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Moving Tips from a Packing Guru

Editor’s Note: Even though I’m cruising around the Mexican Riviera this week, per my recent resolutions, I didn’t want to neglect my blog. So I asked the very talented Vicki Boykis if she’d be willing to lend her time and thoughts to me and my readers. Vicki and I met at a tweetup last year, if you can believe it. She is an international trade analyst and product manager in Washington, D.C. and just like me, is a twenty-something Russian Jew trying to figure it all out. Below, Vicki shares some really great tips for moving.

Everyone I know, including me and Julie seems to be moving these days.  I’ve been moving around ever since I went to college: first between dorm rooms, then to Israel on an internship, then back home, then to Philadelphia, then to DC.   In the meantime, I’ve become a packing guru.  Here are some tips I’ve picked up during and between moves.   (Clever with the acrostic, eh?)

1. Make sure you forward your (low-tech) address
Luckily, the easiest way to do this now is online.  I like to do this at least two weeks before I move and after I’ve signed a lease; that way, you can still pick up any spare mail still coming to your old address.  Also, change all your addresses for things online like Netflix, credit card bills, and anything else you don’t want to miss in your mail.

2.  Old packaging-keep as much of it as possible
Lots of apartments don’t have tons of storage.  However, what storage we did have in ours, I used to keep boxes because I knew I’d eventually need them for moving again.  I especially kept things like boxes from silverware and glasses, our TV box, and packaging for kitchen items like blenders.  This automatically makes it easier to put boxes into a bigger box and you don’t have to worry about how to wrap. For those who do not have access to sufficient storage, they can look for self storage units nearby.

3.  Very carefully choose movers
Even if you don’t have a lot of stuff and tons of friends, it can still be a good idea to hire long distance movers. Some movers company that also offers Shuttle Bus for sale is a great choice too.  Last time, my husband and I moved from Alexandria, VA to Bethesda, MD (about 35 minutes each way), and it was a huge hassle.  This time, we’re looking at different moving companies, and we made extra-sure to check them out online through references and making sure they responded on time.  A friend pointed me to Moving Scam, which has a list of tips to avoid when you’re looking to move.

4.  Evaluate: In my post, I mentioned that I as struggling to get rid of things.  Emotional attachments are huge blocks to moving more simply with less clutter, and we all struggle with getting rid of teddy bears from when we were 11.  The best tip I recieved on my blog was to take pictures of things I was especially attached to and keep the pictures, but to also keep a number of things you can still look back on.  The fact that there are tons of blog posts on this issue signifies that it’s a big one.

Good luck!  I know I’ll be needing it this weekend.

My Favorite iPhone Apps

David, one of my favorite co-workers who (to oversimplify) sees/cares about things the way I do, has finally made the switch from his Treo to an iPhone. As such, I owe him a list of my favorite iPhone Apps, so I figured I’d share them with everyone at the same time… Enjoy!

  • IM+. Pro: You can sign onto all your different Instant Messaging platforms like Google Chat and AIM. Con: It signs you out as soon as you click on something else.
  • Pandora. Pro: I have the 8gb iPhone, so space is a factor for me, but with Pandora, I can listen to my favorite music and spice things up a bit. Con: It’s kind of ironic to listen to the radio on an iPhone, isn’t it?
  • Sportacular. Pro: Allows you to get updated scores for a variety of sports. You can even set it up to see all your favorite teams in one view. Con: Means that I know right away when my Red Sox and Pats aren’t doing so well. Ignorance is bliss sometimes, my friends.
  • Shazam. Pro: Hear a song on the radio, at the gym, during a night out, etc, and don’t know what it is? Shazam will tell you the title/artist and save it for you to view/listen to later. Con: Sometimes it does get stumped. (For example, it didn’t recognize Christina Arguilera’s “Keeps Getting Better”)
  • Flashlight. Pro: I use this to help me find my bed once I’ve turned out the lights. Con: At some point your iPhone battery will die, and you’ll be without a flashlight.
  • Jott. Pro: Perfect for taking down your to-do list when you don’t have a pen/paper handy and don’t feel like typing anything into your phone. Con: I think the interface isn’t very user-friendly.
  • Word Warp. Pro: Finally a game that keeps me challenged! Con: It is web-based, so when you don’t have a signal, you can’t play.
  • Twitterfon. Pro: Allows me to update my twitter status from my phone and shows my friends’ statuses. Con: I’m not convinced that it provides any additional functionality that twitter.com is lacking.
  • Stanza. Pro: Let’s you read books on your phone. Con: I haven’t used it once, so, what does that say about its relevance?

A great feature of the phone is that you can save bookmarks to the home screens. At times, I’ve found that these bookmarked websites work just as well as, if not better than, the corresponding applications. They are:

  • Google Reader. Keeps my RSS subscriptions at my fingertips. What could be better?
  • Facebook. Pretty self-explanatory. Seriously, I didn’t find any need to use the app (although I tried it).
  • Toodledo. Lets me update my to-do list on the go. (The only thing I’m struggling is the duplication/overlap of features with Jott. I haven’t decided which one to keep and which one to remove.)
  • Umbrella Today. One touch lets me know whether to pack an umbrella in my work bag. This one is pure genius.
  • Craiglist. Let’s me search for everything I could ever need. Has helped tremendously as I’ve been looking for furniture with which to furnish my apartment.

Have you found iPhone apps you couldn’t live without? I’d be interested in hearing what apps I’ve overlooked!