Top 4 Decorating Hacks for Small Spaces

An image of a living room with a modern furniture set

Bigger is not always better, and that is true when it comes to your home! Less space means fewer belongings, which means less cleaning and maintenance, giving you more time to enjoy life. Smaller spaces can be a challenge to decorate, but with a bit of planning and a lot of creativity, you can make it work. Follow these tips for decoration inspiration.

  • Give the illusion of more space with your color palette. A monochromatic color scheme or even varying shades of the same color can make the area feel larger. Soft, pale, neutral colors on the walls and floor will give the biggest illusion of space.  An abundance of dark colors or contrasting colors in a small space can feel overwhelming and like the room is closing in on you.
  • Use reflective surfaces like glass and mirrors. Mirrors are a must-have decorating tool for small spaces. Large mirrors will bounce light from windows and create the illusion of more square footage. Mirrors reflect light and reflect the view, thereby tricking the eye into the perception of more space. Just remember that you don’t want the mirror to reflect a cluttered or cornered space, as that will defeat the purpose.
  • Think vertically. Create storage where there once was none by adding floating shelves to your walls utilizing the vertical space. Mounted storage cabinets are also a great space saver and will give you more storage options. Desks, TVs, and lamps are other items that can be mounted on the wall to help turn wall space into floor space. You can also think vertically by drawing the eye upward with a fun light fixture, crown molding, tall window treatments, or high shelves.
  • Illuminate your small space with good lighting. Small spaces often end up feeling dark due to having small windows or a lack of windows. The first step is to pull in as much natural light from your windows as possible. Make sure light coming in from your windows is not being blocked by furniture or other stacked objects. In areas of your home where you might need a light-blocking option, such as the bedroom, consider a layered window treatment approach. Having one layer to block the light and one to allow it in will offer flexibility without compromising the natural light. When making plans to light the rest of the room, use multiple sources of light rather than just one. Try vertical floor lamps in the corners of the room for an expansive open feeling.

Zippy Shell is the perfect solution for those looking to downsize or move into a small space. With portable storage, you can forego the hassle of having to drive your extra belongings to a storage location, as a storage unit can be delivered to your home where you can load your belongings into it directly. You can cut your work in half by only loading and unloading one time into portable storage containers versus multiple times with self-storage. Check us out today for answers to any questions you may have!

Get Your Grill Ready for Summer!

A family stands around a grill ready to eat

What is your favorite thing about Summer? Many enjoy the longer days, the warmer temperatures, fun times in the sun, a more relaxed schedule, and grilling on the patio! The longer days of Summer provide the perfect opportunity to perfect your grill master skills. Summer barbeques are also an excellent way to spend extra time with family and friends, and they are perfect for celebrating milestones like birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, or graduations. While many have already started their grilling seasons,we have some tips for those getting a late start or breaking in that new grill:

  • If you didn’t use your grill over the colder months, now is the time to check for any insects or other pests that may have made your grill its home and kindly evict them.
  • Check for signs of rust, especially if your metal grill has been exposed to the elements. To remove rust, use a cup of baking soda and add vinegar little by little until you have a consistent paste. Apply the paste to the grill using a sponge, and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub it clean with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with warm water.
  • For cleaning the inside, first, run the burners on high for five minutes and turn them off. When cool enough to handle, dry scrub all the baked-on crud off grates, burners, and inside surfaces with a nylon scouring pad or a ball of aluminum foil. Another trick to remove stuck-on gunk is to use a portable steamer. Stainless steel wire brushes work well, but there is the risk of leaving behind tiny metal bristles that will get stuck in your food. For deeper cleaning, soak the grates overnight in a mix of two cups of vinegar and one cup of baking soda. Rubbing the grates with a paper towel soaked in oil before each grill session will reduce the amount of food bits left behind.
  • Scrub the exterior down with warm soapy water and wipe to dry. If your exterior is stainless steel, you can use a cleaner specifically made for stainless steel.

After your grill is clean and ready to go, it is time to try it out on your guests. Our best tip to enjoy your barbecue is to make sure all the food is ready to go on the grill when the guests arrive and that any side dishes are assembled and cooked as needed. This will enable you to spend your time enjoying the company of your guests. Of course, you don’t have to do all the cooking yourself. Ask your guests to bring side dishes and desserts; people love to show off their signature dishes! For the drinks, consider making batch cocktails or mocktails ahead of time. Offer guests a beverage when they arrive, and then encourage them to help themselves after that.  

We hope you and your family enjoy sweet, sweet summertime and all it has to offer. If you plan on making a move this Summer, allow Zippy Shell to make all the necessary arrangements. Let us take all of the guesswork out of the moving process! Give us a call today or go online for a free quote to see how we can make moving and storage simple for you.

7 Tips for Receiving Top Offers When Selling Your Home

A couple buys a home with a real estate agent

It is a sellers’ market right now. Homes in many areas are in high demand and are already selling for top dollar. However, even in a seller’s market, it is still wise to show your home in its best light to ensure your home sells quickly and for a high price. Use these tips to receive top offers when selling your home so you can move onto bigger and better things.

Remove Distractions

To prevent potential buyers from getting distracted, you should remove all personal memorabilia, such as family photos, collections, hobby items, and personal hygiene items. Your goal is to help prospective buyers visualize the space as their own. Clutter makes rooms look smaller and distracts buyers from seeing the beauty of the space. Instead, make your home look more prominent and more desirable by editing down to just the basics.

Define Each Room

Potential buyers need to imagine themselves living in your home, so they need to know the intended purpose of each room. When a buyer views an empty room, they have no way of knowing which room they are viewing. Show the potential buyer the purpose of each room by bringing in furniture and accessories to define the room.

Clean and Repair

Buyers are looking for a clean slate. You want every square inch to shine inside and out. So preparing your home for the market is the perfect time to tackle the tiny nicks, scuffs, scratches, and holes that may stand out to buyers.

Refresh the Kitchen and Bathrooms

These are the rooms that sell houses, so any improvements here can make a huge difference. For example, cabinets are highly visible to potential buyers because they are at eye level. For cabinets in good structural condition, a deep clean may be needed to get them in showing condition. If that fails, painting or refacing them is a much cheaper option than replacing them altogether. Reglazing outdated tile is another low-cost update that can dramatically improve the looks of these critical rooms.

Update the Fixtures

Making updates in light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, doorknobs, and cabinet hardware will catch the eye of buyers. Fixtures go in and out of style pretty frequently and can easily make a beautiful home look dated.

Use Virtual Tools

The amount of time buyers have spent searching for homes online has been steadily increasing for years, but this practice sky-rocketed during the pandemic. Therefore, it is now essential to create a captivating online profile with professional photography and a complete video tour of your home.

Personalize the Listing

List all the little bells and whistles your home has to offer, like motion sensor lighting, irrigation system, alarm system, water filtration, composite decking, smart thermostat, camera doorbell, and many others. You never know what little perk will interest a buyer. Also, describe the benefits of your neighborhood and your community because location sells!

To give the illusion of space when listing your home, it may be helpful to store excess items off-site. We can deliver all-steel, weatherproof storage containers to you for all your storage needs.  If you want a simple way to store your stuff, look no further than Zippy Shell.

7 Hacks to Keep Your Home Cleaner

A woman cleans her kitchen countertops.

Try to imagine owning a self-cleaning house. That would be living the dream! While it is probably an unattainable dream at this point in history, the good news is that there are tricks you can use to keep your home cleaner every single day automatically. Using these hacks is probably about as close as you can get to a self-cleaning house right now.

  1. Place a washable mat on both the inside and the outside of your main entrance. This will cut down on the majority of the dirt that gets tracked into your home.
  2. Another way to prevent dirt and allergens from entering your home is to adopt a no-shoes policy. This is a simple rule to enforce with your family; create a drop zone for all shoes either outside or inside the home. It becomes a little trickier to implement with guests. You will generally need to provide house slippers or shoe covers, so you may decide that just keeping away the daily dirt your family brings inside is good enough.
  3. Minimize pet dirt and grime inside your home by cleaning your pet outside before they ever get a chance to track it in. At the very minimum, clean dirty paws before bringing them inside. If they are a dirt roller, a full spray down may be required. Keep towels on hand to dry everyone off before coming inside.
  4. The hard truth is that a decluttered home is easier to clean. Kitchen counters, night tables, coffee tables, entry halls, and bathroom counters can all be a battleground for endless clutter. Consider organizing with attractive baskets and containers in these areas to house items you like to have at your fingertips. Containers are easy to move out of the way when the cleaning mood strikes.
  5. Have all your cleaning supplies gathered together in one portable cleaning bucket or caddy. It is so much easier to get the job done efficiently when you have all the tools right there at your side. So whenever you have a few minutes to clean, grab the bucket, and you are good to go!
  6. Work from top to bottom in each room. Starting with the cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling and cleaning your way down to the floors will work with gravity to ensure you never have to clean anything twice.
  7. Remove lingering smells from your upholstery and mattress with baking soda. Just sprinkle baking soda on furniture that needs freshening up, let it sit for 20 min and then vacuum away with a vacuum attachment. Of course, that same vacuum attachment is also great for cleaning the blinds, vents, cabinets, shelves, and pretty much anything else you notice is dusty as you make your way through the house.

Consistent cleaning, decluttering, and organizing can help you feel more in control and more productive. We hope these hacks will be helpful to you as you create a home for yourself and your family. As always, Zippy Shell is ready to partner with you if you need a storage solution or are looking at a local or long-distance move. So give us a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online for more information on our moving and storage options.

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!

Top 4 Reasons to Move After Retirement

A nice suburban home in a good neighborhood

One of the most significant decisions many make when they retire is choosing whether or not to stay in their current home. Some already know precisely when they will retire and exactly where they want to live when that happens. For others, the answers are less clear. There are some definite benefits to making a move after retirement. Keep reading to see if moving is right for you and your situation.

Family – Without a job tying you down to a specific location, now may be the time to move closer to family. Many retirees want to spend their retirement enjoying the company of their children and grandchildren, and that means relocating. Having supportive loved ones close at hand can be crucial as you age. But before you take the plunge, consider how likely it is that your family will stay put and what you’re going to do if they have to move to another city or state for work or education.

Adventure – When you are retired, you will have more time to devote to your interests and hobbies. You are free to move to a destination that you’ve always dreamed about, to an area that will offer you new opportunities and new adventures. If you’ve always wanted to live near the ocean, in the mountains, or within a major city, retirement may be the perfect time to realize those dreams.

Finances – Moving to an area of the country with a lower cost of living can go a long way towards improving your financial situation. The idea is that reducing your daily expenses allows your retirement income to extend further so that you can maintain the same quality of life with less money. Be sure to calculate all the financial implications before you make a move during retirement. This list includes closing costs, moving costs, state income tax rates, healthcare costs, storage costs, transportation, remodeling expenses, etc.  

Downsizing – Another way to reduce retirement expenses is to downsize from a larger home to a smaller home in the same area or a completely different region or state. With a smaller home, there will be fewer maintenance costs, the utility bills will be lower, and you will pay less in property taxes. Of course, downsizing is not always about reducing expenses. The goal of downsizing could be to reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your home, giving you more time to travel. Another reason to downsize is to find a home that better fits your needs as you age. It may be more cost-effective to move to a senior-friendly home rather than try to modify your current home.

Zippy Shell portable storage containers offer the perfect solution for those looking to downsize. Our portable storage containers eliminate the obstacles standing between you and your retirement dreams. We provide simple storage solutions for the home staging/home selling process, and we can safely store your belongings as long as you need. When the time is right, we will deliver your belongings to your new home. Zippy Shell has got you covered!

Landscaping Ideas That Will Boost Your Curb Appeal for Years to Come

The front of a nice home with a pretty yard

With weather this nice, now is the time to get out in the yard and boost your curb appeal with some landscaping projects! Even the most minor improvements to your landscaping can significantly impact the overall appearance of your home. So, get outside to let the sun warm you all the way through, feel the dirt in your fingers, and listen to the sounds of nature in the spring while working through this list. 

Design Plan – If you start from scratch or need a complete redo, the first step is to create a master plan that includes a drawing. But here’s the key to completing that plan – resist the temptation to complete it all at once or in record time. Taking time to target smaller projects that fit into your master plan will be easier for your sanity and wallet. After completing each smaller project, consult your master plan to make sure you are still on track. Also, update your drawing with plant names, placement, and dates planted. To make it easier on yourself, be sure to include greenery in your plan that is suited for your climate and easy to maintain. And always consider the full size of the plant when making plans for spacing. Mixing things up to have a variety of plants that will bloom at different times in the season will create lasting beauty in your yard.

Plant Groupings – Do your research and group plants with similar growing requirements together. Combining plants with similar sunlight, soil, and watering requirements will reduce maintenance for you in the long run. Group these plants and trees into beds or islands that will allow for easy mowing.

Ornamental Grasses – Landscaping elements in this category are anything but boring, thanks to the wide selection of heights, textures, foliage colors, and leaf shapes. Some can reach a height of 8 – 10 ft tall, making them a good choice for added privacy, or they can be used for filling in large, empty spaces in the landscape. These grasses are low maintenance, provide year-round interest, and many types are drought tolerant. So be sure to add some of these landscaping ideas to your design.

Defined Edge – Landscape edging supplies a clear edge between different areas of your yard that makes your lawn look neat and properly maintained. It not only looks great, but it also cuts down on maintenance by reducing the time you need to spend weeding and trimming your yard on a day-to-day basis. Lawn edging also keeps mulch from creeping into the grass and helps ensure that your plants’ root systems are not overtaken by grass and weeds.

Containers – Using containers in your landscaping can give you more options and allow you to express your unique personality outdoors. It is also ideal for those who only have a small space to dedicate to their plants. Just make sure that the size of the plant complements the size of the container, and don’t be afraid to mix and match plants in larger containers for a customized look.

Portable storage containers from Zippy Shell are the perfect solution for home improvement projects of any size. Learn more and receive a free, no-obligation quote by visiting www.zippyshell.com today.

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!

6 Best Tips for Achieving an Organized Home

A woman is organizing her home closet

No matter what stage you are in, life can get busy. Having an organized home can help you to quickly find what you need, allowing you to stay focused on the important things in life. Being organized and getting rid of clutter also helps to reduce the time it takes to keep your home clean, and who doesn’t want that! Here are our best tips for maintaining an organized home that you enjoy.

  1. Start small and only tackle one space at a time. Break organization tasks into small, manageable chunks. Setting out to organize your entire home in one swoop can lead to becoming overwhelmed and giving up before the job is complete. Set aside 30-45 minute chunks of time to dedicate to organizing with no distractions and only focus on one area at a time.
  2. Take an inventory of everything of value in your home. Inventory lists can be categorized by room, type of item, collection, or other relevant criteria. It can be a digital or a hard copy. This sounds like a lot of work, but the benefits outweigh the time it will take. An inventory list can eliminate much of the time spent looking for items around your home or purchasing items you already have. It can also be a lifesaver if you’re ever in a situation where you need to replace your personal property after a loss.
  3. Have a designated area near the entrance you most use for all your family’s “stuff.” You know the stuff we are talking about – keys, shoes, jackets, bags, hats, mail, all the things on your body or in your hand when you walk in the door. Without a designated area to store these items near the entrance, they will just be trailed throughout the house.
  4. If you have kids, create a toy storage system and stick to it. Quite often, toy clutter is caused by simply not having enough storage or not having the correct type of storage. Whether you choose to store toys in a basket or bin, on a shelf or in a cabinet, out in the open, or hidden, toy storage needs to be practical and easy. Using cut-out pictures taped to the appropriate box, bin, or shelf will help children who can’t read yet identify where items belong. The ultimate goal is to have your kids put their toys away!
  5. Have a designated donation box. Place a large container out of the way in your garage, attic, or an extra closet. When an item is no longer needed, immediately place it in the box. When the box gets full, immediately take it to the donation center. This system will keep unused items from piling up and taking up space in your home.
  6. Change your mindset. Don’t put items down; put them away. Once you have everything organized, be mindful of what led to the clutter in the first place. Instead of setting stuff down on the nearest surface, take a moment to put your items back in their designated spot. Live by the saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

In your quest for an organized home, you might find that your best option is to store some of your lesser-used items. Zippy Shell provides simple, climate-controlled storage solutions, and our contact-free delivery will give you one less thing to worry about. Learn more by visiting www.zippyshell.com today!

Keeping Your Home Clean with a Furry Family Member

A dog licks its owners face

Our furry family members can reduce stress, improve health, bring joy, and lengthen our lives. But the question must be asked, can pets and a clean house even coexist? Dog and cat lovers know that the benefits of love, friendship, and entertainment far outweigh a little mess. The keys to keeping your home clean with a dog or cat residing there are to be diligent in mess prevention and cleaning up the inevitable accidents as soon as possible. Use the following tips to create a clean, safe haven for both you and your furry companion.

  • Pet toys spend a lot of time in mouths, in the yard, at the park, in puddles, on dog beds, and many other places where dirt and grime can be picked up. It is best to purchase easy-to-clean toys and won’t hold onto odors or stains. Rubber toys can be placed on the top shelf of the dishwasher for a deeper clean, and soft machine washable toys can benefit from a run through the washing machine. For the safety of your pet, be diligent about throwing away damaged toys.
  • Machine washable bedding is a must to keep a clean smelling home with pets. Remove all visible hair from the bedding with a vacuum, lint brush, or wet washcloth. Run it through the washing machine (in a load separate from your clothing) with a mild, perfume-free detergent adding a ½ cup of vinegar to the wash. Clean bedding will minimize smells and eliminate all the dirt, bacteria, allergens, and even fleas that your pet has brought into the house from the outdoors. If your pet sleeps in your bed, wash your bedding at least once a week. The same goes for favorite household blankets that your pet likes to snuggle with. And if your pet has a favorite chair they like to nap in, throw a sheet over it that can be easily washed.
  • Minimize pet dirt and grime inside your home by cleaning your pet outside before they ever get a chance to track it in. At the very minimum, clean dirty paws before bringing them inside. If they are a dirt roller, a full spray down may be required. Keep towels on hand to dry everyone off before coming inside.
  • If you have a dog or cat that sheds, then you know the necessity of having a strong, high-powered vacuum. Stay on top of the accumulation of fur and dander by running the vacuum several times a week. A handheld vacuum or lint roller can take care of the job in between big vacuums. Additionally, a robot vacuum can be a game-changer when you have pets. It can run while you are away or at night while everyone in the household sleeps.

Loving on your pets is a lot more important than being stressed over muddy paws and shedding, but we hope these tips will be helpful to you as you create a home for yourself and your pets. Zippy Shell is always ready to partner with you if you need a storage solution or looking at a local or long-distance move. Give us a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online for more information on our moving and storage options.