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.

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.

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!

Invest in Your Home With These DIY Projects

A family takes a break from painting their house

It is never a bad idea or a wrong time to invest in your home and capitalize on the long-term benefits of home improvement. DIY home improvement projects reduce the amount of money you spend on a project giving you the most significant return on investment. Plus, the satisfaction and enjoyment you will receive from creating a better home environment and learning new home improvement skills are just bonuses. We have rounded up a list of DIY projects you can start on today.

  • Painting – This is an easy one to start developing your DIY skills. Painting anything and everything is a great cost-effective way to completely transform your home’s look and give you the most bang for your DIY buck. It can be messy, and you will have to move things around, as it can take a while for the paint to dry between coats. But trust us, it is worth it!
  • Update Fixtures – Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, doorknobs, and cabinet hardware are all easy DIY updates that can make a huge difference.  Fixtures go in and out of style pretty frequently and can quickly turn a dated-looking home into a beautiful home. 
  • Upgrade Your Doors – A new front entry door will add to the beauty of your home and will reduce utility bills. It also has one of the highest returns on investment. Replacing your garage door is another DIY option. You can upgrade to a spiffy new steel model and save some cash by keeping the same motorized opener.
  • Go Green – Instead of building a privacy fence, plant one! By planting a living privacy fence, you can create the seclusion you crave, block noise, and create a natural windbreak. While a living privacy fence is not a quick fix, your patience will be rewarded with a unique botanical barrier that serves your purposes and helps save the earth. There are a wide variety of plant options for your living fence. Evergreen trees, evergreen or flowering shrubs, or ornamental grasses are all good ideas. You can also consider a trellis covered in vines or a structure that will support a vertical garden.
  • Finished Basement or Attic – Depending on the size, this project may take a little more time and will likely require professional help. The result will provide you with additional square footage that everyone could use right now. Think about using the new area for a home office, a guest room, a workout area, or a place to entertain.

Are you inspired yet? If you need extra storage space to work on DIY home improvement projects, Zippy Shell has onsite and portable storage solutions perfect for the job. You can feel confident knowing that your furniture, appliances, and personal belongings are safe and within easy reach during home improvement projects. You can also use our storage containers to house your project materials and tools. 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 www.zippyshell.com today.

DIY Fence Installation Tips

A wood fence in a backyard

More and more people are making improvements to their homes during the pandemic, especially improvements to their outdoor space. With the price of lumber currently at all-time highs, many people have been thinking about doing a DIY fence installation to cut down on costs. Depending on the size of the fence you are installing it can take a weekend to a week or even more to complete, but there are some things you need to know before beginning. Keep reading to see if this is a project you think you can tackle on your own.

  • The first step is to determine if you need any building or zoning permits to build a fence on your property. Also, check your survey to determine exact property lines and find out about any easements. Do some research into your neighborhood bylaws as they may contain specifications for fence height, materials, or appearance.
  • Sharing a fence line across the edge of your property with a neighbor is a good way to share the cost. If you choose to go this route, be sure to have a written agreement in place before beginning any construction. Even if you aren’t going to be sharing a fence with your neighbors, it would be courteous to discuss your plans with them before breaking ground.
  • Always call 811 before you dig. Underground utilities need to be clearly marked to avoid a dangerous situation or a service interruption.
  • Choose your materials wisely. Wood fences are beautiful and economical, but they require regular maintenance. Cedar or redwood is typically used as these woods are more resistant to rot and decay. Always use pressure-treated wood for the posts as the parts that go into the ground are susceptible to insects and moisture. Composite, vinyl, or metal fence materials cost more upfront, but require much less in time and money for maintenance.
  • Mark the layout of your fence clearly with stakes and line. Determine the location of all the posts and mark those spots for digging. Fence posts should be installed a minimum of 36” into the ground. Adding gravel to the bottom of the hole will provide extra drainage that will prevent water from affecting the bottom of your fence posts. Use a level to ensure fence posts are plumb in both directions. The more secure your fence posts, the longer your fence will last. After securing the posts with cement, allow them to dry for 24 hours.
  • Installation of the fence panels will vary depending on the type of fence you choose. Be sure to use galvanized or stainless steel screws and nails as they are resistant to rust and corrosion.
  • Secure the gate. Gates are often the most difficult part of your fence installation as you have to be spot on with your measurements and you often need at least one additional pair of hands to hold it in place while you attach the hardware.
  • If using wood, protect it. Staining helps extend the life of a wooden fence by protecting it from elements that cause rotting.

Take advantage of the warm weather this spring to make some home improvements. We can deliver all-steel, weatherproof storage containers to you for all your home improvement storage needs. If you want a simple way to store your stuff, look no further than Zippy Shell

Tips to Keep From Going Stir Crazy at Home

yoga

With more and more people transitioning to a “work from home” lifestyle right now, the thought of getting a little stir crazy might enter your mind. We want to help keep you from getting antsy as many of us will be home a lot more often for the foreseeable future. We have compiled a list of things you can do and activities you can try to maintain a grounded lifestyle at home!

Keep a regular routine

One of the most important ways to keep from going stir crazy is to maintain a consistent routine at home. Keeping a daily schedule at home will give you a reason to change out of those lazy pants and into something more regular. If you are working from home, try incorporating some of the things you do at work at home. If the first thing you do when you get to work is to grab a cup of coffee or water, do that at home. Do you take a mid-day stroll or go to a gym for a quick power workout? If so, make it a similar part to your routine at home. Keep yourself engaged and busy with a routine!

Finish that project you’ve started/always wanted to do

We all have that one room in the house we’ve meant to clean or that piece of furniture that needs some TLC. Well, there is no better time to start on those projects than when you are stuck at home! Try to identify something that allows the entire family to participate. It can be an excellent way to get your children involved with picking out paint colors, or learning how to use tools, etc. Also, try to complete little bits of your project at a time over several days rather than all at one time. You don’t want to burn yourself out after only working on something for two days! If you need on-site storage at home for your project, give us a call to see how we can help!

Stay in (virtual) contact with others

Use this time at home to stay connected with those you care about. Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you have to lose contact with people. Take advantage of apps like Facetime, social media, or just a phone call and check in on your friends and family. Maintaining contact with those close to you will also help you keep a sense of normalcy during these interesting times. Also, take time to find out how those around you are doing and be there for each other if you need to talk things out or express how you are feeling!

Take a break when you can

If you are working from home, staring at your computer screen for 8+ hours a day can make you feel very burned out by the evening. Combined with sitting down for almost the same amount of time, and anyone would start to get a little stir crazy. Take some time to walk around, even if it is just around your home. Taking a brief walk outside would be a big way to manage stir craziness. Please be sure you adhere to all local, state, and federal guidelines for your area before doing so. But any sort of break away from the screens or from sitting can help you feel more settled later in the day.

Stay physically active

With many states forcing gyms and the like to close, staying physically active while being at home may seem like a big challenge, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are home workout routines you can do even if you don’t have weights. Here are a few resources you can check out for some at-home workout routines so that you can stay physically active and cut down on the stir craziness. Yoga is also a great way of staying active, and there are many free how-to videos online that you can try out while at home. Zippy Shell hopes that these tips will help you and your family stave off the stir craziness while you stay sheltered at home during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

If you find yourself in need of on-site storage for a home renovation or decluttering project, give us a call! Our portable storage containers are perfect for your needs, and we have locations across the United States that you can also have your container stored at if needed.