Your online guide to moving

Moving can be one of the most stressful parts of the home buying process. That's why we've compiled a list of online tools to consult to ease the pain.

I'm currently in the process of buying a home, and the big move is looming. To try to improve the process of staying organized and making good choices, I've tracked down a variety of moving-related Web tools.

(If you want to see even more tools, check out this roundup of apps we tried out last year.)

Stay organized

Before the movers come, it's important to stay organized. Get labels for the boxes. Create a checklist, so you don't forget anything. And be prepared.

HomeExpo If you want to attach labels to the boxes around your house, HomeExpo is the way to go. You can choose from a variety of labels and print them for free. The site has labels marked by room. You can even add your own description to labels for miscellaneous items.

Mayflower's checklist The Mayflower moving company has an interactive guide available to anyone who signs up on its site. Included is a checklist that provides you with a full list of things that generally need to be attended to before you move. It reminds you to contact doctors, banks, and service providers, notifying them of the change of address. It also has helpful hints to remember as you start your move. You can even have the site e-mail you weekly reminders up to eight weeks before your move, so you don't forget a step.

Maestro Label Designer
Maestro Label Designer is a handy tool. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Maestro Label Designer The Maestro Label Designer from OnlineLabels.com is the site's online-label design tool. You can add text to labels or add clip-art images for more advanced designs. The tool makes it easy to create labels, but beware that it will cost you $6.95 per month to use it. That said, it does come with a free trial, so you can try it before you decide to subscribe.

OneSimpleMove OneSimpleMove is a fantastic moving tool. Once you sign up for the free site, you're immediately brought to its calendar page. There, you can set your moving day and populate the calendar with tasks. It will even send e-mail reminders to you whenever you have a task to complete.

Besides the calendar, OneSimpleMove has a directory of movers, rental truck companies, supplies firms, and much more. When you input your current place of residence and tell the service where you're moving, it immediately puts together a list of companies that will aid you in your move. When the move is complete, you can write a review on OneSimpleMove of the companies with which you worked. The site says it will donate $20 to your favorite charity when you write that review.

Find a mover (or do it yourself)

Now that you have all your checklists and labels ready to go, it's time to find a company that will move all those boxes for you. These tools should help you with that.

Craigslist Craigslist is one of the easiest ways to find movers in your area. Simply go to your city page, choose movers, and search through the listings. But beware that, like all Craigslist listings, you need to be prudent in whom you pick. In most cases, you'll want to stay away from listings that have all capitalized letters. And if there are a slew of exclamation points, likewise move along. It will be harder to find reliable movers on Craigslist, but it won't be impossible.

Moving.com Moving.com provides a search tool for finding movers in your area. You first input where your current home is located and tell the site where you're heading. It finds movers in the area, including approximate cost, based on the amount of work that needs to be done.

Pods If you're moving across the country or over a long distance, Pods might be a great way to go. The site's online-estimate tool finds out where you're at and where you want to go. It then asks you to estimate the size of your load and gives you a price. The Pod is delivered to your home, picked up by a truck, and delivered to your new home on a designated date.

Relocation.com
Relocation.com helps you find movers. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Relocation.com Similar to Moving.com, Relocation.com provides you with all the tools you need to get quotes quickly from movers in your area. You can choose between full-service (pick up and delivery) or internatiornal. Unfortunately, the site requires you to input your personal information to get the quote, but once you do, you'll find a variety of movers that should suit your needs.

U-Haul Do-it-yourself company U-Haul provides a good online moving tool. You can quickly use its quote tool to see how much it might cost to rent a truck. The site even lets you pick a variety of accessories, like a dolly and straps, that you can add to your order. As you check out, U-Haul gives you the option of hiring movers in your area. Add-ons galore can add to the bottom line significantly, of course, so be mindful of what you pick.

Review your movers

Now that you have found some possible movers, you need to seek reviews to see if they're trustworthy. These sites should help you out.

Better Business Bureau Consulting the Better Business Bureau Web site is a great way to find out if your movers are as reliable as they claim to be. If the company has a poor record, the site displays the issues about which customers have notified the BBB. If the moving company is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, with no open (unresolved) complaints against it, chances are that it will be a good company to work with. The Better Business Bureau Web site is an ideal place to start when you begin vetting movers.

MoveHop MoveHop boasts the best design of any of the review sites in this roundup, but its listing of companies is quite small. So far, the site focuses on major metro areas, like New York City and Atlanta. So, if you're in a small town, MoveHop might not be so useful. If you're in a big city, it should come in handy.

Mover Reviews As you might expect from its name, Mover Reviews provides a full listing of mover reviews. You can add your own review or read others' reviews. The site doesn't make it easy to search its listings (companies can be viewed by name or rating), but if you want to see what kind of job a mover does, Mover Reviews is a good place to start.

MyMovingReviews
MyMovingReviews uses a convenient star rating system. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

MyMovingReviews If you're looking for mover reviews, the MyMovingReviews database is worth checking out. But after looking at its state listing, it quickly becomes apparent that the site's community is rather small, and many of the reviews come from people in big cities. If you're in a smaller city, you might not find much use in MyMovingReviews.

Yelp Yelp is a fine tool for finding company reviews. And its moving reviews are outstanding. Once you pick the city you want to search in, finding mover reviews takes just seconds. I searched for movers in San Francisco and found 273 results. The reviews were thoughtful and more informative than any other mover review site in this roundup. You might have trouble finding mover reviews in smaller towns, but Yelp has more reviews than any site I tested, so it should definitely be your first stop when you start researching movers.

The must-haves

Moving can be chaotic, so I don't expect everyone to try out all the sites listed here. That's why I've listed the best of the best below. Definitely check out these sites.

Best organization tool: OneSimpleMove

Best mover search tool: Moving.com

Best mover review tool: Yelp

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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