A young woman with brown hair in a wheelchair packing boxes in her room.

Moving with Limited Mobility

Moving Tips for People With Limited Mobility

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American will move around 11 times in their life. Moving happens so frequently that at any given move, you may find that you have less mobility than you're used to due to extenuating circumstances. Mobility problems can affect people of any age for several reasons, whether related to a pre-existing condition, a temporary injury, or the result of aging.

If you have mobility limits, it's vital that you don't strain yourself to make a move quickly. While mobility issues can bring irritation, mainly when it's time to move between homes or cities, there are several ways to make a move easier without injuring yourself.

Utilize All Your Resources

Anyone with a disability should research what resources are available to them as one of the first phases of planning a move. Some organizations can offer several educational and financial assistance for people with disabilities who are moving. Some of these resources include:

  • Rental Housing Rights: Knowing your rights as a renter is crucial for anyone renting property, but especially for underserved populations, including people with disabilities and older adults. If you identify with one of these populations, you may request no-cost accommodations to make your living space more comfortable. For example, the legal obligation for installing a ramp over any entrances would belong to the rental property owner or landlord, not the tenant.
  • Veterans Assistance: The Office of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers housing assistance for active service and retired military when it comes to moving. These can include grants, special benefits, equipment, and more. You can visit your local VA office or look online to see what assistance resources you may be entitled to.
  • State and Federal services: Your state may have moving services and assistance available for older adults and people with disabilities when it comes to moving. These resources can help you find a place to live that meets your mobility requirements and connect you with services to help you move your things. You may also be eligible for financial support, depending on your circumstances.
  • Local Charities: There may be charities in your area that assist people with limited mobility or disabilities that impact their mobility. These charities may provide people who could help you move, pack, or provide mobility assistance equipment you may need. You can find similar assistance online or in your local area at little or no cost.

While it may feel frustrating to ask for help, these resources exist solely to provide it. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, particularly when it comes to protecting your health and well-being.

Tips To Make Your Move Easier

Outside the resources above, there are other ways that people with limited mobility can make their move easier and smoother for everyone. Many of these steps require only extra planning and awareness, with little to no additional cost commitment.

Plan for Accessibility

Creating an accessibility packing and moving plan can save you time on the actual move day. This plan can involve:

  • Putting accessibility modifications in place before beginning the move;
  • Packing boxes over the span of days to reduce bodily stress;
  • Having a plan for boxes so that they don't impede household maneuverability;
  • Calling ahead to find out what home accessibility aids might be available or needed at the new place.

Planning for accessibility shouldn't just be about being able to move about your space but being able to spread out physical labor and stress in a way that won't cause injury.

Declutter and Downsize

Decluttering and downsizing before your move is a great way to save space in your new place and reduce the amount of packing and hauling you have to do. This type of reduction can benefit people with mobility restrictions who may be unable to move as many or as heavy boxes. From minimalist methods to decluttering room by room, there are downsizing tips all over the internet, and it's essential that you follow whatever practice works best for you.

Prioritize the Essentials

Preparing essential items, like clothes, toiletries, and medicine, will be crucial to perform before you move. You will still have to wake up, brush your teeth, and take daily medication, so it's best to have them easily accessible. For people with limited mobility, this may also include mobility aids like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs.

You can determine if something is essential to you by asking yourself how many times a day you use it and what the consequences would be if you had to go without them. If you use something several times daily and experience severe consequences without it, you must keep it with your essentials.

Create a Moving Checklist

Staying organized is one of the critical elements of planning a successful move. Not only keeping your things organized but to-do items as well. Creating a moving checklist of tasks you can complete systematically and delegate when needed will help ensure you don't leave town without forgetting to cancel your electricity service. Your moving checklist should have the following phases:

  • Short-term goals to accomplish the week of moving;
  • Long-term goals to achieve in the months leading up to a move;
  • Post-moving goals to accomplish when you arrive in your new place;
  • Post-unpacking goals to perform when you are completely unpacked and settled.
  • Dividing tasks into these sections can give you a timeline and help reduce anxiety over the overwhelming amount of duties that any move requires.

Find the Best Help You Can

Having qualified help can be incredibly valuable for people with limited mobility. Helpers can save money, energy, and time. Qualified helpers might include friends and family, but you may hire professional help to make everything easier and safer. Hiring professional movers also allows you to cater to your schedule rather than the schedule of friends and family. Some types of professional services that are available include:

If you're transporting sensitive equipment, such as wheelchairs, mobility aids, or medical equipment, indicate this beforehand or pack it yourself to ensure it arrives safely at your destination.

Don't Forget About Unpacking

Packing and preparing for a move can be incredibly taxing, so unpacking can get overlooked for months. Procrastinating with unpacking your goods can cause hassle and mobility impediments in your home. By creating an unpacking plan, you can ensure that you're not rooming with boxes for the next six months and that your new place feels lived in and accessible. Some tips for creating an unpacking plan include:

All of these tools can make the unpacking process quicker and easier.

Most people will move at some point, including people with limited mobility. However, having limited mobility doesn't have to complicate the moving process. With some planning and relying on available resources, you can make quick and easy work of your move, regardless of your moving ability.

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