Top Tips to Reduce Summer Energy Bills

Person changing the temperature on a thermostat

When the dog days of summer meander in, it can get sweltering in both the city and the country. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of Summer run from July 3 through August 11, coinciding with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Without question, those are some of the warmest days of the year, requiring your home’s a/c to run overtime to keep things cool and to keep the occupants comfortable.

You can help reduce summer energy bills during the hottest days of the year with a few simple tips.

  1. Choose a higher thermostat temp: A consistent 78 degrees is the suggested temp if you want to conserve energy during the summer. If you have others in your space who prefer it cooler, put additional fans in their area. If you are going to be gone for extended periods and are not leaving pets in the space, move the thermostat higher for the duration of your absence.
  2.  Cover your windows: Keep your blinds closed and your shades drawn during the hottest part of the day. You may even want to consider reflective or room-darkening curtains to keep the sun from baking your home.
  3. Cook outside:  It doesn’t take long for a stove or oven to heat up the home. Every chance you get, grill outside or make dinners ahead of time for microwaving. It’s also a great time of year for chilled soups and fresh salads.
  4. Change the filters: Increasing your a/c efficiency keeps things cooler and extends the life of your unit. Check it monthly and change it if in doubt.
  5. Close off rooms: If you have rooms in a house that are not occupied or don’t have items that require a consistent heated/cooled temp, then close the vents. The same goes for fans that may be in running in rooms with no occupants. Turn them off and save energy.

It sometime feels hard to stay cool during the hottest months of the year, but with a little planning you can cut the energy costs. Stay cool! And if you need help making a move during these hot Summer days, give Zippy Shell a call or go online for a free quote today!

7 Simple Steps to Protect Your Home When You Travel

A nice home exterior on a sunny day

According to a recent AAA travel survey, nearly 100 million of us are planning to take a family vacation this year, with 70 percent of those getaways happening during the summer months. And it is hard to imagine a worse ending to a summer vacation than returning to find that your home has been damaged or burglarized. To have peace of mind while you are on vacation, take time to protect your home with this checklist:

  • If you have a home security system, alert them of your travel plans and make sure the alarm is set properly when you leave. Display your security stickers prominently near your most obvious and accessible entry points like your front and back door.
  • Set timers on interior lights to give the illusion that someone is always home. Motion-sensor exterior lights can also prove to be useful for general home security when you are home and away.
  • Place a hold on mail, newspapers, and packages in your absence. Overflowing mailboxes and newspapers piled in the driveway are dead giveaways that you aren’t home.
  • Make a plan for lawn care maintenance. Have a friend or lawn care service mow the lawn at least once a week during your absence.
  • Alert a trusted friend or neighbor of your travel plans and have them check in every few days. They can take care of any unexpected deliveries and carry on with normal routines such as watering plants and bringing trash cans to the curb. 
  • Be prepared for a power surge while you are away. Unplug all electronics or make sure they are plugged safely into a surge protector.
  • Do not broadcast your travel plans on social media sites either before or during your vacation. Before your trip, inform only those who need to know. There will be plenty of time to share thoughts and photos of your vacation after you are safely home. 

If you are taking an extended leave from your home, we would love to talk to you about the storage solutions that Zippy Shell has to offer. Contact us today for a free quote and see how simple storing your belongings away while you travel can be!

Showing Appreciation to Your Piedmont Triad Friends and Family Who Help You Move

Mother and daughter pack for a move

Are you moving in or around the Piedmont Triad area in North Carolina? Having help from family and friends during the sorting, packing, and moving processes is a great distraction and more importantly it makes the work go faster. But how do you thank them for sacrificing their time and muscles for you? Follow these tips to help show your loved ones how much you appreciate their help.

So often people want to help, but they don’t know how. Not everyone in your life has the physical ability to help you move a couch up a flight of stairs. Asking friends and family to help in ways that play to their strengths will be appreciated! You can ask for assistance in organizing, packing, providing meals, watching children or pets, bringing supplies, or just providing company during the long hours you have ahead of you.

  • Provide water and snacks for your helpers. For those that are with you for the long haul on moving day, make plans to provide them with a meal or even two. The Piedmont Triad area has delicious food delivery options that can feed your moving crew!
  • If you’re moving, chances are you’re purging also. Offer your helpers first dibs on any items from your donation pile that will not be making the move with you.
  • Once you are settled, throwing a housewarming party is a great way to thank your friends for all the hard work. Nothing says “thank you” like yummy food and drinks.
  • Return the favor. Offering to help your family and friends with something in return is one of the simplest but best ways to show your gratitude. 

Make your move easier on yourself and your helpers by using portable storage units from Zippy Shell. You load up your belongings at your convenience, and we will simply move them for you! Contact your local Piedmont Triad Zippy Shell today to get a quote.

How to Organize and Pack a Bedroom When Moving

Your bedroom is one of the most critical rooms in your house, so when you pack it up, you want to make sure you do it correctly. Use these tips to make your packing process as simple as possible when packing your bedroom. If you have multiple bedrooms that you need to pack up, start with one of your least used rooms, such as a guest bedroom.

Sort through your belongings

You first want to make sure you are only packing items that you actually need and will use. Otherwise, there is no point in keeping the item. Declutter your items to prioritize what you should pack with you with these decluttering tips. This is especially helpful for a long-distance move to help you lighten your load.

Pack up your lamps

A lamp is something that goes without much thought that will be a simple thing for you to pack. While packing up your bedside lamp, be cautious to keep it intact. Firstly, remove the lampshade along with the metal “U” that holds it together, so that it does not get dented during the moving process. Remove the lightbulb to avoid broken glass on your move. Gather the cord of the lamp and secure it together with a rubber band. Place the lamp in a box upright for the move itself.

Pack up your child’s room

Moving is always tough on a child, so make this process as smooth as possible for them with these tips. Get them involved with packing up their room so that they can decide if they have grown out of some clothes or toys to prioritize what they need to take for the move.

Move large furniture

Packing up your bulky furniture will be one of the last steps you take when packing up a bedroom. The furniture has a use every day, so it will need to stay put until very close to moving day. Carefully remove nightstands, desks, beds, and more, with professional help if necessary. Seal shelves together on desks, dressers, and more that way the drawers do not fly open while in the moving van.

Secure decorations

If you have any picture frames, posters, or any other décor on your walls, make sure to package it up properly. Wrap up your picture frames in towels that you are moving with you to secure your pictures without having to purchase any packing materials. If you have any miscellaneous decorations, see if this packing tip will work on packaging them as well. Package posters by tightly rolling them up and securing them with a rubber band.

Contact Zippy Shell

Get a free quote today from Zippy Shell to get started on your moving process! We will move your secured belongings to your new destination or a Zippy Shell storage center, with up to 30 days of free storage with every long-distance move.

How to Save Money Back to School Shopping

As summer is coming to a close, we are approaching the start of another school year. Prepare yourself and your children for their upcoming school year by getting a head start on back-to-school shopping. Check out some of our tips below to save some money while you shop! 

Tax-free week

Many states have tax free weeks throughout August to help families when they are doing their back-to-school shopping. Take advantage of this opportunity to buy all your school supplies and back-to-school clothing during these weeks. See if your state holds a tax-free week here and take advantage of this opportunity to stock up!

Use leftovers

Many kids do not realize that a lot of their old supplies from previous years are still in good shape and can be used again. Children will use half of a notebook and then believe that is it no longer of value. Go through their old material and see if they have anything salvageable. Recycle old paper that is written on, while taking advantage of the blank sheets that have yet to be used. You can also re-sharpen old pencils to make them good as new.

Shop without the kids

When your children go school supply shopping with you, there is a much higher chance that you’ll buy unnecessary items. When you shop by yourself, you can make sure you stick to your list and only buy the essentials. Sure, you can purchase a few fun items for the kids to enjoy, while avoiding overspending in this category.

Look for coupons

Don’t forget how valuable coupons may be when shopping! Almost every back-to-school store offers coupons for school supplies, so keep your eyes peeled as you begin your back-to-school shopping. Be sure to shop smart when using coupons. Focus on the items you need to buy, not the brand or style of the item. A lot of times, coupons will be offered for the less flashy supplies, so capitalize on these opportunities to save yourself even more money!

Shop clearance aisles and dollar stores in your area

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your school supplies. Shop clearance isles and dollar stores and get the exact same quality of items for less.  

Start early

When you get a head start on your back-to-school shopping, you’ll be able to take advantage of various sales throughout the season. Keep an eye on circulars and sales to get the best deals leading up to the start of school!

Six Appliances You Should Deep Clean This Summer

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the little bit of extra free time you have to tidy up your home. Summer brings on a lot of heat, so you can spend your time cleaning indoors, and save the outdoor cleaning for in the fall as the weather begins to cool down.

  1. Your Wood Floors

Even though you might think you need to mop your wooden floors every week that could ruin them. Instead, you should only wet-clean them once every one to two months and spot clean as needed. Make sure you use trivets and saucers under plants to avoid any water damage and use furniture protectors to avoid scratches. Summer brings in a lot of dirt from outside and you don’t want any of it sticking to your floors permanently.

2. Washing Machine

Summer brings on extra sweaty clothes, socks, sheets, and so much more. Your washing machine has probably been through a lot this summer and will need a cleanse. Disinfect it with distilled white vinegar and baking soda to keep it fresh and high-functioning. Run the machine with hot water, then add the cleaning agents, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Afterwards, restart your machine, let the water drain, and wipe it dry.

3. Dishwasher

A lot of times people simply think you can just throw dirty dishes in the dishwasher and they will get cleaned. This is not always the case. To ensure this heavy-duty cleaning appliance gets all the tomato sauce stains off your dinner plates, you have to clean it too. First, remove any bits of the food on the bottom. Then, run a second cycle with a specialty cleanser made for your dishwasher about once a month to keep it clean.

4. Refrigerator

Refrigerators are also an important item to keep clean since it holds food! This means the outside and inside. Pull out all of your fridge’s interior shelving and make sure to wash them with warm soapy water to take care of any spills or stains. The wash the inside of your refrigerator – sides, top, and bottom. If your fridge is clean, then your food will be cleaner which is always a good thing.

5. Oven

If you ever start to smell something burning when you first turn on your oven, it might be time for a deep clean. First, chip off loose pieces from your range, then spritz burnt-on food with ammonia. Sprinkle baking soda and a few drops of white vinegar on the bottom, let it bubble up, then wipe away the grime and dirt with a sponge.

6. Your Closet

Organizing your closet is the first step to organizing the rest of your home. Get rid of unused clothes and accessories and organize the rest by how you get dressed in the morning and by color. Use some of these tips to make your closet look appealing, and your everyday routine easier and quicker!

7 Activities to Do When the Summer Heat Is Too Hot

As Summer is coming to a close, you may have had enough of the heat. Have fun while staying indoors with some of these activities!

See a movie

Avoid the spoilers by being one of the first to watch a new film! Watching a movie at a movie theater can be a fun activity for date night, a family activity, or an outing with friends. Sitting on your couch watching a movie doesn’t compare to the movie theater experience, not to mention the movie theater popcorn!

Do crafts

There are plenty of locations that offer crafting classes for your kids and you as well! Attend a local kid-friendly crafting class where you can create art with your child. You can also go purchase art supplies and create something from home as well. Often times, you won’t even need to buy supplies; the materials you have at home can be pieced together into a fun craft. For an evening craft activity, check out a wine and painting class closest to you.

Go ice skating

Many people may forget that ice skating rinks are open in the summer! This makes it the perfect opportunity to go because you will not have to worry about dealing with a crowd!

Go bowling

Bowling is the perfect, inexpensive activity to do for some fun out of the house. People of all ages can have fun bowling so make the most of it!

Go to the aquarium

The aquarium is the perfect balance of fun and education for your kids. They get to learn about various sea creatures, all while having fun doing it! Plus, you get to have some quality bonding time with your children while you all have fun.

Play board games

Don’t spend a dime by staying in for game night. Play any of your favorite games for a whole night of fun. Turn it into family bonding time or invite a few friends over for some food and fun.

Tidy up your home

If you are really this bored, use some of your free time to clean your house. Although it may not be one of the most fun activities, you will feel very productive and clear of mind afterward. Start with easy locations such as your closet or kitchen with these simple tips!

Tips to Keep Your House in Tip-Top Shape during the Summer

home cleaning

Summer is a great time to tackle your seasonal household upkeeping items. There are a lot of small projects you can tackle during these warm months to protect your house from the elements. Be sure you are protecting it from the extreme weather conditions it is enduring. Check out some of our pro tips below to maintain your home this summer to keep it in tip-top shape!

Wash your windows

Throughout the year, your windows can build up a good amount of grime, but there’s an easy way to fix this! To see if your windows need a good cleaning, do one swipe of cloth along one of the low windows on your house to see if there’s any dirt or grime present. Even if your windows look fine, you may see some dirt after giving them this test. Getting your windows clean is a quick and easy project – just get some warm water and soap or glass cleaner to scrub off the debris.

Clean your grill for barbecuing

Keeping your grill clean all summer long will truly make your bar-b-ques enjoyable. If you have a charcoal grill, empty all of the old ashes and safely dispose of them. Wipe away the remaining dust, then finish off the grill by washing it down with soap and water. For a gas grill, close the lid and heat it on high for about thirty minutes to burn away any old food particles. Scrub the grates with a grill brush to clean out the remaining pieces in between the cracks. Finish it off by wiping it down with a sponge and changing out the drip tray. Just a few minutes of cleaning and you’ll be ready to cook up some delicious food for your friends and family!

Repair cracks

Summer is a great time to check your driveway or patio at your home to see if there are any cracks in it. A lot of concrete cracks can be easily fixed yourself with a store-bought sealant. Asphalt can be tricky to seal but can also be done yourself if you are feeling up to the challenge! If not, both your patio and driveway can easily be sealed by a professional. Sealing these will ensure a longer life for your patio and driveway and will give your house a much more pleasing aesthetic.

Plant a new layer of mulch

If you have a garden in your yard, adding fresh mulch every year will really help to keep it growing strong. You’ll want to remove some of the older mulch and properly dispose of it. The fresh mulch will not only look more beautiful, but it also helps to hold water in for the plants and resist more weeds.

Give your deck a makeover

If you have a wooden deck in your backyard, summer is a great time to see how it’s doing. If any boards are rotting, be sure to remove them and replace them. For a painted wooden deck, as the paint starts to chip over the years, decide if it is time for another coat. Check to make sure no loose nails are lying around and hammer them in or remove them if you find any. This all also applies if you have a wooden fence.

5 Important Summer Safety Tips

Man in Summer staying cool

Sweet summertime is just about upon us and it’s prime moving and storage season! It’s also that time of year when the kids are out of school, relatives visit and folks enjoy the longer days. Summer has its own set of safety concerns, though, and we’ve collected a number of great tips to help you and your family stay safe during the summer season!

Beat the heat: It’s already very hot in many parts of the country, so if you are moving or just enjoying events outside, be sure to be heat-safe. The National Safety Council suggests several ways to avoid heat-related stress, including:

  • Staying hydrated: Whether your friends are helping you pack or laying on the beach, ensure you have enough water on hand.
  • Work shorter shifts: If you are working outside, don’t push it! Take frequent breaks.

Be food safe: Picnics and BBQs abound during the summer season, but you don’t want them to result in an ER visit. Keep any foods made with mayo out of the sun and ensure they remain refrigerated right up until it’s time to eat.

Protect your skin: Sunburns not only can ruin a great time outdoors, but also increase your risk of skin cancer. Be sure to apply sunscreen before any outdoor activity, even if it is cloudy outside! Reapply after fun in the water.

Stay bug savvy: Insects love summer, too, and it’s important to protect yourself from painful stings and tick bites. The CDC suggests that you apply an effective insect repellent and use these tips to create a tick-free backyard.

Make safety a priority: Ensuring a safe summer may take a little planning. When you plan your events and outings, take into consideration who will be there (kids? pets?) and what could happen (sunburn? stings?). Make a kit to have on hand to ensure all goes well.

Whether you are experiencing your first summer in a new location after a move or just gearing up to enjoy a staycation, we want you to stay safe. If you are looking to make a move soon as well, then check out what Zippy Shell has to offer and see how we differ from traditional moving services!

7 Shed Organization Tips That Will Help Tidy up your Backyard

Organized backyard shed

Have you had enough of jumping over your lawnmower in your shed simply to reach a bag of fertilizer? Trying to find space for your yard tools into a small shed can be a hard task to complete. With these tips, you can productively store all of your outdoor belongings away until you need to use them.

Create floor to ceiling shelves

Shelving allows you to use all of your shed’s space from top to bottom. This allows you to use all of the available storage space of your shed towards the ceiling. Line your shelves with bins of various sizes to fit countless items in them.

Install a pegboard on the wall

Maximize your usage of the wall space within your shed. If your shed is relatively small, using as much of its wall space as possible will help give you much more room to work with. Pegboards can be used to hang almost anything, from tools to fertilizer, and much more!

Combine chemical containers in one bin

Many chemicals such as fertilizer, weed killer, and bug spray are commonly used in or around your home; they can also be very dangerous. These items can be extremely toxic and even flammable in hot, enclosed areas, so be sure you check each for specific storage instructions. If possible, keep all of your chemicals in their original containers, and then place them all into one safe bin. Be sure this bin is sturdy, and leak-proof, to prevent your chemicals from spilling throughout your shed.

Hang a shoe organizer on the back of the door

Many people forget that the back of their door is a great place to store extra items. Hang a shoe organizer on the back of your shed’s door to fit many miscellaneous items that have no real right place to go.

Use a magnetic bar

A magnetic bar works great for any tools to get them up and out of the way while making it extremely easy to find just the tool you need. Attach a magnetic bar to one of the walls of your shed. This will allow for storage of your tools without even having to take up any shelf or workbench space in your shed.

Use large tool hooks

Big items such as shovels and rakes can often cause a pile-up of tools in the corner or floor of your shed. If you screw in large hooks right into the side of your shed, your bigger yard tools will always have a place to hang. You are more likely not to toss these items onto the floor of your shed when they have a secure place to hang where they belong.

Create a walkway

Even if your shed has minimal space, it will still need a small walkway for safety reasons. If you have a clear walkway this will prevent you from frequently placing items right in the middle of your shed. This will allow you to easily and safely access to every item in your shed, and spend less time decluttering and trying to locate or reach certain things hidden behind junk.

Need some additional storage space this Summer for your stuff? Check out Zippy Shell today! We offer flexible storage solutions perfect for everyone, whether you need on-site storage or just want to keep your belongings in a safe and secure warehouse location. Zippy Shell is here for you to make storage simple.