Jennifer Jolly | Special to USA TODAY
Moving to a new home feels a lot like going through final exams while in the middle of getting a cavity filled.
I’m in the middle of a major move right now, hauling furniture, boxes of photos, clothes, artwork, knick-knacks – and, of course, gadgets – on an interstate journey to a new home. And while I’m no stranger to relocation, it’s still a massive inconvenience at best.
I know it’s for the best. I’ve been dreaming about it for years and I can already feel the delight of it being done. But the actual task of hauling an entire life’s worth of accumulated keepsakes from one house to another? Absolute torture.
But I’m tech-savvy and write about gadgets for a living, so surely I have an army of box-toting robots at my behest, right? Not so much. I do, however, have a smartphone and believe it or not, there are several apps that most definitely make moving marginally less annoying and even – dare I say it – enjoyable.
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Google Keep (free, iOS, Android) is the ultimate sharable note super tool. When you’re planning a move – or perhaps woke up on moving day and realized you had no idea how to prioritize things – you’ll quickly find yourself making lists… and then making lists of those lists. It’s how we humans like to try to keep ourselves on task and it tends to work if everyone involved is on the same page. That’s where Google Keep’s shareable, synced lists and notes come in so incredibly handy.
Need a tally of everything that goes in the office at your new home? A few taps and you’ve got a list ready for entries. Once you finish, you’ll remember that the list is basically useless if your spouse/roommate/partner doesn’t also have access to it, so you quickly share it with them and within seconds you’re both working on the same task. When things get really hectic you can even record voice memos and Keep will actually transcribe them into readable text for you to browse later. There are so many ways to use Keep – and so many ways it can keep you and your fellow movers in sync – that it belongs on your smartphone.
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There are many, many things that you absolutely need to bring with you during your move. Clothing is a big one. Furniture? Yeah, that’s up there, too. Pets! Oh, right, pets – that reminds me – I need to grab my dogs’ special little bed and chew toy for the three-day drive…
One thing you don’t need to haul along to your new home is piles and piles of papers you’ve let stack up over years of home office neglect. You could scan them with your printer, but that would take forever, so download the TurboScan app (free, iOS, Android) and capture perfect scans of every document in mere seconds.
TurboScan has been around forever – seriously, it first launched in 2015 and it’s still going strong – so that should tell you how good it is. It’s an absolute lifesaver when you’re consolidating paperwork like old taxes, contracts, bills, receipts and pretty much anything else that lives on a sheet. Just point your phone at the document and let TurboScan do the rest. It automatically identifies the document within the frame, crops out everything else and captures the perfect high-quality scan every time. You can save them right on your device in multiple formats, send them to an email address or even add them to your camera roll as images. It’s so satisfying to convert all that pesky paperwork into digital files – plus, it saves you a million papercuts.
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So you’ve arrived at your new home and realized you don’t have the person-power to haul that reclining sectional up seven flights of stairs? No problem! Dolly (free, iOS, Android) connects you with helpful delivery people looking to make a few bucks. These strong-backed guys and gals have no qualms about carrying your furniture to its new resting place in your new home and there’s never any haggling over price.
All you do is enter your details and list your job, how much you’re willing to pay and then communicate directly with helpers right from inside the app. If you’re moving to a new area and there’s no relatives nearby to guilt-trip into helping you haul boxes, Dolly is the ideal app companion.
If you’ve ever moved you already know that you eventually get to a point where you’ve packed up all the important stuff and would rather just throw everything else in the garbage than wrap it, box it and haul it. That’s no longer necessary, because there are people all over your town who will buy your old stuff and they’re on Facebook Marketplace (free, iOS, Android).
Years ago, before Marketplace existed, you had to deal with multiple apps. You’d have Craigslist, eBay, maybe even OfferUp or even some flash-in-the-pan rummage sale apps. Facebook has since eaten everyone else’s lunch and is now the most popular place to get rid of things you no longer want but hope to get some cash for rather than simply throwing them away. That old lamp in the basement, dusty lawn furniture or wobbly coffee table? You can almost always find someone on Facebook Marketplace who will pay you for it.
You’re probably not going to see Sortly (free, iOS, Android) on any real estate blogs or moving guides, but it’s one of the most helpful overall, especially when entrusting your property to a moving company or service. Sortly is an inventory app built with small businesses in mind, but also great at cataloging all your beloved items and ensuring that they make it to your new home in one piece.
Use your smartphone camera to snap images of items and Sortly automatically catalogs them for you. You can add barcode info for additional details and check off items as you’re unpacking. We’d like to be able to trust everyone, but that’s just not possible and whether you’re letting a couple of guys in a van haul your stuff across town – or hiring a moving company to send your entire life’s worth of possessions over state lines. Keeping all your most precious items on Sortly gives you some serious peace of mind.
Looking for a company to deep-clean your digs or a local handyman to address fixes? There are many other apps that do similar things as those I’ve using and told you about here, such as TaskRabbit, Unpakt, Handy and more. One quick hack to find the right person in your new area is to go to your app store and type “moving” into the search bar. I found a few services specific to my new location that way, that I otherwise wouldn’t know about.
Now, if only that team professional organizers would put it all away for me … or there were a magical moving fairy to point a wand and just get it all done really inexpensively. Unfortunately, there’s no app for that – yet.
Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.