Say Hello to the New HireAHelper Logo

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: HireAHelper News

Tags: Tags: , , , , ,

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.

5 Expenses I Didn’t Expect After Graduating

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: College Moves

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Graduating is even harder than it looks.

I am one of the lucky ones who found my first job right out of school. But that secretly meant my living expenses suddenly skyrocketed after I had to buy a used car, move away from home and find and furnish an apartment.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew those purchases would be way more expensive than the usual trip to the grocery store. But there were so many details I didn’t even realize existed. It was a crash course.

Now I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are the random expenses that hit me after graduation, plus how I survived a rocky first few months so that I remained intact before my first adult paychecks could make an impact.

1. Moving Costs More Than You’d Think (But There’s a Hack for That)

Moving101 Container Price Comparison

When I graduated I lived on campus, but I still somehow had a lot to move into my first apartment. The first thing I did was figure out if anyone could help me move. In return for snacks, my friends and family were happy to offer some manual labor. I got lucky!

But when I got a job, it ended up being located out of state. So to save money, I figured out I could rent a truck and tow my car behind it, and only hire movers to do the lifting. Getting your own vehicle and hiring labor separately for either end of your move (Hybrid Moving) costs less than Full Service moving and varies dramatically in price, but the average cost is around $660. It’s an added cost, but plenty of critical time saved, which I needed.

HireAHelper lets you compare the price of movers and customize everything, from how many people help you move to what arrival time window you’ll need. The more options you can compare for a moving process the better, as every move is going to be a little bit different.

Get Your Quote for Movers

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

 

How can someone so young take on that expense? Well, I barely had enough to cover the move, but here’s another thing I learned — many employers offer reimbursement for moving expenses! Make a note to talk with your new employer and ask if they make a similar offer. It was a lifesaver when my company helped me out so that I could put my money toward the next round of expenses!

2. Crossing State Lines Can Mean More Fees

When you move to a new state, you’re going to have to get a new state license and plate for your car. The steps will be different depending on your move, but you can check out the process for your specific state online to know what prices you’re in for.

I had to fill out paperwork and pay fees for the process of:

  • Getting an updated title for my car
  • Printing a new plate
  • Creating a new license

All of it cost about $200! Plus, there was the time it took to go to the DMV, get my new emissions test and talk with my car insurance company about my new address and license information.

Call the DMV where you’ll be moving to ahead of time for clarification because it really is a lot to deal with when you’ve never done it before. It definitely was for me.

3. Even My Used Car Had a Major Price Tag

An approximation of how getting your first used car looks.

When I was in school, I used my parents’ old car to get around to my part-time jobs and the grocery store. But after college, I knew I had to get my own ride. I’d been saving up for a while and figured I could negotiate the price of the car down to what I had in my savings account, but it turns out there’s so much more to it than that.

The only thing I knew about buying a car before I walked into the first dealership was that you have to negotiate your final price, but fees and taxes can’t be worked down. The dealer had to explain things like document fees and dealer fees, plus the sales tax. (Again, every state will be a bit different, though some fees are the same across the board.)

It’s smart to save up some extra cash to cover these fees since they’re non-negotiable. While you’re getting your down payment together, take steps to research what these expenses will be so you can better plan for the total cost of a car.

Lastly, make sure you can handle the monthly payment. While I saved enough for a hefty down payment, I did have to take out a small loan to cover the rest. I automated my car payments through my bank once my regular paychecks started rolling in so I would never risk jeopardizing my credit score with late payments.

4. My First Student Loan Payment Shocked Me

The amount I had to take out in student loans wasn’t nearly as drastic as what some of my friends had to sign for—proud state school grad here—but there are ways those loans can pull you into paying more than you originally borrowed. For starters, I had no idea what capitalizing interest was. Basically, it’s interest that’s triggered by specific events and causes your monthly payment to not even make a dent in your overall debt. The debt increases while your payments stay the same.

I also began to panic when the loan bills came in. I hadn’t even earned my first paycheck with my new job yet, so how was I supposed to pay $350 a month after already paying for moving and buying a car?

That’s when I started to research how to consolidate my loans, and it really saved me. The Department of Education can consolidate multiple federal loans with one fixed interest rate, which streamlines the process and extends your repayment period. Rather than juggling multiple payments, I just had to worry about one.

You may also consider private refinancing if you’ve landed a steady job and worked to build a credit score of at least 690. This can both consolidate your loans and lower your interest rate — but isn’t necessarily always the best choice for recent grads. Do your research! 

(So I Learned a Budgeting Trick)

Sure, I’d managed my own bills in college, but between forthcoming loan payments and the costs of moving and a higher rent, I saw my expenses skyrocket. 

So I did some research online and began militantly tracking all of my income and expenses with a Google spreadsheet. I vowed to follow the 50/30/20 budget, which stipulates that half of my earnings pay fixed expenses, 20 percent goes to debts and savings, and 30 percent is reserved for variable expenses like groceries and light spending.

TheBalance.com

It’s tempting to have your paychecks come in and put all your extra cash toward one big thing like a savings account or credit card debt, but metering it out will help you tackle everything at once. Building my savings while decreasing my debt has helped me more in the long run than just choosing one over the other.

Now, my healthy savings account means a minor emergency like a car repair doesn’t trigger any anxiety. After upending my meager college savings to move, a steady and dependable tracking system soothed my nerves and helped me navigate this whole new world.

5. Filling Up a New Apartment Drains Your Wallet

The process of finding my apartment was easy since everything is online now. I could map out how far each apartment complex was from my work and not have to worry about it being too far away. Actually getting settled was a whole different story.

I had to buy all my own furniture, and you can bet that I didn’t have the money to do it all at once! For a little bit, my apartment décor consisted of a mattress on the floor and the most basic kitchen supplies. A good list of basic apartment supplies you’ll need will consist of:

  • Plates and bowls
  • At least two or three of each type of silverware
  • A trashcan
  • Dish soap and a sponge
  • Toilet paper
  • Basic cleaning supplies (e.g., broom, cleaning solution)

Don’t panic if your apartment doesn’t feel like home for a little while. Getting more than the basics will take time, but eventually, your new fancy budget will help you get everything on your list, and your apartment will gradually feel more like a home and less like a living space. 

Plus, if you have a roommate, that makes your quest to fill the space of essentials even easier! Me? I bought myself a couch from a killer Amazon Prime Day deal—and I’ve been treating myself with one apartment item a month since.


Some of the above surprise costs were never mentioned to me because I didn’t know to ask about them.

Give your post-college world about six to eight months to settle down. Now, I’m much more financially secure and living in a home that feels cozy and welcoming. I’m finally ready to put some money into my travel fund and I don’t sweat the occasional sushi dinner. For now, you just have to buckle in and prepare for a crazy ride after that diploma lands in your hand.


Holly Welles is a millennial-focused real estate writer and the editor behind The Estate Update. For more home tips and financial advice, subscribe to her blog for even more financial advice.

How To Move a Piano: A Piano Mover’s Guide

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: How To Pack, Loading & Unloading Guides

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

How do you move your piano? As with moving anything, the answer revolves around three objectives:

  • Keeping your piano safe
  • Keeping your home safe
  • Keeping yourself safe

No matter what type of piano you have, the best way to accomplish all three is by hiring a team of piano mover pros. Moving a piano on your own (or hiring non-professionals) is simply not a good idea.

Many (but not all) moving companies you find will move pianos as part of what they do. There are even a few who specialize in only moving pianos! The former might be a bit cheaper, while specialists will likely be more expensive.

How much does it cost to move a piano?

Another common question. And the answer is always the same.

It depends.

It mostly depends on:

    • What kind of piano you have
    • How heavy it is
  • How many obstacles (stairs) the movers will have to negotiate

The ballpark is typically between $200-1,000+, touching on both ends of the price spectrum

And it’s a safe bet that hiring piano moving specialists will cost more than having a typical moving company do it as part of your overall move.

As for how many movers you need, and therefore how much it might cost, figure:

  • 2-3 movers for a vertical piano (or 4 if it’s on the heavy end)
  • 4-6 movers for a grand piano

Multiply by your movers’ hourly rate (very roughly $25-40) and there’s your estimate! 

If your total sounds a little high, remember what counts: protecting your piano, protecting your home, and protecting yourself. Hate to say it, but getting that locked down no matter the price should be music to your ears.

Get FREE Piano Mover Quotes

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

 

Who should I hire?

Who you hire will depend on these questions:

What type of piano do you have?

The two major types of pianos are vertical pianos and baby grand pianos. A baby grand piano is an entirely different beast from a vertical piano, and it will impact who you hire.

While many standard moving companies have the tools and the know-how to move a baby grand, as you move up the scale toward larger, heavier and more expensive grands, you should consider hiring a specialist.

How heavy is your piano?

Is it a three-foot, three hundred pound spinet, or a five-foot, half-ton upright? Moving a Piano

Even if you somehow don’t know this, a moving company will either ask, or take an educated guess based on the info you provide, then prepare accordingly.

Where do you live?

Surprisingly, some states have very specific laws regarding piano transportation, due to weight regulations. Unless you are a touring musician, you’re unlikely to know your particular state’s laws, as well as any sticky interstate regulations. Professional movers will likely know all this info for you already.

What is the path out of your location like?

This is strictly the path from piano to truck. Distance is not a problem. Staircases are significant. The more you have and the heavier your piano, the more expertise and number of movers becomes a factor.

How does an upright piano get moved?

Very carefully, we hope. But if there are no staircases to negotiate, don’t be surprised if only two movers show up. Even for a heavier vertical piano, all it takes is for one person to lift one end and one person to position a 4-wheeler underneath.

Centered and balanced on that wheeled wooden rectangle, your piano will be a piece of cake for your movers to roll down the hallway and out the door. (If you clear the way for them beforehand, they’ll appreciate it!)

On average, the process of handling a piano – from wrapping it to moving it to securing it on the truck – only takes about an hour. Multiple flights of stairs and tight pathways will, of course, require more time. 

How to move a piano

But just like every other piece of furniture, a piano needs to be wrapped in thick, protective moving pads. It might seem strange if – potentially – your movers don’t wrap your piano before moving it. However, pads can make it tough to get and keep a firm grip on just about anything bulky and heavy. As a professional mover myself, I personally prefer to wait until the piano is on the truck before wrapping it up. Your movers might want to do the same.

Your movers will also likely have no problem negotiating a step or two (or three) without the aid of a third set of hands.

An entire staircase almost always requires a third person who (absolutely) should be helping out on the lower end of the piano, whether going up or down. The mover handling the higher end, meanwhile, will be bent over trying to keep their side under control. Here, too, a second set of hands is helpful, if not crucial.

But this is a professional’s job. Resist the temptation, if one arises, to jump in and help. Please, trust me on this.

Get FREE Piano Mover Quotes

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

 

Though I’ve never done it myself, it is entirely possible as a last resort to turn a vertical piano upside down. If your movers do this in order to slide your heavy upright down a flight of stairs, understand it is not for any reason but the safety of your piano and your home – and possibly the movers themselves. (You may, however, question them if they try to slide your piano, on any side, across a bare floor or bare steps if that piano has not been pad-wrapped!)

What should I expect if I have to move a baby grand piano?

A grand piano requires an entirely different approach, not to mention totally different equipment. And if only two movers show up? Get between them and your piano and demand they call the office and double, if not triple their manpower. The steps for moving a grand piano show us why.

How to move a piano

Don’t try this at home. When you hire a professional to move your baby-grand piano, this is exactly what you should expect them to do:

    • Your piano is wrapped – across the top and all around the sides
    • All but one of the crew grab hold around the left front corner of the piano
    • The one remaining mover crawls under the piano to remove the bolt from that corner leg. The crew lifts the corner slightly off the floor
    • The mover under the piano (gently) bangs the leg loose from its bracket with a rubber mallet
    • Half the crew holds that now-legless corner up while the other half grabs hold of the piano along the opposite side
    • Legless corner gets lowered to the floor while the movers on the opposite side lift up to keep the weight of the piano off the two remaining (and now diagonal) legs. (This is critical to make sure those legs don’t crack under the piano’s considerable weight.)
    • The left side of piano – the longest side – is set on the piano board the movers need to have brought. This strong narrow platform is padded, has a raised lip on one end, and sports two metal brackets on each side for the ratchet straps necessary to keep the piano strapped tightly to the board
  • Once the piano is strapped firmly in place the remaining two legs are removed, the piano is tilted so a 4-wheeler can be placed under the piano board, and the crew keeps it steady as they get rolling

That’s a lot of technical stuff. Could you even keep up?

Normally, the grand piano will remain on the piano board all the way to the owner’s new living room. But if you rented a rig from Budget truck rental and are using local moving labor like HireAHelper provides, expect the move-out crew to take your piano off their board once it is on the truck. They’ll set it on extra pads and strap it tight to the (inside) wall of the truck, and the unload crew will put it on their piano board to haul it into your new home.

Don’t worry, many of HireAHelper’s movers are well-qualified to handle your piano. Just make sure to checkmark that you own a piano while browsing the nationwide marketplace. And be sure to let the winning mover know what kind you have so they can bring all the right equipment – and enough manpower – to do the job right. Your piano deserves it.


Illustrations by Subin Yang

How Do I Plan a Long Distance Move?

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Long Distance Moving, Moving Checklists & Planning

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Get Your Quote for Movers

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

 

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. 

Car Shipping: How to Ship Your Car (Safely) If You’re Moving Long Distance

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Long Distance Moving

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every year, a large number of people moving to a new state ship their cars for the first time. Shipping a car isn’t hard, but a few common mistakes can cost you a lot of time and money, especially when trying to juggle the logistics of moving your house too.

So I’m using my decade of expertise to help. Here’s how to (safely) do an auto transport using a step-by-step process.

How to Find an Auto-Transport Company

If you reside in a big city, these days it’s as simple as typing “my city auto transport” into Google. The “my city” being either the city you are shipping to or from.

Literally hiring a company online to move your car is usually the easiest part of the entire auto transport process. It’s cheaper than hiring a professional driver, keeps miles off your tires, and it’s helpful if you aren’t able to drive the car to your new place yourself. 

Does the company have to be located where I’m going or where I am now?

No. Finding a company based in either your origin or destination city isn’t crucial. You can absolutely hire a company from anywhere in the country to ship your car. But companies based on where you are or are going are ideal because of the flexibility they might offer with scheduling. The shippers will be in your city of origin or destination for a few days, as opposed to passing through, which usually leads to more flexibility.

What if there is no auto-transport company near me?

Unfortunately, finding an auto transport company specific to your city isn’t always possible, especially if you live in a rural area.

If you live where there are few options near you, your first step is to search for a company based in the opposite place that you are shipping your car either to or from. Every state typically has at least a few auto transport companies that can help.

If you still can’t find one (or you don’t like any of the ones that you do find), move on to just a general search for auto transport companies elsewhere in the country. Yes, you can still receive fine service from a company not based in your state, it’s just an advantage to have someone familiar with your route to work for you.

I always recommend calling them, as opposed to emailing, because you get a much better feel for what working with that company will be like.

Also, call more than a few of the (reputable) companies that show up in your search. (More on finding reputable companies below.)

How much does it cost to transport my car?

This will vary significantly based on lots of factors, but transportreviews.com reports that the average cost is $983, based on the average distance of 1,662 miles. Obviously, this price will fluctuate lower or higher, depending on where you’re transporting your car, as well as how big your vehicle is.

How do I get a quote?

Be prepared to tell the company this basic information:

  • Where is the car is coming from?
  • Where are you going?
  • When do you want to have it shipped?

Knowing the basics is all it takes to get a quote. Want to be really sure what your best option is? It’s standard to get as many as four different quotes to get a good idea of what a fair price is. (Or at least tell them you’re collecting quotes.)

How to Hire a Good Company

How do you know who a bad company is? Knowing this begins with understanding what is happening behind the scenes. There are two types of car shipping services, and first-time shippers usually have no clue which they are (or how good they may be) until well after they ship their first car.

What’s a “Broker” and what’s a “Carrier”? And why does it matter?

Brokers are companies that don’t actually own the truck that ships your car.

Almost all of the companies that you find online are brokers and don’t actually own the transportation. Their purpose is to find the carrier who will actually ship the car. This can sometimes be a necessary step because finding a carrier without the connections that brokers have can be extremely difficult.

You generally want to avoid brokers who are not upfront that they themselves are not shipping your car!

Brokers charge a set fee for their service and make an educated guess on what the rest of the transport will cost when they give you a quote. Whether or not they tell you they are a broker upfront depends on what kind of company you find.

Carriers are the companies that own trucks and employ drivers. This is the company that will do the actual relocating of your vehicle. The reason brokers are necessary is due to most of these shipping companies being extremely small.

It’s not uncommon for the owner of the company to be the driver and sole employee. These small companies don’t have websites and don’t do any marketing because they rely on brokers for their freight. If you are not already inside the industry, finding a company on your route and on your schedule would require hours of work.

With the magic of the internet, it’s easier than ever to check who is and who isn’t legit. Before you request a quote from a company, check their reviews. Car shipping companies have many different sales tactics to trick you once they get your information.

What’s the most common tactic to trick customers?

After ten years of experience, I know it’s simply to promise impossibly low prices in order to get you to book right away.

Do not simply request quotes from as many companies as you can. By giving away your info, you will run into very persistent sales people that will never stop calling you. Furthermore, there are some companies that look like transport companies but are actually what are known as “lead generators”. This means the information you put on their site is going to be sold to 10 or 15 different companies. Your phone will not stop ringing for days!

You want to get as many quotes as you can, but you need to make sure the company is a legitimate broker or carrier before you inquire. How? Check for and read verified reviews before requesting quotes. This will help you avoid bad websites. Did you get an extremely low quote? That’s a red flag.

Get a Written Contract (Then Read It)

If you found a good broker, getting an easy to understand contract should be a breeze. But you still have to be careful (just like you should with every contract you sign!).

What should I watch out for?

Read through the contract very carefully. If your contract says anything – and it will be small – about the price “not being guaranteed”, this is a major red flag.

I have heard plenty of stories from customers about how they signed a contract with a broker, only to be told at the last minute that the price is a $100 to $500 more “than expected”.

Just imagine the moving truck has all of your things, then the broker calls and says they have a carrier but it is going to cost $150 more. You won’t really have a choice by that point.

Correctly Prepare The Inside and Outside of Your Car to Be Shipped

It is standard practice to get your car inspected by the shipping company, but first, you need to clean the car so that an accurate inspection can be done.

If the car is dirty, the driver might miss something when they do the inspection on pick up, or you might miss something when the inspection is done on delivery. An accurate inspection is vital in case there is a problem.

Do auto-shippers charge by weight?

Yes. Lighten your car as much as possible. Auto shippers will charge you by the weight of your car, and bigger vehicles will cost more to ship.

Most drivers allow 100 pounds or less for free. (Remember: the personal items you put in the car cannot be insured.) If you exceed 100 pounds, you could be charged extra for the added weight. For a totally packed small car, the driver will ask for around $200-$300. A totally packed large SUV or truck could be from $300-$500 extra, or the driver might even refuse the shipment. If you need to put things in the car, let your broker know ahead of time when you are booking so that they can arrange it with the carrier.

Drivers also prefer you leave the car with a quarter tank of gas. That’s enough so that they don’t have to worry about it running out when moving it, but not so much that they haul additional weight for no reason.

Get Help Unloading Your Rental Truck

See prices for movers by the hour—instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

 

Arrange to Get Your Car Exactly Where You Can Get It

Now that you’ve found a good company, you’ve signed the contract, and you’ve readied your car, you need to tell the company the best place to have the car picked up.

When will my car be available for pick up?

If you are flying, think about which end you need the car more. Is it the city the car is being picked up in, or the city it is being dropped off at? Trust me, in my experience, you will definitely beat the trucker to your destination. Remember that all delivery dates are estimated.

Moving trucks have one pick up and one drop off, so you can imagine that a moving truck estimate is much more accurate than auto transport trucks, who routinely have to deal with around 10 different pickups and drop-offs a day! Because of this fact, make sure that you have a backup plan on the day of pick up and drop off.

If the car isn’t delivered when and where you need it, ask a friend that can hold onto the car for you, or maybe a neighbor. It’s not even unheard of for a hotel manager or car dealership to offer this as a service.

What to Do When Your Car Shows Up

When the truck comes to pick up the car, make sure the driver does an accurate inspection and that you get a copy of the inspection report on pick up. This ensures the state of your vehicle cannot be altered. The inspection report is the only thing that can support your claim if any damage occurs.

The delivery driver does the inspection on pick up, you do the inspection on the delivery. Remember that if you sign the inspection report, you are releasing the driver and the company from all liability. That means if you notice something later, there is nothing you can do!

In my experience, damage doesn’t happen often and the process for getting reimbursed is not difficult if you do everything right. Almost all damage during transport is extremely minor. Small scratches or a dent is the most common of these things.

Most companies will prefer to handle the matter directly rather than have you go through their insurance company. The most important thing is that you do not sign the inspection report until you have received your reimbursement. Again, damage almost never happens in the first place, but you need to make sure you handle the paperwork properly if it does.

Do I have to do anything else after the car is delivered?

Hopefully, everything is done correctly and the process will be seamless. But if not, leave a review.

If you were happy with the service it’s always nice to leave a review saying so. The best place online to do this is on transportreviews.com, which in my experience is the biggest and most sincere community for car transportation reviews online. By leaving an honest review, companies know what they are doing right and you’ll help the next person transporting their vehicle make a more informed decision.

Similarly, if you weren’t happy with the service, let your broker know. Some things are out of the control of the broker and the driver, so be understanding if your car was a day late. Like I mentioned earlier, dates are always estimates in the auto transport industry.

If however, you feel that your experience was poor, then it’s especially important to leave a review. This helps future customers and the companies that are doing good work out there.


Max is the owner of MiG Auto Transport. He has been in the auto transport industry for over seven years. Originally from New York, he now lives in (sometimes) sunny Jacksonville, FL. He loves his wife, dog, cars and (sometimes) the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When Your DIY Projects Will Fail

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: DIY Projects

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We love a good do-it-yourself project. There’s just something about improving your home all by yourself without the assistance of a professional that feels so darn good! (Heck, our blog is called The DIY Playbook, so obviously we are obsessed with all things DIY.)

But it may shock you that we firmly believe that there are many instances when you should not do a project yourself. (Ever heard of “nailed it”?)

Yep, we’ve outlined all the times when you need to call in a pro to get the job done below.

Time Will Inevitably Be More Valuable Than Money

Many people assume that just because a project is easy, they should do it themselves. However, even simple tasks take time.

Here’s a real situation we were both in recently. Painting a room only takes 1-2 days. The problem is that it takes an entire 1-2 days of your time, and we were moving.

If you have 1,000 things on your to-do list for a big move, then it may make sense to call in a pro to get it done quickly and efficiently. (Hiring help to move is another bright idea when that to-do list is bursting with items!)

It cost us each about $1,000 to hire this DIY out, but we weighed that against packing up one house to move to another, closing on a home, and finishing things up at your old pad. So yeah, painting a room will only take about 1-2 days and costs roughly $100 in supplies, but sometimes you don’t have an open schedule.

In our particular case, an additional $900 was a resource well spent, because hiring it out ensured that we could subtract our labor, plus have a crisp white trim and fresh paint on the walls as we moved our new items in.

Don’t worry DIY fans; as we’ve designed each room in our homes later on, we’ve re-painted a few spaces with new colors ourselves. From experience, what sounds like a great DIY project is only realistic after you have the time.

Some DIY Projects Have Sneaky Costs

People turn to DIY to save money. And it’s true, often times labor is the most expensive part of a large project. However, there are some sneaky costs that you need to keep in mind before you decide to handle a project by yourself. Here are the two biggest ones we’ve figured out are the worst.

Transportation: This line item is way too often overlooked when it comes to large-scale projects. If you need a lot of large materials for a project, figure out how the heck you’re going to get those supplies home before you consider it worthwhile.

DIY Playbook has lived it. We decided to add a large decorative wall treatment to a guest bedroom, not realizing that we would need 12-foot wooden boards from the home improvement store. We had to rent a truck on the fly (which cost about $75). It made us question the savings.

Tools and Supplies: The more you DIY, the more tools and general DIY supplies you’ll acquire, making this a thing of the past. But the first time you tackle a project, you’ll probably have to buy all.the.things.

We recently completed a large tiling project for the first time and that meant we had to buy trowels, sponges, and a wet saw for the job. That added up to a couple hundred dollars pretty quickly! Of course, the next time we do a tiling project we will be prepared (and won’t have to spend quite as much), but buying all new supplies is something you’ll want to consider.

However, by making that investment in purchasing and learning how to till ourselves, we saved about $2,500 in labor. (Granted it took us two months to get the bathroom done, but heck … that’s still some big saving!)

Think through a project carefully, jot down some numbers, and add everything up before you start a project on your own.

Be Honest When You Don’t Know How

As DIY’ers ourselves, we always encourage people to expand their skill. However, if you’re an average homeowner, there are projects that will be far too advanced for you.

For instance, while we think most people can easily learn how to install a faucet online, we’d advise hiring a plumber to move plumbing lines in a bathroom. Sometimes it isn’t just safety to you and your materials, but not knowing regulation and keeping things to code also matters. The project don’t necessarily have to be too advanced for you to need an expert opinion.

And of course, some projects are incredibly dangerous if you handle them yourself! Gas repairs or extensive electrical work are not DIY projects. Know your limits and hire out when necessary.

Don’t DIY “ASAP Projects”

As a homeowner, you’re bound to run into emergency issues that need to be fixed ASAP. Whether it’s a flooded bathroom or a busted hot water heater, you’ll want to have a professional on call immediately.

When we were renovating our bathroom, we accidentally bumped the toilet valve and it immediately started leaking. Not wanting to flood our new bathroom, we called in a plumber to swap the old valve with a new one. This set us back about $275, but the job was done correctly and in about an hour. Plus, we felt much more at ease knowing our new bathroom wasn’t going to flood from that pipe!

These urgent issues should be handled by a professional. When you don’t have the time to research and buy the correct supplies, you can make a mistake trying to do an extensive repair yourself. If it’s a home emergency, call it in.

Don’t Experiment If You’re Gonna Stare at It Every Day

If there are any perfectionists tuning in, this category is for you. You may be stuck looking at the results of your DIY for years, so if you are someone who may constantly critique minor (or major) mistakes, then DIY-ing a large project may not be worth the money saved.

We recently renovated our guest bathroom (more on that here!) and I stare at all of the tiles in there when I shower. I’ll always focus in on the corners where I know a tile is 1/8 of an inch off from our handiwork. It’s minor, but it really bugs me!

We know this question sounds like a silly one to ask yourself, but DIY-ing is never worth it if you’re not going to love the end result, or even worse, hate it more than when you started.

The DIY Projects We Recommend

There are lots of DIY projects that you can (and should!) tackle on your own. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

  • Changing Doorknobs
  • Painting your Front Door
  • Changing a Faucet
  • Installing a Ceiling Fan
  • Swapping out Light Fixtures
  • Changing an Outlet
  • Adding Cosmetic Woodworking to Walls
  • Installing a Smart Thermostat
  • Fixing a Screen Door
  • Painting a Room
  • Changing out your Baseboard

To DIY or not to DIY? Sometimes the answer is crystal clear. But when you’re unsure, we hope you consult this list so you make the right decision for you (and your home!).

How to Best Unload Your Moving Truck

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Loading & Unloading Guides, Moving Trucks

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Outfitting Your House for a Child With a Disability

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Home Improvement, Kids & Pets

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you outfitting a home for a child with a disability? The U.S. Census Bureau reports that around 12 percent of the population is disabled while the PEW Research Center puts that number even higher. That means while only 5.4 percent of children five to seven years old are disabled, they still comprise a pretty large part of the population.

For those children, having a home that they can feel comfortable in is very important. Outfitting your home for a child with a disability, however, can be a nuanced process. Each type of disability is different and each requires special modifications to the house. Home modifications for disabled kids can also be costly depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.

If your house needs modifications because of a disabled child, or you’re looking for ways to create a space where your child with a disability can lead a safe and happy life, this guide will help. We’ll discuss the most common impairments and adaptations that can be made for every situation.


Creating a Space Where Disabled Kids Can Thrive

Creating a Space Where Disabled Kids Can Thrive

Whether you recently acquired your new ability status, have moved into a house that needs updates or have a sudden need to make your home accessible, it’s important to assess the needs of your disabled child.

You will want to create a space where your disabled kid can feel at home, feel safe and free to be themselves. It’s important to consider the safety of each room, as well as the exterior of the house and common spaces. Consider your child’s unique needs and how you can make your house safer for them.

Adapting a Home to Medical Equipment

Adapting a Home to Medical Equipment

If your child will need medical equipment or medications, there are a few things to consider, such as safe storage for medical supplies and medicines. You may need to add outlets or additional power options if your child’s medical equipment is powered by electricity.

You must also consider whether your child’s equipment needs a backup power source. Would they need a generator during a power outage? If so, you should have one or two on hand. If your house has stairs and your child is mobility challenged, you may need a stair lift to ensure they have access to the whole house.

Staying in Budget when Modifying Your House

The cost for accessibility modifications can be anywhere from $1,600 to $14,160. Since there are such a variety of customizations, the gap is quite large.

Some children may struggle more than others. If you need to buy multiple pieces of equipment or make extensive modifications, it can get very expensive. When purchasing the equipment, consider which purchase is more important. Those that are life-sustaining or give your kid mobility will be the most important—prioritize these.

If you are having trouble affording the equipment you need, consider a loan. If you own your house, you may be able to use its equity to make modifications to it. The first step is to get a cost estimate from a contractor, then talk to your bank about acquiring the funds.

Staying in Budget when Modifying Your House

Undertake as many of the projects as you can on your own. Modifications such as grab bars and stepping stools can be easy to DIY. Contract out what you can’t do yourself with a local handyman or contractor and compare prices.

Since children grow fast, it can make more sense to buy secondhand equipment. Talk to your doctor first to discuss whether or not the items you need are safe to buy secondhand. If they are, you can look for used mobility equipment, therapy toys or adaptive furniture on Craigslist in your area. Medical equipment that must be sanitary is not a good choice for this option.

When to Move Instead of Modify

Modifying a house for a disabled kid can be difficult. Making renovations can get costly, so sometimes it makes sense to move into a house that is already accessible. If the costs to modify a house far exceed its worth, it may not be smart to modify.

If serious modifications are needed (like taking out walls or widening hallways), it can drive costs up fast, making it more affordable to move. If you live in a two-story house and your child cannot get up the stairs (or use a stair lift) on their own, it may be smart to move into a one-story house.

If the layout of your house does not allow for the necessary modifications or if the rooms are too small to accommodate your medical equipment, it may be time to move.

Talk to your real estate agent about new home options that are more fitting for your needs and compare costs of purchasing vs. modifying.

Modifications for Children in Wheelchairs

Modifications for Children in Wheelchairs

Your child in a wheelchair will have very different household needs compared to a child who is visually impaired or has cognitive struggles. Thought should be given into what modifications will make it easier and safer for your child in a wheelchair to get around.

Flooring

Throughout the house, flooring should be non-slip, which includes hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, most ceramic flooring and vinyl flooring with an embossed surface. Laminate flooring is a popular choice, as it is very durable and scuff marks are easily removed. If selecting carpet, low pile carpet should be used.

Exterior Modifications

Modifications will likely need to be made to the exterior of the house to make it safe and easily accessible for your child in a wheelchair.

  • The front door should be widened to at least 36 inches to follow ADA recommendations for doorways.
  • You will need to install an entrance ramp if there are stairs outside your house. The entrance will need to be step-free, meaning a level threshold, or have a small ramp to make it easier for your child to enter. There are many different options for wheelchair ramps.
  • Concrete and sidewalks outside should be level and outfitted with traction control.
  • There should be nothing blocking the entryway or path to the entrance. It’s best to have a five-foot square space in the entryway for the wheelchair to maneuver.
  • Motion sensored lighting will make it easy for your child to access the entryway at all hours.

Adapting a Home to Medical Equipment

Doors, Hallways and Stair Modifications

Again, it’s incredibly important for your child to be able to move around inside the house easily.

  • Hallways should be wide enough for a wheelchair to navigate through (at least 42 inches).
  • Doors throughout the house should be a minimum of 34 inches but preferably 36 inches.
  • In some situations grab bars on either side of the stairs will work, especially if it’s a small stairway. Larger stairways may require a stairlift installation.

Kitchen Modifications

Since your child will not be doing the bulk of the cooking, kitchen modifications don’t need to be as extensive as they would be for a disabled adult. But there are still a few modifications that can help your child feel welcome and at home in the kitchen.

  • If your child will be able to warm things up for themselves and get snacks, it’s important to have at least one low cabinet or pull out drawer that they can utilize. This should also house something to eat on and utensils.
  • If possible, have a wide open floor space so that your child can easily navigate the kitchen.
  • There should be a kitchen table of appropriate height so that your child can pull up and eat, work on homework or craft.
  • It would help to have a grabber device in the area so that the child can grab any snacks that are out of reach or light items they need.

Kitchen Modifications

Bathroom Modifications

The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous areas in the house due to slipping hazards and will likely require significant adjustments for a child in a wheelchair. Since each situation will be different, it can be helpful to watch your child maneuver the area and see where they are struggling. You can add grab bars and make modifications as they are needed. You will also want to:

  • Ensure your bathroom is large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in.
  • If possible, eliminate any edge or obstruction that would make it hard for them to get into the shower. Doorless showers can make it easy for a child to get in and out of the area to wash.
  • Install grab bars along all sides of the shower so that your child can get themselves in and out easily.
  • Place a seat inside the shower and position it so that your child can move easily from their chair to the bench.
  • Make sure the floor has a no-slip pad to prevent injuries associated with slipping.
  • Modify your sink for wheelchair access by either lowering it or reinforcing it to hold the weight of someone leaning on it.
  • Lower the mirror so that someone in a wheelchair can see into it.
  • Install grab bars by the toilet so that your child can easily maneuver onto it. The toilet area should be around 48 by 56 inches with at least 18 inches from the side wall.

Living Room and Bedroom Modifications

The living and bedroom areas should be positioned so that it’s easy for your child to move about.

  • Arrange furniture so that there is nothing obstructing pathways in the house. Keep electrical cords off the floor.
  • Designate a spot in the living room where your child can park their chair to join in on the activities.
  • Avoid having area rugs as these can obstruct a wheelchair.
  • Make sure there is ample room for your child to turn around and move freely in a wheelchair. Open-concept floor plans are great for this.


Modifications for Visually Impaired Children

Modifications for Visually Impaired Children

Modifications for a visually impaired child should make it easier for them to navigate the house or evacuate in case of an emergency. Fortunately, modifications for the visually impaired can be done more easily and are often less expensive than modifications for the mobility challenged.

Exterior Modifications

The exterior of the house should be modified for safety when your child enters or leaves the home or spends time outdoors.

  • The areas around the house should be well-lit and free of debris or things your child can easily trip on.
  • It’s helpful to have grab rails available to your child if there are any stairs or steps up into the house.
  • Keep items like tools or toys stored in the same area.
  • Move fragile or dangerous items into a locked shed or garage.

Doors, Hallways and Stair Modifications

Any area that your child will be traveling through often will need to be cleared of debris and safe for them to move about.

  • Tack or tape down any rugs or runners. Add non-slip mats underneath if you are able.
  • Tape down any electrical cords or ensure they are not laying where your child can trip on them.
  • Keep hallways and stairwells well lit.

Doors, Hallways and Stair Modifications

Kitchen Modifications

The kitchen can be a particularly dangerous place for the visually impaired. These modifications can help reduce the chance of injury.

  • Food, drinks and anything consumable should be labeled very clearly. If your child is blind or has extremely limited vision, you will need to label food items with braille. Here is a website that goes into extensive detail about labeling food items for the visually impaired.
  • If your child will be heating up snacks or doing small cooking tasks, label the microwave or dials on the stove top. Make sure everything they will need is always in the same location.
  • Keep dangerous things like knives and medication out of reach so your child can’t grab them.

Bathroom Modifications

The bathroom can also be dangerous for children who can’t see well (or at all). You can prevent injury by making sure special modifications are in place.

  • Install a safety rail at the edge of the tub or in the shower.
  • Mark their toothbrush with a rubber band or piece of tape so that it is easily identifiable.
  • Buy towels and mats that have contrasting colors to the floors and fixtures in the bathroom. All mats should be non-slip.
  • Use non-slip surfaces on the floor of the shower or tub.
  • Purchase non-spill dispensers for soap, shampoo and other liquids.

Living Room and Bedroom Modifications

Your child should feel the most at home in your living areas and bedrooms. There are several modifications you can make to the room so that finding needed items becomes second nature to your visually impaired child.

  • Use textures whenever possible so that your child can distinguish between things more easily.
  • Keep all pathways clear of obstructions that your child could possibly trip over. Make sure other children in the house are aware that they will need to pick up after themselves consistently.
  • Avoid area rugs or install non-slip rugs in common areas.
  • Make sure everything your child would need has a “home” and try to remember to put it back after you’re done using it every time. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Remove low-lying objects like coffee tables and ottomans that your child could trip over.


Modifications for Children with Sensory Concerns

Modifications for Children with Sensory Concerns

Sensory processing issues like hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity can be caused by a number of reasons. For children with sensory processing issues, dealing with sensory information can be confusing and at times frustrating. They may exhibit resistance to change and trouble focusing, problems with motor skills, lack of social skills or poor self-control.

If you have a child with sensory needs, you will need to outfit your house so that it feels like a safe space for your child.

Throughout the House

Sometimes, even the normal hustle and bustle of a home is too much for a child with sensory issues. There are things you can to do tone down the intensity of your house so your child can function properly.

  • Paint the walls in your house with neutral, soothing colors and avoid bright, bold colors.
  • Install light dimmers so that you can dim the lights when needed.
  • Keep your home free from clutter and unnecessary decor to cut down on the distractions.
  • Avoid having candles or diffusers that may emit strong odors.
  • Use weighted blankets in your child’s bedroom so that they can sleep better.

Create a Safe Space

Create a Safe Space

It’s a good idea to have a safe space your child can retreat to if they need a moment to regroup. A “sensory corner” that is quiet and stocked with cozy, comfy things is a smart idea.

Pick a corner that is dim, quiet and warm. You could even consider building a little “fort”. They sell fort beds, but you can also get creative and make a DIY fort.

Fill it with blankets and pillows, quiet, imaginative toys, squishy seating like bean bag chairs, and books or some music they can listen to.

Provide for Sensory Input

While some children thrive with sensory avoidance, others actually need sensory input. If you have a sensory seeking kid, your home can become damaged as your child explores their surroundings seeking different sensations.

Create safe spaces for sensory experiences by adding things your child can play on like a trampoline for jumping or safe, padded spaces for jumping into. Noisy toys, seats that wiggle and bounce or any kind of toy where your child can create sensory experiences is helpful. Each child will be different, so keep an eye on your child to decipher their specific needs.

Modifications for Autistic Children

Modifications for Autistic Children

New studies report that around 1 in 68 children in the United States are on the autistic spectrum, with the majority of them being male. Cases can range in severity, so it’s important to assess your child’s individual needs and outfit your home accordingly.

Exterior Modifications

There are several things you can do to ensure that the exterior of your house is safe for your autistic child. It is common for autistic children to want to be outside and in motion, so leaving the home to go outside unsupervised is sometimes an issue.

Use locks and alarms on doors and windows so that you will be alerted when your child enters and exits the home. You will also want to make sure your yard is safe from dangerous items like yard-work tools or sharp objects.

Kitchen Modifications

Kitchen Modifications

The kitchen can become a dangerous place for an autistic child if the proper precautions aren’t taken. There are a few things you can do to make it safer and more difficult for them to injure themselves or others.

  • Install durable surfaces and keep breakables out of reach. If your child has an outburst or participates in exploratory behavior, they can be destructive in the kitchen.
  • Arrange kitchen furniture so that your child has an appropriate place to sit and work if they need to. Keep furniture away from shelves and anywhere else that they could possibly climb.
  • Label things to explain their function or enforce rules. Images that say “STOP” or “NO”  work well to deter your child from getting into things they shouldn’t. You can place these on doors that are not to be opened or containers that hold poisonous substances. Cleaning supplies should be locked away in these drawers or cabinets.
  • Put sharp items such as scissors, knives or any other sharp tools high up or secured in a place where your child can’t access them.
  • Keep lighters or matches locked up so your child doesn’t burn themselves while exploring their world.
  • Store things in cupboards or pantries as much as possible to cut down on clutter which can upset autistic children.
  • Buy appliances with safety features such as child locks or hidden controls.

Exterior Modifications

Living Room, Bathroom and Bedroom Modifications

In the rest of the house, you will want to use special precautions to make sure your autistic child doesn’t harm themselves or cause damage to your house.

  • Avoid using fluorescent lighting as these can tire autistic children out. Choose incandescent lighting whenever possible.
  • Build a playroom or safe play space where they have free reign. Create an environment where it’s easy for your child to focus on you or their learning activities and explore the world around them.
  • Reduce visual stimulation by coloring the rooms neutral or soothing colors and keeping the home clutter-free.
  • Make electrical outlets safe by placing plastic covers over them when they are not in use. You will want to ensure that wiring for electronics is concealed in a way that the child can’t access the wires.
  • Appliances can be made safe by using plastic child-proof knob covers for doors, faucets, ovens and stove burners. Lock the door to rooms that house the washer and dryer or power tools.
  • Organize functional items in see-through plastic bins so that your child knows where everything is. Use visual labels like symbols or photos to mark these bins.
  • Use visual signals to help your child understand limits and set expectations. Using colored tape to designate boundaries on carpets, floors and walls can visually remind children where their bodies should remain.
  • Make fire safety a priority and always keep matches and lighters out of reached or locked up. Supervise your child closely when there is a fire in the fireplace or a barbecue with open flames. Make sure smoke detectors are always working properly.


Resources for Parents of Special Needs Children

Resources for Parents of Special Needs Children

There is a wealth of information available for parents of special needs children on the internet. Whether you’re interested in learning more about the needs of your child, gaining financial assistance or looking for emotional support, there is something available. We’ve listed some of our favorites below.

General Information and Support

  • Care.com has a number of helpful resources for parents of children with disabilities.

Financial Resources

The Best Type of Packing Tape to Use When Moving

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: How To Pack, Moving Boxes & Supplies

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Packing tape is an item you probably don’t give much thought to until you really need it, after which it’s the only thing that really seems to matter.

If you’re painting a room, you’ll want to find the perfect painter’s tape to get the job done right. If you’re in the midst of moving your “to buy” list probably includes boxes, moving blankets, packing material, and yes, packing tape!

But what type of packing tape is best to use when moving?

It depends on what you are taping, so first you need to know a couple of things.

After moving lots ourselves, we’ve concluded that not all tape is created equal. Some tapes are not right for moving boxes and will make packing a heck of a lot harder. Not only that, but only having one type of tape won’t work well for each step in your moving process.

So knowing what we know now, let’s chat about how the tapes you’ll find at the store are actually different…

Tape Factors

There are lots of factors that differentiate each type of tape. Here are things to keep in mind when choosing the right tape for your packing needs.

  • Temperature: Some tapes are better than others when it comes to standing up to certain temperatures and humidity levels. You’ll want to take the environment into account when deciding on a tape so it stays sealed even in a humid storage unit or on a chilly moving truck.
  • Grade: The grade is a fancy word for the stickiness and strength of the tape. The higher the grade, the thicker and stronger the tape.
  • Adhesive: There are a few different kinds of adhesives for different stuff you’re sticking together. Most notably, hot melt adhesive and acrylic adhesive.
  • Width and Color: How wide is the tape, and is it wide enough to cover the gap in your boxes? What color is it? Color is something to think about when it comes time to organize and sort all of your boxes during the unpack.

Okay now that we got the technical jargon out of the way, let’s figure out what tape is best for you and your move!

Best Tapes for Moving

#1: Shipping Tape

Shipping tape is going to be your best bet for your move. This tape is often a hot melt adhesive and thus is strong enough to withstand the handling of your moving boxes as you get from point A to B. You’ll also want to grab a handheld tape dispenser so it’s easy to cut and apply to boxes quickly. (Plus, this makes you feel pretty cool knocking out boxes like a pro.)

You can buy this tape and the tape “gun” at any home improvement, office, or moving store—it’s often clear and comes in 2-3 inch widths. Shipping tape also lacks a cloth backing, so it’s easy to undo from your boxes when it’s time to unpack.

Use For: Building and sealing moving boxes.

Price: ~$9-12 on Amazon

#2: Storage Tape

This special tape should be used for boxes that are going into your storage unit with no plan to get them out any time soon. We’re looking at you, boxes of Beanie Babies from 2nd grade. Because it’s a heavier acrylic adhesive, this stuff can last up to 10 years in any type of temperature or humidity. So you can leave those boxes in your storage unit knowing that they’ll stay tightly closed.

Use For: Boxes going into storage for the long-haul.

Price: ~$15-20 on Amazon

#3: Masking Tape

Most of us have used masking tape … it’s that thin beige tape that you may use for random tasks around the house. While this tape comes in handy during the moving process, it shouldn’t ever be used for sealing. It’s really just not that good at it. But it’s still a worthwhile tape to pick up when packing because you can use it to bundle kitchen utensils or even label boxes.

Of course, it’s really great tape to write on, so grab that permanent marker and start labeling, baby!

Use For: Labeling and bundling packing items.

Price: ~$10 for 4-pack on Amazon

#4: Washi Tape

Washi tape is quite possibly our favorite tape on the list because it has so much personality. Plus, it’s way cuter than tapes #1-3. You used to only be able to find this tape at craft stores, but now it’s popping up all over the place because people can’t seem to get enough of the cute patterns and colors. This tape comes in handy if you want to have an organized move and color code all of your boxes.

We especially love this idea to make sure your boxes stay organized by room and end up in the right place on moving day!

Use For: Organizing boxes.

Price: ~$5-15 for wide varieties of patterns and colors on Amazon

Tapes You Shouldn’t Use for Moving

If you stick to our top four tapes for your move, then you should be good to go. But just to make sure you stay on track, we want to mention the tapes that you should avoid for moving.

  • Electrical Tape
  • Plumber’s Tape
  • Medical Tape
  • Cellophane Tape (aka Scotch tape)

Time to Get Taping!

So are you feeling a bit more informed about your taping needs for your upcoming move? Who knew there were so many varieties to choose from? But if choosing the perfect tape for your move makes the process a tiny bit less stressful, then we think it’s worthwhile to spend the time buying the right stuff to get the job done! Go on that tape shopping spree and load up your cart with all of your taping needs.

×

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.
Explore
×

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.
Explore