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!

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.

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.

6 Best Tips for Achieving an Organized Home

A woman is organizing her home closet

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

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

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

Keeping Your Home Clean with a Furry Family Member

A dog licks its owners face

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

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

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

3 Inspiring Outdoor Trends for Summer

A back porch pergola arranged with flowers

As the weather warms up and the sun comes out, outdoor spaces become the place to gather. The past year of a pandemic has shown us the value of having inspiring outdoor spaces at our homes to welcome small groups of friends and family safely in an open-air environment. What would your dream outdoor space look like? Here are some trends to help you envision an area where you can cheer on summer!

Pergola

Beyond being beautiful, pergolas offer many benefits. One of the most important benefits of a pergola is that it defines your outdoor space. While a deck or patio can also define your space, a pergola does this with more beauty and style. Going the extra mile by combining your pergola with flooring such as pavers, a concrete patio, or a deck creates a much more cozy atmosphere. Adding to the beauty of pergolas is that they can support landscaping features such as climbing flowers, vines, and ivy. Pergolas can also provide that perfect combination of shade and sun. You can still see the beauty of the sky and stars with slight breaks from the sun’s full force.

Fire Feature

There are so many options for having a fire feature in your outdoor space. Of course, some are more budget-friendly than others. You can choose from a DIY concrete paver ring, a stone fireplace, a chiminea, a kerosene fire table, or a wood-burning fire pit. A fire feature adds ambiance, and it will become a focal point for meaningful conversation. It can also take the chill out of the air once the sun goes down. Bring out a basket of lap blankets on especially chilly nights. Depending on the type of fire feature you choose, cooking over a fire can be a fun option. Who doesn’t love fireside s’mores?

Backyard Entertainment

While you are spending time in your backyard this summer with friends and family, make memories by having some fun. Outdoor movies under the stars are always a hit, especially with younger kids. Many adults could also get behind a movie night filled with “classics” from way back when. Backyard games can fill the night with laughter. Think along the lines of bocce ball, ladder golf, corn hole, giant checkers, or badminton. Or maybe your idea of “entertainment” is just quiet relaxation. If that is the case, lounge chairs, hammocks, or an outdoor daybed for reading may increase your speed. Adding a water feature can enhance the relaxation factor. 

If you need extra on-site storage for tools or materials while working on the backyard of your dreams, Zippy Shell makes it easy. Portable storage containers are a popular option during remodeling or construction because they give you the flexibility of having extra items on hand for the duration of your project. Learn more about our storage solutions by visiting www.zippyshell.com today!

6 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Not Skip

A nice home front in a neighborhood

It is essential to keep up with the maintenance around your home and property to keep everything in good repair. There is nothing worse than an ill-timed breakdown when some simple maintenance could have prevented it. We have listed six commonly skipped maintenance tasks that we think are too important to forget. Take a look!

Have your HVAC unit serviced

If you have your HVAC unit serviced at least once a year, you will find that you maintain peak energy efficiency and prolong the life of the unit. Just like with your vehicle, regular maintenance helps prevent breakdowns that could potentially end with you needing to replace the whole unit.

Check your sump pump

If you have a sump pump, you know how vital it is to be in good working condition. If it stops working, you want to know about it before a big rainstorm, not after! You should consult the owner’s manual for your sump pump and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance. You can also have your sump pump professionally inspected if you prefer.

Clean your refrigerator condenser coils

The condenser coils on your refrigerator are located at the bottom of the back of the fridge. They work to cool and condense the refrigerant. If they get covered with dirt, dust, debris, and pet hair, they will not be able to release heat efficiently and will make your fridge work harder and harder until it eventually gives out. It’s a relatively easy job to clean them. You can purchase a coil cleaning brush to scrub off the coils, vacuuming as you go. Be sure you unplug your fridge anytime you work on it.

Clean your exhaust fans

Your bathroom exhaust fans are important for making sure that condensation doesn’t build up in your bathroom, causing mildew and mold. If it gets full of dust, it can stop working efficiently. You should make sure to clean it once a year. This task requires a little more effort but will be worth it. First, turn the power off to the fan at the circuit box. Remove the grate covering the fan and wash it with a gentle dishwashing liquid and warm water. You can then remove the dust on the fan assembly with compressed air or a vacuum attachment. Once everything is clean and dry, you can replace the grate and turn the power back on.

Clean your dryer vents

If you have ever noticed that your clothes are taking longer and longer to dry, they are coming out of the dryer hot (not warm) to the touch, or you smell something burning, it is time to clean out the vents to your dryer. This is an easy task, but you may need to visit your local home improvement store to purchase a dryer vent cleaning kit. It usually will include a long brush and vacuum attachment that can fit into the vent.

Check for dead limbs and trees around your home

Dead limbs and trees near your home present a real danger. It would be best to do regular checks on the trees close to the home or hire an arborist to do an evaluation.

We hope these tips help as you make your home maintenance list this year. If you have a move coming up, feel free to give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online. Our portable storage options are perfect for any move or storage needs you may have.

We look forward to hearing from you!