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If you are visually impaired or blind, modifying your house to fit your specific needs can make all the difference. It can allow you to move around more easily and complete day to day tasks in less time.

While everyone is different and there are varying degrees of vision loss, there are usually fairly simple, low-cost changes you can make to the spaces you spend the most time in.

If your vision is gradually diminishing, you can start making these changes ahead of time for added convenience. If the vision loss is sudden or you have a child that is visually impaired, there are adaptive techniques you can learn to help your days go by smoothly.

In either instance, it’s important to ensure your living space is safe, comfortable and easy to navigate. In this guide, we’ll show you how to make sure your home is organized in a way that meets the most important requirements.

Types of Visual Impairment

First off, let’s explore the varying degrees of visual impairment. Visual impairment usually means that both eyes are experiencing a significant loss of vision that cannot be fixed with glasses. The two main categories of visual impairment are:

Low Vision – These people are partially sighted, which means they can see to varying degrees but have a visual acuity of 20/70 or poorer. Experiencing low vision to the point that it interferes with your daily life can be incredibly frustrating. People with low vision may require special equipment and/or modifications.

Most people described as “legally blind” have some vision, but are experiencing enough vision loss that they are entitled to government or private agency service. Their vision is usually around 20/200 or less. The degrees of visual impairment are:

    • Moderate Visual Impairment: 20/70 to 20/160
    • Severe Visual Impairment (Legally Blind): 20/200 to 20/400
    • Profound Visual Impairment (Legally Blind): 20/500 to 20/1000

Those with profound visual impairment are often able to perceive the difference between light and dark, or daylight and night time. Some of these people can recognize forms or where the light is coming from, which allows them a bit more flexibility than those who are totally blind.

Total Blindness – These people have no light perception and are unable to see forms. Around 85% of people with eye disorders have some remaining sight, while only 15% of them are totally blind. Being totally blind is the most difficult visual impairment to live with, but also the rarest.

Home Modifications for Those With Low Vision

If you are living with one of the above types of visual impairment you will want to outfit your home in a way that will make life more efficient. Depending on your degree of visual impairment, there are simple adjustments that can be made to help with your day-to-day activities.

Thankfully, many of these modifications are low cost and can be fairly easily implemented. It’s just a matter of knowing the basics and planning.

Adjust the Lighting

You will want to provide plenty of light in the areas of the home that are used for recreation, reading and socializing. Light should always be aimed at the point of focus, i.e., where you will be doing work, not at the eyes. Tips to help provide adequate lighting around the house include:

  • Adding floor and table lamps around the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom. Clip-on lights can be placed strategically around the house for added convenience.
  • Use lighting that is 60-100 watts. Replace burned out bulbs regularly so that you are able to see better.
  • Allow for natural light throughout the home by using adjustable blinds or sheer curtains.
  • Experiment with lighting to find out which works best for your individual needs. There is halogen, fluorescent, incandescent or flood lighting and most people will prefer different ones. It’s worth noting that fluorescent light does bother many visually impaired people.
  • Keep a flashlight or heavy-duty light on a keychain or have a few around the house in case you need additional light at night.
  • Make sure light is uniform throughout your entire hallway to more easily identify where it curves or ends.

Rearrange the Furniture

Rearranging the furniture in your house can help you move around more easily and avoid injury. There are also certain ways you can arrange your furniture to add convenience and functionality to your living space. You can:

  • Place mirrors strategically to avoid glare or reflecting light.
  • Keep some chairs near the windows in case you want to read, work or craft in the natural light.
  • Arrange furniture close together so that you can easily converse with others.
  • When buying new furniture, try to pick upholstery with texture. This will help you identify the different pieces of furniture better.
  • Place brightly colored vases or lamps near key items of furniture so that you can locate it more easily.
Eliminate Safety Hazards

Feeling safe inside your own home is important. There are a number of things you can do to prevent falls and other injuries—and most of them are quite simple. You can:

  • Keep desk and table chairs pushed in and train your family to do the same. All of the time. No exceptions.
  • Use non-skid, non-glare products to clean and polish your floors. Avoid waxing floors, which can make them slippery!
  • Remove low-lying objects that might be trip hazards such as coffee tables and end tables.
  • Ensure there are no cords in any of the pathways so that you don’t trip.
  • Make sure electrical cords are removed from pathways or taped down securely.

  • Tape down any area rugs you have and replace any worn carpeting or floor coverings.
  • Keep all floors dry and wipe up any spills immediately.
  • Install grab bars or safety rails in high-slip areas like your bathroom or on the stairs.
  • Mark step edges with yellow reflective tape so that you can easily identify them.
  • Always keep your fire extinguisher and first aid kit in the same, easily accessible place.
  • Make sure all exits are marked with a bright, contrasting color in case of emergency.
  • Have smoke and fire alarms checked often, and ensure they are loud enough that you can hear them in all areas of the house.

Use Contrasting Colors

Keep the color principles top of mind as you prepare your home. Know that bright colors are often the easiest to see since they reflect light. Solid, brighter colors such as orange, red and yellow are more visible than their muted counterparts.

It’s important to keep in mind that dim light can wash out certain colors, while bright light can amplify them. Test what works best for you, and use contrasting colors to make the areas of your house easier to distinguish.

  • Use brightly colored vases, lamps or sculptures to help identify where key pieces of furniture are.
  • Avoid upholstery and rugs that are patterned. Stripes and checks can create confusion for some people who are visually impaired.
  • Use color to indicate changes in surface level (such as on the stairs).
  • Use contrasting colors to warn about places that may be hazardous or require extra attention (such as fluorescent tape on the inside of doors or cabinets that may be ajar).
  • Color-code household items you use often or bills and documents you may need to work with. (Brightly colored post-it notes work great!)
  • Drape a brightly colored blanket or towel in a contrasting color on the back of your favorite chair or your spot on the couch.
  • Use dark, solid colors as borders around white or light objects (such as a light switch). This will help it to stand out.
  • Place dark objects (like chairs) in front of lighter colored walls which will also help these items to stand out.
  • Avoid using clear glass dishes and cups, as they are more difficult to see.
  • Paint door knobs and door frames a bright color so that they are easier to see.
  • Use a different color of paint on the ceiling than the walls.
  • Use solid (non-patterned) rugs to help you identify different areas of the home.
Create an Organized Environment

If you keep your home organized it will be easier to find things when you need them. It can also eliminate any tripping hazards and reduce frustration when doing everyday chores. Here are some tips to help you say organized:

  • Label, label, label. Label everything in your home, from reusable bottles to hangers for clothing to on/off switches. You can even label cabinets!
  • Use drawer dividers and closet organizers to separate clothing.
  • Label clothing with the letter of the clothing color on the tag.
  • Develop a system to keep food and toiletry items organized. Always keep these items in the same place and label them as necessary.
  • Always keep chairs and other easily movable furniture in the same place.
  • Use large numbered devices for telephones, timers, calculators or anything with numbers that need to be seen.
  • Train family members to respect the organizational system you’ve developed. Explain to them why and how it helps you.

Additional Home Modifications for the Totally Blind

If you are fully blind, there will be some additional unique procedures that you will need to implement. (Of course, the inability to see light, color or form will make the lighting and contrast instructions from the last section impractical.) There are also extra precautions you will need to take to stay safe and organized in your house.

However, there are still plenty of inexpensive, simple ways to make your house safer and more livable.

Remove Obstacles and Hazards

As with those who have low vision, people who are fully blind will want to remove as many trip hazards and obstacles as possible. Things should always be placed in the same spot, and you should make sure your family follows these house rules whenever possible. Other tips to keep yourself safe from hazards at home include:

  • Install a phone entry system for your front door so that you can speak to anyone who comes to it.
  • Avoid having any low-hanging lamps or other obstacles you could bump your head on.
  • Keep furniture in the same place at all times and instruct family members to do the same.
  • Identify spots throughout your home where you can put your walking cane down and easily retrieve it again.
  • Keep anything that can be easily knocked off a table away from the edges, perhaps avoid having too many lamps, art or breakable sculptures.
  • Label all medicines and any unidentifiable food with braille labels.
  • Keep any cleaning products in a safe cabinet and ensure each product is properly labeled. It can be handy to keep these in a completely separate spot from the food products to avoid contamination.
  • Avoid having a flat-topped stove in your kitchen. Your stove should have a change of texture to indicate where the burner is located. If possible, avoid easy to turn knobs on the stove and oven.
  • Install handrails in the bathroom, by the tub, in the shower and down the side of any stairs in your house.
  • Close closet and cupboard doors as soon as you are done with them (and have your family do the same).

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Renovating a bathroom is no small task. But upgrading your outdated bathroom is often a worthy investment, especially if you’re looking to increase the value of your home.

According to U.S. News, investing in a bathroom remodel results in a 62% return on average.

My husband and I recently tackled our own bathroom renovation all by ourselves. (Well, mostly by ourselves … we did hire out a few advanced tasks.) While it was a difficult and time-consuming job, we lived to tell the tale and we now have a gorgeous new space that undoubtedly increased the value of our Chicago condo.

Our new bathroom! But how did we get here?

We learned a lot along the way. A lot of preparation goes into planning a bathroom renovation. So before you whip out that sledgehammer, here’s what you should do to start your bathroom renovation off on the right foot.

Write Out a Detailed Wish List For Your Bathroom Rennovation

When you buy a home, you often go in with a “wish list” of items (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large backyard, etc.). There are some items on the list that are non-negotiable, and others that “would be nice to have…”

You need to make this exact same type of list for your bathroom renovation.

Spend an hour inside the space you’re renovating writing down “wants” and “needs”. It’s pretty important that you and your roomie/spouse/partner are on the same page from the start on what you want for the space, so make sure you do this step together if applicable!

For our bathroom renovation, we decided that removing our outdated tub and replacing it with a standing shower was our number one objective. Ideally, we also wanted to build a shower niche to hold all of our shower accessories, but that item was on the “would be nice to have” list.

Learn What to DIY vs. What to Hire Out

Renovating a bathroom yourself can definitely save you money because professional labor is often the most expensive part of any renovation. However, if you don’t have the time (or skills) to DIY, this will not be the best option for you. My advice? Make a list of every single task that you think needs to be done in the space … all the way from the demolition to installing the final light fixture.

An image from our DIY journey

Some of the small tasks can definitely be done by yourself, even with little to no DIY skills. We had never tackled a bathroom renovation before but figured out each step along the way. (We  watched plenty of YouTube tutorials, which we highly recommend!).

The number one task we’d recommend doing yourself is the demolition of the space.

As long as you wear the proper safety gear, you can gut your bathroom in a weekend (here’s how we demoed our space!). We ripped everything out down to the studs, and this ended up saving us at least a few hundred dollars in labor.

Other (more advanced) tasks are often best left to the professionals. These things include:

  • Waterproofing the shower
  • Moving plumbing fixtures
  • Moving lighting fixtures

This stuff ended up being too advanced for us. We both knew that we would need to find a pro to get those important tasks done correctly.

Consider Hiring a Designer to Finalize the Floor Plan Before You Touch Anything

If you plan to move plumbing and electrical fixtures, you may want to consider hiring a designer to help plan the layout of the space. Yes, this comes at a cost, but it may save you headaches and expensive mistakes down the line.

I used Angie’s List to find a designer to help with the layout of our bathroom. For $400, she:

  • Measured our space
  • Made suggestions on placement of items
  • Provided a detailed rendering of the final plan for renovation

For our budget and what we got out of it, it was worth every penny. A designer can also help you source items and figure out the style and look of the space they’re tasked on. We were happy to handle that stuff ourselves, so we didn’t need to pay for additional services. Also, our designer also provided us with a few recommendations for contractors. Which brings us to…

Find and Hire a Contractor

Finding the right contractor is no easy feat. You want someone who is reliable, trustworthy, and will do a good job. We received recommendations from our designer, but you can ask neighbors, friends or check out a review site like Angie’s List. I recommend meeting with at least two to three potential contractors to get in-person estimates.

Here are some questions we learned to ask when interviewing for a contractor:

  • What will this project entail?
  • How long will it take?
  • Do I need to be home?
  • Can you break down the cost of labor and materials?
  • Are the materials included?
  • When can you start? Is that date firm?
  • Do I need a building permit?
  • How will payment work?
  • How will you protect my home?
  • What are the next steps?

It’s important to over-communicate with your contractor and make sure you’re on the same page from the start. If you’re DIY-ing some tasks of the renovation, you’ll want to discuss this with them ahead of time to make sure they recommend that. We outlined exactly what we needed our contractor to do and what we would be handling ourselves, so our’s was “in the know” from the start!

Set the Budget and Order Your Bathroom Rennovation Stuff Now

Once you find a contractor that’s the right fit, you’ll get an estimate from them for the project. Understand what they will be providing for the renovation and what you will need to buy yourself.

Which means if you are DIY’ing portions of the project, now is the time to gather your tools and supplies to get the job done. Look up each task and make a list of the tools you will need. You may need to rent a few power tools (like a wet saw for tiling), so keep those rental costs in mind. Or see if you can borrow some of these larger tools from friends or neighbors. When it comes to DIY supplies, local home improvement stores are your best bet. Our advice? Go in with a detailed list and try to visit on a weeknight when the store will be less crowded and you can get one-on-one attention from an employee.

As for the new bathroom products, now is the time to place your order. While you can certainly hit up the big box home improvement stores, we’ve found a lot of success with online retailers.

Here are some of the spots we recommend for the major bathroom products:

If you take away one piece of advice from this entire article, I hope it’s this next part: Order all of your products now and do not start your renovation until everything has arrived.

Sometimes you can place an order for a vanity or shower hardware, only to find that it’s back ordered for six weeks! You don’t want your entire renovation on hold because of that, so order everything and get it delivered before the project physically starts!

Make a Timeline

Now that all of your product is ordered (and arriving soon!), you can create a bathroom renovation timeline. Communicate this timeline with everyone involved in the project … your contractor, designer, spouse, family members, etc.

Because we were DIY-ing a good portion of our bathroom, I reserved every weekend for a month on my calendar (as well as my husband’s). That way we didn’t book anything during that time, and we could focus on getting the job done. But even though you have a timeline, know that it will probably change. I anticipated that we could get our renovation done in 4 weeks, but it ended up taking about 7 weeks. Go in with a plan, but be flexible because you’re always going to run into problems!

Have a Physical Place to Survive During Renovations

Chances are you’ll be living in your home throughout your bathroom renovation, so it’s important to have a plan on how you’re going to continue to live amongst the dust and chaos. We live in a small condo and once our demolition started, our entire place was a disaster zone. Right then and there, we decided that we wouldn’t let any of the mess trickle into our master bathroom or master bedroom. Instead, those were our “sanctuaries” away from the chaos of the renovation.

Create these safe zones ahead of time and vow to keep those areas clean and free from any of your bathroom mess. Trust me, you’ll need those retreats when you’re living through a renovation.

I know you may be eager to start smashing away your outdated bathroom to get it looking fresh, clean, and modern. But it’s important to do work upfront before you get started. That way you have a clear idea of the amount of money and time you’ll need to create the bathroom of your dreams!

The post What You Should Know Before Renovating your Bathroom appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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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 highly 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 useful tool so that you can 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 % moreless likely to have AIDS.
Your country would have % moreless debt.
Your nation would spend % moreless on education.
You would have % moreless free time.
You would make % moreless per year.
You would have % moreless saved.
Your country has % moreless active internet users.
You would live a % longershorter life.
You are % moreless likely to be obese.
You are % moreless likely to be unemployed.
You are % moreless likely to be murdered.

Sources/Methodology:

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

The post Your Life in Another Country appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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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 highly 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 useful tool so that you can 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 % moreless likely to have AIDS.
Your country would have % moreless debt.
Your nation would spend % moreless on education.
You would have % moreless free time.
You would make % moreless per year.
You would have % moreless saved.
Your country has % moreless active internet users.
You would live a % longershorter life.
You are % moreless likely to be obese.
You are % moreless likely to be unemployed.
You are % moreless likely to be murdered.

Sources/Methodology:

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

The post My Life in Another Country appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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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 large part of the population.

For those children, having a home that they can feel comfortable in is very important. However, outfitting your home for a child with a disability 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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.


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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.

#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

#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

#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!

Best For: Organizing boxes

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.

The post What Type of Packing Tape to Use When Moving appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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HireAHelper is celebrating its 11th year of making moving easy, and we have you in mind. How? We’re fielding a “dream team” of 11 amazing Helper crew members, and that’s where your crew comes in.

Nominate A Crew Member

If you have an employee that has gone above and beyond on the “playing field”, we want to hear from you.

Send us a story about a time your crew member went the extra mile while moving somebody. Are you a Helper in our network? You will receive an email with a link to the survey. Thinking of becoming one? Now’s a great time!

Your nominating story should be about more than just showing up to work on time; we want to hear about how a crew member on your team saved the day, surprised a customer with unusually great service, or anything you think will wow us. Be as specific as possible so that he or she has the best chance possible to be nominated!

We will pick 22 of the nominated Helpers to go to the “playoffs”, after which your very own HireAHelper customer service reps will vote on your submitted stories to field the ultimate 11-person “Dream Team”!

Deadline and Prizes

The deadline to submit your story is July 4th. After Independence Day, the playoff participants will be announced shortly thereafter. The final HireAHelper 11th Anniversary Dream Team will be announced at the end of summer.

And we didn’t even mention the prizes. Did we mention the prizes? There is more to be announced, but all playoff participants will receive their own HireAHelper gear, a special certificate celebrating their achievement, and will be featured on a live webpage for customers to read about their greatness, alongside their moving company’s name and location. Talk about making the bosses happy!

We can’t wait to see you from the stands. Thanks for making HireAHelper what it is with your great service, on and off the field.

-HireAHelper

The post Nominate a Crew Member for HireAHelper’s 11th Anniversary “Dream Team”! appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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If you’re planning a move and have done the slightest bit of research, you might be wondering, “What’s a moving container?” Most of us can understand rental trucks, which we often see passing by us on the highway.

Well if you’re still confused, think of moving containers as the younger, hipper cousins to rental trucks.

Basically, moving containers are portable storage units. They are metal or wood containers in which you can store your stuff.

Because they are portable, they can be loaded onto a truck for transport down the block (or across the country!). Moving containers make it ultra-convenient for people to load, pack and transport their stuff.

They can be delivered to your home or office, where it remains on the grounds while someone loads it up with your stuff. When you’re ready to move, you can call the company to have a professional driver pick it up and deliver it to the next location. There, you unload the goods and move in! You might have seen them on the grounds of your neighbor’s home or local businesses.

Once you know what they are, you’ll start spotting them everywhere.

What Do They Look Like?

It varies, but by and large, moving containers just look like big boxes. Container sizes vary. Some are as big as 16 feet long, while others are as small as 7 feet long. Their heights differ, too. Some are skinny and taller to take advantage of the height to pack in more stuff. Others are shorter, which is really convenient for loading but, of course, might not allow you to fit as many things.

Where Do I Go to Get a Moving Container?

PODS claims to be the founder of this niche in the industry, and it is arguably the best known of the container companies. But there are other big names, including 1-800-PACK-RAT, Smartbox, and Go Mini’s, to name a few. Even U-Haul has gotten in on the act with U-Box.

What Are the Differences Between Companies?

PODS offer customers the chance to rent up to three different sized containers based on their needs. Others, such as Smartbox, rent out just one size container. (In their case, it’s 8 feet wide and 7 feet tall.) Containers are also made of different materials, depending on which company you choose. PODS are steel-framed. U-Pack’s containers are made of “weatherproof metal.” Some others are made of wood and usually include some weatherproof type of covering instead.

People frequently debate the merits of each type of container. Some say the metal containers – the likes of which can be found at PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT – are best because of their sturdy construction and ability to stand up to any kind of weather. Others argue they lack air circulation, which can potentially cause mold, mildew, or at the very least, musty smells. The wooden containers, such as the pressure treated plywood ones that U-Haul/U-Box rents, might allow for more ventilation, but they are not necessarily as weather resistant.

If you really want to dig into all the pros and cons of each company, including average prices, reviews, pictures and more, check out the moving container page at Moving101.

How Much Do Moving Containers Cost?

Moving containers can be pretty affordable relative to other moving services. They are especially good for those moving to and from smaller homes and apartments. 

Prices can range between around $500 (to move stuff to and from a small home or apartment in a local move) to $5,000 (for multiple containers making a long-distance move with many items from a large home). The cost really depends on the amount of stuff you plan on transporting and the distance the driver will be traveling.

How do you figure out exactly how much your containers would cost? These are the questions to ask:

How Big Is My Place I’m Moving Out From?

When you have a bigger home, you generally need to rent more containers, which of course elevates the price.

In addition, you have to be able to park these containers somewhere without violating local ordinances; with multiple large containers, you might have trouble—especially in a city where parking can be challenging. Sometimes, more containers also require more drivers or trucks. This all matters when gathering estimates.

Where Am I Moving To and From?

As you might imagine, the cost also depends on which company you choose, based on which container is better for your stuff and if they’re available in your area.

For example, PODS typically charges a little more than $600 for a local move and more than $3,000 for a long-distance move. On the other hand, Door to Door charges about $1,700 for local moves and more than $2,300 for a longer move. (UPDATE: Door to Door has been purchased by U-Haul and absorbed into their U-Box service.)

Moving101 Container Price Comparison

Clearly, all the prices are more than you would spend on a rental truck that you would drive yourself. That makes sense if you think about it. Companies are baking in the costs of the professional driver, their moving trucks, maintenance and fuel. (The cost will also rise the longer you keep the container for storage, as well as the more stuff you have to pack.)

Generally, moving containers remain economical for many of those planning a move and looking for a little more convenience and storage. It will cost more than a full-fledged DIY Move that includes renting a moving truck, but it won’t break the bank in the way a Full-Service Move would cost.

When Would I Use a Moving Container?

Moving containers are a good fit for people who want to conveniently load and unload their stuff in a specific location, on their own schedules. (There’s also no question it’s a better fit for those going a shorter distance and moving less stuff.) But there are plenty of times a portable storage is your best option.

Let’s say you can’t get the key to your place until the 25th of the month, but your lease ends on the 14th. What do you do? You call a moving container company.

How Does Booking a Moving Container Work?

Then typically, you go online or get on the phone, pick out a container, then schedule a date to drop it off wherever your stuff is. A sales representative will help you schedule based on how long you plan to keep the container for loading. You might ask about keeping it longer for storage purposes, in which case you can keep it on the grounds of the old place, or have it transported to the new place if you can get permission from owners or those moving out. Or you could even keep the container in one of the company’s storage facilities if they offer one.

You might need the container a few days to load it up. This is one of the differentiating factors between moving containers and trucks (and sales reps love to point this out). After all, rental trucks usually lock you into a schedule with little to no wiggle room.  

But there’s a catch with that flexible schedule. Sure, you can keep the container for long periods of time. However, if you keep containers longer than one month, you will pay much more than the original estimate because moving container companies generally charge by the month.

That means you have one month to load your stuff, schedule a pickup and delivery at the next destination, unload, and finally plan for the final container pick up.

About that pickup: usually, the container company sends out a driver to load up your container onto a big truck and drive it to where it needs to go. Another reason people might find containers appealing is the fact they don’t have to drive a van or big rig themselves. You leave the driving to professionals. Anyone hesitant to maneuver one of those big trucks on a highway or a long distance could see this as a major selling point.

Can My Movers Help Me with Moving Containers Too?

Yes! Professionals can load and unload containers just as they would a rental truck. You just have to ask!

Moving containers can be a smart choice for people who are looking to make a Full-Service Move at a fraction of the cost, or especially to pull off a Hybrid Move. It’s also a great option for those who need storage. Getting professional help moving can make the move actually not stressful. If you want to save your back and your relationships (by not having to ask family and friends for help), then they’re worth consideration.  

Where Should I Start?
  • The first step is learning about the different companies and types of containers they have. Check out Moving101 for all the info you’d ever possibly need. Since every moving container company’s reviews and prices are gathered there in one spot, you can easily find your best option for you, based on your budget, availability and type of container.
  • The second step is to call up the sales representatives to get the low down on their availability, find the best fit for you, and book it!
  • The last step is to decide if you’re going to hire professionals to help you complete tasks like loading and unloading the container. Remember, don’t feel boxed in. You have the power to choose how long they work for and what items they move for you.
Get Help Loading Your Container

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

When do you need help?Where do you need help?

With a little planning, moving containers fit nicely into any Full-Service Moving hack or Hybrid Move. You can keep your stuff somewhere while you’re moving, or have someone drive your stuff to wherever you need it. If you’re moving, you’d be a little silly to not compare prices and see if a container could save you a lot of money, or if using one would just be way more convenient.

The post What’s a Moving Container? A Guide for Everything You Need to Know appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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If you’re planning a move and have done the slightest bit of research, you might be wondering, “What’s a moving container?” Most of us can understand rental trucks, which we often see passing by us on the highway.

Well if you’re still confused, think of moving containers as the younger, hipper cousins to rental trucks.

Basically, moving containers are portable storage units. They are metal or wood containers in which you can store your stuff.

Because they are portable, they can be loaded onto a truck for transport down the block (or across the country!). Moving containers make it ultra-convenient for people to load, pack and transport their stuff.

A moving container can be delivered to your home or office, where it remains on the grounds while someone loads it up with your stuff. When you’re ready to move, you can call the company to have a professional driver pick it up and deliver it to the next location. There, you unload the goods and move in! You might have seen moving containers on the grounds of your neighbor’s home or local businesses.

Once you know what they are, you’ll start spotting them everywhere.

What Do They Look Like?

It varies, but by and large, moving containers just look like big boxes. Container sizes vary. Some are as big as 16 feet long, while others are as small as 7 feet long. Their heights differ, too. Some are skinny and taller to take advantage of the height to pack in more stuff. Others are shorter, which is really convenient for loading but, of course, might not allow you to fit as many things.

Where Do I Go to Get a Moving Container?

PODS claims to be the founder of this niche in the industry, and it is arguably the best known of the container companies. But there are other big names, including 1-800-PACK-RAT, Smartbox, and Go Mini’s, to name a few. Even U-Haul has gotten in on the act with U-Pack.

What Are the Differences Between Companies?

PODS offer customers the chance to rent up to three different sized containers based on their needs. Others, such as Smartbox, rent out just one size container. (In their case, it’s 8 feet wide and 7 feet tall.) Containers are also made of different materials, depending on which company you choose. PODS are steel-framed. U-Pack’s containers are made of “weatherproof metal.” Some others are made of wood and usually include some weatherproof type of covering instead.

People frequently debate the merits of each type of container. Some say the metal containers – the likes of which can be found at PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT – are best because of their sturdy construction and ability to stand up to any kind of weather. Others argue they lack air circulation, which can potentially cause mold, mildew, or at the very least, musty smells. The wooden containers, such as the pressure treated plywood ones that U-Haul/U-Box rents, might allow for more ventilation, but they are not necessarily as weather resistant.

If you really want to dig into all the pros and cons of each moving container, including average prices, reviews, pictures and more, check out the moving container page at Moving101.

How Much Do Moving Containers Cost?

Moving containers can be pretty affordable relative to other moving services. They are especially good for those moving to and from smaller homes and apartments. 

Prices can range between around $500 (to move stuff to and from a small home or apartment in a local move) to $5,000 (for multiple containers making a long-distance move with many items from a large home). The cost really depends on the amount of stuff you plan on transporting and the distance the driver will be traveling.

How do you figure out exactly how much your containers would cost? These are the questions to ask:

How Big Is My Place I’m Moving Out From?

When you have a bigger home, you generally need to rent more containers, which of course elevates the price.

In addition, you have to be able to park these containers somewhere without violating local ordinances; with multiple large containers, you might have trouble—especially in a city where parking can be challenging. Sometimes, more containers also requires more drivers or trucks. This all matters when gathering estimates.

Where Am I Moving To and From?

As you might imagine, the cost also depends on which company you choose, based on which container is better for your stuff and if they’re available in your area.

For example, PODS typically charges a little more than $600 for a local move and more than $3,000 for a long-distance move. On the other hand, Door to Door charges about $1,700 for local moves and more than $2,300 for a longer move. (UPDATE: Door to Door has been purchased by U-Haul and absorbed into their U-Box service.)

Moving101 Container Price Comparison

Clearly, all the prices are more than you would spend on a rental truck that you would drive yourself. That makes sense if you think about it. Companies are baking in the costs of the professional driver, their moving trucks, maintenance and fuel. (The cost will also rise the longer you keep the container for storage, as well as the more stuff you have to pack.)

Generally, moving containers remain economical for many of those planning a move and looking for a little more convenience and storage. It will cost more than a full-fledged DIY Move that includes renting a moving truck, but it won’t break the bank in the way a Full-Service Move would cost.

When Would I Use a Moving Container?

Moving containers are a good fit for people who want to conveniently load and unload their stuff in a specific location, on their own schedules. (There’s also no question it’s a better fit for those going a shorter distance and moving less stuff.) But there are plenty of times a moving container is your best option.

Let’s say you can’t get the key to your place until the 25th of the month, but your lease ends on the 14th. What do you do? You call a moving container company.

How Does Booking a Moving Container Work?

Then typically, you go online or get on the phone, pick out a container, then schedule a date to drop it off wherever your stuff is. A sales representative will help you schedule based on how long you plan to keep the container for loading. You might ask about keeping it longer for storage purposes, in which case you can keep it on the grounds of the old place, or have it transported to the new place if you can get permission from owners or those moving out. Or you could even keep the container in one of the company’s storage facilities if they offer one.

You might need the container a few days to load it up. This is one of the differentiating factors between moving containers and trucks (and sales reps love to point this out). After all, rental trucks usually lock you into a schedule with little to no wiggle room.  

But there’s a catch with the flexible schedule of moving containers. Sure, you can keep the container for long periods of time. However, if you keep containers longer than one month, you will pay much more than the original estimate because moving container companies generally charge by the month.

That means you have one month to load your stuff, schedule a pickup and delivery at the next destination, unload, and finally plan for the final container pick up.

About that pickup: usually, the container company sends out a driver to load up your container onto a big truck and drive it to where it needs to go. Another reason people might find moving containers appealing is the fact they don’t have to drive a van or big rig themselves. You leave the driving to professionals. Anyone hesitant to maneuver one of those big trucks on a highway or a long distance could see this as a major selling point.

Can My Movers Help Me with Moving Containers Too?

Yes! Professionals can load and unload containers just as they would a rental truck. You just have to ask!

Moving containers can be a smart choice for people who are looking to make a Full-Service Move at a fraction of the cost, or especially to pull off a Hybrid Move. It’s also a great option for those who need storage. Getting professional moving help can make the move all the more convenient. If you want to save your back and your relationships (by not having to ask family and friends for help), then moving containers are worth consideration.  

Where Should I Start?
  • The first step is learning about the different companies and types of containers they have. Check out Moving101 for all the info you’d ever possibly need. Since every moving container company’s reviews and prices are gathered there in one spot, you can easily find your best option for you, based on your budget, availability and type of container.
  • The second step is to call up the sales representatives to get the low down on their availability, find the best fit for you, and book it!
  • The last step is to decide if you’re going to hire professionals to help you complete tasks like loading and unloading the container. Remember, don’t feel boxed in. You have the power to choose how long they work for and what items they move for you.
Get Help Loading Your Container

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

When do you need help?Where do you need help?

With a little planning, moving containers fit nicely into any Full-Service Moving hack or Hybrid Move. You can keep your stuff somewhere while you’re moving, or have someone drive your stuff to wherever you need it. If you’re moving, you’d be a little silly to not compare prices and see if a moving container could save you a lot of money, or if using one would just be way more convenient.

The post What’s a Moving Container? A Guide To Everything You Need to Know appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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According to a Gallup survey, nearly one in four people moved in the last five years. That’s about 24 percent of the population! People move for a variety of different reasons including work opportunities, family obligations or simply for a change of scenery.

But even if the relocation represents a positive change, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether you’re moving to a new city or a new country, it’s both exciting … and a bit scary.

With that in mind, it’s important to look at a relocation as an opportunity to move forward. If you’re feeling nervous, remind yourself that moving is a chance to have a fresh start in a new environment, likely surrounded by new people. Move with the knowledge that you are going to put your best foot forward and face any challenge that awaits you.

Overcome Change

Even the most confident people can feel a bit apprehensive about a relocation. We’ve put together some “moving” quotes from your favorite pop culture characters to provide a little inspiration. Whether these characters are overcoming adversity, setting out on a journey or making the best of a bad situation, their advice is perfect for anyone embarking on their next adventure.

The post 15 Quotes From Pop Culture on a Fresh Start appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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