By Molly McLaughlin, Senior Editor for Portable Electronics, ConsumerSearch.com
Downsizing now that the kids are out of the house? Retiring to a new area to escape a hectic atmosphere or harsh winters? You've probably moved plenty of times before - into that first apartment, into the house where you raised your family, relocating for work.
No matter what type of move you're making or how many times you've been through the process, the challenges remain the same. Hopefully, you've learned from past mistakes (too small truck; unreliable movers; unlabeled boxes), but we can all use a refresher.
Here are five Apps you can download that will help with packing, staying organized and remaining as stress-free as possible on moving day.
Make a list, check it twice. The first step in planning a new project is making a list, right? The Moving List iPhone App ($2.99) does that for you, providing 95 to-do items to get you started. That may sound like a lot to tackle, but tasks like hiring movers and reading their liability policy, getting boxes, and measuring your furniture are organized chronologically so you can check things off as you get closer to the big day. You can also add your own tasks to the list.
Plan ahead - or plan for a headache! If you have an Android phone, 99 cents will get you the Moving Planner App that includes a whopping 210 to-do items, everything from transferring your cable, electric and other utilities to the new address to sending out change-of-address cards to friends, family, your accountant and others. (Never fear - you can clear the list of irrelevant tasks.)
Like Moving List, Moving Planner lets you check off completed tasks and add your own to-dos. Bonus: You can share the list with your spouse, children and others involved in the move so they can pitch in as needed.
Hire a pro. When looking for a moving company, ask around first - word of mouth is a great way to find reliable contractors. If that doesn't pan out, the free My Move App can help. You can search for licensed movers by location and read reviews from other customers. You can even get a quote right from the App. My Move is available for iPhone and Android smartphones as well as for the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.
Judge a box by its cover. So you've got movers, now it's time to start packing. But you don't want to arrive at your new home with a jumble of unorganized boxes and waste time trying to find the stuff you need right away. You'd probably like to unpack bathroom essentials before fooling with the wedding china.
Labeling your boxes is a must, but Moving Van ($1.99) for iPhone goes a step further. When you finish packing a box, open the App and take a photo of the box's contents. Then give the box a name that will help you and the movers, such as the room where it goes. Make sure the box label matches the label in the App, and now you have a catalog of your boxes complete with photos of their contents.
Looking for your coffeemaker, so you can have a steaming cup of Joe while unpacking? Just check the App, find the labeled box and there you go. Once you've emptied a box, mark it as unpacked in the App and you can keep track of just how many (or hopefully few) boxes you have left.
Level the playing field. Now that the boxes are unpacked and in the recycling bin, the walls suddenly look so bare. Hanging pictures can be tedious -- a little to the left, please -- but don't despair. If your toolbox lacks a level, you can download one to your Android phone. Meet the free Bubble Level which helps keep your pictures and posters straight -- in a fun, high-tech way.
You can save time, money and loads of frustration by planning ahead for your next move. Start by downloading a few of these Apps to simplify the process. Besides staying organized, you'll impress the kids (maybe even the grandkids) with your up-to-the-minute tech know-how.
Molly McLaughlin is Senior Editor of Portable Electronics for ConsumerSearch.com, an award-winning website that analyzes expert- and user-generated consumer product reviews and recommends the best items to buy based on the findings. Molly covers tech products such as cell phones, smartphones and digital cameras.