Moving is the worst. These tools make it a little better

I’m moving, and while I have not yet found an app that will magically transport my stuff from the old apartment to the new one, I have found a few digital tools that make the process a little better.

UnpaktCreate your inventory, book your move: Unpakt, Moveline

Unpakt was the most useful site I used for our move. The NYC-based startup lets you create an inventory, get instant quotes from a bunch of movers and then book your move online. You can also add services like having the movers pack and unpack for you. (It was founded by Sharone Ben-Harosh, the founder of NYC-based moving company FlatRate Moving, but it operates independently.) The service is now operating in over 50 cities, and while the site can occasionally be slightly buggy — at one point, it randomly lost a moving plan that I’d created — it’s the best site I found for streamlining your move. And it makes creating a home inventory — which is essential to get an accurate price quote — easy and almost fun. (If you’ve ever tried to get a quote through a mover’s website, you know how clunky the process can be.)

One caveat: If you get a good price quote from a company you want to use, go ahead and book even if you think your move date might change later: Unpakt lets you change or cancel for free up to two days before your move. I waited too long to book (about two weeks before we wanted to move), and the mover I wanted to use (best rate and a company I’d used before) was no longer available through Unpakt. I ended up calling them directly and was able to book a move through them that way, but it ended up costing about $150 more than the rate Unpakt had given me, even though I actually provided the mover with a PDF of the inventory I’d created through Unpakt. An Unpakt rep explained to me that “movers set their own availability on Unpakt. This means each moving company inputs how many trucks are available each day…it is likely that [the mover] wanted to keep at least a few trucks available for customers who call them directly, instead of selling all availability through Unpakt.” Lesson learned: Book early, cancel if needed.

Another NYC-based startup, Moveline, provides a similar service, but instead of creating an inventory on a website, you shoot a mobile video of your home and get quotes three business days later. It’s not as instantaneous as Unpakt, and I found the notion of shooting a video annoying, but some people might prefer it.

UpdaterChange your address and update your accounts: Updater

Updater is a beautifully designed free site lets you register your address change with the USPS, update other accounts (magazines and newspapers, utilities, etc.) with the new address and make appointments with the cable guys. (For an additional fee of $39, Updater will switch over all your accounts with the electric, phone, internet and cable companies.)  The fact that Updater — which is based in NYC and backed by IA Ventures and SoftBank Capital — is really lovely to look at makes it even more of a pleasure to use, since currently my apartment is filled with junk, boxes and packing paper.

Moving Day appWhat’s in that box again? Moving Van and Moving Day

The Moving Van app (iOS, $1.99) helps you remember what’s in each box you packed — you take pictures of the items in each box and assign the box a number and a room. Another app, Moving Day (iOS, free) lets you inventory items as you pack them and then print out a scannable bar code for each box. User reviews, however, note that the app is buggy and prone to crashing.

If you are an Evernote user, you can replicate the services these apps provide: Take pictures of a box’s contents, catalog the contents in Evernote and refer back.

To-do lists: Moving List, Moving Planner, One Simple Move

Moving List (iOS, $2.99) and Moving Planner (Android, $1.99) both essentially provide a checklist of tasks to complete before you move. If you don’t feel like shelling out a couple bucks, the website One Simple Move provides a similar service for free.

There: Isn’t it reassuring to see how much you have to do before moving day?

Feature photo courtesy of Shutterstock / koya979