Decluttering Tasks You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less

An overwhelmed woman sits on a couch in her disorganizaed living room

Can you imagine the freedom you would feel living a clutter-free life? Of course, you can! The problem of clutter leaves us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. But where do you get started in eliminating the clutter? Our best advice is to start with one area at a time and finish de-cluttering that area before moving on to another. This will give you a sense of accomplishment as you see your successes little by little. Making progress towards a clutter-free life doesn’t have to consume your entire day. Check out the list of decluttering tasks below that you can complete in 30 minutes or less.

Choose one a day and watch how quickly the clutter disappears. Arm yourself with a trash bag and a donate box/bag for each task. When your donation box/bag is full, take it to your car and then donate immediately – out of sight, out of mind.

  • Tackle the dressers in your home one drawer at a time. Take everything out of the drawer, evaluate, and only put back your favorites. The rest can be donated or recycled. Set a thirty-minute timer and see how many drawers you can complete.
  • Purge your beauty products. Gathering all your makeup and beauty products into one area will show how much you have. We are all guilty of trying out products, not loving them, but not wanting to get rid of them because it feels wasteful. Be thorough and toss anything you aren’t using. As a bonus, this will make getting ready so much easier because you only have exactly what you need on hand.
  • Take on the task of decluttering your freezer the day before trash day so that if you do have to throw out mystery items or items past their prime, it does not have to sit in the trash for too long. Label everything you place back in your freezer with the contents and the date to make future freezer purgings easier.
  • Challenge yourself to declutter your pantry in 30 minutes or less. Start by removing everything from the pantry, checking expiration dates, and wiping down the shelves. Take special note of the expiration dates in your spice rack. Spices don’t get used up as quickly, but they can lose potency over time and may need replacing. If you have an excess of some items, consider reaching out to elderly family members and neighbors or donating what you don’t need.
  • Declutter the catchall area under your kitchen sink. When was the last time you even looked in there? Pull everything out and give the cupboard itself a cleaning. Next, replace only the items you use and are in good condition.
  • Clear your desktop. Your productivity and effectiveness can be lowered when you work in a cluttered environment. Sort and file papers, then put all other items in their respective spaces.

There are no right or wrong ways to declutter, and there is no single set of rules that you must follow. Just do what works best for you. If you own items that you don’t have room for but want to keep, a mobile storage unit may be exactly what you need. Pack your extra items in a Zippy Shell and send them off to a secure, climate-controlled storage center. Then sit back and breathe a sigh of relief in your clutter-free sanctuary of a home!

Deep Cleaning List to Tackle Before and During the Holidays

A woman cleans in her house

There is certainly enough to stress about before and during the holidays without worrying about a messy house. Use this list to welcome the holidays with a home that is clean and cozy giving you more time to celebrate and create traditions rather than clean! Plus, it is always easier to have a literal clean slate before putting up any holiday decorations.

  • Most ovens are self-cleaning but usually require a more detailed cleaning a few times a year. The self-clean option doesn’t reach the gunk around door hinges and frames and the crumb-catching space around the oven. Make sure to remove racks and clean separately. To give your turkey, ham, or other holiday main course a clean room to cook, follow your manufacturer’s directions for best practices.
  • It seems like an appliance like a dishwasher would be self-cleaning, but over time bacteria and leftover bits of food can create unwanted odors and make your dishwasher less effective at its job. It’s easy to clean your dishwasher by placing a dishwasher-friendly cup or bowl on the top rack filled with about two-thirds of white vinegar, then running it on a normal cycle with hot water to sterilize. Afterward, use a rag or towel to wipe the edges of the door and rubber seal with white vinegar or your favorite all-purpose cleaner.
  • Before holiday baking begins, it is time to do a deep clean on the pantry. Start by removing everything from the pantry, checking expiration dates, and wiping down the shelves. Take special note of the expiration dates in your spice rack. Spices don’t get used up as quickly, but they can lose potency over time and may need replacing for the best-tasting holiday meals.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer to make room for all the holiday leftovers. Tackle this task the day before trash day so that if you do have to throw out the mystery or expired items, it does not have to sit in the trash for too long. Working in sections, take food out to clean away crumbs and spills inside the refrigerator. Using clear bins is a great way to get this area organized.
  • Wash blinds, curtains, and other window treatments to remove dust and lingering odors.
  • Clean in and around your furniture. Remove all cushions and vacuum the creases where pet hair and popcorn love to get lost. Move the furniture around to clean underneath it and behind it if it sits against a wall.
  • Dust all the areas that usually get overlooked. Focus on areas like air vents, ceiling fan blades, window sills, crown molding, and baseboards.
  • All the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the floors, and the kitchen cabinets/counters will also need some attention before the holidays. Make it easier by grabbing the rest of the family, putting on some holiday music, and tackling a few of these items each day.

We hope this deep cleaning list will be helpful to you as you get ready for a wonderful holiday season filled with long-lasting memories. As always, Zippy Shell is prepared to partner with you if you need a storage solution or are looking at a local or long-distance move. Contact us online for more information on our moving and storage options.

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 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 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

Woman cleans her living room.

How many times have you heard New Year/New You? It’s true that millions of us make New Year’s resolutions, but what about resolutions that focus on your space? After all, your space is where you spend a lot of downtime, friend time and family time. Creating an inviting space, whether in your current one, or in a new one, could mean a happier and healthier New Year. It isn’t too late to amend or add to your New Year’s Resolutions and make a better home environment!

Bravely declutter: Take a moment to consider what came into your space last year that maybe wasn’t needed – the extra decorative box picked up at the vintage store, more coffee mugs received from co-workers during Secret Santa or yet another blue shirt because you had a coupon. Be courageous enough to edit down your personal belongings. Donate duplicate items and recycle things that don’t work or are in disrepair. If you aren’t sure about items, consider putting them in temporary storage with Zippy Shell and make the decision after living without them for a while.

Spruce up a single area or a single item: Sometimes planning for an update feels overwhelming. Consider focusing on a single objective in the New Year and make it happen. Ideas include:

  • New paint in one or more rooms
  • A new rug or some new flooring
  • Updating a single new fixture (like in the kitchen or bathroom)
  • Repairing something that’s been broken for a while
  • Adding fresh mulch or a few new plants to the landscape
  • Painting your door or adding a new wreath

Plan to recycle and save more energy (or recycle more): Recycling not only feels good, it does good. If you currently recycle, consider upping your game. If you don’t recycle, consider starting small until it becomes a habit. Small starts include unplugging electronic devices when not in use to reduce using phantom or vampire energy, taking reusable bags to the market, saving and recycling all of your plastics and cans during the week, opting for paperless billing or purchasing a reusable water bottle instead of buying water and drinks in plastic bottles. Next steps could include composting, buying local and eating seasonal and creating your own unique gift paper rather than purchasing wrapping paper or gift bags for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

Stay safe: Your space is your haven. Keep it safe by:

  • Checking for dryer lint. Most people know to check the lint filter at the front of the dryer, but did you know that there may be vents and ducts behind the dryer that could be a hazard and need attention, too?
  • Testing your detectors. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are just two of the items in your space that need routine tests.
  • Changing a/c filters. Checking and changing the filters keeps your unit running more efficiently.
  • Checking for a fire extinguisher. Do you have an extinguisher in the kitchen? How about upstairs, if you have another floor? Check them and any expiration dates they may have.

As the New Year rolls in take time to consider more than just personal resolutions. Make a few resolutions for your space, too.  If you find you need extra space, give Zippy Shell a call! We would be happy to help you safely store some of those extra belongings!

3 Ways to Naturally Remove/Reduce Mold in Your Home

Young couple cleaning their kitchen

Whether you are preparing your home for sale, have just moved into a new home or are cleaning your current home, you may be surprised to learn that mold can be found anywhere. Mold is not limited to moisture-heavy areas like bathrooms. It could be floating invisibly throughout your home and can trigger serious health risks, including allergies, headaches, sneezing and more.

Here are 3 tips to naturally help keep mold out of your home:

A) Remove moisture from your home: Clean, dry air is important since mold thrives in moisture-rich environments. Keep a close eye on areas that could be prone to mold, including kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

  • Be sure to change your HVAC filters on schedule.
  • If you live in an area that has high humidity, consider a dehumidifier.
  • Pro tip: Declutter, especially in areas that are damp or prone to leaks. Don’t give mold places to hide and grow. Consider throwing out and storing items you don’t need to improve air flow.

B) Put the white vinegar to work: Vinegar has long been valued as a “green” cleaning option and for good reason. Vinegar has mild acidic properties and is an anti-bacterial agent, as well. Spray the mold and mold-prone areas with full-strength white vinegar and let it set for an hour. Wipe the area clean and let dry.

C) Use Baking Soda: Another natural cleaning staple, baking soda is great not only because it is safe for your family and pets, but because in addition to great scrubbing properties, it absorbs moisture, which is key to keep mold away. Add baking soda to a little water and then spray it on the mold. Scrub it clean, wipe it off and let it dry.

A clean, decluttered, dry space is one that doesn’t help mold grow. Consider storing unused items with Zippy Shell in a climate-controlled facility, reducing moisture in your home and tackling any moldy areas with natural cleaners.

Top 3 Cleaning Hacks For Your North Texas Home

home cleaning

Are you feeling as if your home needs a little deeper cleaning than normal? We at Zippy Shell live and work in the North Texas community, so we understand the challenges our environment brings to keeping your home spic and span.

Hack 1 – Clean ceiling fans without the dust shower: Ceiling fans are an integral part of any Texas home, thanks to our famous heat! Most of us have dusted the fans only to find our floors and maybe ourselves covered in a shower of dust. However, if you take an old pillow case, spray a little furniture polish inside and then run the pillow case up and down the fan blade, all that gross stuff is trapped.

Hack 2 – Clean your blinds in a jiffy: Blinds can be a real pain to clean. Use an old sock, dip it a mixture of water and vinegar and run it over the blind or slats. Pro tip: If you or a loved one are sensitive to chemicals, this is also a great way to use less cleaning solutions in the home.

Hack 3 – Make those stainless-steel appliances shine: Many North Texas homes include stainless steel appliances. We can certainly see the allure, but we also don’t like the finger prints that are usually par for the course. Use a little dish soap and water on a very soft cloth to clean the appliance and then follow with olive oil or mineral oil to make it shine.

Hack 4 – Eliminate garbage disposal smell: We’ve heard of using lemons in your garbage disposal, but recently saw a great idea we wanted to pass along to our North Texas neighbors – rosemary lemons cubes. Put some chopped citrus peels and rosemary in each ice cube tray and then fill with white vinegar. Freeze them and then when you are ready to freshen up the disposal, just pop one in. Brilliant!

As part of the community, the Zippy Shell North Texas location stands ready to help you with all your moving and storage solutions (and a few cleaning hacks, too).