“Having experienced what it is like to live in an apartment and a house, I knew I wanted to go back to apartment life. Sure, this lifestyle has its challenges – like possibilities of broken elevators – but it also has its perks,” says Joe Akmakjian, a wheelchair user born with muscular dystrophy. He shares some of his own tips and tricks he has learned for a successful move.
Think Outside The ADA Box
Joe states that it is common for most rental units to not be up to ADA standards. Therefore, it’s important to be open to looking into regular units as well. “Thus, it’s important to expand your search to regular units that might, with a little creativity and elbow grease, work well enough for most of your needs,” he says.
When searching for an apartment, Joe looked for an open floor plan so he can get around comfortably in his wheelchair. The bathroom presented the biggest challenge but Joe’s landlord was willing to accommodate his needs.
“The bathroom was the biggest challenge, but after discussing with the landlord and making a few small modifications I made it work. For example, I removed the doors to the cabinet below the sink so I could drive my chair under with ease and hired someone to reinstall the bathroom door so it opened out instead of in so I have more room to do donuts.”
Joe states it is crucial to stay organized, especially for someone like himself who requires help with arranging his apartment. “It’s tough to sift through boxes and rearrange items when you can’t do it yourself. It gets expensive to pay for help and everyone gets frustrated, especially you,” he says.
For his most recent move Joe says he supervised the people helping him move He told them exactly where to put everything, and in return, his things did not get lost or misplaced. Joe states, “Just because you might not be the person doing the grunt work doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in every aspect of your move.” Joe has found it more practical to unpack things slowly over time. This allowed him to save money as he had to pay someone to help him unpack.
Find Furniture That Fits Your Style
Joe likes furniture with a modern-contemporary design but admits it was hard to find furniture that was accessible. Joe did his research on companies that built custom-made furniture and he discovered a company that worked for him. Joe found some nightstands and dressers that could fit all of his medical equipment so the equipment did not have to be out in the open. He also found a memory foam mattress with adjustable bases as opposed to hospital-style twin size bed.
“I don’t think anyone really enjoys moving. Sometimes it’s exciting to take a chance on a new city or find a start fresh start, but the process of getting there isn’t one most would say they can’t wait to do again,” says Joe.
Hopefully, Joe’s tips will assist you in a successful move!
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