Professional Mover: ‘This Is What I’ve Discovered Makes You Happy While Moving’


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My husband Dan and I have moved ten times in eleven years.

Crazy, right? We crisscrossed the country from Massachusetts to Maryland to Ohio to California to Illinois to Tennessee and back to Illinois. We both took turns following each other’s dreams, moving for our education and for our work.

To keep my sanity during those moves, especially when we added three kids into the mix, I developed what I call The Art of Happy Moving.

I made it a blog, then I made it a book. I know moving happily sounds like an oxymoron, but after all my moves, I finally figured out that it doesn’t have to be.

Make a list of three (and only three) reasons you feel excited about your move

The Art of Happy Moving, by Ali Wenzke

There are two choices related to emotions that turn your move into a happy move.

First, you can choose to focus on the positives instead of ruminating on the stressful parts. Easier said than done, I know, but the way to begin the process is to make a list of three (and only three) reasons why you feel excited about your move.

Happiness research shows that we feel happier when we list three reasons to feel grateful (instead of, say, thirteen.) So, write down your three reasons and keep that piece of paper handy as you pack your millionth box.

Recognize that you have a choice

Your second emotional hurdle might be to realize you do have a choice whether to make this move or not, even if it may not seem like it at first.

Why are you moving? Life event? Rent? Opportunity?

Maybe you’ve been out of work for a while and you received a job offer in a city where you’d rather not live. One couple I interviewed found themselves in this sticky situation.

“Decluttering for a move is different than decluttering to spark joy.”

His story: John relocated his family to small town Georgia for a new job, even though he did not want to move. Since John had been unemployed for a while, he felt like he had no other options.

In contrast, his wife Alison made that move to Georgia with a positive attitude because she believed they did have a choice. If they hadn’t moved, she figured they could stay in Florida and move in with John’s parents until he found a local job opportunity. Because Alison saw and pursued a variety of alternative options, this helped her feel in control of the situation.

Your happiness will increase if you explore your options and reframe your move so that you realize that you likely do have a choice in the matter.

Use a pro’s checklist to organize and simplify your move

The Moving Checklist at

When I meet with people to discuss their moves, they sometimes feel discouraged by how many little details they need to remember. Moving logistics can overwhelm you if you let them.

Happy moving means figuring out the best ways to categorize and organize a move so that you feel less stressed. And yes, there are easy ways to do that.

The first thing you can do is to lay out what you might forget by using a moving checklist. There are a lot of good ones out there. Check out this robust moving checklist. I also have free downloads on my blog.

All you need to do to have an organized move is to start checking items off items from a professional’s list who has already thought of everything for you.

Declutter to make moving, packing and unpacking easier (and less expensive)

If you only did one single thing on this list, I think my most effective tip for happy moving is to get rid of everything you own. Seriously. It’ll make your move so much easier.

Okay, if you absolutely must move with your twenty-five favorite pairs of jeans (or your kids), here are three easy tips to help you declutter.

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First, start with the heavy items in your house. Decluttering for a move is different than decluttering to spark joy. It costs money to move heavy or large items like books and furniture, so you necessarily need to start there. (There are very cost effective ways of moving stuff when you hire movers by the hour, by the way.)

Second, gather similar items into one area and create a “store”. Choose which t-shirts or books you want to “buy” and donate or sell everything else. I call this the “Toy Store Method”. It’s shockingly effective to use my Toy Store Method to declutter with kids, too, so try it out.

“The odds you’ll succeed at your resolutions are far greater after a new move than after a new year.”

Third, just ask for help! If you feel emotionally attached to your things and this is hard for you, ask for help from a friend or a family member who can guide you through the simplification process.

Strong relationships help mitigate moving unhappiness

Every happiness study highlights strong personal relationships as a main indicator of happiness.

This is why I started writing The Art of Happy Moving. I moved from Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee, and it was tough to make friends in a city where I didn’t know anyone. After so many moves, it surprised me how difficult it was to meet people. The loneliness hit me harder than I expected.

happy moving

That’s when I learned that many other movers found themselves in the same situation of feeling alone in an unknown place.

For a happy move, make it a priority to spend time with family and friends before you move. Schedule a girls’ night out or a weekend potluck and leave the moving boxes behind for a while.  

After you move, make an early effort to get involved in the community. Try things like, Facebook event browsing, or even local papers. But there is a catch!

Over the past several years of moving, I’ve taken group guitar classes, knitting lessons, and I’ve volunteered for local non-profits. The secret to making friends is to do something that you love for you, not just to make a friend. People can smell desperation (believe me, I know), so find time to do things for yourself and like-minded friends will find you.

Take advantage of the proven fresh start that moving offers to create new habits

Your move is an opportunity to start life over.

Ali Wenzke

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they move is that they focus so much on the moving logistics that they don’t think about what happens after the move. You can be anyone you want to be. One research study found that 36% of successful habit changes could be attributed to a move to a new place.

That’s why it’s a shame if you don’t take advantage of the break in routine to create new habits.

If you want to eat healthier, mediate more often, or spend quality time with loved ones on a regular basis, plan ahead and prioritize these goals so you can achieve them in your new home. The odds you’ll succeed at your resolutions are far greater after a new move than after a new year.

Ali Wenzke is the creator of the blog The Art of Happy Moving. After a decade of numerous moves, she is now happily settled in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, three children, and a secret stash of chocolate chip cookies. She doesn’t plan on moving any time soon.

How to Get Dislocation Allowance for Lodging and Meals During a Military Move


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So you got a PCS in the military. (AKA “permanent change of station”.) Now how do you get reimbursed when moving for the military?

Anyone who has ever served in the military is quick to tell you the rewarding but challenging military lifestyle comes bundled with frequent relocation. Even service members with years of experience can often feel overwhelmed by the logistics of moving to a new duty station.

Luckily, the Department of Defense wants to ease the financial burden that comes with relocation as much as possible. This is where both Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE) and Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) come in, which helps military families afford incidentals throughout their move.

Does the military cover the cost of my move?

When relocating due to military orders, all military branches cover the costs of moving for military families.

Moving service members get a Dislocation Allowance (DLA) that affords them money towards their move. There are a few options to get from your current duty station to your new home, ranging from professional services, to loading up your own moving truck with the help of family and friends. (More on that below.)

No matter how you do it though, the military pays for moving expenses, though your Military Housing Option will decide your moving option for you.

What type of move does the military give me?

When you get to use a professional company already contracted by the military, the service member (or their authorized representative, such as a spouse or family member) only needs to schedule the move and be on-site during moving day. The moving professionals take care of the rest and the government picks up the bill.

Read about the different types of moves here

For the do-it-yourself or Hybrid type, the military will reimburse the costs of moving equipment, mileage, and even some meals during the transit. As soon as you know a relocation is in your future, talk to your local installation’s Military Housing Office to discuss which option you’ll be given.

How do I get reimbursed for a military move?

That’s where filing for TLE and TLA come in. TLE and TLA (once again, Temporary Lodging Expense and Temporary Lodging Assistance) are non-taxable payments that are provided to reimburse military members for meals and lodging during a move.

  • TLE is what is given to military personnel moving within the continental US
  • TLA are for moves overseas, or anything outside of the US

The daily rates for TLE to be used inside the US are based on the location that you are moving from or moving to, paid out per diem. This literally means “per day”, and how much you get will be the amount that the government believes is reasonable to help you cover the move-related expenses each day during your relocation. This means there is no standard dollar amount, so talk with your military counselor.

For a military PCS overseas (including Alaska and Hawaii), military members can file for TLA for additional reimbursement. Because it can be difficult – if not impossible – to make a quick trip overseas while finding a home ahead of time, the Department of Defense allows those moving abroad to get additional lodging expenses reimbursed.

What documents do I need to receive TLE or TLA?

Anyone getting ready for a move should keep a handy file of important documents ready, but this is especially important if you plan to file for reimbursement for any of your expenses.

Important documents to keep when relocating in the military:

  • TLE Form (DD1351-2): This intimidating looking form isn’t so bad; it simply lists your contact information, family members, travel itinerary, and expenses

TLE Form (DD1351-2) for relocating.

  • DFAS Form 9098: This is how you officially claim your Temporary Lodging Expenses. It will need to be completed as part of your overall travel claim through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the military’s pay system

  • Official Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Orders: Anytime you move in the military, you should keep a hard copy (or two!) of your official orders showing your transfer from one area to another. You will need this document for everything, from getting free checked luggage on airlines to checking into a government hotel. You will also need this for filing for your TLE or TLA reimbursement!

  • Lodging receipts: Since the TLE and TLA are for reimbursing you for lodging costs,  the military wants to know that you actually needed to stay in a hotel (or other accommodations, like an AirBNB). At check-out, make sure to get a receipt that shows you paid your bill in full (lodging receipts are also sometimes called a “zero-balance receipt”, meaning you owe $0)

  • Meal receipts: I have never been asked to provide meal receipts during a military move. However, it is a good idea to keep these receipts on hand, just in case. The cost of meals during a week-long move can add up if not reimbursed. Tucking some extra receipts into a file folder is worth the peace of mind for me

  • Proof of actively seeking lodging: To continue receiving TLA during an overseas move, you have to show that you are actively seeking lodging. You will need to submit proof, such as copies of applications or appointments with property managers, to your new command every 15 days in order to continue receiving TLA

How exactly do I file for TLE or TLA?

Your first step in completing a PCS military move is to meet with a counselor at your local Military Housing Office that you’ve been assigned already, or complete the online pre-move counseling at

This important person is available to answer any questions and go over what assistance and reimbursements you are eligible to receive—including TLE and TLA.

After your move is complete, you will be able to submit all of your claim documents to the Housing Office at your new duty station.

The official regulations that provide information for travel expenses come from theJoint Travel Regulations. If you really want to dive into what is authorized for any type of military travel, this is the document for you. For example, if you plan to travel separate from your family or have temporary duty (e.g., military training, school, etc.) during your move, the Joint Travel Regulations can tell you exactly what reimbursements you are authorized to receive.

How much money will my dislocation allowance cover?

Understanding the process and what documents to keep is important, but everyone getting ready for a move really just wants to know how much extra they can expect to see coming into their paycheck.

To know how much, you’d multiply the rate per day with the amount of days eligible:

  • TLE reimbursement is authorized for up to 10 days during a move within the continental United States. Look up the daily lodging rates for your area during your pre-move counseling as they can vary by location and time of year.
  • TLE reimbursement is authorized for up to five days during a move to or from outside of the continental United States.
  • TLA is authorized for up to 60 days when arriving outside of the continental US and for up to 10 days when departing.

Wondering what that amounts to? It just depends on where you’re staying. (For example, Norfolk, Virginia averages $94 a night, while San Diego averages $174 a night.) Your lodging rates do have a cap, based on location, so check with your local Housing Office to find out what it is before booking that ultra-swanky suite overlooking the beach.

Protip: Some hotels do offer a government rate that falls within the local TLE or TLA limit—it never hurts to ask!

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What about meals?

The per diem meal rate for both TLE and TLA is based on the location where you are staying and the number of family members that you have with you during that time.

Daily meal rate reimbursement through TLE or TLA:

  • 1 person (military member or dependent): 65% of the daily meal rate
  • 2 people (military member + dependent or 2 dependents): 100% of the daily meal rate
  • For each additional dependent over the age of 12: add 35%
  • For each additional dependent under the age of 12: add 25%

For example, a service member with a spouse and two children who move from that same Norfolk, Virginia to Naples, Italy will be eligible for reimbursement for up to 60 days of lodging TLA in Naples and 150% of the per diem meal rate each day. This can be a significant amount of money that will help with moving expenses!

Where can I stay using TLE/TLA? Can I stay in an AirBNB?

The name of the allowance says it all: “temporary lodging”. Yes, even an AirBNB!

To receive TLE or TLA, you must provide receipts that show you are staying in a temporary living quarters. This can be a standard hotel room, an extended stay hotel, or, yes, that cool AirBNB you’ve had your eye on!

If you are staying with family members or friends, you can still receive the per diem portion of TLE or TLA to help pay for additional meal expenses during your move. You will need to provide a written statement from your host that outlines the dates that you were without your own home.

What if my stay exceeds my allotted days?

Everyone going through a military relocation hopes to be back into their own home as soon as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes your move-in date is delayed. You are normally responsible for the additional expenses incurred. But if the additional time in temporary lodging is due to unavailability of military housing or a delay in your household goods arriving, you will most likely be able to file for additional reimbursement.

Moving is a part of military life. But it doesn’t need to be a financial strain. Temporary Lodging Expense and Temporary Lodging Allowance are there to help military members deal with the daily costs of relocation.

Get to know your local Housing Office to make sure that you are maximizing your benefits and focusing on the important things during your move instead of the costs.

A small-town Missouri native, Katie writes about parenting, military families and travel for a variety of regional and national publications. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, Legacy Magazine, and Monterey Bay Parent Magazine, where she was a monthly columnist. She is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a degree in English and has a Master’s Degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Connect with Katie @kmbegley or at

Can Movers Help You With Other Stuff Besides Moving?


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If you thought moving companies do nothing but put all your stuff on a big truck, you’d be right—if you were living sometime in the distant past.

Today’s moving companies are constantly expanding their range of services and offering them all à la carte. That half-job or heavy lifting you need help with? Sure, you can try begging and bribing your friends, or you can call up a few movers in your area. You might be surprised at what they can help you with.

So What Else, Exactly, Can Movers Help With?

More than you can probably imagine. Heck, you don’t even need to be moving to have them give you a hand! More and more, people are turning to moving companies for all kinds of tasks too big to tackle alone. Movers make great day laborers, for things like:

Clearing out your garage or basement

  • Having a couple of sets of hands to move stuff while you figure out whether it goes to the curb or your cousin’s house or back into the garage can save you an entire weekend (if your garage looks anything like mine)
  • This also applies to attics, sheds, or anywhere

Hauling individual furniture from Point A to Point B

  • From your house to the curb; from your bedroom to the basement; to that cousin’s house; to the municipal trash dump; to your local secondhand store or consignment shop

Moving everything out of the room you are repainting or remodeling 

  • And then moving it back when you are done

Hauling stuff to your home from the furniture store

  • Or from your second cousin’s house, or from the garage of the guy selling that big beautiful piano on craigslist

Movers can (and often will) also take care of those jobs tangential to a move:

Even if you’ve managed to tackle your entire move on your own, you may be left with a mountain of unwanted cardboard boxes and unusable packing paper that you just don’t want to deal with. Movers, however, see gold in those mountains. So try giving them a call.

Protip: Most movers tend to charge for a minimum of two hours of labor, due to scheduling their business hours. This is not by any means a hard and fast rule, but make sure you ask before you book your help.

Can I hire movers to JUST help me load and unload my U-Haul?

You betcha!

Renting a truck or a moving container and hiring moving labor for all the heavy lifting is a huge trend—and for good reason. You save a ton of money by renting your own truck, and you save your back by hiring movers.

À la carte movers often:

  • Bring all the equipment
  • Have all the knowledge necessary to do the job right
  • Pack stuff you need packed, wrap stuff you need to be wrapped
  • Load it all up safely and securely

You drive your U-Haul (or Penske or Budget), or have your portable container delivered, and a fresh crew of movers unloads everything at your new home. This is what we call a Hybrid Move. As far as moving goes, it’s the best of both worlds. And it’s what HireAHelper movers do best.

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Protip: If you are moving locally, your movers may be able to rent you moving blankets for a small fee. But if you are moving out of the area, you might be able to rent them from your rental truck company. You may, however, have to buy them. Just please don’t move without them!

Can my movers do my entire move?

Yes, of course. Your traditional Full Service moving company will handle the whole moving enchilada if that is what you want, including packing up your entire home, right down to your last box of biscuits. This is the easiest way to move. It is also by far the most expensive.

Movers Know Best

Of course, we can’t tell you what’s best for you. But we can say with total confidence that movers know how to best handle your stuff. Whether it’s a single item job or a few pieces of heavy furniture; whether you’re moving one room or one door down or one hundred miles away; whether you need loading help, unloading help, or both, hiring moving labor is the best and most economical way to make sure your belongings are taken care of.

If you’re not sure what to do, that’s cool. Calling a mover and asking a few questions costs nothing. And it could end up saving you a lot.

Illustrations by Rob Wadleigh

Your Life in Another Country


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Where you grow up not only determines a lot of your personality (and what you like), but it can determine your overall quality of life too.

There can be drastic differences between someone who grew up in New York vs. Los Angeles … and the difference is even more striking if you grew up in a different country with a different culture. After all, a child in Bangkok will have a drastically different experience than one growing up in Ireland.

Life Comparison Tool

Have you ever imagined what your life would be like if you moved somewhere vastly different from where you are now? Where would you choose to live? What would you spend your time doing? How would life be easier or more difficult?

Comparing things like life expectancy, unemployment rate, average purchasing power, median age and access to the internet can give you a better idea of how other cultures live. So we built this handy tool to let you do just that!

Start by picking your “country of origin” by choosing it from the list below. Next, pick the country you’d like to compare it to and analyze the different statistics.

Feel free to mix and match as you choose—be curious!

  • United States
compared to
  • United Kingdom

You are years olderyounger.

You are % lessmore likely to have AIDS.

Your country would have % lessmore debt.

Your nation would spend % lessmore on education.

You would have % lessmore free time.

You would make % lessmore per year.

You would have % lessmore saved.

Your country would be % lessmore active on the internet.

You would live a % shorterlonger life.

You would be % lessmore likely to be obese.

You would be % lessmore likely to be unemployed.

You would be % lessmore likely to be murdered.



CIA World Factbook, Unemployment |  CIA World Factbook, GDP | CIA World Factbook, Gross National Savings | OCED Data | CIA World Factbook, National Debt | CIA World Factbook, Educational Expenditures | United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime | CIA World Factbook, Obesity | CIA World Factbook, Life Expectancy | CIA World Factbook, Median Age | CIA World Factbook Internet Users | Free Time calculated by percent of OCED Hours Worked Yearly to total hours in a year

Originally published: June 25, 2018. Updated: January 23rd, 2019.

Say Hello to the New HireAHelper Logo


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11 years. 250,000 moves. 100,000 reviews. 1 awesome new look.

Introducing the new HireAHelper logo.

Our New Look Just Moved In

HireAHelper has spent the last decade making moving anywhere in the country simple and affordable. Now we’re bringing that fresh “just moved” feeling straight to our website. Our brand new “H-logo” and green colors mark a moving adventure we can call our very own.

In other words, we just turned over a bright, green leaf.

The new HireAHelper logo in action

Is anything else new? Don’t worry, whether you’re moving or you’re a mover yourself, everything you love about HireAHelper is still here. We’re a nationwide marketplace of local movers that’s easier than ever to browse, with live help available 7 days a week. But more great additions are on the horizon. 

We’re Expanding

We’ve pioneered Hybrid™ Moving, and now we’re giving you even more options than ever before. Coming soon to select cities, we’re giving you the option to search our local mover marketplace for Full Service movers. This is a huge expansion to our moving options that will take even more stress out of your move. Stay tuned to this site for more details.

Moving soon? Want to join hundreds of local movers from across the country already in the marketplace? Come see for yourself why over 100,000 people have given their HireAHelper moves an average 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Let’s get moving.

How Do I Plan a Long Distance Move?


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Moving long distance requires patience, stamina, and grit. But it doesn’t have to be an awful experience. With some planning, a little know-how, plus some research, you can make the process of moving much easier. But just to help you out, we went ahead and did all the research for you.

After all, settling into a new, far-away land shouldn’t be anything less than transformational! 

How Am I Gonna Get Me and My Stuff Where I’m Going?

You have a number of options when planning a long distance move. Your options will all depend on these three things:

  • How much stuff you’re hauling
  • Your budget
  • Personal preference

What if I’m driving?

Some people decide to drive across the country, especially if they are bringing a vehicle or two. Beforehand, however, you should consider:

  • Car’s age and how many miles it has clocked
  • How many people and things it needs to hold
  • If it can handle a long trip without breaking down

If you need to get repairs ahead of time, then trust us, do that first. If that seems like it could be an issue or you just don’t wanna add hundreds of miles to your car, consider getting your car shipped.

Your other options are hitching it (to a truck for towing) or just ditching it. You can always try selling it or trading it in if you decide this is the end of the road for the car.

Are you driving with small children? Transporting pets? Both of those have special considerations, so click those links to learn everything you should know first.

What about my stuff?

The most hands-off option for getting you and everything long distance is a Full Service moving company. If you have the money for going that route, you need to find one with proper licensing, especially for interstate moves, as opposed to somebody off Craigslist.

What other options are there? Some people who make a long distance move opt to rent a moving truck for loading up their stuff and driving it themselves, then only hire movers for the lifting part, not the driving. This is called Hybrid Moving and can save a lot of money (if you don’t mind the drive). 

If you want to leave the driving to somebody else but still want to save money as compared to a Full Service Move, you can opt for portable moving containers like a PODS container. With those, professionals drive your stuff to and from destinations.

A final option to explore is to rent space in a freight truck that a professional driver hauls to your final destination, or sometimes to a warehouse for pick up.

The pros, cons, and prices of all of these options (and much more) are covered extensively on Moving101.

If you opt for a moving crew, make sure you get the answers to these questions:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How much experience do you have serving clients moving long distance? How does that compare with the number of local moves you conduct for clients?
  • Do you have proper, up-to-date licenses? Are you legally able to work in both states and cross state lines?
  • What kind of feedback do you get from clients?   
  • How would you describe the value you provide for the price you charge?
  • What are your policies regarding damaged or lost goods? What are your policies regarding re-scheduling or canceling service?

And you shouldn’t just take their word for it either. Get genuine opinions by consulting verified reviews on HireAHelper or anywhere you look.

What if I’m flying?

If you’re taking a plane to the final destination, you should obviously consider bringing some things with you in luggage or handbags to save money on however you’re moving the rest of your stuff. Pack clothes and personal items that won’t break in the luggage, and bring fragile stuff, such as laptops and digital devices, in your carry-on bag. Paying for extra luggage on a flight is sometimes cheaper than shipping it via snail mail! Pile up your stuff, do the calculations and see what works best with your budget.

Looking to maximize your flying budget? In “The 10 Best (and Worst) Airfare Search Sites,” Frommer’s shares some of the best places for you to seek hot deals for air travel. When researching prices for flights, consider the following online travel agents and booking sites, but recognize that being better known does not necessarily mean being the best.

Should I ship my stuff?

You could theoretically choose to ship some of your things via UPS, FedEx, or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Yes, it’s cheapest to send through USPS, but after packages get to only two pounds, pricing typically levels out. (That said, check out media shipping rates if you want to ship out a parcel or three that each weigh around 20 pounds.)

Of course, you probably have more than a few pounds worth of stuff. In this case, moving containers are a savvy pick for getting your stuff driven to where it needs to go for you. Not only do shipping containers come in different shapes and sizes, but you can plan to keep them placed somewhere for usually as much as a month at a time, so there’s lots of flexibility with using a moving container for a long distance move.

There are several things to consider when thinking about using a moving container:

  • Do you care if it’s wooden versus metal?
  • How many do you need?
  • How long do you need it to wait for you before unloading it?
  • Do you need help loading and unloading it?

Your options will depend on where you live, due to which moving container companies are available to you. Beyond PODS containers, check out this massive break down of the best moving container companies for your exact situation.

Moving101 Container Price Comparison

How Much Do Long-Distance Moves Cost?

Long distance and interstate moving companies charge based on weight, distance, and any extra equipment or insurance options you opt into.

The average cost of an interstate move is $4,300 for an average distance of 1,225 miles and a shipment weight of 7,400 pounds, according to the American Moving and Storage Association and as reported by numerous outlets.

But ultimately, as we’ve explained above, the price will depend on:

  • Your exact starting and ending points
  • How much you need to move
  • Modes of transportation
  • Who, if anyone, you decide to hire

One more big factor to consider is if you have any specialty items to move, such as a baby grand piano or gun safe.

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Are there any ways to reduce the price?

Here are some money protips you should know as you collect estimates:

  • Binding vs. Non-Binding Estimates: This is important to know if you’re pursuing a Full Service move. A binding estimate means you will pay the final price of the estimate regardless of whether your stuff ends up weighing less or more than expected. A non-binding estimate means you could end up with a different final tally, either less or more, depending on the weight
  • You can bring the price down by being flexible with travel dates; weekdays, especially in the offseason (read: not summer) are often cheaper
  • Ask moving companies for discounts. For example, members of the military and veterans often get cheaper rates for rental trucks and containers
  • If you have time before you have to move, you should try to start a moving fund
  • Be sure to keep track of spending and make a written out or digital budget
  • Those who are moving for work should see if the company reimburses for any or all of the move

What if I’m Moving Across State Lines?

Doing your homework on what is required of you for your specific interstate move is the first step.

Interstate moves are particularly complicated due to state laws. You have to know what you are responsible for when you cross into another state.

Hiring movers? Some moving companies can’t even provide service for interstate moves because they lack the proper license. Check in with your mover ahead of time. (Of course, typing in your ZIP code into HireAHelper filters all that stuff automatically.) 

In addition, you have to know both state and local laws and ordinances that may be relevant to you. Both your departure and arrival towns likely have parking rules, which will be a consideration as you’re loading and unloading, especially if you’re leaving a PODS container somewhere for a week or more. (You think you can just park a big truck on a busy New York City road any time you want?)

Also, some states have certain laws restricting what you can bring in. For instance, there are a number of items that are illegal to bring into California, including certain firearms and fruits. Yes, your pet ferret, among other things, can’t join you if you’re headed for the Golden State.

To-Do list for interstate moves

What do you need to do if you’re moving to a new state? This is what your to-do list should look like:

  • Forward your mail. Regardless of distance or state, do this first. This requires filling out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • Get a new driver’s license and plates. Typically, states require you to get your new license within 30 days, so make this a priority. Unfortunately, this will probably require standing in line at the DMV. One thing we can guarantee is it will be as annoying as nails on a chalkboard no matter what state you’re in
  • Establish domicile for tax purposes. In other words, that means becoming a resident (No matter where you go, they’ll have taxes!)  
  • Transfer your utilities
  • Get a license for your pets if you have any (as long as they aren’t ferrets in California!)

How Do I Pack My Stuff?

Anyone who has ever moved can tell you that packing up your entire world is maybe the most stressful part of the journey. Getting sturdy cardboard boxes and wisely packing them is one way to ensure the process is easier. Refraining from making any of the boxes too heavy and keeping items that will go in the same room in one box are obvious tips.

Make sure to label everything. Most importantly, make use of soft items, such as pillows, to serve as buffers between breakables and harder items. Use appropriate packing material – such as bubble wrap and newspapers – to protect glass, china and other delicate items. You can learn more in “How to Pack a Moving Box.”

If you want to be extra cautious with your stuff, then turn to professionals for help with packing your things.

Should I get rid of my stuff?

Take a look over the vast empire you’ve established. You must recognize that the less stuff you have to move, the better off you’ll be. After all, professional moving companies generally charge you based on the weight of the stuff you need to be transported. In other words, both literally and figuratively, you will have lifted a weight off your shoulders if you downsize.

“You’ll almost certainly want to bring some of your stuff, but the vast majority of what you own is replaceable,” writes Scott Meslow in GQ. “And the cost of moving most of what you own across the country is comparable to the cost of just buying something similar—or better!—once you actually arrive.”

The good news? Purging can be cathartic. Discover some ways you can unload your stuff before moving day:

  • Sell stuff online through Craigslist, eBay, or Etsy
  • Have a traditional garage sale
  • Give away things to your friends and family
  • Donate items through charities or religious organizations
  • Throw away old, worn out, or unusable items

Experts suggest taking photographs, especially for anything of great value. You may want proof of exactly what condition the chosen ones – items with which you simply can’t part – were in before they get on the moving truck (or whatever mode of transportation you choose).

Moving long distance is a tremendous undertaking. But if you prepare and research your options, you can make the move successfully without pulling out your hair. As you deal with the technical aspects of the move, give yourself a break if you – or others in the family – get emotional. Starting a new life in a new place is never easy. A stress-free move is the first step to arriving at this new world. 

HireAHelper Named to ‘Inc. 5000’ 2018 Top Entrepreneurs List Four Years Running


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HireAHelper has graced Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000” list for the fourth time, earning recognition as one of the nation’s top businesses, with an impressive 99 percent revenue growth year over year.

What can we say? Moving people is what we do, and we love doing it.

The full press release is readable below. To see the full list of companies, check out the Inc. 5000 website here.

SEATTLE – August 20, 2018 – HireAHelper, an online marketplace for those looking to hire well-qualified, local movers by the hour, today announced that it has been named to the 2018 Inc. 5000 list, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies by Inc. magazine. Companies are ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2014 and 2018. HireAHelper ranked 3,724th nationally with 99 percent revenue growth.

“Being listed among the Inc. 5000 is an honor that every member of our HireAHelper family can be proud of,” said Mike Glanz, Co-Founder and CEO of HireAHelper. “It’s through their collective effort that this honor was achieved. I’m very grateful to serve alongside such a stellar group of highly-dedicated moving professionals each and every day.”

Started in 1982, the Inc. 5000 list represents a unique look t the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment – its independent small businesses. To qualify, companies had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent – not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies. The minimum revenue required for 2014 is $100,000; the minimum for 2017 is $2 million.

“If your company is on the Inc. 5000, it’s unparalleled recognition of your years of hard work and sacrifice,” says Inc. editor in chief, James Ledbetter. “The lines of business may come and go, or come and stay. What doesn’t change is the way entrepreneurs create and accelerate the forces that shape our lives.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at

The 37th Annual Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala will be held in San Antonio on October 17-19, 2018 at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa.

About HireAHelper

HireAHelper is an online marketplace for moving labor, providing both commercial and residential customers with the additional help they need to complete their relocation project. Since its launch in 2007, the company has served 250,000 do-it-yourself movers from across the United States.


Media Contact

Jeff Pecor

Tailwind Public Relations



The 2018 HireAHelper Dream Team Winners Announced!


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The moment is finally here.

Your moment, to be exact.

Quick rewind. Back in June, we announced the contest to celebrate HireAHelper’s 11th Anniversary. It was the chance to be named the best of the best with Dream Team voting.

Countless submissions were submitted from all across America.

The voting was lion-like fierce.

The list ‘twas long.

But, after much review, sweat, tears and reflection, we narrowed down to the chosen top 11.

It was the most outstanding stories that ultimately revealed the top crew members in the whole country for 2018. Yes, these are the crew champions for all humans across the 2.3 billion acres of USA.

In no particular order (no highest to lowest in this totem pole), we turn the spotlight onto you:

The final Dream Team

#1. Roland Johnson – Elite Enterprise (Jacksonville, FL)

#2. Marcos Guerrero – Go2Movers (Austin, TX)

#3. DJ Reese – Smart Move, LLC (Raleigh, NC)

#4. Alex Gonzalez – LeDoux Moving Solutions LLC (Aurora, CO)

#5. Corey McCants – Tuttle’s movers (Jacksonville, FL)

#6. Michelle Harvin – All A-list Movers (Dayton, OH)

#7. LB (Levy) – Pack Man Moving Services (Tamarac, F)

#8. April Rose Hernandez – Moms On The Go (Phoenix, AZ)

#9. Jim Tanner – Full House Family Movers (Lowell, MA)

#10. Nate Bendele – C&C Moving Services (San Antonio, TX)

#11. Antoine Jones – Moving Genius Pro Movers (Pensacola, FL)

Player of Honor:

Kelsie Lauren – JTR of OKC (Oklahoma City, OK)

Whoa. What Else Does this Honor Include?

Is there anything else included besides this merry email and virtual confetti?


Each Dream Team Member Will Receive:

  • A special certificate declaring: “Top Crew Member of 2018”
  • A badge on the public checkout for all customers to see. It shall read: “Top Crew Member of 2018” (This honor adds even more credibility and increases the likelihood of customer’s final selection!)
  • Endless bragging rights, of course

Player of Honor, There’s More.

Out of the many submission receives, one story stood out the most.

It was too powerful to go unnoticed. We were called to do something extra special for this dedicated, tenacious person. Our 2018 POH will receive:

  • The Dream Team Prizes (certificate, badge…) +
  • Hand-written “thank you’s” from the grateful HireAHelper Headquarters
  • $100 #CashMoney

Well deserved, one and all.

It is thanks to you that HireAHelper has marched on for 11 years in operation; this simply wouldn’t have happened without your continued support. We are so thrilled for each of you and, again, want to send our most sincere thanks.

Please look forward to additional correspondence regarding prizes and good ‘ole fashioned bragging rights.

Congratulations again. Cheers to another successful year!

-Your HireAHelper Team

How to Best Unload Your Moving Truck


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Loading your truck is like getting ready for prom. You want everything to be perfect.

Unloading, on the other hand, is kind of the same way; take everything off, drop it on the floor and go jump in the pool with your friends, right?

Yes and no. Unloading a moving truck is definitely easier than loading one, but like jumping in the pool, there are good ways and bad ways to do it.

Below are some tips for safety and speed so you can not only do the job right but have plenty of time for the post-party. (And this all applies for moving containers too!)

How to Prepare Your Unload

Park on a flat, level surface

If you are renting a portable container like a PODS, you can expect it will be set on even ground. The same thing goes for a rental truck.

You’ll want to park in a similar level place, to make unloading both safer and easier. If you simply have to park on a sloped surface, point the front of your truck downhill. (You can imagine why.)

Apply the emergency brake

This applies even if you park on a level surface. It also doesn’t hurt to put chocks – or rocks or blocks of wood – under one or more of the wheels. 

Open the back of the truck slowly

Your stuff will have shifted around in transit, and the possibility of something tumbling out onto the ground, or on you, is very real.

If something is about to come tumbling out, you may feel and/or hear it pushing against the door as you open it. But not always.

Keep your eyes open and have an extra set of hands ready.

Ramps slide out quickly, be careful

Rental trucks generally come equipped with a loading ramp that slides right out from under the rear door. Unlatching it, sliding it out and locking it in place is simple. So is hurting yourself if you aren’t careful.

That ramp is heavy! And pulling it too hard can turn it into a battering ram with you being the one getting battered. Ease it out all the way and set it down on something not your toes. And remember to set those hooks at the top of the ramp securely in place!

How to Unload Safely and Quickly

Get off to a pretty slow start

That’s right! Even if nothing looks about to topple over, you still want to take it easy when you begin unloading your stuff.

Your stuff will shift and resettle in transit

This goes triple if you have a freight trailer!

The pedal of the bicycle you so carefully placed on top of all those boxes might now be stuck in between two of those cartons, and pulling too hard trying to free your bike can send a whole stack of stuff cascading down on top of you. 

Remember, if your truck was packed to the gills, you won’t have much room back there for your feet. Take your time. Watch your step. Ease those first items off the truck, always aware of how close your Nikes are to the edge of that deck. One misstep and there goes your stuff (and you).

Assign a ramp person

If you have someone (or a few people) helping you, assign one person to stay on the truck to break down the load and put everything at the edge of the deck where the others can grab it without having to climb into the truck.

Not only does this save time, it also eliminates a ton of bending over.

Working like this, it’s never long before the person on the truck gets ahead of the others. This is a good time for that person to nominate someone to help carry that sofa or dresser off the truck and into the house. In addition, jumping off the truck and helping get all the stuff they’ve set on the deck into the house is the obvious way to keep the process rolling.

Tackling the unload all by yourself? Try working in a similar fashion. As you break down your load, position as many boxes and other items as possible along the edge of the deck. Then you’ll be able to make a bunch of trips back and forth without having to walk up and down that ramp every time, saving both your legs and your back.


Form a box brigade

Building on above, if you are lucky enough to have two or more people helping you unload:

  • Keep one person working on the truck
  • One person carrying stuff from the truck to a staging area (usually the garage or the front door)
  • One person working inside carrying everything from the staging area to where it all belongs

Naturally, the person on the truck will start getting ahead of the person carrying stuff to the staging area, who will in turn probably get ahead of the person running back and forth inside the house. Periodically jumping off the truck or stepping inside to help your buddy catch up keeps everyone moving – and quickens the process of emptying out that truck or portable container.

Which, of course, leaves more time to enjoy the pool.

Use a dolly

When you are unloading your moving truck, a hand truck (also known as a dolly) is your best non-human friend.

Rolling heavy stuff means you don’t have to carry it. Rolling a stack of boxes means making one trip instead of three or four! The bigger your load and the heavier your stuff, the more you will thank yourself for having that hand truck around. It’s an essential item to rent of your moving truck doesn’t come with one, or if you don’t hire moving labor.

Make sure, by the way, to use that hand truck correctly. You should always be higher than the dolly when rolling stuff down that ramp. If you are hand-trucking something large and/or heavy, have an extra set of hands at the lower end to keep that thing moving steadily—and slowly!

Want to really learn how to use a dolly? Check out this post.

Center everything before it goes off the truck

It goes without saying that when you’re unloading major appliances and large pieces of furniture – or anything for that matter – you want to be doubly certain neither your feet nor the wheels of your hand truck miss that ramp.

But you also want your hand truck to hit the ramp squarely; if one wheel starts going downhill before the other your hand truck will start to tip to one side. Your buddy on the bottom end will naturally try to steady it, which can send one of his feet off the side of the ramp, and things will just keep going downhill from there.

Whether you are rolling or carrying that big heavy appliance or piece of furniture, you want to get centered on the back of the truck before you head for that ramp.

Again, when using a dolly, those wheels go down before you do. If you and a buddy are carrying that item, whoever is holding the bottom end needs to travel down first. In either case, the person on the lower end is responsible for maintaining a straight line of forward progress. 

Ready to unpack?

That’s a whole other thing, so make sure to read our unpacking guide too!

Protip: If you have to walk up a slope or up any stairs, it’s good practice to turn yourselves around so the person holding the top of that big bulky piece is again in a higher position.

Going upslope, however, the person on top takes over steering duty. The person on the bottom then will have the responsibility of providing most of the upward momentum. (This is especially true when going up a staircase.)

In other words, the person on bottom pushes while the person on top does their best to avoid banging into the walls and tripping up the steps. 

Get Some Quick Help

And if all else fails (or you realize you have more stuff than you thought you did after loading your truck), do yourself a favor and double-check our movers’ prices for unloading trucks.

Get Help Unloading Your Rental Truck

See prices for movers by the hour—instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.


From my decades of experience moving people, an unbooked mover is pretty motivated to come out, as opposed to sitting around doing nothing. Do a quick fly by on HireAHelper if you were wondering, “But are there any local movers near me available to lend me and my friends a hand?”

I’ve saved plenty of people’s moving day who thought to check, even last second.

Illustrations by Emily Roberts

I'm Moving

Moving? Thinking about moving? Whether your move is off in the distance or you already have one foot out the door, you'll learn about everything you should expect through our useful how-to's, cool articles and much more. It's all specially curated for you in our "I'm Moving" section.

I'm a Mover

For rookies or veterans alike, our "I'm a Mover" section is filled with extensive industry news, crucial protips and in-depth guides written by industry professionals. Sharing our decade of moving knowledge is just one way we help keep our professional movers at the top of their game.