chocolate cupcake with a square piece of chocolate to mimic a graduation cap.  Add an m&m candy in the middle of it with a piece of string to complete the tassel for this sweet treat!

2. Class rings

Lay out a tray full of ring pops for a funny graduation themed candy.

3. Photo letters

Attach black and white photos to wooden block letters, it’s recommended to use the word “GRAD” but you can also use the graduate’s initials or Alma mater.

4. Memory jar

Place a jar on a table, accompanied by a stack of sticky notes and pens.  When people walk by they can write some of their favorite memories about the guest of honor for them to keep forever.

5. Diploma rolls

Fill a tortilla wrap with any food items of your choosing.  A savory option being ham, cheese, mushrooms, etc.  A sweet option being Nutella, peanut butter, bananas, strawberries, and more! Tie a little string around the wrap to complete the diploma aesthetic. 

6. Graduation wreath

Display an arrangement of photos from childhood to present time in a circle, with their graduation cap on the top to complete the wreath.

7. Backdrop

Cover one wall in school colors with their graduation year in big numbers at the top of this wall.  This makes for a great decoration, as well as a nice photo-op.

8. Theme

If this is for a high school graduate, and they have already chosen what college they are going to attend, deck the place out in the color scheme and logos of their future college. If they have just graduated college and are planning on taking on a career such as a doctor or teacher, perhaps decorate it accordingly to their future occupation.

9. Large balloon numbers

Get some classic big helium balloons to celebrate their graduation year as well as create another great photo op.

10. String lights

String lights always add a pleasing aesthetic to any party.  Whether you are stringing these lights outdoors, or inside along a wall, they will serve as a lovely piece of décor for your graduate.

If your graduate is moving off to college or moving home from college, get a quote from Zippy Shell today to help you move your belongings! 

3 Problems with Moving Van Rentals

Moving boxes

You’ve heard a thousand times that moving is one of the top ten stressful events during a lifetime. The team at Zippy Shell knows all too well how hectic moving across the street, across town or across the country can be for families. To help ease the burden of decisions that come along with this time of your life, we want to take a look at one of the major decisions: moving van rentals vs portable moving containers. Below are several of the most common difficulties with moving truck rentals. We hope this outline will help to make the decision easier.

Aggravation when you have reached your limit. They say prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but it’s hot outside! Your help is probably late. The dog just got out. And you’re just plain irritated. Only thing that can add insult to injury is going to be problems with your moving truck. You’ll need to factor in a useless reservation number, a hike in price when you go to pick it up, sad fuel mileage, uncertain safety, and being unaccustomed to driving this large vehicle and more. At any other time, these mounting issues might be easier to deal with, but when you’re moving mole hills are mountains. You’re fussing, tired, anxious and probably sweating. Your stress level has peaked. And the setbacks with the moving truck could very well be what sends you to the moon.

“Sorry, we’re all out.” Surely, you’ve heard that tale of horror. You get to the rental place and guess what? Your moving van has been rented to someone else, or better yet, they can’t find your reservation. Just like the friendly skies, moving companies will often over book during a busy time of year to ensure they are maxed out. Fortunately, lawsuits have stopped this practice for the most part, but there’s nothing stopping John Doe from returning his truck, which happens to be your truck, late (or not until the next day)!

Changes in rates. This is probably the most important warning of all. Sure, you see those promotional rates for moving trucks stamped all over billboards, flyers and bus benches. However, they fail to mention the added fees like mileage, fuel, hitches, weekends, etc. And my goodness, for those out-of-town moves, the rates can jump even more during peak moving periods (the beginning and end of the month and the whole summer). Moving vans/trucks simply cost more to rent.

We invite you to compare Zippy Shell to moving truck rentals. We think our portable storage and moving containers offer tons of flexibility with a predictable cost that will leave you with a lot less stress. No move is going to be perfectly stress free, but when it comes to the big decisions, make the smart one.

First Time Home Buyer Checklist

Buying your first home can be stressful, and without having any previous home-buying experience, you can miss a lot of crucial necessities. Use these tips to help make buying your first home as easy as possible!

Check your availabilities

The first step to take before buying a home is to see what your options are. Check your credit score and see what your options are for the type of home you are eligible to buy. Don’t forget that the purchase price of the home is not the only amount of money you will be spending on your house per month. You will also owe insurance, homeowners association fees, taxes, and much more.

Don’t modify your current lifestyle

When making a giant purchase like a house, it is important to keep your savings intact. Do not make any huge life changes such as buying a car or big furniture,

Take into account where you are in life

Figuring out the style of life you want to live is very important before you make your down payment on a house. Decide if you are planning to have a family soon so that you can base the style home you need, the number of bedrooms. Additional factors such as if you hope to have guests over can affect the size of the living room or basement that you are looking for.

Day one shopping list

You don’t need to buy everything that you will need for your home, but on moving day, you will need these items on hand. Check out this article to help you get your belongings organized.

Use a trusted mover

Once you find your perfect home, make sure it can remain perfect by filling it with all of your belongings. To effectively do this, you need to have a trusted moving company help move your belongings for you. Call Zippy Shell today to get a quote for helping you with your moving needs!

How to Prepare for Winter

As winter is beginning it is important to make sure you are prepared to weather the storm.

Insurance

First and foremost, make sure your home is insured, that way if you happen to have a home emergency involving a plumbing leak or a roof caving in from snow, you will not have an immense cost to worry about. It is also important to make sure your car is insured as well to avoid any damages caused by icy or snowy roads.

Thermostat

Slowly lower your thermostat during the day, and night as well, to prevent your wallet from taking a beating in the cold winter months. Bringing the temperature down by one degree a week can make a huge difference. If this is too difficult you can always layer up to make the adjustment easier.

Prep your car

Your car will go through a lot during winter weather. To make your drive more pleasant, throw an extra blanket and sweatshirt in your car for the drive while your car is still heating up. Make sure you also have a little shovel, salt, and window scrappers to avoid any problems resulting from snow.

Stock up

Stock your house with extra food and water in case you happen to get snowed in for an extended period of time. Keep extra shovels and snow salt in your garage to avoid having your car snowed in and having no way of getting out onto the road. Make sure you also have extra firewood if you have a wood fireplace, or have an extra gas insert if you have a gas fireplace. Candles, flashlights, and batteries should be easily accessible in case of a power outage.

Visit your doctor

Get an annual check-up to make sure you are healthy going into the cold winter season. Get a flu shot to avoid being bedridden for up to a week. Always remember to wash your hands and avoid sharing food or drinks with sick people. Check that your prescriptions are up to date as well.

Preparing Your Home For Fall

Check for drafts

Check around windows and doors if there are any spaces where cold air could leak in.  Seal these spaces with new frames, drapery, insulation, etc.

Turn off outdoor faucets

To prevent water from freezing within your pipes, turn off your outdoor water faucets.  Disconnect hoses and sprinklers so the remaining water can drain out.

Put away all seasonal furniture

If you haven’t done so already from summer, clean off and stow away all outdoor furniture.  This will ensure they will not be moldy or pest infested in the spring.

Inspect your chimney

If you have a wood fireplace, and use it often, consider having it cleaned out to have it in good shape for when it gets cold.

Stock up on snow gear

Buy salt for your driveway and sidewalks so that you are ready for when the first snowstorm of the season hits.  If you live in an especially cold area that receives a lot of snow, consider buying a snow blower.

Inspect trees

Look around to make sure none of your trees have weak branches that could result in thousands of dollars of roof repairs if they were to land on your house.

Clean your gutters

As the leaves start falling from the trees they are going to fill up your gutters.  Make sure to get up there and clean them out, so that when it rains water does not overflow onto the foundation of your home.

Fertilize your lawn

After fertilizing your lawn in the fall, it stands a better chance to survive the winter with minimal damage to your yard.

Drain your lawn equipment

Any machines you use for your yard that require gas, such as your lawnmower, should be drained.  Keeping excess gas in the tank can lead to a messy buildup and make it hard for the machine to return to work in the spring.