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I lived in my last house for about five years, during which my husband and I did quite a bit of work to the house. We bought a new washer and dryer, new couches, new beds, installed window treatments and upgraded most of the technology to slowly build a “smart home“. So much to do!

Organizing Home Warranties and the
Tiny Parts You Should Save

But one thing I wish I had done a better job at was keeping better track of the warranties, installation guides, and all of the other “goodies” that came with each item. I didn’t have a system in place for this important paperwork or those dang Allen wrenches, so I typically defaulted to either stuffing the stuff in a drawer or throwing it away because I thought, “When will I ever really need this?!”.

Spoiler Alert: more often than you honestly think.

Examples of Stuff We Lost, Then Needed

This became a problem in a variety of different situations, allow me to share a few instances.

First, the couch dilemma.

Our couch came with a seven-year stain warranty. Amazing, right? In theory, yes, but I never could find the receipt, warranty, and information about this perk. So guess what? We couldn’t capitalize on getting our couch cushion replaced when we spilled red wine on it four years after purchasing it. So frustrating!

Or how about the time we wanted to sell our dining room table on Craigslist and we couldn’t find the specific Allen wrench that came with the table.

We needed that specific piece to disassemble the table and sell it. We tore up the entire garage and kitchen while the Craigslist buyers awkwardly stood and watched. Thankfully we eventually found it, but only after lots of frustration, embarrassment, and a big ol’ mess!

And how about when new homeowners request the owner’s manual and warranty on the washer and dryer that they bought with the house and you just cannot find them? Ugh, that was the worst!

Our DIY Solution

There’s got to be a better way, right?

I know I was determined to get my act together in my own, new house right from the start. The great news is that the new system I implemented has made such a positive impact, and it’s easy to replicate. It’s a $15 investment that makes a world of a difference.

If you find yourself misplacing warranties and important home documentation, today’s organization system may be perfect for you as well.

1. The Box Of Docs

I bought this big, plastic box from Michaels, but any large container would do the trick. I vowed to keep all important warranties, receipts, directions, etc. in this box. No being picky; I didn’t care if the warranty was for something in the kitchen, garage, or baby’s nursery, just having one place to put all of this information was already a better system that I previously used.

I tried using binders in the past, but many of the warranties or installation information is so thick that a binder just didn’t work out very well in the long run. This box is nice because it can hold A LOT of paperwork.

Labels Are Still Key

To organize this documentation even further, I simply labeled file folders for each room in the house. Papers stay even more organized when I can group them by room.

For example, the warranties for the kitchen appliances can be found in the “kitchen” folder while the directions to re-program our garage door opener can be found in the “garage” folder. Easy enough, right?

Okay, so the papers are accounted for but how about all of those little gadgets (like that dang Allen wrench!) that can’t be misplaced?

2. Tackle Box of Tiny Pieces

I also picked up this adjustable jewelry organizer from Michaels (a tackle box would work too!). This small investment has made such a huge difference corralling all of the tiny parts (read: screws, hooks, extra washers, Allen Wrenches, etc.). It’s awesome because the plastic spacers can easily be adjusted to create compartment sizes that fit your needs.

We recently bought a crib for our nursery and it came with an Allen wrench that we used to put it together.

The bad news is that you need to save this Allen wrench because we will need it when our little guy gets older/taller and we need to lower the mattress. But the good news is that we already learned our lesson and we were ready to take good care of this one!

We wrapped a piece of washi tape around the wrench and labeled it “CRIB”. Then I placed it in one of the compartments, alongside some of the other tiny pieces we need to save, then closed the top.

A Life Saver

Personally, I keep both the tiny parts organizer and the warranty organizer together so I can easily access any of this information quickly and efficiently. What a difference this tiny upgrade has made for us.

If you’re finding yourself in a situation similar to my last home, it’s not too late to reevaluate, corral the important stuff and get organized once and for all. That way you’ll be prepared for that couch stain, Craigslist sale or whatever else life throws your way! It may seem like unnecessary work, but trust us, it’s well, well worth it.

The post Why We Finally Started Saving Warranties (and How We Don’t Lose Them) appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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So maybe you read our massive migration report roundup we published last month. You can bet the states in those reports did too.

What do the states themselves make of all that inconsistent and sometimes flat-out contradictory information—especially the less than flattering states? Let’s see what our journalists and analysts across the country have to say about the numbers.

The Word From Inbound State Winners Oregon

Oregon’s Register-Guard touts their home state as “among the nation’s top moving destinations”, though according to Atlas, they are merely in America’s top 16%. The Register backs up their United and Atlas references with a few figures from the US Census Bureau as they state that “Oregon added nearly 57,000 residents between July 2016 and July 2017, and more than 80 percent of that growth was from people moving in, rather than from births outpacing deaths.”

Forecasting a sustainability issue with these US Census findings is this report from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis which tells us that “expectations are for population growth to taper in the short-term.”

In addition, we are told that “moving forward, Oregon’s population growth will increasingly rely on migrants.”

In other words, if Oregon wants to continue to grow they’ll need to reverse the tide carrying them toward balanced migration.

But some remain bullish on Oregon’s future. Portland’s KOIN News tells us that not only was Oregon the nation’s ninth-fastest growing state in 2017 but the housing crisis – putting the average Portland home in the $350,000 range and a two-bedroom apartment around $1,300 per month – may be starting to abate.

“Apartment List says that after rising through August 2016, rents in Portland dropped the rest of the year and are now down 1.7 percent from last January, including a 1.0 percent drop last month,” goes the quote. “Abodo (another apartment finder) also says the rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Portland dropped 0.95 percent last month…Rents may continue to decline through 2018 because so many new apartments are coming online in Portland.”

This, naturally, is good news to those of us serving all the apartment-renting DIY movers out there.


Meanwhile, In Idaho, Oregon’s neighbors to the east are taking a less constrained, less empirical view of the recent migration findings. Realtor Lynette Neibaur tells KMTV of Twin Falls, Idaho “I think people are just kind of realizing how cool Idaho can be.”

United’s stats, however, suggest otherwise as roughly one-third of Idaho’s inbound moves were based on employment, with the influence of family not far behind. Granted, Idaho may be trending as a cool place to live as close to half of the state’s inbounders gave retirement or lifestyle as a reason behind their relocation.


Down in Alabama, the new mantra for economic development is not “follow the money” but, as Lawrence Specker of AL.com puts it, “follow the furniture”. After a six-year inbound stretch starting in 2003 Alabama fell into a balanced funk in 2009. This year they once again join the inbound ranks at #10, perhaps causing one to wonder if the Gem State may be getting their mojo back.

But all is not crimson as a rose down in Birmingham. “It’s only one data point,” says University of South Alabama associate sociology professor Doug Marshall. “United’s report blurs regional differences and omits some possibly relevant factors.”

Also significant are the age breakdowns of inbounders and outbounders. Alabama lost residents in the Under-35 bracket as well as the 45-54 age group. Their 55-and-overpopulation, meanwhile, is evidently on the rise. This could be taken as an indication that Alabama’s workforce is getting older as their retired population increases. 60% of inbounders gave employment as a factor in their move (but so did 75% of outbounders).

Then again, Professor Marshall points out that United’s numbers “are all about who’s moving, not who’s working.” Alabama’s goal “hasn’t been to attract new workers to the state, it’s been to provide jobs for people who are already here.”

So where is the bulk of Alabama’s workforce coming from? And is that workforce really getting older? Is Alabama really on the cusp of another six-year inbound stretch?

Only time will tell. For now, we’ll just let them bask in the glow of their inbound status. And their college football national championships.

Get the Monthly Movers Newsletter


The Las Vegas Review Journal starts out its report on United’s findings on a high note, reveling in the high number of people moving to Nevada to retire and an even higher percentage moving in for employment. But that news is tempered with the fact that an even higher percentage is leaving the state for employment. Before we get to deep into these particular numbers we turn to economist Michael Stoll, who appears in countless news articles on the subject of United’s numbers.

“The numbers are deceiving,” he says, claiming that the recent decrease in people moving to Nevada for work “translates to an increase in people moving into Nevada under 35” since that sector of the workforce is generally less able to afford a full-service moving company like United.

While Mr. Stoll might sound a bit overly-speculative, some numbers from the US Census Bureau back this up. Specifically, the median age of adults in southern Nevada has fallen from just over 40 in 2000 to just under 36 in 2016. Couple this with the fact that the apartment rental market has been trending toward higher rents and lower vacancy rates, and there’s reason to believe that there are plenty of younger professionals moving in without the help of the major van lines.


Speaking on behalf of Arizona a year ago, the folks at AZCentral.com got all excited with their “Arizona Cracks Top Ten” article. “Arizona might be emerging as a hot destination for newcomers,” they begin, soon adding the fact that they didn’t make the top ten in 2015.

In their excitement, however, they missed the fact that North American had them ranked as the nation’s number two top inbound state, not only in 2016, but in 2015 as well.

This year they managed a 55% inbound rate on United’s survey, which matches Alabama’s numbers. United, however, put Alabama in their #10 slot, nudging Arizona back off the top ten list. This may be the reason we’ve had no luck finding any talk coming out of Arizona this year about their inbound-outbound migration.

They really should really take a look at the 2017 report by North American Van Lines—where they are ranked number one.

The Word From Outbound State Losers Illinois

No matter which van line survey Illinois looks at, they find themselves the outbound “champion”.

FOX32 News in Chicago handled it by simply breezing over the story (And since they certainly won’t say it, we will: Illinois has been an outbound state every single year for United since 1979, the earliest year shown on United’s interactive map.)

The folks at Illinois Policy are less shy about confronting the situation, pointing out that their state fared worst on every major van line report out there before offering up a variety of sobering stats: Pennsylvania has moved ahead of Illinois in terms of overall population.

Since 2010, Illinois has lost the equivalent of their largest four cities after Chicago; in 2015 the state lost $4.75 billion in revenue from outbound migration, which further stresses the already heavy property tax burden shouldered by those still around.

With the very real prospect of more Illinoisans leaving the state to escape what are among the nation’s highest property taxes the situation seems like a downward spiral that will prove extremely challenging to reverse.


Poor Indiana. Our economist friend Michael Stoll echoes that sentiment in this Indiana Public Media piece, suggesting “once a state becomes high outbound, it’s hard to reverse.” The same article features billboards in Indiana that essentially rip on Illinois’s high taxes (“Stillinnoyed?”) in an effort to lure people across the state line.

And yet, Indiana ranked as an outbound state on United’s study every year from 1993 to 2009. Since then, they’ve managed to rank as balanced, except in 2015, when a dozen states formed an “outbound yellow” line stretching from Massachusetts clear out to Kansas.

Indiana may have slowed (if not entirely halted) their outbound migratory trend – they were still 54% outbound in 2017 – but the outlook isn’t all Little House on the Prairie. “They’ll have to increasingly rethink their economic base,” says Stoll. “Indiana is a more diversified economy now but specialization might be something that Indiana will have to think about.”

On a side note, almost half of Indiana’s outbounders (48%) were from the Under-45 population while a little over half (51%) were over 55.

Unfortunately for Indiana, this graying-over may be about the only thing they have in common with Vermont.


On the other side of Illinois, the folks in Iowa aren’t shy about expressing their utter confusion on the subject. “Are we coming or going?” asks the Des Moines Business Record. A fair question, perhaps, as Iowa in 2017 was 56% outbound according to Atlas, balanced (51% inbound) according to North American, balanced but precariously close to outbound (54%) according to United, and, taking U-Haul’s figures into account, the nation’s twelfth-ranked state for 2017 in terms of growth.

Maybe Iowa should go with the US Census Bureau’s stats. From 2016 to 2017 Iowa gained a grand total of 11,018 people. Which may mean they aren’t really going anywhere.


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As DIY’ers, we always get a little giddy when it comes time to chat about tools. (Yes, we’re nerds like that.) So, it should come as no surprise that we’ve covered tools here on the HireAHelper blog before. We outlined the 7 essential tools that EVERYONE should have in their toolbox, and we even showed you our tips to keep all of your tools organized and accounted for.

Now it’s time to move up a level … to power tools! Just that word “power” may sound a little scary and overwhelming to the DIY newbies out there. But we promise there is nothing to be scared of because if even we can handle these tools, then pretty much anyone can.

The Power Tools To Own

If you’re looking to spruce up your home, add to your tool collection, and just be an all-around rock star homeowner, then these are the first five power tools we suggest adding to your collection with the general range of prices you can expect to pay for each.

Cordless Drill

This tool was already covered in our list of seven essential tools to own, but it’s a power tool too! And it’s quite possibly the most important tool to have, overall.

In fact, we believe every household needs a power drill (even if you’re a renter) because it can be used for pretty much anything.

How do we know? So many people in our lives have asked to borrow our drills (and we always oblige), but we quickly emphasize how they really should invest in their own. It’s a necessity! Trust us, it’ll make putting together Ikea furniture a heck of a lot easier.

Price: $30-50

Shopping Tip: Power is measured by battery voltage and ranges from 6-18V. Higher voltage models come with extra power but are quite a bit heavier. We suggest going with a nice, middle-of-the-road 12V cordless drill.

Also be sure to also pick up a variety of drill bits when you buy your cordless drill.

DIY Projects:

  • Hanging curtains
  • Building shelves
  • Drilling holes
  • Anchoring
  • Pretty much anything
Miter Saw

This was the first “real” power tool we ever bought and we’ve used it so many times since. Are you ever going to be touching wood? Don’t think you won’t use this because you absolutely will. It makes straight cuts, sure, but it’s also able to make incredibly accurate cuts at an angle.

Price: Average 8-10 inch saws range $140-250

Average 12+ inch saws range $250-500+

Shopping Tip: Consider the blade size when buying a miter saw (8, 10, or 12 inches).

Yep, larger blades allow for longer cuts. We have a 10-inch compound Miter Saw. Oh, and be sure to pick up safety glasses and an extension cord when you invest. That way you stay safe, and your saw can reach any outlet when working away!

DIY Projects:

  • Board and batten siding
  • Wood planter
  • Shiplap wall
  • Smoothing
Nail Gun

Instead of using a hammer and nails for a project, you can use a nail gun and get the job done 100 times faster. There’s a wide variety of nail guns out there, but we suggest going with a finish nailer. These come in handy when securing wood together or to a wall, and you can easily putty over the holes for a seamless look.

Price: $30-100

Shopping Tip: Nail guns can be gas-powered or air-powered, but we suggest going with an air-powered one. (Here’s the one we own.) When it’s plugged into an outlet, compressed air is used to drive the nails.

Make sure you also pick up extra brad nails for your project and that they’re compatible with the brand/size of your particular nail gun.

DIY Projects:

  • Installing baseboard
  • Creating decorative wall
  • Adding trims
  • Hanging anything

You’ve probably used sandpaper or a sanding wedge for a project before. And if you have, you know that your arm can get pretty tired when going back and forth over and over again.

It’s time. Get a sander. You add sanding pads to the sander and when you turn it on the pads move in a circle, sanding the surface as you go. We’ve also ended up using sanders when refinishing old pieces of furniture.

Price: $25-80

Shopping Tip: There are various types of sanders (palm, detail, belt, etc), but we use an orbital sander.

Orbitals are lightweight and because they’re not too heavy-handed, it’s very difficult to damage the piece you’re working on. Be sure to buy extra sanding pads for your sander, so you always have a fresh one for your project.

Oh, and a dust mask may come in handy too!

DIY Projects:

  • Refinishing furniture
  • Smoothing DIY picture ledges
  • Sanding down excess paint on a wall

What’s compact and relatively inexpensive?


A jigsaw can be used to make both curved and straight cuts in a variety of materials (metal, plastic, wood, particle board, etc.). Whenever we are tackling a woodworking project, we almost always get out the jigsaw because there are bound to be some “wonky” cuts that don’t need to be straight or angled.

For example, if you’re adding shiplap to a wall and need to make room for an outlet … the jigsaw is the tool to get the job done!

Price: $25-90+

Shopping Tip: If you’re planning to use your jigsaw on tough materials, then you may want to buy a jigsaw with a cord. Here is the one we use.

By far the most important thing to remember is that you need to buy the right blade based on the material you’ll be cutting!

DIY Projects:

  • Curved headboard
  • Holes for outlets
  • Shaped signs
  • Personalized crafts

A jigsaw is isnt just useful and easy to learn, it’s pretty fun!

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Migration reports are out in full force, including the famous United Van Lines yearly report.

But while United handles more moves annually than any other mover network in the country, their numbers are not definitive across the industry board.

North American, Atlas and Allied all see slightly – and in some cases, wildly – different results in their migration study results. Not a surprise, because as a Full Service move provider, United handles a somewhat different clientele compared to companies like ABF, U-Haul and PODS – companies whose numbers might look a lot different. Then there’s that little thing called the Census.

Yep, the state-to-state migration numbers for 2017 are out – and folks, we have new inbound state champions! Here are the results:

United Van Lines

Vermont Takes United 2017 Inbound Crown

In 2015 they came in at third on the inbound rankings. In 2016 they inched their way up to number two. Now, this tiny state known mainly for skiing and maple syrup has captured the coveted top inbound spot on United’s 2017 National Movers Study.

Yes, the champagne is indeed flowing like syrup in Stowe, Killington and Montpelier as Vermont looks back on a year that saw a whopping 68% of their interstate moves coming in. 


According to United’s survey, “family” was the most common reason respondents gave for relocating to the Green Mountain State. Retirement, lifestyle and job also figured fairly evenly into the equation.

On the other hand, a full 75% of people moving out of state gave employment as their reason. This helps explain why half of all outbounders fell into the Under-35 age category – and another 25% were between 35 and 45 – while 40% of those moving into the state were 65 or older.

Those mountains may be green, but with those unemployment numbers, it looks like the valleys are starting to turn gray.

But before we start replacing all those ski lifts with wheelchair-friendly escalators, let’s take a step back and look a little closer at where the stats behind Vermont’s inbound crown come from. Keep in mind we don’t know how many moves Vermont actually saw by their report. (68% can be broken down to 17 inbound moves and 8 outbound moves – which hardly amounts to a mass migration to this land of wooden bridges and Bernie Sanders.)


1. Vermont
2. Oregon
3. Idaho
4. Nevada
5. South Dakota
6. Washington
7. South Carolina
8. North Carolina
9. Colorado
10. Alabama

This past year saw some familiar names on United’s Top Ten Inbound States list. Oregon, Nevada and North Carolina are all there, as they have been every year since 2011. Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, South Carolina and Arizona are also back after making 2016’s inbound list. Newcomers include Alabama and Colorado. Meanwhile, Florida has dropped off the inbound list after a strong three-year run.

This past year’s top inbound states are also fairly spread out around the country. The same cannot be said about United’s outbound states.


1. Illinois
2. New Jersey
3. New York
4. Connecticut
5. Kansas
6. Massachusetts
7. Ohio
8. Kentucky
9. Utah
10. Wisconsin

As with the previous few years, the major exodus seems to be coming out of the Northeast and the Midwest, with Utah adding a little “outbound yellow” to the otherwise blue western region on United’s interactive migration map.

Perennial outbound states New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois have been the most unfortunate ones; we’d have to go back to 2010 to see any of them as balanced. (New York and Connecticut were both spared the shame that year).

North American Moving Services


Arizona Takes North Americans 2017 Inbound Crown

North American’s inbound champ is Arizona, with 67% of their interstate moves coming into the Grand Canyon State. Other top inbounders not on United’s list include Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Texas – all south and southeast states. (Those North American drivers must really love the south.)


  1. Arizona
  2. Idaho
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee


  1. Illinois
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. California
  5. Michigan

Like United, North American has Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut at the top of their outbound list (with New York a notable #8). But the rest of their top outbounders – California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Maryland (#4-8 on the map) aren’t even on United’s radar.

Interestingly, North American’s #10 outbounder is Washington, which ranks #6 on United’s inbound list.

In accounting for these discrepancies, it is worth noting what North American says of their report’s methodology:

“We define the top inbound and outbound states as those that have the highest proportion of moves where the absolute value difference of inbound and outbound moves is greater than or equal to 400. This weeds out states that had a small number of moves but would have a high ratio of inbound/outbound moves.”

This may explain why United’s 2017 champ Vermont and #5 South Dakota (United’s #1 in 2016 by the way) aren’t anywhere on North American’s Top Ten.

Atlas Van Lines


Washington Takes Atlas 2017 Inbound Crown

Atlas Van Lines offers some relative surprises too. Idaho, Washington and Nevada as their top three inbounders may not raise any eyebrows. But Alaska, Maine and New Hampshire at #5, #6 and #10? Oregon is a familiar name, but seeing them at #8 seems in contrast to their recent United Van Lines inbound championships.

Atlas’s top outbounder, meanwhile, is Illinois (same as both United and North American – those Fighting Illini have a real stranglehold on that top spot!). And their #2, West Virginia, was a strong outbounder for United for six years straight before balancing out in 2017.

But Nebraska at #3? Nebraska has been balanced for United since 2001! And #4 outbounder South Dakota has been an inbound darling for United the past three years.

Rounding out the Atlas top outbound list are Hawaii, Indiana, Delaware and Louisiana, all of them somewhat surprising since three of them have spent the last ten years on United’s “balanced” register. Only Indiana has managed to make a blip on United’s outbound radar in that time frame.


  1. Idaho
  2. Washington
  3. Nevada
  4. Tennessee
  5. Alaska
  6. Maine
  7. North Carolina
  8. Oregon
  9. Alabama
  10. New Hampshire


  1. Illinois
  2. West Virginia
  3. Nebraska
  4. South Dakota
  5. Hawaii
  6. Indiana
  7. Delaware
  8. New York
  9. Louisiana
  10. Kansas

In contrast to the percentages United and North American provide, Atlas gives actual numbers of inbound and outbound moves for each state. Here we see that Vermont has seen just a fraction of the moves so many other states see, so it’s easy to imagine why they wouldn’t have made it onto North American’s list. (Meanwhile, once again, Canada’s Yukon Territory has seen zero moves. We’ll blame it on the roads.)

Allied Van Lines


Florida Takes Allied 2017 Inbound Crown

Allied Van Lines keeps it all very short and sweet. They report only their top fives:


  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Texas


  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. New Jersey
  5. Michigan

Based on this limited report, we’re able to come to at least one solid conclusion: Allied’s drivers love moving people south even more than North American’s do.


Texas Takes U-Haul 2017 Inbound Crown

Because news outlets predominately focus on Full Service van lines, it can easily be argued this eliminates an entire sector of the migrating public. (In fact, Full Service van lines actually conduct less than half of all moves performed in the US every year.)

Do U-Haul’s numbers reflect what the van lines suggest are moving trends?



  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. Arkansas
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee
  6. Washington
  7. North Carolina
  8. Connecticut
  9. Colorado
  10. Vermont


  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Michigan
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Arizona
  9. Maryland
  10. Georgia

Texas tops U-Haul’s 2017 Growth States list. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Texas has fared well recently in the inbound-outbound game. In 2017 their inbound percentages with United, North American and Atlas were 54, 53 and 53, while Allied put Texas down as their fifth biggest inbound state.

Oddly, Texas won U-Haul’s Growth State crown by bringing in – get this – a whopping 50.3% of all one-way truck rental traffic crossing Texas’s borders. That’s right. Fifty. Point. Three.

This hardly lends a whole lot more understanding to the migration trends we’re trying to dissect. But here we are, so let’s keep moving.

U-Haul rounds out its top five Growth States with Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee. Yes, Arkansas – which has been balanced on United’s report 37 of the last 40 years. Then again, Arkansas remained balanced in 2017 on United’s ledger with a 54% outbound rate, so that they are U-Haul’s #3 Growth State is rather surprising no matter how minuscule their positive U-Haul balance might have been.

And who comes in at #8 on U-Haul’s list? That big loser with United and North American (but not with Atlas), Connecticut.

On the flip side, U-Haul has Colorado at #9 – exactly where United and North American have them.

United States Census Bureau

Idaho Takes United States Census Bureau 2017 Inbound Crown

Yes, the Bureau has all the moving numbers we could possibly want. So many, in fact, that it could take until next January to weed through them all.

But thanks to Business Insider we don’t have to.

In this piece with the strangely long title: While the Bureau considers “a variety of components” in determining what’s happening among the more than 325 million people who make up the US population, Business Insider brings us what we need: domestic migration.

Here we see the net population gain or loss for each state for 2017. Births, deaths and international immigration are not counted; this is simply and strictly an account of how many people moved into or out of each state. (Again, not moves, but individual people.)


  1. Idaho
  2. Nevada
  3. South Carolina
  4. Oregon
  5. Arizona
  6. Washington
  7. Montana
  8. Florida
  9. Colorado
  10. North Carolina

And in this, the winner is Idaho, with a net domestic migration gain of 14.6 people per 1,000 residents. In second place comes Nevada, with South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona rounding out the top five. The second half of the big ten winners are Washington, Montana, Florida, Colorado and North Carolina.

These results actually mirror the van lines’ findings to a striking degree. Only Arizona, Montana and Florida don’t show up in United’s top ten. Seven of the Census top ten are also on North American’s top ten. Unbelievably, Colorado is #9 on all three lists.

As for the Net Domestic Migration losers? Yes, Illinois is up there, but at #5, maybe this is the survey they should be talking about in Chicago.


  1. Wyoming
  2. Alaska
  3. New York
  4. Hawaii
  5. Illinois
  6. North Dakota
  7. New Jersey
  8. Connecticut
  9. Louisiana
  10. West Virginia

The big loser in the 2017 migration tournament is Wyoming, a surprise since the Equality State doesn’t show up on any van line outbound lists – or inbound for that matter. United had them at 53% inbound for 2017. North American had them at 54% in. Only Atlas has them as outbound – based on a grand total of 330 moves.

The Bureau’s next three biggest net migration losers are Alaska, New York and Hawaii. Alaska and Hawaii, neither of which show up anywhere for United or North American, are Atlas’s #5 inbound and #5 outbound, respectively. North Dakota, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana and West Virginia complete the Bureau’s top ten.

Again, while there are outbound wild cards, we still see some consistency between the Bureau and the van lines. Atlas and the Bureau actually have seven migration losers in common between their top tens. Looking at the US Census Bureau’s Net Domestic Migration map we can clearly see the winners clustered in the south and west with the losers dominating the northeast and midwest.

What’s The Takeaway?

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Decorating a nursery for your baby is a special time. As a soon-to-be new mom, every single piece of clothing, blanket, stuffed animal and tiny accessory I see seems way too cute to be real. I still can’t believe I’ll eventually have a little one that will fit into these tiny clothes and use these adorable toys!

But when it comes to decorating our nursery, I’m trying to restrain myself from buying all these cute things. That’s because I’m trying to decorate this space with intention so that the nursery will grow with my baby as he becomes a toddler … and even a little boy.

I don’t want to invest more money in different furniture, rugs, or new paint in a few short years all because I wasn’t planning ahead and creating a space that will transition with him.

How To Create A Nursery That Will Grow With Your Baby

Can you relate?

Are you excited to decorate your nursery but don’t want to be re-decorating the nursery in a few short years? A room that will be oh-so-adorable (and functional!) now, but will also be age-appropriate without a ton of time and money? Here’s how I made my nursery future-proof.

Reconsider Your Paint Color

From the top, this is the most obvious, yet the most ignored piece of advice.

It’s natural to hear “It’s a boy!” and immediately starting planning a traditional light blue nursery. But thinking outside of that box is a great first step in making sure your nursery will grow with your child.

Paint can be expensive, not to mention a definite time investment, so choosing a color that doesn’t exclusively reflect a baby’s first year will help this space transition without having to repaint your light blue or pastel pink room in just a couple years. (And just say no to wallpaper!)

These Paint Colors Have the Best Resale Value

Zillow examined 50,000 home sales and found these colors help sellers make as much as $5,000 more!

So to all the excitable parents-to-be out there, we suggest a neutral wall color. You can always accessorize with those bold, bright, or traditional nursery colors in a less permanent way. Future-you will thank you.

Protip: Wall decals, or “wall stickers” are increasingly becoming the “temporary tattoos” of the home-deco world. Most of them are easy to apply and easy to remove, so consider going this route if you absolutely have to plaster something across your wall. Amazon is just one place with plenty of options.

Just Skip The Theme

This is probably our biggest piece of advice because it will have a large impact in creating a nursery that will grow with your baby.

I know this can be difficult, especially since so many baby stores align a lot of their products in large themes. In fact, when my husband and I went to register, one of the first questions that the sales associate asked was, “What’s the theme of your nursery?”

Yep, she looked at us like we were straight crazy when we declared that there was no theme.

But skipping this theme will help the space transition later on because themes often make a nursery feel very “baby”. Themes can’t transition.

Not to say that you can’t incorporate some aspects of these cute collections, but steer clear of buying an entire set of bedding, decor, textiles, etc. That is, unless you want to start completely over as soon as you’re sick of it.

Invest in This Flexible Furniture

Buying the right furniture will also be another way you can save money in the long run. Investing in pieces don’t look like they are only for babies will prevent you from needing to replace these pieces in a few short years.

A lot of cribs these days are considered to be convertable cribs, or 3-in-1, which means they will transition from a crib, to a toddler bed, and then eventually to a twin bed headboard. Wayfair has a nice spread of potential crib options.


Also, skip the traditional changing table and opt to buy a regular dresser that you can add a changing pad on top of.

That way, you won’t have to ditch the changing table for something less specific in a few short years. You just switch out the changing pad and use the same dresser in a big kid room!

Transformable and “big-kid” furniture for a newborn will save you lots of money in the long run, and you might find a lot of companies are finally starting to realize this when you check out baby furniture options out there.

Be Mindful of Textiles

The biggest thing that comes to mind when choosing textiles is the rug you add to this space. Rugs can be very expensive, so don’t buy a childish one only to replace it a year later. (Veteran moms, you know what we’re talking about.)

If you have hard floors, we recommend a rug to give your room a softer area to eventually crawl around. And if you choose a pattern, texture and color that isn’t strictly for a nursery, it can live in that space for years and years.

We went with this dark oriental-inspired rug because it will not only hide stains, but it can transition as the baby gets older. It is also super versatile so it can adapt to match all kinds of decor, pillows, art, etc.

This large rug was definitely an investment, but we don’t plan on moving it for a long time, which really helps to make you feel comfortable spending money on something expensive now.

Organization Systems Never Become Outdated
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My wife thought I was nuts.

It was only the end of February, but I was already hauling in piles of used boxes so I could start planning my move. “We’re not moving until the end of June!” she cried, visions in her head of sleeping on the floor between stacks of cardboard boxes, I guess.

I told her I knew what I was doing and disappeared into the basement. And in fact, I did.

There are plenty of understandable reasons not to start planning your move four months ahead of time. But those reasons don’t seem so smart when you suddenly realize you’re moving in three days. 

If you’re looking to move sometime between Memorial Day and Labor Day (along with about 20 million other people) you have even more reason to get a jump-start on things. These are the most practical reasons why.

Researching the Right Things

There is one major reason people end up with crappy movers – or in some cases end up getting scammed by people posing as movers: They didn’t do their homework before hiring them.

What does “homework” mean?

  • Find and read real reviews on your local moving company
  • Look up a moving company’s Better Business Bureau rating
  • Research if a mover is a legally registered transporter of household goods

Particularly if you are moving in the summer (seriously, literally millions and millions of people move between June and August), you want to give yourself time not only to find the right movers – i.e., movers who will treat you right – but you don’t want to miss out on hiring the movers that would have been perfect for you because somebody beat you to it. If you think hiring movers could be expensive, you should see how much hiring bad movers could end up costing you …

You might love our: Moving Cost Calculator

If the quote from your movers felt expensive …
Make sure it lines up with the costs reported by other Americans.

And true, you may not know several months in advance exactly what day you’ll be moving. But don’t wait until a week before you’ve written “Moving!” on your calendar to start doing your homework. Get on it!

Your Sales-Rep Walk-Through

As the summer approaches, moving company sales representatives are just as busy as movers. Sometimes they’re even busier. But having a grasp of what you need ahead of time will prevent from your two-hour move turning into a six-hour one.

Conventional wisdom says you should get at least three in-home estimates if you want an estimate you can be fairly confident in. If you wanted to be absolutely thorough by price and quality, you not only need to find three solid moving companies, you need to find times that work for their three sales reps and for you. The closer you are to move day, the busier you will be. The closer it is to summer the busier they will be.

The good thing is, you don’t have to know when you’re moving to get your estimate.

You do, however, have to know what you will be moving. Of course, you can make some changes down the road if need be. Just be sure to communicate these changes ahead of time, not on move day!

Protip: Your sales rep might notice things you wouldn’t even think about, like the fact that the big office desk you assembled in the spare room isn’t going to fit out the door, or that your massive fish tank will probably need to be crated.

Having the luxury of time to get these unexpected extras taken care of may prove to be a lifesaver.

Creating a Rapport With Your Mover

If you want to be efficient, you don’t want a bunch of perplexed strangers showing up on moving day.

While you won’t have much to worry about if you hire movers through HireAHelper (after 70,000 5-star reviews, we can say things like that), getting to know each other before the actual move day creates a good vibe for both parties. More than this, having time to ask questions and bring up concerns helps your movers prepare for the job ahead. 

By the same token, you can expect your movers to be as busy as you are in the lead-up to your move. Say hello, let them know what you need, let them know you appreciate it, and then step back and let them do their thing. 

Likely a Better Rate

We can’t absolutely guarantee that you’ll end up paying more if you hire your movers in the middle of May rather than the middle of March, but we are dead-certain you won’t save yourself any money by waiting until the last minute to book your movers. Unless of course the only movers left available are sketchy guys with a string of bad reviews. 

If you’re a couple months ahead of the game you’ll likely also get a much better deal on your rental truck. And your chances of nailing down the right size truck for your move also goes way up. (If you do find yourself having trouble scoring a rental truck check the tips we offer in this post.)

Get Help Loading Your U-Haul Truck

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?

Avoiding Last-Minute Expenses

As move day approaches you’ll be going absolutely nuts tackling a thousand last-minute tasks, from canceling utilities to meeting with your landlord/realtor, to cleaning your apartment well enough to get your deposit back to getting all that non-perishable food to the soup kitchen. It will be in these final frenzied hours and days that you’ll be glad you got a three-month head start.

Packing Costs and Timing
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You’ll be able to file your taxes on a postcard” was the claim made by more than one person during the final weeks of 2017 when the new tax bill was being wrangled out.

If you follow politics at all, then 2017 seems so long ago.

“[The] postcard concept is out the window,” says CPA and financial advisor Mark Kohler. “Tax advisers are going to be even more critical for the small business owner.”

Okay, so what’s going on now? We can offer all sorts of moving industry advice, but we’re less (see: “legally”) confident in our tax advisory expertise. But that caveat aside, here are a few key takeaways from the recent tax reform that a small moving company owner may find interesting.

Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, LLCs and S-Corporations

This probably includes just about everyone in the HireAHelper mover community.

You do not get any sort of break in the form of reduced taxes. Instead, these “pass-through companies” – meaning companies where income passes through to the company owners who report said income on their individual tax returns – are now able to deduct 20% from that income. This may be of interest to you, depending on how your individual taxes pencil out. (The charts in this Investopedia piece may help.)

However, any earned wages from your business that you report are excluded from your “QBI“ (Qualified business income). In other words, if you pay yourself wages out of your business income (a scenario most likely if you are an S-Corporation), you can only deduct your 20% from the business income that passes through to you as an individual. (Yes, this sort of set-up is ripe for abuse, with people adjusting their wages or salary in order to reap the biggest tax break.)

Also, if you are pulling in more than $157,500 as a single filer or ($315,000 for joint filers) you may not be eligible for the full 20% deduction, depending on how your business is classified (i.e., personal service versus employee-based). If that is the case, your best bet here is to consult a tax expert.

Deducting Costs For Trucks

Easier to comprehend is the change in how businesses can deduct the costs of depreciable assets – like vehicles, hand trucks and four-wheelers.

Whereas before, deductions for capital expenses would be made over several years, now you can deduct the full cost of any and all equipment you purchase from your taxable income for that year (up to $1,000,000).

This is perhaps the biggest boon for small business owners, as it helps ease the financial burden of purchasing the equipment that can help those owners increase productivity and grow their businesses. If you have been putting off buying that truck or updating your equipment inventory, you may now find your procrastination rewarded!

Changers For Your Customers

But for us, the most significant change in the tax code might be one that is directed not at us, but at our potential customers: As part of the tax reform, individuals will no longer be able to write off their work-related relocation expenses.

Now, could this mean that fewer people will be moving for work? Possibly. But how many have that choice? The more likely effect is that this will encourage more people to look for ways to save on their move.

Which could benefit all of us in the HireAHelper community, no matter which tax bracket we’re in.

Have a prosperous year everyone! (And good luck on your taxes!)

The post How Does the New Tax System Affect My Moving Business? appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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Forget extra vacation days or free coffee at the office; The hottest new work benefit is the option to work remotely. Tons of people who move for a job still find themselves outside of the office. Yep, about 3.9 million U.S. employees are working from home at least half the time, according to reports.

And I’m one of them!

Don’t I look professional? Well, it wasn’t always that way. I recently left my corporate job to work on my small business, and let me just say, it has been quite the adjustment working from home.

I woke up on my first day of work and felt guilty when I wasn’t rushing around to get ready and run out the door to make the train. The first few weeks were a struggle with my new routine, and I found myself working 12 hour days, in my pajamas, with my laptop constantly in front of me. I was quickly on the road to burnout.

Whether you’re underworking, overworking or both, luckily I’ve figured out a smarter (and healthier) way to work from home. I did lots of research and implemented a few strategies into my routine, and I’m happy to report that I am now thriving with my new setup.

I still get dressed for the workday.

Remember the tale of me in my pajamas working like a maniac those first few weeks of my new routine? Yeah, that wasn’t the best look for me. My husband would return home from work at night, only to find me in the same pajamas I was in when he left 9 hours before. Yikes.

Now, I get up and dressed every morning. I don’t have to put on business casual clothing, just a fresh outfit for the day ahead. This makes me feel better about myself, keeps my hygiene on point, and makes me feel like a total #girlboss.

I don’t work on the couch anymore because I designed my own work area.

I’m guilty of working from bed or on the couch hunched over my laptop. This hasn’t been great on my back (or my productivity). So after reading some more about the problem, I decided to create a designated “office space” in our home, force myself to sit in a real chair, and get real work done.

Even though our small condo doesn’t have a separate room for an office, I just added a slim desk to a blank wall in our bedroom. This makeshift office has been crucial for me. When I sit down at my desk, I know it’s time to get to work and avoid the distractions from the rest of my home.

But if you have an extra room in your house that you can convert to an office, don’t think twice and just do it. That way, you can simply close the door at the end of the day and work mode will be over. If not, find a way to create a work zone in your home, so work isn’t creeping into rooms all over your house.

I go outside before I start to work (even if it’s freezing).

Sometimes there isn’t a reason for me to leave the house at any point during these Chicago winters … I’m totally fine with that! However, I’ve found that morning walks help set me up for success for the day. Just a 20-minute stroll around the block gives me some much-needed vitamin D and fresh air. When I return, I’m ready to sit down and get to work.

I’ve also added a weekly trip to the coffee shop into my routine, and it’s nice to head out for 20 minutes to get a cup of coffee in the neighborhood. Fresh air and fresh java? Yes, please!

I bought a big whiteboard so my daily goals are visualized and in front of me.

I’m a big list maker and absolutely love the satisfaction of crossing items off of a long to-do list. I recently added a large whiteboard to our home, and it has helped me tremendously. I split the board into six sections, one for each weekday and a column for the weekend. Now I look at my week as a whole and plan things out accordingly. I slot in appointments, meetings, conference calls, important tasks and even workouts onto my large whiteboard.

I make time to meet with friends during lunch so I’m not isolated.

Working from home has many perks, but it can also be incredibly isolating. You may be by yourself all day long, and it can get lonely. I’ve found that setting up weekly lunches has made a big difference in my overall morale. I set up lunch with a different friend one day per week, and it has kept me more social … plus, it breaks up the week! If I can’t find a friend who is free that week, I spend one afternoon a week working at a coffee shop. Working amongst other people can be rejuvenating and inspiring.

I write to my coworkers (very) often.

If you’re working remotely for a company, it’s important to communicate all the time. You’re not getting that same face-to-face interaction that your coworkers at the office are getting, so be sure to check-in frequently. Make yourself available via Slack or Google Chat, and make sure you’re responsive when it comes to calling and emails.

This also will show your coworkers and managers that you’re still reliable, even when you’re working from home.

Yeah, I’m really trying to avoid household distractions.

I’m still working on this strategy, but I think it’s so important to set boundaries. When you’re home all day long, it can be easy to get distracted by things that need to be done around the house. Laundry, cleaning, cooking … they can all take you away from getting your work done.

I found that I was constantly multi-tasking while working. This seemed okay at first, but I found that I wasn’t as efficient as I used to be. Now, I take those aforementioned breaks throughout the day to run an errand or do a chore around the house, but the other times I’m 100% devoted to work thanks to my routine.

Do I have the whole work from home routine perfected? I’ve definitely made huge strides after putting that research into pracitce, and I’ve gotta say, I’m loving it so far!

The post How I Changed Everything So I Actually Work When I Work From Home appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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With every new year comes an avalanche of honors and awards, presented to businesses in every industry from every walk of life. We don’t have any hard data on this, but we figure all the plaques and trophies, laid end to end, would stretch clear across the country. It would take until next year to read them all.

One of them, however, caught our eye.

E.E. Ward, a 136-year-old moving company operating out of Columbus, Ohio, was recently awarded the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Supplier of the Year Award (Class II) by the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC).

Touted as the nation’s oldest African-American-owned business, E.E. Ward was established way back in 1881 when there were only 38 US States and Billy the Kid was still robbing banks. In accepting the award, company co-owner Dominique Brooks pointed to their pride in having survived the Great Depression, two world wars and twenty-six presidential terms.

An impressive run, for sure. But longevity is not their only strong suit. Equally admirable and worth highlighting is their list of 2017 achievements, which are decorated with their deep and varied community involvement, then capped off with the abovementioned award, Take a quick look at E.E. Ward’s year right here.

E.E. Ward employees, 2017

Not bad, right? But guess what? For all their history and their accomplishments, at the core, they’re still a moving company – just like all of us. A moving company striving to for excellence, in their work and their community.

Just like us.

The post E.E. Ward, a 136 Year Old Moving Company, Wins Supplier of the Year Award appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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Move For Hunger is a charitable organization dead-set on fighting two unbelievable stats: 42 million Americans (many children) are food insecure, and 40% of all food grown, processed and transported in the United States is wasted.

Move For Hunger recently released their annual report. Inside, it dissects the way both of those statistics are being brought down simply by

connecting the dots. What they target hits home for us as, unfortunately, a huge chunk of food loss occurs during peoples’ moves. From Adam Lowy, their executive director:

Our network, which now includes 840 moving companies, delivered 2.4 million pounds of food last year, more than we ever have before. We organized a record number of food drives, which helped to raise awareness about hunger in hundreds of communities all across the United States and Canada. We launched our Apartment Community Program, and provided thousands of renters in Seattle and San Francisco with the opportunity to donate their food when they move. And, in the final days of December, we recorded another major milestone by delivering our 10 millionth pound of food.

To recap their 2017, that’s:

  • 840+ movers now contributing
  • 300,000 pounds of food going to victims of hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico
  • 4,899 pounds of food saved from apartment communities
  • 4,536 pounds of food saved from corporate housing
  • 204,153 pounds of food from racing events

All of that good comes in addition to the plethora of personal donations that have come their way, both of food and currency. And the best part about helping them to connect the dots is that you have to do next to nothing to join in. Just ask your mover if you can donate the extra food from your pantry.

You can check out this video to see how Move For Hunger works.

How Move For Hunger Works - YouTube

The post ‘Move For Hunger’ Saved 2.4 Million Pounds of Food From People Moving in 2017 appeared first on The HireAHelper Blog.

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