Tips For Cleaning Out Your Garage

organized garage

If your garage looks like most garages, it is probably time for a good old purge and deep clean. Most people use their garage as a place to store things rather than a place to park cars, and it can quickly get out of hand. We don’t always have a good place in the home to store stuff, so most of our random items, seasonal clothes and décor, unused appliances, and more, ends up in the garage. It really can become an overwhelming task to get it straightened up, so we have some helpful tips when you are ready to get your garage clean and tidy.

MAKE A PLAN

There are different ways you can tackle a big job like the garage. You can create zones and slowly chip away at the mess as you have time. If you have a whole weekend to work on it, we recommend the full, deep-clean option. Pull everything out of the garage into the driveway, wipe everything down, sweep, wash the windows, and air it out before you begin the job of bringing everything back in. But not everyone has enough time to complete the entire garage in one go. In that case, devote as much time as you can each day until you are able to finish.

PURGE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

You likely have quite a bit in your garage that you no longer use or need, so why not get rid of it and free up the space? Go through all the boxes and donate or sell the things you haven’t used in a long time and do not plan to use in the foreseeable future. When the weather starts to warm up, you can have a big garage sale in order to make a little cash while cleaning out the garage. While you are purging you can start organizing your stuff and staging areas of like items to make sure you have everything where you want it to go.

INVEST IN SHELVING UNITS

When you are using the garage as an area to store stuff, you need an efficient way to utilize the space. You can purchase tall shelving units that are meant to be anchored to garage walls to help use the vertical space instead of your stuff creeping inwards in the walking areas. You can get shelves that allow you to adjust the heights of each shelf to make sure you have an area to store your stuff efficiently.

If you need a place to store your stuff while you are giving your garage a deep clean or remodel, give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us through our online form. We offer mobile storage units that can be delivered to your home, you can fill it with your stuff and either keep it nearby in your driveway, or have it transported to a secure storage facility while you complete your project. We would be happy to provide you with an estimate for our storage services when you contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Don’t Forget These 5 Things on Your Moving Checklist

checklist

Moving is a stressful experience–no doubt about it–but there are things you can do to help keep your sanity and to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. A moving checklist is one of the most important things you can do to keep everything organized. There are some things, however, that is commonly looked over when making the official moving checklist. Take a look at 5 things you may not have thought about when making your moving checklist.

THE ATTIC

It is not uncommon for people to forget about the stuff they have stored in the attic. When you have a lot of stuff you haven’t seen for many years, it is easy to completely forget about them. Make sure you put the attic on your moving checklist so you don’t leave any of your cherished items behind.

OUTDOOR ITEMS

Another area that people forget to plan for is outdoor items like the lawnmower, propane tanks, grills, smokers, and more. These larger items require special preparations and planning to make sure they are cleaned well, flammable materials properly disposed of, and packed. Make sure you add these items to your moving checklist so you don’t find yourself scrambling on moving day to figure out how to get all your outdoor items to your new home.

PETS

If you have pets, moving day can be stressful on them too. It’s important to make special preparations for your fur-family members so they can be kept safe and looked after during the chaos of moving. If you do not have someone who can keep them while you are moving stuff out of your house, be sure to keep them in a secure area so they are unable to run out the door with all the people going in and out. You also want to make sure you have plans to safely transport them to your new location.

HOUSEPLANTS

If you have houseplants, they will need special attention during a move, especially if you are moving during the winter. Most plants cannot handle extreme temperatures, so you will want to make sure they are still in a warm place until it is time to move them. They should be packed in a way where they can’t fall over and lose soil or break foliage. You can also purchase heating pads for them to sit on to keep from getting too cold during transport.

CHANGING YOUR ADDRESS

Another common moving mishap is forgetting to change your address. You can change your address online or in-person at the post office to have most of your mail forwarded, but you should also change your address with all your important accounts. You should alert all your credit card companies, doctors, magazines that you subscribe to, banks, and anywhere you receive mail from to give them your new address. We hope these tips will be helpful to you as you create your moving checklist. As always, Zippy Shell is ready to partner with you for your local or long-distance move. Give us a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us through our online form for more information on our moving and storage options. We look forward to hearing from you!

1-800-PACK-RAT Acquires Storage Squad, a Leader in the Student Storage Industry

Storage Squad Logo

Acquisition Paves the Way for 1-800-PACK-RAT to Expand into Student Storage and Provide Exceptional Service to Students, Parents, and Colleges Across the Country

1-800-PACK-RAT, LLC, a leader in the portable storage and moving industry and sister company to Zippy Shell Incorporated, announced that it has acquired Storage Squad. Storage Squad’s primary mission is to provide quality moving and storage solutions for university-based students. The company was created in 2011 by two students in Ithaca, NY, at Cornell University to better assist students who have very specific moving and storage needs that some companies could not meet. Since its inception, the company has grown to service 35 schools in 10 states and 12 cities.

The acquisition gives 1-800-PACK-RAT the opportunity to expand its overall moving and storage portfolio to provide more targeted and professional service to students, parents, and colleges across the US. Storage Squad’s unique “Mega Box” solution gives students the chance to store all their belongings quickly and easily during the move-out process. The localized storage facilities in university towns and cities give students complete control and assurance that their stuff will be taken care of and redelivered on time. The lowest price point in collegiate storage and “storage-by-the-box” philosophy makes it a terrific choice for students who cannot afford high-priced self-storage facilities and moving solutions.

“We are very excited to be working with Storage Squad to expand our storage and moving solutions across the college industry,” said Mark Kuhns, CEO of 1-800-PACK-RAT and Zippy Shell. “Our goal is to make moving and storage simple, and Storage Squad’s strong customer service and excellent reputation will help us provide these services to college students.”

“I am looking forward to working with the Storage Squad team to focus on top quality customer service and low-cost solutions for colleges, students, and parents,” said Andy McDade, President of Storage Squad.  “The company has developed an impressive reputation and ordering system. With over 70 available storage locations across the continental United States, Storage Squad is poised for even greater success in helping partner campuses and their students starting this spring.”

To learn more about 1-800-PACK-RAT and the services we provide, please visit www.1800packrat.com.

###

About 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT is a leader in the portable storage and moving industry. They provide customers and businesses with solutions for on-site storage, warehouse storage, local moving, long-distance moving, or any combination. 1-800-PACK-RAT has numerous facilities across the USA. For additional information about 1-800-PACK-RAT, visit their website at 1800packrat.com.

Pros and Cons of a Winter Move

winter move

If you are planning to move in 2021 and have the flexibility to determine when you are going to move, you may be trying to decide if you would rather wait until the summer season. It can be a hard decision, especially if you are ready to move right away. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of a summer move before you decide.

PRO: DOESN’T DISRUPT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL YEAR

If you have kids that are in school, waiting until the school year ends can be of benefit to them–especially since this past year has had so many disruptions already. This is of even more importance if you are planning to move to an entirely different school district. Waiting until the summer will allow them to finish off the current school year with their friends and not interrupt their learning. Many families opt to wait for the summer season just for this reason.

CON: MOVING COMPANIES ARE BUSIER

Since summer is peak moving season, moving and storage companies are busier. This can be a problem if you wait until the last minute to get on their schedule, but this can be remedied by some advance planning. As soon as you have your summer moving dates, go ahead and schedule your moving and storage services so you can beat the rush.

PRO: YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT FREEZING TEMPERATURES

It’s hard to move in cold or even freezing temperatures. If you live in an area of the country that stays under constant threat of snow and ice in the winter and spring seasons, being able to wait until the warmer season will be a big help to you.

CON: IT’S HOT!

On the other hand, if you live in an area of the country where you see summer temps of 90 degrees or greater, a summer move may be more difficult than a winter move. Just as it can be dangerous to move when it is snowing or there is ice on the ground, moving in extremely hot weather can be dangerous. Since moving takes a lot of physical and manual labor, it is easy to get dehydrated or experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

PRO: YOUR HOUSE CAN SELL FAST

Because summer is peak moving time, you will be able to sell your home faster than you would during the winter season. If you plan to sell your home over the summer, be sure to have arrangements to leave quickly because homes were selling faster than lenders could keep up with over this past summer!

CON: IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO FIND A HOME YOU LOVE

Because there are more people looking for homes to purchase over the summer, the home inventory can be slim when you go to find a home for yourself. You may need to widen your search and make some changes to your home wish list.

We hope this list of pros and cons will be helpful to you as you decide whether to plan a summer move. Be sure to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us through our online form when you are ready to schedule your move and storage. We look forward to hearing from you!

6 Ways to Make a Cozy Home

fire place

There is no place like a cozy home in the middle of a freezing cold winter night. Now that holiday and other seasonal décor has likely been packed up, have you made any design changes to make your home feel cozy and inviting? If not, take a look at some of our favorite ideas for adding a warm and comforting touch to your home for the winter season.

LIGHTING

If you are using daylight or cool lighting, switch to warmer tones for a more comforting and cozy atmosphere. Did you know you can purchase smart bulbs that connect to your wifi and you can control from an app on your phone? You can change the color, brightness, and even choose settings like “flickering candle” to give the appearance of a burning candle or fire. While these bulbs are a little pricier than your standard bulb, they are worth the extra money if you are looking for an inexpensive way to overhaul the atmosphere in your home this winter.

BLANKETS

Big, chunky, warm blankets are a must-have during the winter season. You can find affordable, oversized throw blankets at almost any retail store. Not only will you love curling up under a warm blanket at the end of a cold day, they look great draped over the side of a chair or couch.

SEASONAL SCENTS

Use a wax burner, candle, oil diffuser, or plug-in to showcase a seasonal cozy scent. There are scents like pumpkin spice, apple pie, bon fire, sugar cookies, and others that can make your home feel inviting and comforting.

ELECTRIC FIREPLACE

While not exactly cheap, if you don’t already have a fireplace in your home, an electric fireplace can copy the look and feel of one. These can be especially useful if you need extra heating in your home and already need to use something like a space heater. The cool thing about these electric fireplaces is you can put them almost anywhere, even your bedroom. Talk about fancy!

CHANGE OUT YOUR WINDOW COVERINGS

This is not exactly a design suggestion, but more of a functional change. If you use heavier drapes during the winter, you will be able to keep some of the cold air that can sometimes seep in around the seals of the window behind the curtain. Have you ever pulled back your curtains and felt cold air rush out? Heavy drapes can help your home feel warmer and even help you save a little money on your heating bills.

ADD SOME GREENERY

Adding some greenery, whether live or artificial, can help give your home a warm and cozy boost during the winter months. If you are getting live plants, be sure to do a little research on easy care plants for the types of lighting you have available in your home.

We hope these tips will be helpful to you as you give your home a winter makeover. We would love to hear your ideas on how to make the home feel warm during the winter season! Stop by our Facebook page and share your ideas with our Zippy Shell community. We look forward to hearing from you!

Best Cleaning Practices for Different Types of Furniture

cleaning furniture

Your furniture is one of the biggest investments you make for your home. Learning how to keep it clean will protect your investment for years to come. Don’t let water stains, ink marks, and other tough stains keep you from enjoying your furniture. Use the cleaning practices listed below to keep every type of furniture in your home looking its best.

Wooden Furniture

Dusting and shining your wooden furniture is probably already on your regular cleaning routine. But to keep it in tip top shape, a deep cleaning is needed at least twice a year. The first step is to remove water stains. Place some non-gel toothpaste on the water stain and rub it in with a soft cloth until the mark is lifted. Remove any other marks on your wooden furniture with a paste made of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of water. Just as with the toothpaste, apply the paste and gently rub with a soft cloth until the stain disappears. Wipe the stained areas off with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly before moving on. Tannic acid from tea is a wonderful way to clean the entire piece of furniture. After steeping two tea bags in boiling water, let the tea cool to room temperature. Dampen a soft cloth with the tea and wipe the wood. Now it’s time for the polish!

Painted Furniture

This is by far the easiest type of furniture to keep clean. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 2 cups warm water to make a general cleaner good for painted surfaces. Add a small squirt of liquid dish soap for a little extra cleaning power. Wipe the surfaces of your painted furniture with a cloth or sponge dampened with this solution. Use as little moisture as possible to help prevent water damage.

Upholstered Furniture

Vacuum upholstered surfaces on a regular basis. Sprinkling baking soda over the entire piece before vacuuming will help to remove odors and loosen stains. Before using any cleaning detergents or solutions, always check the manufacturer’s care instructions found on the furniture tag. As a general rule fabric upholstery can be cleaned using a mixture of 3/4 cup warm water, 1/4 cup vinegar and one tablespoon of dish soap. Test a small area for any discoloration first and then spot treat any stained areas with this solution. Flip cushions and pillows regularly so both sides wear evenly.

Leather Furniture

Clean leather furniture with a damp sponge or soft cloth and dust it regularly. For a set in stain, use a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1/2 cup water and clean it with a soft cloth. Follow this by washing with leather saddle soap. Using a monthly application of leather cream will keep the leather material soft and moisturized.

Using these cleaning practices to care for your furniture will help it last for years, saving you money in the long run. If you have a move coming up, contact us at Zippy Shell. We would be happy to discuss how our storage and moving services can also save you money. We will even provide you with a free estimate!

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.

6 Common Painting Mistakes

painting

The number of people working on home renovations, repairs, and DIY projects has already started to skyrocket as the outdoor temperatures plummet. As there is less to do outdoors, the indoor projects get some much-needed attention. One of the most common things people like to do in the winter months is paint. Whether it is painting the walls or painting old furniture, you are going to start to see the paint area of the home improvement stores get extra busy over the next few months. If you have some painting in your near future, take a look at some of the most common painting mistakes you will want to avoid.

SKIPPING THE EDUCATION PROCESS

Unless you are painting a lot throughout the year, a refresher course on how to complete painting projects is a must. You should determine how the specific surfaces you are painting should be prepared, what types of paints and primers are best for your project, and even brushing techniques should be reviewed. You can find free videos on YouTube that will help you feel prepared before you start your projects.

USING LOW QUALITY SUPPLIES

The old adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to paint and paint supplies. It’s always important to stay within your budget, but you should also do some research on the reviews of different products and brands. There are affordable options that will work well for your needs, but be careful of buying the cheapest paints, brushes, rollers, and other supplies that you can find. What can happen is after you spend your money on these products you may find that they do not work well for your project and you have to go back out and spend more money on a different brand.

NOT PLANNING AHEAD

Like any home project, if you do not plan out your project, you are going to come across obstacles. Mentally go through the entire project in order to gather all the supplies you need, budget the approximate amount of money, and even the time needed for the project. We often underestimate how long a project will take and find ourselves stressed and rushed trying to finish.

WINGING IT

One of the hardest parts of painting is taping off the areas you are going to paint in order to keep paint off the ceiling, door frames, and baseboards. But this is an important step that can save you a lot of heartache in the end. Plus, those clean and crisp lines that are revealed in the end can be very satisfying!

NOT PROTECTING SURFACES

Not only should you use tape to protect your doorframes, ceilings, and baseboards, but you should use plastic sheeting to protect your flooring. It’s a common blunder to skip the purchase of plastic sheeting or drop cloths in order to save some money and time, but it rarely ends well. It is difficult to get paint out of carpet and even off hardwoods, so don’t skip the step of protecting your surfaces.

NOT LETTING EACH COAT DRY LONG ENOUGH

You may need to prime your surfaces or use multiple coats of paint, but usually, due to impatience, some do not let these different coats dry for long enough. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on drying times before painting the next coats.

We hope you can avoid these common painting mistakes this winter. If you have a home renovation coming up, give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online for a free estimate on our mobile storage options. We look forward to hearing from you!

7 Ways to Prepare Before a Home Inspection

home checklist

During the process of closing a home sale, the buyer typically hires a home inspector to identify health issues, safety issues, or major defects in the home. Things like water damage, structural damage, roof damage, electrical issues, plumbing problems, pest infestations, and HVAC issues can come out in an inspection report. Home inspectors are typically not concerned with purely cosmetic defects in a home. The home inspection report offers a deeper understanding of whether the home has been well-maintained or needs major repairs. If a buyer is not satisfied with the home’s current condition, they can request the seller address the repairs or offer a credit toward the cost of repairs at closing. A home inspection is not a pass or fail situation, but there are ways you as the homeowner can prepare for the inspection and help it go as smoothly as possible.

  • Declutter and clear access areas. The home inspector needs to have easy access to everything on the property including the attic, basement, crawlspace, electrical panels, HVAC systems, and plumbing. The home inspector being unable to access an area due to clutter or for any other reason will send a red flag to the buyers.
  • Make sure your home is pest free. A pest inspection is a separate process performed by a licensed pest inspector who’s trained to look for signs of infestations, but a home inspector can recommend a pest specialist take a closer look based on their findings.
  • Repair any water related issues. Home inspectors definitely focus on leaks and water damage. Check for leaks under sinks, around faucets, around your toilets, bathtubs, showers, and under any appliances that may leak, such as dishwashers and refrigerators. After repairing the leaks, also repair any water damage that you find. While you are looking for leaks, do a little multitasking and also check and clear any clogged drains.
  • Look over the roof. Any damaged or missing roof tiles should be repaired before the inspection. You will also want to remove any roof debris, be sure your gutters are free flowing, and trim trees that are near or hanging over the roof line.
  • Test the functionality of items in your home where the inspector will be focused. Try all the light switches and replace any burnt out bulbs, flush all the toilets, open and close all the windows, run all ceiling and bathroom fans, make sure all pilot lights are lit, and replace the furnace filter.
  • Be prepared to show paperwork with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home. If you’ve had an insurance claim on your house, include those papers as well so you can prove that you took care of the problem.
  • On the day of the inspection, make plans to be out of the house for several hours. Make arrangements for your pets to also be out of the way. Leave any garage door or ceiling fan remotes accessible and leave any keys needed for electrical boxes or storage areas. Empty any the dishwasher and washer and dryer if they are included in the sale.

From decluttering, to preparing for a home inspection, to packing, to moving, Zippy Shell is available for all your moving and storage needs. We are ready to partner with you for an easy and stress-free move.

5 Ways to Trim Moving Expenses

saving money

Moving to a new home can involve a down payment, closing costs, first and last month’s rent deposit, and many other expenses. So, the last thing you want to add to the list is an expensive move. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your moving costs. Take a look at 5 of our favorite tips for saving money on your move.

Watch for Added Fees

There are many sites where you can receive a free online moving quote, and although these numbers are a good first step, you may find that some of them leave out fees and surcharges that are buried in the fine print. Did you know that moving companies can charge for mileage, fuel, tolls, and even windshield wipers? Little fees can add up to a huge difference in your bottom-line budget. Verify all fees in writing upfront with any company you decide to partner with during your move. If you would prefer to have a little more control over the moving process, consider using Zippy Shell. Whenever you’re ready to move, we’ll drop off our Zippy Shell container at your home. When you have it all packed up, we’ll pick up the container and drive it to your new home. You can even track your container online to see where it is in its moving journey!

Move in the Off Season

If you have any flexibility in the timing of your move, try to move in the off-season. May through September is the typical peak season for moving because children are out of school and parents desire to get into their new place before the new academic year starts. You may find different moving services to be less available or cost more during that time. The first and last days of the month are also peak moving periods as leases expire and renters prepare to move in and out of apartments. Schedule your move for off-peak times for the best prices.

Purge Before Moving

Spend extra time downsizing your belongings before you pack. You should always get rid of unwanted items before any move, but especially if you are trying to trim your moving expenses. Did you know some moving companies charge based on the weight of your items and the distance of your move? You certainly don’t want to end up paying to move items you no longer want or need at your new home. So if you don’t use it, love it, or need it to survive, it doesn’t need to make the move with you!

Save on Packing Supplies

Use packing supplies that you already have around the house. Use thick household blankets in place of moving blankets, wrap fragile items in towels and sheets before packing, and fill extra space in boxes with newspaper instead of purchasing packing peanuts. The most popular places to look for free boxes are grocery stores, office supply stores, book stores, package stores, bars, and restaurants. Many times neighbors will post moving boxes that can be picked up for free in local online neighborhood, trade, or garage sale type groups.

Ask Friends for Help

Your friends can lend a hand in many different ways to help you save money on your move. So often people want to help, but they don’t know how. While not everyone has the physical ability to help you move a couch up a flight of stairs, you can ask for assistance in organizing, packing, providing meals, watching children or pets, or being on the hunt for those free boxes.

Did you know Zippy Shell offers 30 days of free storage for customers who are moving cross country and need to store items until they’re ready to move into their new home? Call Zippy Shell today to get a quote.