Packing Boxes and Hiring Movers: Is There an App for That?

I’ve made just about every type of move from packing a suitcase to go to school to tossing everything into several 55-gallon heavy-duty garbage bags and hailing a cab (long story). I emigrated to the US from the UK with only two large army surplus bags, while the rest of my belongings stayed in storage for a couple of years (don’t ask).

A few years later, when I moved from LA to NYC, I sold, donated, or gave away almost everything I acquired and just shipped seven boxes to my new sublet. Of course, the boxes didn’t arrive for months. The only time I’ve moved “perfectly” — the total white glove treatment — was when a concierge service packed up my apartment and loaded everything onto a truck back to the West Coast. All I had to do was take a plane and stay with friends until my stuff arrived a week later.

Next time I move house, which could be soon, I’ll look for an AI assistant. All of my previous steps were before the app economy made navigating a smartphone screen easier. Surely moving to a new place with all the services available must be easy now, right? let’s find out’s moving checklist

(Image credit: PCMag) has a comprehensive moving checklist(Opens in a new window) designed to prepare you up to eight weeks before your moving day. It also has several custom lists, e.g. B. a job relocation checklist(Opens in a new window). When you sign up for an account, you can check the boxes next to the tasks you need.

These can range from obtaining comparative offers(Opens in a new window) of forwarding agents, booking of storage units(Opens in a new window)Calculation how many boxes(Opens in a new window) You need where to donate(Opens in a new window) what you don’t need and how to transfer your additional costs(Opens in a new window) so the lights are on when you arrive.

Verdict: It’s comprehensive, but essentially a very long list of affiliate referral links to vendors within the network. The UX is too cumbersome, old-fashioned and list-based. I want an AI to request information, automatically fill in the underlying data fields for me, and then provide a perfect moving plan at a glance. That’s not it. Let’s move on (pun intended).


The Move Advisor(Opens in a new window) App available for iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window)looked easy enough to use at first, but things weren’t what they seemed.

Step 1: Enter details

Enter your current zip code, then select the city and state you are moving to (not an international option, this is a US only moving app), the move size (studio, 1 bedroom, etc.) and the moving date. Then click plan my move. However, you can’t go beyond this step without setting up an account (though not a single sign-on with Gmail).

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Step 2: House Inventory

Choose from a long list of room names (kitchen, bedroom, etc.), then click on a room to bring up the screen with typical accessories for that room (beds, chests, chairs, electronics), approximate weight (in pounds), and / or cubic foot to fill. Drag and drop each item into the center screen until you’ve “tucked” everything into that space. Then move on to the next room until you have inventoried the entire house, apartment, or sublet space above a garage.

Step 3: Move timeline

Another long list of everything you need to do before, during, and after your move: from organizing paperwork, choosing your mover, taking stock of your home, packing the garage and basement, and using up the groceries (the sounded vaguely apocalyptic, but I digress).

Step 4: Relocation offer

Unfortunately, this is only a click-to-call-me-back option from one of MoveAdvisor’s many vendors/partners.

Verdict: This app is not smart at all. It’s a sales-based front-end pushed into a database of local leads. It is understood that all paid for the exposure or will give MoveAdvisor a percentage of the move fee. Fair enough, but I didn’t feel the app was smart.

Perhaps there is no such thing as a free app, especially when it comes to something as difficult, costly, and stressful as moving house.


When I took on this task, I asked around to see what people I knew were using to move apps. Photographer Jonathan Ducrest(Opens in a new window) Contacted. He had recently returned to Zurich from the USA. I asked him if there was an app that handles the entire moving process end-to-end.

“I wish they existed!” Ducrest says, “But I don’t think that level of sophistication is there yet. So I used a combination of services. I have booked a flat rate(Opens in a new window), because I have used them before and trust them to get my stuff from LA to Zurich, Switzerland. But I knew I needed a top-notch solution for the packaging itself. Especially since I would enter the USA through customs at exit and into Switzerland. I used boxes for that(Opens in a new window) and highly recommend it.

“It was a highly organized person’s dream come true,” says Ducrest. “I was able to catalogue, photograph and print the labels for each box (label printer not included in the app). Better yet, if US and/or Swiss customs wanted to do this – and they often do – they could scan the QR code and find more information or an image(s) of the contents of each box.”

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This iOS(Opens in a new window) app was developed by StackTracks, a development and design studio specializing in iOS apps, which meant I couldn’t test Boxes on my Android phone or Chromebook. Jonathan provided data for the following steps so I can understand how the app works:

boxing app

(Image credit: Jonathan Ducrest)

Step 1: Order physical boxes + pictures in the boxes app

Create an account in the Boxes app and purchase a pack of boxes and images. Ducrest confirmed that he bought a pack of 200 boxes (and pictures to match) for $6.99.

Step 2: Start the inventory

In the Boxes app, click the spaces Option so you can name each individual room. In Ducrest’s case (see pictures) he chose kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, closet, office and living room.

Step 3: Packaging + Recording + Tagging

You can then add a crate to your inventory (the app will automatically number it for you) and tag it with the room it’s from (e.g. kitchen). Now fill the box (IRL) and take a picture of the box and enter a list of its contents. The app now treats these combined data fields as an object for shipping purposes with a custom QR code per box (so clever).

Step 4: Label + Customs Fields

blow create label and select public link so a third party (customs etc.) can scan the QR and see the contents of each box. Now you can choose Print from my phone or Save to My Camera Roll for additional backup purposes.

Step 5: Repeat

Now tape this box shut and start on the next box. Repeat steps 1 – 4 until done.

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“The app allowed me to create a complete inventory of my apartment, both per room and for the entire move,” Ducrest tells me. “I used this directory when the movers delivered my stuff to Zurich to check every box – pardon the pun – and make sure nothing was lost in transit.”

Was it easy to use? “Yes, it was,” says Ducrest. “Once I got into the flow of steps 1 through 4, I basically took off after downloading the app. I started packing my things, sometimes several boxes at a time.”

In addition to content categorization and QR code generation, Boxen also offers a variety of functions. It’s also capable of creating tasks to help you with important tasks, setting up custom box statuses, filtering boxes based on specific criteria, and even setting custom app themes.

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Boxes bills itself as “storage made simple” rather than positioning itself as a moving app, giving it a bigger market since anyone downsizing or doing the Airbnb thing may need to move their belongings to storage.

Verdict: If you are looking for a great box packing, labeling and moving app, this is the one. Ducrest confirms that all his belongings arrived in Switzerland safely and on time. Usage for the basic service is free, with incremental in-app purchases for image storage once you exceed 25 boxes, starting at $1.99.

Looking for the perfect moving app

After testing two services and getting input on a third, I started thinking about the perfect moving app.

I wanted an app that would walk me through the process by asking me questions and then creating a custom moving plan. Or, if we’re really fancy (and why not?), an app with an underlying NLP (natural language processing) layer so I can talk to it as I walk around my seat, identify objects, and have the AI ​​type everything in automatically the data. Or, as I said, use image recognition. I would pay for both voice input and automatic image tagging.

Ducrest adds: “Another neat idea would be, given that most phones now have AR capabilities, it would be great to scan your room with your phone’s camera and the embedded AI could then work out the size of your move.” and get offers that way.”

Relocation is one such process, and AIs are good at crunching massive amounts of data and generating custom outputs. A combination of NLP, image recognition, and a deep understanding of the steps involved in each person’s moving journey? That would be the app I would pay for.

In the meantime, I’ll be hiring someone from TaskRabbit the next time I move(Opens in a new window) (I used them a lot) to come to my house and then give them the boxes(Opens in a new window) app and ask them to remove themselves.

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