6 Houseplants Anyone Can Keep Alive

watering houseplants

You have probably noticed that houseplants are making a major comeback right now. Through this pandemic, we have all endured some stressful times. As people have been spending more time at home, a lot of us have turned to houseplants to bring some calming nature inside. If you have been tempted to pick up some plants but aren’t sure if you have the time or know-how to keep them alive, we have some suggestions for some of our favorite plants that anyone can keep alive. If you have small children or curious pets, be aware that most houseplants are toxic if consumed—artificial plants may be better for your household in that case.

SNAKE PLANT

The snake plant, or sansevieria, is one of the most tolerant plants in existence. Known for its air-purifying capabilities, there are over 70 varieties and they can adapt to many different atmospheres. Even if your home has low-light and you constantly forget to water your snake plants, it will forgive you and keep growing on. If you have bright light in your home, you can expect your snake plant to grow much more rapidly.

POTHOS

One of the many varieties of pothos will be a great beginner plant. It tolerates low-light but will thrive in medium or high light situations. The pothos will look beautiful in a hanging basket or even as a trailing centerpiece on your dining table.

IVY

Like the snake plant, the varieties of ivy are known for their air-purifying effects and can even help with mold spore issues in the home. While ivy will be content in low-light situations for a while, they prefer medium to high light to thrive. The ivy will forgive you for forgetting to water it now and again but be careful to not overwater it or it will turn brown and crispy on the leaves.

ZZ PLANT

The ZZ plant, or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a highly tolerant plant that is perfect for practically any situation. You can even grow a ZZ plant in your office under fluorescent lights. With beautiful waxy leaves, the ZZ plant is prepared to survive drought and low light situations. You can’t go wrong with this hardy plant.

SPIDER PLANT

These plants will grow best in bright light but will tolerate any low or medium-light areas in the home. This plant has long cascading leaves that will look beautiful in a hanging basket while offering you air purification capabilities.

PEACE LILY

You have probably seen the peace lily featured in interior decorating magazines or television shows. The big, green leaves and gorgeous flowers are known for their beauty and tolerance. A talkative plant that will let you know when it needs water with some drooping. But as soon as you give it water, it will perk right back up. They tolerate many light situations and is another great option for the office under fluorescent lights.

We hope these suggestions help you delve into the houseplant world. We’d love for you to stop by our Facebook page and share with us your favorite, low-maintenance houseplants.

If you have a move coming up, be sure to give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation estimate.

6 Home Improvements to Make Before Selling

House at dusk

If you are getting ready to place your home on the market, now is the time to sneak in some home improvement projects. Sometimes even the smallest home improvements can have a huge impact on potential buyers. All of the improvements listed below have the potential to immediately change the buyer’s perception of your home and raise its value.

Landscaping

Great landscaping can create a lasting first impression. Even if you don’t really have a green thumb, it’s important that your landscaping looks neat and that it complements your home’s exterior. Make sure your yard is looking its best by clearing out debris, watering the grass, trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn, and putting in a few annual flowers to brighten things up.

Exterior Shine

Making the exterior of your home sparkly clean can probably add more power to your curb appeal potential than anything else. After everything is cleaned up, take time to repair any places that need attention. Focus on chipping paint around the windows, missing shingles, or siding that needs repair.

Interior Paint

Painting is a great cost-effective way to completely transform the look of your home. Freshly painted rooms are a natural attraction. Using a light or neutral shade will allow buyers to more easily picture themselves living in your home. Plus, lighter colors will make your home seem larger, cleaner, and more appealing. If your walls are still in pretty good shape, washing them can give the same desired look.

Updated Fixtures

Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, doorknobs, cabinet hardware… making updates in these areas can make a huge difference. Fixtures go in and out of style pretty frequently and can easily make a beautiful home look dated.

Refresh Cabinets

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are highly visible because they are at eye level. For cabinets that are in good structural shape, a deep clean may be all that is needed to get them in showing condition. If that fails, painting or refacing them is a much cheaper option than replacing them altogether.

Depersonalize and Declutter

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. Make your home look bigger and more desirable by editing down to just the basics.

To give the illusion of space in your home, it may prove useful to store excess items off-site. We can deliver all-steel, weatherproof storage containers to you for all your storage needs. Zippy Shell delivers the container directly to your door to be loaded then safely stores all your furniture and other belongings back at our climate-controlled facility – out of sight and mind for you and your potential buyers. If you want a simple way to store your stuff, look no further than Zippy Shell.

Fresh Curb Appeal Ideas

House at dusk

Many people have transitioned to more of a “work from home” lifestyle. In many cases, this means a much shorter commute that can add hours to your day. So you may finally have the time to freshen up your curb appeal! Of course, now you may be wondering what exactly is curb appeal? It is essentially how appealing your home looks when first viewed from the street, like a first impression. Curb appeal matters if you want to sell your house, if you want to welcome your friends and family, if you want to feel a sense of pride every time you drive up, or if you just don’t want to make the neighbors mad!

Front Door – The entry door is artistically referred to as “The Portal to the Soul of Your House” – sounds important, right? Fix minor imperfections by sanding the area down, filling it with wood filler, and repainting or staining. Speaking of paint, a brightly colored door will definitely turn heads. Check out the inspiration found here to help your front door stand out from the crowd. When you update the front door, don’t neglect the hardware. A new knocker and doorknob in a matching finish will complete the look.

Bold, Vibrant Accents – If a boldly colored front door is not your style, consider adding vibrant accessories like flowers, planters, or door decorations. Welcome signs, welcome mats, and porch furniture are also a great place to incorporate pops of color.

Exterior Illumination – Well planned outdoor lighting is essential to curb appeal. Done right it will set the mood and welcome nighttime guests. Use the right combination of wall sconces, lanterns, step and path lights to highlight your architecture and showcase the landscaping. Also, fresh new light fixtures can cast a brighter light and they give the impression that your home has been updated recently.

Make it Shine – Making the exterior of your home sparkly clean can probably add more power to your curb appeal than anything else. After everything is cleaned up, take time to repair any places that need attention. Focus on chipping paint around the windows, missing shingles, or siding that needs repair.

Landscaping – The simplest way to boost curb appeal is to have a well-manicured lawn. Healthy looking, weed free trimmed grass, clean lines around walkways and flower beds, and trimmed bushes and trees will set the foundation for curb appeal you can be proud of. Put in a few perennial flowers to brighten things up.

Paint Your Mailbox – Your mailbox sees a lot of wear over the years as it is constantly attacked by the elements so a little paint can provide an instant curb appeal boost. You can use inexpensive craft store stencils to let the kids add a creative design.

Looking for some extra storage space to clean up the outside of your home? Zippy Shell has onsite and portable storage solutions perfect for the job! You can learn more by visiting www.zippyshell.com today!

5 Summer Space Saving Tips

organization

Summer is officially here and it’s a little different this year. Most of our kids have been home from school for several months due to the global pandemic, and many will continue virtual schooling from home in August. It can get cramped when the entire household is home at the same time, so we have come up with a few tips to create some space in the home over the summer.

PACK IT UP

Perhaps one of the easiest and quickest ways to make some space in your home is to pack up things you are using this season. Grab some vacuum-space bags and pack up all your winter clothes, bulky coats, heavy bedding and put them away under your bed. You will be surprised how much space you can make in everyone’s closets.

GET RID OF IT

Many thrift stores have reopened to donations, and after months of being closed would welcome any donations you may have. Go through your clothes, books, toys, and furniture for anything you know is not getting much use and is just wasting space in your home. It’s also possible to hold a socially distanced yard sale if you have a lot of items that you would like to make some money on.

STORE IT

If you have a lot of items in your home that doesn’t get much use, but you are not ready to donate or sell, you may benefit from storing your items. Mobile or on-site storage is a good solution when you need a secure, weatherproof unit to keep your items safe, but out of your living spaces.

GET CREATIVE

One of our favorite ways to save space in the home is by using multifunctional furniture. There are many options for different areas of the home. For example, instead of a plain coffee table, you could replace it with a small table that has cabinets or drawers underneath for storage. Or maybe you have a bench in your foyer to make taking your shoes off a little easier—you could replace (or DIY!) a storage area underneath to hold shoes discreetly.

INVEST

If your budget allows, consider investing in expanding your living space. This doesn’t mean you have to hire a contractor and build an addition on your home. It could simply be taking an area of your backyard and creating a beautiful outdoor oasis that you and your family can enjoy on warm, summer nights. You can turn your front porch into a space where everyone wants to enjoy their morning meals and coffee. Utilize the spaces you already have and find creative ways to make them more usable and enjoyable.

We hope these tips are helpful to you as you start trying to find ways to increase the space in your home this summer. If you need help with mobile or on-site storage, feel free to give us a call at 888-947-7974 or visit us online for a free, no-obligation quote. We have a variety of solutions that are available to meet all your storage needs!

Four Ways to Make Your Small Space Feel Larger

living room

Small spaces come with both charm and challenges. Small spaces are easier to decorate, easier to keep clean, and easier to organize, but at the same time, they can feel cramped and claustrophobic. Everyone wants their home to feel open and welcoming, no matter what the size. So we’ve compiled some creative ways to give your home some space, or at least the illusion of space!

Make use of multi-purpose furniture. This will not only save space, but it will also save money as there’s no need to purchase multiple furniture pieces if you can have one item that can do more than one function. For instance, swap out your lounge chair or sofa for a sleeper couch. Replace your coffee table with an ottoman to double up as extra seating for guests. Try a room divider that includes built-in shelving. Buy tables with drawers whenever you can so you’ll have more storage space.

Clear the clutter. Don’t take up valuable space and mental energy with items you no longer use. Ask these questions as you are purging and really think about the emotional reasons you may be hanging on each item.

  • Does this add value to my life?
  • Have I used this in a year?
  • Do I have more than one of these?
  • Would I buy it again?
  • How many times have I used it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Do I have space for this?

Monochromatic decorating gives the illusion of space. Contrasting colors tend to break up a space, making it appear even smaller than it is. Drapes and furniture that match the wall color blend with the space, giving the illusion of a bigger room. Also, decorate with light colors to keep your rooms feeling airy and open. An abundance of dark colors in a small space can feel overwhelming and like the room is closing in on you. Of course, any room will look larger if it’s well-lit, preferably by natural light. Make sure light coming in from your windows is not being blocked by furniture or other stacked objects.

Add reflective surfaces. Try swapping some of the art on your walls for mirrors and see what it does to your home. The reflection will open up the room, making it look bigger. Mirrors not only reflect light, they also 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 – this will defeat the purpose!

If you own items that you don’t have room for, but you want to keep – a mobile storage unit may be the answer you seek. 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 small sanctuary of a home!

Tips for Transitioning Your Home from Spring to Summer

summer house

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to update your home with a summery feel that will make you feel like you are in permanent vacation mode. No matter your budget or style there are simple ways to welcome the summer months into your home. It is also time to check off those summer home maintenance tasks. Then everyone can shout, bring on the sunshine!

Summer Decor

  • Summertime begs for more vibrant colors. It is time to replace spring pastel accent items with brighter colors. Keep the same neutral fabrics on large pieces of furniture, but add bold-colored accents such as flowers, throw pillows, area rugs, or artwork. Cheery yellows, oranges, coral, and marine blues and turquoise will transport you to the tropics.
  • Bring the outdoors in. Nothing says summer quite like flowers and tropical looking greenery. Decorate with botanicals by placing plants on the entry table, on the kitchen counter, in the dining area, or add small potted options on bookshelves in the living or bedrooms. Another idea is to incorporate brightly-colored floral fabric prints in your accent pieces.
  • Transform your patio or deck to a place that can be enjoyed all summer long. Incorporate simple furniture and fun decorations to create a comfy outdoor living area. Place some potted flowers and string some lights to create the perfect sanctuary for friends and families to gather.
  • Add storage for summer activities both inside and outside. Summertime means the kids will be home from school. Keep your organized home from being turned upside down by providing storage for activities that will keep them entertained all summer.

Summer Maintenance

  • Annual maintenance is essential for keeping your air conditioner running as efficiently as possible this summer. And if it has been more than 3 months since you changed the filter on your air conditioner, do that now! The dirtier your air filter, the harder the system has to work to keep your home cool.
  • Dust all the ceiling fan blades and check that fans are working properly. During the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down to the floor.
  • Sweep your porch or deck thoroughly and then scrub all the spring pollen off with soap and water. Look over your deck at this time for signs of rotting and hammer in any nails that are poking up.
  • Give your outdoor grill a deep cleaning to get it ready for all those summer bbqs!
  • Add a layer of mulch to your plant beds. This will keep weeds down and help the ground retain its moisture during the summer heat, giving your plants a chance to grow.
  • Wash your windows. If you didn’t tackle window washing in the spring, now’s the time to get your glass clean. Replace curtains and window treatments with light, neutral colors to allow in natural light.
  • Trim any landscaping that is overgrown. Deadhead both perennials and annuals to keep them producing well into the summer.

By checking off the items on this list, you can refresh and relax this summer in a beautiful space. Zippy Shell sends you wishes for a summer filled with wonderful memories!

3 Steps to Setting Up a Home Gym

home gym

Around the country, gyms have been forced to either close or drastically make changes due to the pandemic. This may have you entertaining the idea of working out from the comfort of your very own home gym. If setting up a home gym seems like a daunting task, let us be your guide.

The Space

Find a space in your home that you can dedicate to workouts. It doesn’t have to be a lot of space. You can actually exercise in an area as small as 6’ by 6’. Utilize a spare bedroom, office, garage, or even a back porch or patio. If space is limited, the key is to pick workouts that don’t take up much room. Pushups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, jump roping, and yoga don’t require a ton of room, yet still, produce results. As much as possible, clear your exercise space of clutter and distractions. Adding a mirror is a helpful tool for feedback on your form during exercises and it will help your exercise area feel larger than it actually is! Stock the area with towels, water bottles, a Bluetooth speaker, and anything else you might use during your workouts.

The Equipment

You don’t have to buy everything all at once. Start with a few key pieces and then gradually build up from there. Here is a list of simple, multi-purpose equipment to get you started:

  • Exercise mat – An exercise or yoga mat makes floor exercises way more comfortable, especially if you are exercising on a hard floor. A mat can save your knees while doing stretches or push-ups and save your back during core work.
  • Jump Rope – A simple jump rope can provide you with a fun way to warm up and increase your stamina, endurance, and coordination.
  • Resistance Bands – This is an item that is often overlooked in the gym, but resistance bands are easy to store and very versatile. You can use resistance bands to increase flexibility, promote better form, build up your strength, and they are a great way to add an extra challenge to everyday exercises.
  • Kettlebells – A kettlebell’s weight is not distributed evenly like it is with dumbbells. This means kettlebell exercises are going to require a strict and controlled form and body mechanics which will improve your overall performance. Use these power horses to improve overall strength, core power, balance, flexibility, and coordination while also sculpting healthy and lean muscles. 
  • Stability Ball – Using a stability ball in your workouts forces you to focus on staying stabilized on the ball. This triggers core muscles, as well as stabilizer muscles, helping to improve muscle strength and posture.

The Routine

Due to stay-at-home orders, you can find a TON of live-streamed exercise routines right now. Many utilize just your own body weight to get fit. Check out this list of easy at-home exercises you can do today!

When setting up your home gym, you may find the need to remove and store furnishings or other home items. Zippy Shell is still here and working to cover all your moving and storage needs. We can easily store the stuff you don’t need right now to help you stay fit at home.

7 Tips for Working at Home

Working From Home

If you are one of the millions of Americans now forced to work at home, you may be wondering how you can be productive in an environment with less accountability. If you are new to remote work, it can take some adjustments to work in an area that is usually associated with rest and relaxation. Everyone has their own set of unique challenges when it comes to working from home, but we have some tips to help you succeed.

Dedicated Workspace

Not everyone has a designated office in their home. If you do, great! Make sure you keep it organized and free from clutter to minimize distractions. If you don’t already have an office, it can be challenging to find a place in the home to call your own. Many are also trying to work with their kids in the home, which can be even more tricky. In this case, you will need to find a place that will be free from the distractions of a busy household. Maybe this is simply a corner or nook in your bedroom that you can set up a comfortable workspace.

Dress for the Part

Some people can be productive in their pjs or house clothes, but some of us need to feel dressed for the part. If you find that you don’t feel as motivated while dressed in casual clothes, try dressing as you normally would for work. This can help you create a daily routine that keeps you feeling normal.

Create a Regular Schedule

You should create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Your schedule may need to be tinkered with in the beginning to find something that best works for you and your household, but when you get it figured out, try to make it your daily routine.

Set Expectations with Family

This may be the biggest hurdle many are facing as they are expected to show up to virtual meetings with bored children and pets in the background. Have a family meeting to explain the schedule you need to keep and the times you will need to have a quiet background. This will allow everyone in your family to plan their daily activities in a way that will provide an acceptable working environment for you.

Block Distractions

Distractions can come in many forms: the pile of laundry on the bed, the barking dog in the backyard, or even the temptation to check social media while on the clock. Take some time each day to make sure your workspace is clean and tidy. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind! If the outside noises make it hard to concentrate, think about getting yourself a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. If you are struggling with checking social media or other websites, try installing a browser extension that will block those sites during set work hours.

Take Breaks

We all need breaks, maybe even more than ever before. Be mindful to schedule certain times during the workday to take some time away from your chair and your screen. Go for a walk around the block, check in with your family, or use this as a time to rest.

Set Expectations with Yourself

This is a confusing time for everyone, and we are all just doing our best. Go easy on yourself as you try to establish a new working environment. If the day doesn’t go how you planned or how you wanted, try again tomorrow!

Zippy Shell is still here and working to cover all your moving and storage needs. If you have a move scheduled during this uncertain time, click here for a quote or give us a call 888-947-7974!

How to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Guests

welcome sign by a plant

When you have friends or relatives coming to stay overnight, make their visit a pleasure by thinking ahead and offering the same generosity you would like to be shown. And while hosting guests definitely takes some prep work, everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Just spend some time focusing on the following areas and all will be well. 

  • A Place to Sleep – Your overnight guests will need a comfortable place to lay their heads each night. Not everyone has the luxury of an extra guest bedroom, and there is nothing wrong with having guests sleepover in your living room, den or office – just make an extra effort to help them be comfortable there. To prepare a sleeping area for your guests be sure to include comfy pillows, freshly cleaned sheets, extra blankets, a wastebasket, a lamp or nightlight, and privacy curtains. A nightstand by the bed is a nice added touch because your guests are able to keep their phones and other personal items nearby at night.
  • A Place to Get Ready – Your guests will need a place to store their belongings during their stay. Clear out a drawer, part of a closet, or a flat surface for your guests to place their suitcase on. Stock the bathroom they will be using with extra towels, toilet paper, and toiletries. If you will be sharing a bathroom, it is a good idea to discuss shower schedules. Bonus tip: To keep guests from getting confused about whose towel is whose, give them towels in different patterns or colors.
  • A Place to Eat – Check with your guests about any dietary restrictions and be sure to plan meals around those. Keep meals simple and incorporate self-service as much as possible. You can prep items for fun meals like a waffle bar, a taco bar, or make your own pizzas or sandwiches. This gives everyone options and allows your guests to be involved in the process. Show guests where to find extra snacks and beverages to serve themselves when it is time for a little off-hours nibbling. Coffee, tea, or something else – of course have on hand their beverage of choice to wake up to!
  • A Place to Play – Check in and see if there is anything your guests would like to do or see while they are in town and offer some fun activities to supplement their time with you. Keep both kids and adults amused by creating a designated fun zone in your home. Stock it with games, puzzles, and a few decks of cards for those in-between times when there’s no scheduled activity.
  • A Place to Relax – Everybody needs a little downtime. Cushion your scheduled events and outings with unplanned time so that everyone has a chance to relax. You can provide books or magazines for your guests to enjoy in their own space. And always provide them with the WiFi password.

Of course, you want your home to sparkle when guests arrive. But the most important thing you can do is clear the clutter giving your guests space to feel comfortable. And as hard as you try, everything won’t go perfectly. So more than anything, relax and just enjoy your guests. If you stay relaxed and comfortable, most likely your guests will also!

How to Properly Clean Out a Fireplace in Your Piedmont Home

A nice fire going in a home fireplace.

Curling up in front of a wood burning fireplace is one way to stay cozy when the weather turns cold in the Piedmont Triad. If you are lucky enough to own a wood burning fireplace, you know that the comfort and warmth it provides requires a bit of maintenance from time to time. The National Fire Protection Association recommends both your chimney and fireplace be inspected for safety and cleaned annually. Creosote, which is an oily wood-tar by-product that can cling to chimney walls, can cause fires to flare out of control. If you are searching for a potential new property in the Piedmont Triad, be sure to ask for details about recent chimney inspections and cleanings. 

In addition to the annual heavy duty cleaning of the chimney, you will want to regularly clean out your fireplace to keep it looking tidy and keep it burning cleanly. These steps can take it from filthy to flawless!

  1. Wait at least 12 hours after your last fire before attempting to clean a fireplace in order to give all of the ashes and embers a chance to fully cool down.
  2. Wear old clothes or an apron because this can be a messy task. Also, it is a good idea to put on gloves, a face mask, and protective eyewear to keep the soot from irritating your lungs and skin.
  3. Lay a plastic tarp or old sheet in front of the fireplace to catch the mess.
  4. Using a handheld broom, sweep any soot and ash from the floor and walls of your fireplace and collect it into a dustpan. Dump the ash into a heavy duty paper or plastic bag as you work. Do this gently to keep as much dust as possible from flying around. Pro tip: Sprinkle a handful of used coffee grounds on the ashes to minimize flyaways.
  5. For good measure, you may want to vacuum the area to catch any remaining dust. But don’t forget to clean the vacuum brush attachment afterwards – you don’t want to spread soot around the rest of your home!
  6. Now it is time to scrub! Water and hearth cleaner work well for the brick and iron parts of your fireplace. But if you have brick front or facing that’s more than 50 years old, just use water with a light scouring. Old brick is more susceptible to crumbling. For marble and stone, scrub with water and dishwashing detergent. Use old rags to wipe each area after scrubbing.
  7. If you fireplace features glass doors, they can be cleaned with a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar. You can also put the discarded ashes to good use by sprinkling some onto the towel to act as a light, natural abrasive.

Once everything is clean and back in its place, you will need to decide what to do with your ashes. If you would prefer a professional clean your chimney, make sure they are a certified specialist before hiring them. You can find a certified chimney sweep technician near you by visiting the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website and search for a pro today, as well as get other helpful tips.

If you’re looking for a place to dispose of your ashes and your Piedmont Triad home has a garden, we recommend spreading them there. Ashes are a great source of calcium, potassium, and other nutrients for plants and they also repel some garden pests! If you are making plans on moving to a home in the Piedmont Triad area that has a nice fireplace to curl up by, then give Zippy Shell of the Piedmont Triad a call! We would love to make you moving and storage needs simple!