Is It Safe to Move During COVID-19?

Planning a Move

If you are planning a move or planning to store items during the COVID-19 pandemic, know that Zippy Shell values the safety of our employees and customers. We have put together a list of the safety measures we are taking to keep everyone safe.

  • Zippy Shell is sending contracts via email to help limit contact and maintain more socially distanced interactions while onsite at delivery.
  • All doors, and handles on containers are disinfected before delivery at all corporately owned facilities to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
  • When applicable, customers may also request to have no interaction with the labor crews. Customer is still required to be available onsite when labor crews are onsite in case of additional services required and for liability reasons.
  • Masks, gloves, and disinfectants are readily available and use is mandatory at all of the corporately owned facilities.
  • Zippy Shell has notified and recommended our franchise and partner facilities follow the same safety protocols.

Not everyone can or wants to move on their own, when reaching out to a professional labor provider, be sure to ask what their safety policies are regarding the Coronavirus. Are their workers utilizing masks, gloves, taking regular health screenings, etc? These are all important questions that any professional labor provider should be happy to answer for you. Learn more about how you can hire help by visiting our partner Hire A Helper and check out a blog they recently wrote on the topic.

Zippy Shell is fully committed to the safety of our employees, our customers, and their things. Whether you are moving or storing your items, know that your safety comes first.

6 Tips for a Successful Virtual Meeting

Virtual Meeting

As many of us have been working from home, virtual meetings are becoming more common than ever before. For some, this is a tool that has been used even before we were social distancing. For others, it is a brand-new territory. We have seen many mishaps making the rounds on social media, and even Saturday Night Live released a parody of a virtual meeting gone wrong. Take a look at some tips we have found useful in running a virtual meeting.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

If you are new to video conferencing don’t expect it to be perfect the first few times. There are a lot of moving parts in this type of communication and it can take an attempt or two to get it down. Take some time on your own to test the video conferencing tool and get familiar with the different tools it offers.

BE PREPARED

Before you start your virtual meeting, you should ensure that you have everything you need within reach and your laptop or phone is working as needed to avoid any technical issues. You also want to make sure everyone else in your household is aware of your meeting and set expectations for noise levels and interruptions. Another good tip is to make sure you schedule your virtual meeting far enough in advance that your colleagues have time to get set up on their end.

BE CLEAR WITH EXPECTATIONS

It can be mortifying to show up to a meeting and be put on the spot if you are unprepared. Before the meeting, send out an email to your colleagues with a detailed agenda of what needs to be discussed or any questions that need to be answered. If each person is responsible for a certain assignment, include that in the email as a reminder. This will allow each person logging into the meeting to be fully prepared.

CRYSTAL CLEAR OBJECTIVES

Before the meeting is over, make sure nothing was left out. Someone should take and email notes that include everything discussed and everything that has been assigned to each person. This will allow everyone to have a concise list of expectations and objectives for the upcoming week.

ESSENTIAL STAFF ONLY

It can be tempting to invite everyone in the office but keep the virtual meetings for those that need to be there. Not everything requires a video call and can be done more efficiently over email. If you have several people on the call that have nothing to do, or the information is not relevant to them, you can leave them out of the meeting.

LOOSEN UP

While it is important to maintain a professional environment even when video conferencing, there is some wiggle room. In a regular work environment people can chat and catch up with each other, so there is nothing wrong with setting some time aside at the beginning or end of the call to find out how everyone is doing and coping at home.

Don’t forget Zippy Shell is ready to answer your call with any questions about local or long-distance moving and storage. Give us a call at 888-947-7974 for a free quote today!

7 Tips for Working at Home

Working From Home

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

Dedicated Workspace

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

Dress for the Part

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

Create a Regular Schedule

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

Set Expectations with Family

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

Block Distractions

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

Take Breaks

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

Set Expectations with Yourself

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

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

10 Ideas for Family Fun at Home

kids

If you are looking for some different ways to have fun with your family while self-isolating, look no further! We have all been getting stir crazy over the past month, but we have some ideas to make the long days at home go by just a little faster.

Write letters. Many nursing homes and senior facilities around the country have restricted visitors. Help your kids write letters and draw pictures that could be sent to a local nursing facility near you. They will surely help bring a smile to someone’s face.

Have a spa day. Extend an invitation to your family to join you for a day of primping and pampering.  You don’t need fancy tools to have a relaxing day. You can take a warm foot bath using plastic bins. Pull out all your nail polish for manicures and pedicures. You could even follow a YouTube tutorial for a new hairstyle or make a natural face mask using different food items you may already have in the fridge. We hear avocado and honey is great for the skin!

Have a themed movie marathon. Challenge your family to create costumes and snacks with what is already available in your home. For even more excitement, invite your extended family or friends to join the challenge and marathon via videoconferencing.

Learn something new. This would be a great time to learn something new as a family. Whether it is a new language, skill, or craft—if you have internet access—you can choose just about anything.

Start a YouTube channel. Taking videos during self-isolation will be a great way to spend time as a family while documenting the fun times you have together. You can keep these videos private, or you can share with the rest of your family and friends who will likely get a kick out of seeing your family’s shenanigans.

Try a new recipe. With restaurant services limited, we are all spending a lot more time in the kitchen. This is the perfect time to try some of those recipes we have been saving on Pinterest over the years. Let everyone choose a new recipe and make a big meal out of it.

Put on a play. Find an appropriate play that fits the ages of your children and start learning lines! Put together costumes from clothes you already have and spend some time building some background props. You could even write your own play if you are extra creative.

Grow something. If you can find the items you need to get started, planting a garden together can be a fun and fruitful activity. If you are unable to start an outdoor garden, try growing herbs on your windowsill.

Make plans for the future. There’s no question that this has been a difficult time and it’s been especially hard for children who went from seeing their friends every day to being at home. Spend some time together making plans for things you would like to do in the future. It can be as simple as a belated birthday bash on a road trip to a new place.

No pressure. No matter what you and your family do for fun, it’s okay if it doesn’t look like what other people are doing on TikTok or Instagram. The most important thing is your family is safe and happy. Do what comes naturally to you with no added pressure. We’d love to hear from you! Stop by our Facebook page and share with our Zippy Shell community what you and your family have been doing to pass the time during self-isolation.

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!

Moving and Storage Made Easy and Safe

People Packing

Zippy Shell makes moving and storage easy and safe.  During the COVID-19 pandemic safety and social distancing are essential.  Zippy Shell puts the safety of our employees and customers first by following the CDC’s guidelines on sanitation and by providing our drivers with necessary protective equipment while in the field.  Click here to watch our latest video to learn more about the safety measures that Zippy Shell is taking.

One of the biggest advantages of using a mobile moving and storage company during COVID-19 is being able to follow social distancing guidelines.  Your sanitized portable storage container will be dropped off at your location, you will pack your items into the container, and only you will have a key to the container.  When you are ready to schedule pick up, your container will be delivered to its next destination with minimal contact.  Our warehouse employees and drivers are using sterile gloves while handling your container. 

Zippy Shell is open and ready to serve your moving and storage needs in the safest way possible.  Call today or click here to get a quote!

Tips for Moving Someone with Disabilities or Special Needs

Moving Boxes

Everyone knows moving can be chaotic and create a storm of different emotions. For a person with disabilities or special needs, the stress of moving can be even more difficult. April is Autism Awareness Month and the effects of moving can be even more pronounced for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as it is not uncommon for children on the autism spectrum to be hyper-dependent on routine and order. Fortunately, there are steps you can take throughout the move to make the experience easier for persons of disability or special needs.

· Evaluate your new home for accessibility. You will need to fully access the space to determine whether or not modifications will need to be made. Questions like ‘are the doorways wide enough’ and ‘is the floor suitable for mobility’ may need to be answered. You can find a full checklist here that covers everything to look for from ramps and slopes, parking, entryways and halls, bathrooms, bedrooms, and more. If you need to make modifications in your new home, hire professionals with accessibility improvement experience who can complete the work successfully.

· Make healthcare arrangements. If you’re relocating out of the area, ask your doctors for referrals to new health care specialists, based on your treatment needs, and check if any of the specialist health services you currently receive can be transferred. You may want to check with your insurance providers and other organizations to make sure you can retain the same disability services once relocated. You’ll want to make these arrangements a few months in advance so that if you are in need of health care soon after arriving, you’ll know where to go and any new providers will have your health history information on file. It also is very important for a disabled or special needs person to have their medical records in a safe and easily reachable place at all times. If possible, they should keep all the records with them during the move so you’re sure that they don’t get misplaced.

· Create a sense of stability. During the move, pack the personal belongings of those with special needs last and then unpack them first in your new home. You will want to create a space in the new home where they will feel safe and comfortable as soon as possible. Also, help them to maintain as normal of a daily routine as possible during the transition.

· Consider safety and security on moving day. Arrange for help if needed for your loved one with a disability or special needs. Ask a trusted neighbor, grandparent, or loved one to care for them on moving day or at least part of the day.

· Be prepared for the emotions. You can eliminate some negative emotions by making sure the person you’re caring for gets a fair amount of control over as many aspects of the move as is reasonable. Also, engage in regular talks about current feelings and fears of what may be to come. Always be mindful of how you assist the person with a disability or those who have special needs during the move. They may need a lot of help and support, but they are usually the expert on exactly what they need.

Moving with a disability or special needs requires the same planning and preparation as any other move. But you do need to take a little extra care to make sure they are comfortable before, during, and after the move. The most important thing to focus on bringing to the new home is their physical and emotional health!

DIY Projects to Complete While You Stay Home

Woman Doing DIY Projects

With a lot of us spending more time at home due to coronavirus (COVID-19), we thought it would be good to focus on some positives and give you some ideas for some DIY home renovation and remodeling projects you can do to make the most of this time. And with Spring having just arrived, that gives you two reasons to start on that to-do list! If you’re planning to start a more extensive home renovation or home remodeling project, be sure to get one of our secure, on-site portable storage containers. We’ll bring the storage right to you from one of our nationwide facilities so you can quickly clear out any space you’re updating without having to leave your house – super convenient and allows you to stay home!

Bathroom Makeover – If you want to start with a smaller, more manageable home renovation project, why not take a look at your bathroom – it’s a small space that can make a big difference, especially if you’re getting ready to sell your home. There is a wide range of projects you can do here from replacing larger items like the sink, toilet, shower, or flooring to some smaller projects where you focus on the décor, such as paint, lighting, and hardware. Check out some of these excellent bathroom decor ideas from Lowe’s to get inspired!

Entryway – An area that may not be top of mind when you think about a home renovation, but this is the first space your guests see, and often the space that welcomes you and your family home when you’ve been at work. Since this is usually a smaller space, it’s another great place to start if you don’t want to take on a significant project. Some paint, small furniture, and picture frames or artwork can make a big difference with a small budget! Check out some of these foyers and entryways of you’re looking for ideas!

Kitchen Makeover – One area where you can go big and make a significant impact on your home’s value is the kitchen. In this space, you can update flooring, appliances, add an island, or update cabinetry, to name a few focus areas. If you’re going to start one of these larger projects, we can provide temporary furniture storage with our portable storage units so you can clear out space and keep your furniture safe! If you aren’t ready for that kind of project, you can focus on smaller updates such as adding in a backsplash, painting or updating your hardware. Even these minor updates can make a big difference!

Bedrooms – Now is the perfect time to spend some time updating your bedrooms! One of the easiest things you can do is paint them and add some fresh, new artwork! If you’re looking for some ideas, check out these color trends from Benjamin Moore. If you want to make this project even simpler, you can rent one of our portable storage containers so you can clear out the space you’re painting. This will make it easier to get to all of the walls and ensure your furniture doesn’t get covered in paint. Our storage containers can be rented by the month, and you can keep them on-site as long as you need it!

9 Apps to Help You with Your Big Move

phone apps

When you are planning for a big move, the number of items on your to-do list can seem endless. The key to making sure your move goes smoothly is to make a plan and stay organized. The good news is there are plenty of resources that can assist with the process. To help, we have researched the best, most useful apps for moving. Take a look and get ready to download!

Finding a New Home Before planning your move, you will need to find a new place to live! There are several great apps to help with this process. Zillow is perhaps the most popular app in this category. It uses photo-heavy listings as well as a multitude of filters that you can apply to your searches. This ensures that you find exactly what you are looking for. Zillow even has exclusive listings not found anywhere else. Using the Homesnap app, you get property information in a snap – literally – by taking a picture. You can unlock sales history, interior features, lot boundaries, market information, school district ratings, and more. While you are out and about scouting neighborhoods, AroundMe allows you to quickly find out information about your surroundings. You can find out within seconds how long it will take to get to a grocery store and restaurants, which helps you have a better grasp of the neighborhood.

Staying Organized During Your Move Try the Todoist app to capture and organize all your moving tasks. You can set reminders, prioritize your tasks, and even assign tasks to others. MagicPlan allows you to create a 3D floor plan of your new home by taking pictures of the space. You can use it to plan where you will put your furniture in every room which will reduce stress on moving day. If you need extra help with tasks such as packing, patching up holes, painting, cleaning, or other small tasks – TaskRabbit is the app for you. TaskRabbit will match you with freelance labor for projects of all shapes and sizes. Sortly is a digital organization app that lets you catalog what you put in each box, so you know where all of your things are. With the premium version, you can even create QR code labels to put on your boxes.

Getting Settled Use the Nextdoor app to stay informed about what is going on in your new neighborhood. On this app, you can do anything from finding out about local events to finding somebody to help you take care of your yard. Using Nextdoor will keep you in the loop and make the transition to your new neighborhood much easier. Meetup is an invaluable app when moving to a new area. It connects you to people who love the same things you do so you can get involved and make friends in your new neighborhood. Call Zippy Shell today to get a quote!

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with These 7 Tips

Energy Efficient

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with These 7 Tips

When thinking about making a home more energy-efficient, homeowners often worry about the expense. It’s true, you can spend a fortune making your home “green”, but you can also make less expensive changes that can still make a huge impact on energy efficiency. Here are 7 tips to consider when making your home more energy-efficient.

  1. Shade trees and shrubs – The first tip in making your home more energy efficient may already be checked off your list—planting shade trees or shrubs. Often overlooked, by planting this type of foliage around your house, your home will be more shaded, thus resulting in lower air conditioning usage in the summer. Not only will your home be cooler, but you’ll save money!
  2. Seal windows – If your home is older, the windows may not be properly sealed. Unless you have the funds to replace your windows with more energy-efficient brands, consider caulk and weatherproofing strips found at any hardware store for a fraction of the price. When air escapes the home and also allows air from the outdoors to sneak in, your heating or cooling system has to work overtime to keep your home comfortable. And this means increased energy fees!
  3. Energy-efficient light bulbs – If you aren’t already using energy-efficient light bulbs such as LED and CFL lights, you will be excited to know this is an easy and immediate way to make your home more efficient! These bulbs are a little more expensive but pay for themselves by lasting longer and requiring less electricity to generate them.
  4. Low-flow showerheads – Most families use a lot of water on a daily basis. Between showers, baths, dishwashing, washing machines, etc., your water bill adds up! Help reduce that bill by installing low-flow showerheads. These are especially beneficial in areas that are prone to drought.
  5. Unused chargers – Did you know that by simply unplugging your unused chargers when not in use can reduce the amount of electricity you use? Get into the habit (your family too!) of unplugging all those chargers you have for all those devices and save on your energy bill!
  6. Thermostat – When you don’t manipulate your thermostat to avoid extremes in temperature, your HVAC unit works harder resulting in more electricity being used. When it’s hot outside, keep the thermostat a couple of degrees higher and when it is cold out, try keeping the heat a little cooler. Save money and make your home more energy efficient by being smart with your thermostat temperature.
  7. Energy audit – To discover the full efficiency potential your home has to offer, we recommend scheduling an energy audit in addition to the above tips discussed. A professional auditor will identify additional areas for improvement and ways you can save the most energy and money!

Doing your part, whether small or large scale, to reduce your carbon footprint is always a win-win! And implementing these 7 tips can help you achieve a more energy-efficient home without emptying out your bank account! Thinking about making other changes such as storing away some personal belongings or furniture? Our professionals would like for you to consider a climate-controlled facility with Zippy Shell!