Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lost Blankie? There's an App For That!

I had a nice email exchange with Morgan McReynolds, a guy whose child's blankie was lost in a big bunch of moving boxes. He survived.

We never lost a blankie in a moving box, but that might be because my kids rarely let go of physical contact with their blankets (named "Nemma," "Bip," Baby" and "Ammol Bankie") especially during a stressful move.  We lost "Baby" temporarily twice, once in a hotel room in North Carolina, and once in a hair salon that was dangerously close to closing for the weekend before I could get there to rescue it.

As a parent, those kinds of incidents scar you.  You might forget their teachers' names or how much they weighed at birth, or even which of your kids is allergic to avocados, but you'll take a lost blankie story to the grave with you. I can see me at 105: "I don't know my own name or whether I have a body below my waist right now, but I remember July 17, 1992, when we had to drive 50 miles back to the Comfort Inn outside Charlotte to root through the bed sheets to find Baby."

So when Morgan told me the result of the Blankie in the Bottom Moving Box Crisis of 2014 was that he started a company  that helps to better label, track, and organize moving boxes by contents, I was like: "Well done, Dad. Well done."

SmarterBoxes is Morgan's way of paying it forward and proving that you wouldn't wish a lost blankie on your worst enemy.

When he first told me about SmarterBoxes, I immediately thought of all the moving box mislabeling mishaps I've experienced or heard of. I told him about my sister Pam, who couldn't figure out what was in the box the movers had labeled "RIEF."  It was a Christmas wreath. Morgan and I got a chuckle out of that one and then he told me the blankie story.

Morgan's family move involved home renovations, temporary living, and storage, the triple threat of relocation. I don't know what kind of IQ is required to correctly put everything in the boxes that are going to the right place during that kind of move, but I know I don't have it. And apparently neither does Morgan. Because he couldn't find his son's blankie.

"(It) was in the box at the bottom of a stack of boxes four high and about four rows deep. It was the last of about 40 boxes that I opened and moved to find where it was . . . at about 1 a.m..  Brutal," he wrote.

Tell me about it.

You tell you kids again and again that moving will not ruin their lives and then some freak packing accident goes and does just that.

SmarterBoxes is cool. Here's how it works

Instead of writing on each box with a marker, you use SmarterBoxes' labels, which have scannable codes. You record each coded box on the SmarterBoxes app with what's inside each box.  You can enter descriptions of what's in the box , take photos of the contents, or both. You can enter where the box is coming from and what room it's going into in the new place. For unpacking, the app will tell you what priority each box has, and - most importantly - which box holds that precious item that someone in your family can't live without.

So when your 13-year-old comes to you on moving-in day and Valley-Girl-whines that her earphones are lost forever and she might as well just join the Navy or become a nun, you can check your app, search for  Hillary's earphones and be the superhero of your family's move.

SmarterBoxes' company motto is "Improve Your Move." The company is based on someone who has been where you are, has experienced some of the mishaps of moving, and has figured out a better way.

And because Morgan and his family have been through stressful moves, they understand that a moving person is a person who needs a little sympathy.  "Moving is one of the biggest projects that people undertake in their personal lives, and we think that people going through something that significant need more than just an app," says the SmarterBoxes website. "So, we designed the SmarterBoxes service to offer 24x7x365 customer support – from real human beings.  Call us at any time with questions.  We know moving can be tough, and we want to provide a full-featured service that takes the stress out of your move."

What you need to know

Pricing: Between $2.50 and $50.00, depending on the size of your move
What's included: Labels, the Smarterboxes app, 24/7/365 customer support
More info: Call 844-HiBoxIQ (1-844-442-6947) or email customers@smarterboxes.com


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If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

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