Moving is hard. Let these apps do the heavy lifting.
Make your phone carry that stress.
Moving to a new home is an incredibly stressful undertaking. In fact, one survey found that more than half of Americans think changing homes induces more anxiety than planning a wedding.
To keep your head from exploding, we’ve collected 10 apps that will help with your big move. They cover every part of the process, from finding the perfect pad to boxing up all of your worldly possessions to unpacking everything in your new digs.
Several apps let you search for homes, but Zillow leads the pack. It combines a high-quality interface, which you can navigate easily and quickly, with comprehensive listings, which cover places for sale and for rent across the United States. The app also includes a handy budget calculator to help you figure out acceptable mortgages and rents.
To start your search, type in a location or simply draw a shape around a region on the map. Then narrow down your options with filters that cover everything from price to nearby schools. Most listings come with plenty of photos and videos to pore over. Once you find a potential home, you can contact the relevant agent directly.
2. Google Maps
When you switch homes, you need a mapping app—and not just to get from point A to point B on moving day. Before that, you should use Google Maps, which offers excellent search tools, to scope out potential new neighborhoods.
Point the app towards any location where you might live, then use the Explore tab to check out local restaurants, parks, gyms, museums, and other spots. All these places come with user reviews and photos. You can even check out a Street View look at your potential new home: Tap and hold on any street, and a small thumbnail will appear in the lower left-hand corner; tap that thumbnail to access a 360-degree view of the area. Just be aware that some Street View shots may be outdated—you can check out the date of the images in the top left corner.
The TaskRabbit platform helps you with chores by connecting you with local people for hire. This temporary employee might clean your apartment, assemble furniture, or transfer heavy items from one place to another. And if you’re moving, you’ll probably need assistance with all three of those jobs.
When you open the app, you choose a task you need to do and set the times when it has to happen. Then TaskRabbit provides a list of registered, checked, and reviewed “Taskers” willing to lend you a hand. You can choose your person based on the prices they charge and the description of their qualifications. Because of this, costs can vary significantly by location and task—but in general, if you hire one person to help with jobs like moving and packing, you’ll face prices of about $35 per hour.
As you clear out your old place, you may uncover stuff you don’t plan to keep. When you get to your new home, you may discover that you’ll need extra items. The location-based online marketplace Craigslist can help you with both tasks—unloading junk and replacing it with better options—without costing too much money.
This option isn’t an app, but the Craigslist website works on your phone as well as your computer. Choose your location and head to the “for sale” boards to advertise your old items and browse for new ones. You can also look for people who might help you pack and move, but we think TaskRabbit makes a better tool for hiring people: It actually vets its Taskers, something this platform does not do.
Speaking of which, you should read Craigslist’s safety guidelines, which will help you avoid scams, before you start buying or selling. In addition, exercise common sense: If you’re meeting up with strangers, bring a buddy with you—don’t blindly trust anyone you met online.
Craigslist website, free
Like TaskRabbit, Dolly lets you hire local helpers to smooth your move. In this case, however, it limits the available tasks to booking “muscle” or “truck and muscle,” if you don’t have a large vehicle of your own. Contractors working through Dolly are background checked, reviewed by users, and covered by commercial insurance. Once you book them through the app, they’ll show up at the time and location you specify.
On the down side, Dolly has a more limited range than TaskRabbit (covered areas include Chicago, Boston, and San Diego), so you should check to make sure it works in your city. Prices are also slightly higher: They start at about $50 for one helper to move one large item a short distance, but keep going up from there; you should use the app to get a more exact quote. Finally, this option works best if you need a little extra help with a smaller move, rather than a full house-swapping service. For that, you’ll want to book a professional team through an app like Moved (more on that below).
Evernote turns up in many “best apps for [blank]” lists because it’s so versatile: The app can save your notes for everything from writing a speech to planning a move. It stores text, images, links, annotations, and other details in digital notebooks that you can easily organize and search.
In this case, for example, you could use Evernote to keep a shortlist of houses that interest you, a checklist of to-dos you need to work through, and an archive of important documents. If other family members also have the app, you can share all of these notebooks with them. To access additional features, including extra cloud storage, you can upgrade to a premium account for $8 per month.
You want to make sure that all your possessions make their way safely to your new place. Sortly gives you an intuitive system that lets you track everything you pack. Through the app, you photograph each item; tag it by, say, which room it came from or where it needs to go; and then add any additional notes you want. When you get to your new digs, compare your boxes’ contents to your digital list to make sure everything arrived.
Sortly is free—as long as you’re cataloging 100 items or fewer and relying on only one device. Otherwise, a premium plan, which costs $4 per month, gives you an unlimited inventory and lets you access the app on up to three devices. The premium plan also lets you print out QR codes that you can attach to boxes. Once you scan the QR code, Sortly will tell you what’s inside the package.
Moved makes it easier to find and book the services that will help you get settled in your new home. The app starts by asking you a few key questions, like when and where you’re moving. Then it connects you with (gasp) an actual human assistant. Through a text chat, this person helps you plan out the process and book moving companies, decorators, storage unit firms, and other services.
The app itself is free, because Moved makes money through commissions from the removal companies and other suppliers it puts you in touch with. At the moment, only iPhone owners can download the app, but Android users can access the service through its website.
9. Moving Checklist
Part of the stress of moving comes from having to remember the hundred different things on your to-do list. Moving Checklist can take some of that strain. It counts down the days to your big date and suggests tasks based on how far off it is. This lets you see in a glance what you need to do a month, or week, or day before your move.
Like Moved, this app also helps you connect with potentially useful services, from packing label suppliers to the U.S. Post Office’s change-of-address website. Some of these services are local businesses, and the app makes its money from these sources. This keeps it free for you.
Don’t even think about moving without establishing some sort of calendar to plan everything out. While your phone comes with its own proprietary version of a calendar app, we recommend that you upgrade to Fantastical. It offers lots of useful features, including reminders that can kick in at a certain time or location, an easy-to-understand agenda screen that clearly displays even the most complex of calendars, and support for natural language commands like “pick up the removal van at two.”
On the downside, Fantastical is only available for iOS devices, at least for the moment. And you also have to pay for it—although the price is only a one-time fee of $5.
Fantastical for iOS, $5