9 Step Plan to Start Off Fall With an Organized Garage

A woman sits on a box in a garage

The temperature starting to fall means now is the perfect time to get your garage organized. Depending on the number of items you have accumulated over the years, you may need to dedicate a whole day to this task or even an entire weekend. Of course, the more family members or friends you can get to help you with this task, the faster it will go. Let’s open those garage doors wide, let the autumn sunshine in, and get to organizing with the tips below.

  1. Wrap your head around the idea of decluttering every single section of your garage once and for all. This means going through every box and every item, even the boxes that have sat unopened since moving into your home. Leave nothing left unturned.
  2. Remove everything from your garage to start with a clean slate. It is helpful to begin the decluttering process by tossing anything you know at first glance that should be in the trash.
  3. Take advantage of an empty garage by tackling deep cleaning, maintenance, or upgrades that need to happen in the space. Sweep the floors, clean up stains, get rid of cobwebs, update the insulation, add some extra lighting or extra electrical outlets, and maybe give the floor some love by installing a protective epoxy floor coating.
  4. Now comes the challenging task of sorting through all your belongings. It is recommended to set up three areas to sort into piles to keep, to donate, and a pile to toss. Sorting everything into piles will allow you to see what is broken or outgrown and where you have duplicates. Take care of the trash and donation piles as soon as the sorting process is complete. The longer these items sit around, the more likely you will change your mind about getting rid of them. Plus, eliminating these piles first will allow for more room to organize all the keepers.
  5. The time has come to categorize and group like items. Storing these items together in the garage will save you frustration down the road when you are searching for a particular item.
  6. When thinking about garage storage systems, your goal is to keep the floor of your garage clear as much as possible. This will leave room to park your cars and also keep piles to a minimum—plan garage storage in a way that makes sense to you. Make sure you can get to your most-used gear with the least amount of effort.
  7. Take advantage of the available wall space. Pegboards, cabinets, wire grids, and shelving are all options for getting your gear up and off the ground. Open shelves tend to keep the garage tidier than closed cabinets, and they are easier to access and don’t allow for hidden messes like cabinets.
  8. The ceiling in your garage is also valuable square footage. A garage ceiling is a perfect place to hang bikes or suspend a hanging platform to place boxes of seasonal decorations or rarely used outdoor equipment.
  9. When all is said and done, stand back to admire your work. Then add reminders to your calendar for bi-monthly mini garage clean-out sessions to keep everything clean and organized.

Suppose you are working on a big reorganization project in your garage or any other area of your home and need temporary storage. In that case, a portable storage container can be a tremendous help. Give Zippy Shell a call or go online to see how we can make storage simple for you, no matter what your needs might be!

6 Items You Will Want to Pass Down to Your Children

An older woman gives a younger woman a necklace

There usually comes a time in everyone’s life when it makes sense to downsize and live a simpler life. This change often comes around when your children become adults and live out independently, or you are nearing retirement. Most people are overwhelmed by the thought of downsizing and are afraid to get rid of something that will be needed, wanted, or be of significant value later on down the road. To help with the decision-making process, we have come up with a list of items you may want to hold on to for passing down to your children one day.

  • Family Photographs and Videos – These items can be priceless. The key here is to save only the most significant photographs and pass them on in an organized, orderly fashion. Your children will want only the memories that capture the moment or event and the important people who were present. Duplicates, repetitive photos, and landscape scenes can generally be tossed. You want to save pictures that tell the essence of what life was like, not every moment ever photographed. Take your organization one step further by digitizing the photos.
  • Family Recipes –  Recipes passed down for generations are a way of keeping our loved ones alive while we spend time together in the kitchen. It is also a great way to keep your heritage alive and preserve the memories of special family events. Ask your adult children what meals they remember most from childhood, and be sure to protect those recipes in a binder or digitally.
  • Sentimental Toys, Games, or Books – There is a special bond with a stuffed animal that went everywhere with you as a child. And of course, playing the same board games and reading the same books to your child that you loved in your youth is some of the best kinds of therapy. The key is to limit the items to only the most sentimental and those that have enough life left in them for your grandchildren.
  • Special Jewelry – Timeless pieces, historical pieces, engagement or wedding bands, and pieces that hold emotional value to your children or monetary value should all be saved and passed down.
  • Accent Furniture – Each generation has its own style, so your children may not be interested in your sofa or a bulky antique china cabinet. But small pieces of accent furniture that tell a story may be exactly what your children are looking for. You may also want to ask your children if there is a piece of furniture that they want to refinish to match their style.
  • Handmade Items – A handmade quilt, knitted scarf, carved knick-knack, or a custom-built piece of furniture is an incredibly personal heirloom, reminding its owner of all the hard work put into the piece.

Zippy Shell is the perfect solution for those looking to downsize. Our portable storage containers eliminate the obstacles standing between you and downsizing your life. We offer simple storage solutions, 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 or your children’s home!

Should You Buy a Home In Your 20s?

A couple shows the keys to a home.

Being in your 20s usually means having an entry-level salary, college loans to manage, and a desire to have the freedom to enjoy life while you are young. Does that make it the best time to buy your first home? Depending on your circumstance, this stage of life may be the absolute best time to buy your first home. The following questions will help determine your best path forward.

  • What are the benefits of purchasing a home in your 20s?
    • Annual rent hikes will be a thing of the past when you own your own home. Consistent, reliable payments come with homeownership.
    • Think of all the home customization you can do when you own your own home. You want your home to match your personality, and owning means you can integrate the things you love into the decor and design of your new home by painting, upgrading, and renovating.
    • Successfully navigating a mortgage at a young age can help you establish a solid credit history leading to more significant financial opportunities later on.
    • Homeownership can come with several significant tax advantages that can help you lower your tax burden
  • Are you financially secure? Most financial planners recommend that homeowners make a down payment amounting to 20% of the sale price. Depending on the market and the home you choose, this could be a large sum of money. Of course, there are ways around this by paying private mortgage insurance or applying for down payment assistance. Some types of loans only require anywhere between 3-5% down. There are also closing costs to consider, and they typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. Closing costs are paid in addition to your down payment at the close of the sale.

Additionally, owning a home means planning for unexpected home expenses. Unless you buy new construction, an emergency fund to pay for home repairs such as roof damage or water leaks will be needed. Using a mortgage calculator to see how much your mortgage will likely cost is a beneficial tool. Make sure you factor in the costs of maintenance/repairs and your regular monthly expenses like utilities, food, phone, car payment, and more to determine your budget.

  • How is your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio? Your ability to get a mortgage depends on your credit score, your debts, your income, and the home you’re looking to purchase. Mortgage companies will look to see that you have stable employment, solid income, and the funds to cover the mortgage for which you are applying. Mortgage lenders usually require borrowers to have a minimum credit score, and they look at your credit utilization ratio.
  • Do you plan on staying in the area for a few years? Even if you are unsure if your current location is where you want to live permanently, it still may be financially beneficial to purchase a home. There are waves in the housing market, but most properties will appreciate over time, even a short amount of time. You need to be willing to stay in the property long enough to cover your closing costs and any upgrades you make after a resell. You can also plan to rent out your first home for some passive income if life necessitates that you make a move.

Just remember to do your research, and your first home purchase does not have to be your “forever home.” If you have a move coming up this fall, give Zippy Shell a call. We would love to explain how our moving and storage services can help you achieve a smooth and stress-free move. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Have a Stylish Home As a Minimalist

A living and dining room view.

Are you a minimalist? Many people are under the impression that minimalism is only about decluttering and owning less, but that is not a complete picture. Brian Gardner, founder of No Sidebar says, “I’ve learned that minimalism is not about what you own, it’s about why you own it.” There is no single set of rules that you must follow to be a minimalist. So, of course, minimalism and style can go hand in hand in your home. Here are some great ways to have a stylish home as a minimalist.

  • Light, neutral colors lay the foundation of a minimalist home. These colors are clean, fresh-looking, and inspire a sense of calm. Add small splashes of bold color or pattern for some extra eye-catching style. When set against a white or neutral backdrop, even simple objects can stand out.
  • Choose timeless furniture. Always needing to be up on the latest style trends is one thing minimalism is not. Shop deliberately for high-quality, well-made, built to last, essential furniture items with a timeless style to anchor your design.
  • Use texture to add some style to a monochrome color palette. Texture can be added through materials and fabrics. Think of a chunky cable-knit throw, a sheepskin rug, or a soft crushed velvet pillow to bring comfort and style to your space.
  • Bring life and style to any room with plants. They are a fantastic and inexpensive way to add color and life to a room. From tall leafy plants to fragrant flowers, experiment with different plants to bring life to your rooms and make them more inviting. Plants are a beautiful minimalist decorating tool, but they also balance humidity and clean household air.
  • Let in as much natural light as possible. Natural light instantly warms up a space without adding any visual clutter. Plus, natural light can positively affect our mood by making us feel more alive and vibrant. Use large, simple mirrors to reflect and increase the light coming from the window into any room.
  • Invest in stylish storage options. Attractive storage allows you to hold on to personal items while still maintaining the clear surfaces and clean lines of minimalism. Everything should have a home, and if it doesn’t, a true minimalist would ask if you actually need it at all.

In a world full of excess, many people feel the need to reduce clutter or downsize both physically and emotionally. So many people have found happiness living with less. There are other advantages of minimalism, like having time to focus on areas of your life that are more important to you, easier upkeep, and the visual appeal of showcasing your unique artwork or prized possessions in a space with fewer distractions. If you are not already a minimalist, why not start slowly on the road to minimalism and see how it goes!

Looking to downsize during a move or need storage while you decide how to organize your home? Zippy Shell is ready to serve your moving and storage needs in the safest way possible. Call today or click here to get a quote and see how we can make your moving and storage needs simple.

Small Space Living: Is it Right for You?

The living space of a small apartment

Do you ascribe to the saying “bigger is not always better”? Does the theory “less is more” appeal to you? These are signs that small space living may be right for you. Less space means fewer belongings, which means less to clean and maintain, giving you more time to enjoy life. From tiny homes to efficient apartments to co-living with others, small space living is a trend that is becoming more popular. Here are six signs that you have come to a place in your life where downsizing makes sense.

  • You desire more time to focus on the areas of your life that are important to you instead of spending all of your time maintaining a home. Simplifying your life is a great way to reduce stress offering the time and space to pursue your interests and create the life you truly desire.
  • You find yourself spending your free time cleaning, maintaining a home, and doing chores leaves you feeling frustrated and empty. Does the thought of cleaning your home with minimal effort appeal to you?
  • You are willing to give up some of your possessions if it means freeing your time to pursue things you love. Do you find yourself daydreaming about how you could spend all the extra hours in the day that would be a result of small space living?
  • You are comfortable living with less, and you already know that possessions don’t bring happiness. Are you the type of person that would much rather give or receive experiences instead of material items?
  • Reducing the amount of debt in your life has become a priority, and saving money on housing would help you meet your financial goals. Small space living means saving money on the purchase or rent of the home in addition to saving money on utility bills, furnishings, appliances, and more. Also, small space living drastically reduces impulse spending. Living in a small space usually means every spare inch of your home is put to use. You will think twice about purchases knowing you will have to clear out space to make room for a new item.
  • You don’t mind sharing your space. Unless you are single, small space living requires a certain amount of closeness with your partner, family members, or roommate. Small spaces can feel confining when shared with another person, but agreeing to set boundaries and discussing how your habits impact each other is an excellent place to start. It also helps to designate a specific area for each person to call their own.

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. A storage unit can be delivered to your home or business, 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!

8 Little Touches to Personalize Your New Home

A dog is on a couch in a home's living room

How do you turn a new apartment, condo, or house into a home? You personalize and put your stamp on your new place! So now that the boxes are unpacked, it is time for the fun part. Use this list of little touches to personalize your new place and turn it into a home.

  • Decorate your home to reflect your personality and style. Find a way to integrate the things you love in the design of your new home, and you will see how quickly the space will gain personality and warmth. You want your house to match your personality.
  • The entry door is artistically referred to as “The Portal to the Soul of Your House.”  Changing out the front door or painting it a bright color door is a great way to express yourself. Check out the inspiration found here to help your front door stand out from the crowd. If you update the front door with paint, don’t neglect the hardware. A new knocker and doorknob in a matching finish will complete the look.
  • Consider adding vibrant accessories like flowers, planters, or door decorations to your entry point. Welcome signs, welcome mats, and porch furniture are also a great way to incorporate pops of color and make the space feel personal and welcoming.
  • Put your personal photos on display. While artwork you adore certainly has its place, photographs will give your home a personal touch. Hallways and stairwells can be ideal for photo galleries making it easier to stop and get a closer look.
  • Don’t hold back on using a big, expressive color for your new home if that is what appeals to you. Any color can look good as long as it truly suits your style. Of course, you can always paint an accent wall to introduce a pop of color without going all out. Choose a wall that is seen the moment you enter the space for the most impact.
  • If painting is not your style, consider using a fun wallpaper for an accent wall. Wallpaper is making a comeback, and current styles are fashionable and easier to apply/remove than ever. Help a small bathroom or the laundry room feel more cozy and personal with a bold wallpaper.
  • Adding different textures to your home decor is a simple trick to make your home more personal and welcoming. Surrounding yourself and guests with items like fluffy carpet, textured rugs, smooth wooden furniture, faux fur pillows, and other cozy items will make everyone feel comfortable.
  • Incorporate some live greenery. Plants are a fantastic and inexpensive way to add color and life to a room. From tall leafy plants to fragrant flowers, experiment with different plants to bring life to your rooms and make them more inviting. Plants are not only a beautiful decorating tool but are proven to balance humidity and clean household air as well.

Enjoy your new home and the new adventure it brings. Zippy Shell will always be here to help you with any future moves or provide storage as you are getting set up in your new life!

Get Organized Before Heading Back to School

A group of children in a school hallway

Heading back to school fills both parents and students with excitement each year, but tackling school supply lists, getting used to new teachers, reestablishing a stricter schedule, and the return of academic demands can also be a challenge. Making a plan and getting organized for all that comes your way will save both time and anxiety. To help everyone get off on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of things you can start on now to minimize stress and create a positive back-to-school experience for both you and your children.

  • Before the first day of school is the time to shape your carefree summer daily routine into something closer, resembling a school day. Start shifting wake-up, eating, and bedtimes towards the times those will take place once school returns.
  • Clean out closets donating any items that no longer fit. Make a list of clothing to purchase during back-to-school shopping trips. Take time to make sure closets and drawers are organized and clutter-free, making it easier for everyone to select an outfit each day.
  • Create an after-school landing zone. Having a dedicated space for backpacks, lunch boxes, and other school essentials keeps these items from spreading all over the house at the end of the day. It also prevents the morning scramble of trying to find everything needed for the day.
  • Set up an area for tackling homework. A dedicated location for studying that includes all the supplies they need will help kids stay focused during homework time.
  • Designate files or folders for the family to keep up with permission slips, in-progress assignments, and all other school-related paperwork.
  • Decide how to keep up with the family calendar. You can set up a large wall calendar that is color-coded with everyone’s schedule and activities, or for families with older students, you can utilize a shared electronic calendar. Use this family calendar to track school events and holidays, extracurricular activities, appointments, and anything else that the entire family needs to plan around. 
  • Make sure your medical and emergency contact information are up-to-date with the school. This will ensure you don’t miss any school closings and critical safety information. Review and update your child’s records to ensure allergies, medications, disabilities, illnesses your child may be susceptible to and approved pick-up persons are current.
  • Introduce yourself to your child’s teachers early on and let them know you want to work together to have a successful school year. Ask the teacher their preferred method of communication and show them that you respect their time. Keep the lines of communication open and provide supplies needed by the teacher that will help them provide a great learning environment.

During your quest for a decluttered, organized home to get ready for heading back to school, you may discover that your best option is to store some of your lesser-used items. Zippy Shell is open and ready to serve your storage needs in the best way possible. Call today or click here to get a quote!

A List of Must-Haves For Your New Home

A couple stands and admires their home

After your belongings are unloaded and unpacked, it is time to enjoy that new home feeling fully, but don’t get too comfortable just yet. We have a list of must-haves for your new home that will set you up for success. Check it out and see how you can start improving your new home by making it safer and more energy-efficient.

  • Make Your New Home Smarter
    • Smart Thermostat – If the current thermostat in your new home is manual, you may be spending a lot of time adjusting the temperature to balance comfort and energy efficiency. Upgrading to a smart thermostat allows you to see how much energy you’re actively using and use the tools provided to plot out how much more you can save if you adjust the temperature by a few degrees here or there.
    • Smart Doorbells/Door Locks – These nifty tools are synced with your phone or tablet and can be monitored from anywhere. They can also offer the convenience of remote access. If you are not ready for the smart device option, at the very least, you should always change the cylinder of your locks and get a new key after moving into a new home. Who knows how many people have a copy of the key or if it is hidden somewhere nearby?
  • HVAC Filters – Dirty filters are the fastest way to create a problem with your HVAC system. The dirtier your air filter, the harder the system has to work to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Since there may be no way of knowing when the filters were last changed, now is the time to change them and set a reminder to keep up with this task regularly.
  • Batteries – To keep everyone safe, install new batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home. Test each device after replacing the batteries.
  • Ceiling Fan – Did you know a ceiling fan can make you feel about six degrees cooler via the wind-chill effect? So if your new home does not come equipped with a ceiling fan in the bedroom and living room, this is a wise investment. For ceiling fans to reduce your energy bills, you have to set the thermostat to a higher temperature. And remember, it’s a waste of energy to run the ceiling fan in a room that is not occupied. Running a ceiling fan doesn’t make the air in a room cooler; it only cools the occupants.
  • Whole House Surge Protector – This device can protect the electronics in your entire home from voltage surges caused by lightning strikes or other electrical issues. This is especially important to protect high-priced appliances with electronic circuit boards.
  • Houseplants – In addition to the color and life houseplants bring to a home, there are many health benefits. Studies have shown indoor plants boost mood, productivity, creativity, and they can clean indoor air by absorbing toxins and producing oxygen.
  • Storage Solutions – There is never a better time to get organized than when you are setting up a new home. You probably already purged your excess belongings before moving, so now you are ready to set up only those things essential to you and the items you love. Take the time to make sure you have enough storage and the correct kind of storage to hold what you are unpacking. Be intentional about purchasing storage solutions that work with your space and the size and quantity of the items it needs to hold.

If you need extra storage space to work on home improvement projects for your new home, Zippy Shell has onsite and portable storage solutions perfect for the job. A portable storage container is like having your very own storage facility located right on your property. Learn more and receive a free, no-obligation quote by visiting us online today.

6 Things to Look for in a New Neighborhood

A view of homes in a neighborhood

Deciding to relocate is a big step, and you know what they say in real estate – it’s all about location, location, location. So how do you choose a new neighborhood? From low crime rates, climate, affordability, and an excellent school system, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect neighborhood for you and your family. Here are the top 6 things to look for in a new neighborhood.

Safety – It is unrealistic to expect to find a completely crime-free neighborhood, but you can look up crime trends in an area to see how they compare to national crime statistics. Check here for five free online tools to check the safety of a neighborhood. Another thing to look for is a good amount of street lighting as this can deter crime, and be sure to walk around at night to see how safe it feels. Seeing people out walking and playing in a neighborhood lets you know that they feel safe.

Commute – When you evaluate a neighborhood for commute times, pay attention to what traffic is like in the area around rush hours. Also, check the mass transit options available if that is how you prefer to get around.

Convenience – Before visiting a neighborhood, think about what types of stores and businesses you frequent. You want to be sure there are shopping venues to meet all your necessities and entertainment options that excite you.

Schools – The quality of nearby schools can impact the future sale price of the home, so even if you don’t have children or don’t plan to have children, this is an area you want to investigate. It’s not all about test scores. Check out the academic offerings, extracurriculars, and sports programs offered by the schools in the area.

Amenities – Are sidewalks and walking trails important to you? What about parks or nearby green spaces for playing, exercising, and dog walking? Making a list of essential amenities and prioritizing them will help you view the neighborhood with a sharp eye.

Noise Level – Visiting a neighborhood at different times during the day and night can give you a better picture of what living there is really like. Pause and listen carefully to decide if you can live with the noise levels of nearby businesses, neighbors, or city noises.

Finally, go for a walk around the neighborhood to make yourself familiar with the area. As you are walking, make conversation with any friendly faces you find. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask for thoughts about the neighborhood. Ask them about their favorite restaurants and area attractions, how long they have lived in the area, and what they like and dislike about it. Many will be happy to talk to a potential new neighbor.

Zippy Shell offers affordable and convenient options that will simplify your move. Having someone in your corner who cares about your belongings just as much as you do will reduce the stress that can accompany moving. We aim to take the stress out of your move, allowing you to focus on your family during this exciting time.

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!