Whether you’re moving directly into your new home or temporarily using a storage unit to store everything you own, creating a home inventory when moving is a good idea. Not only does this help you keep track of your stuff, but it also makes unpacking easier because you’ll know what goes where.
Why You Need a Home Inventory for Moving
If you’re hiring a moving company or keeping everything you own in self storage until you can move into your new home, a home inventory is a good backup plan should anything happen to your belongings.
Moving companies are usually cautious when moving items, and most self storage facilities have security features like video surveillance, gated access, and alarmed units to protect your items. That said, accidents can happen, and a security system is never a 100% guarantee that your belongings are safe.
Keeping a record of everything that’s being moved or stored is a good way to protect yourself. Should any of your items get damaged or stolen, having an itemized list (or photos) of each belonging can help you file an insurance claim and work faster with your insurance company to recover what was lost.
Label All of Your Boxes and Keep an Itemized Record
When moving, write or attach labels to all of your boxes and storage containers. There are a few different ways you can organize your stuff with labels, but the best ways are by item and room.
- By Item: Labeling boxes and storage containers by item is good when you have lots of similar items. For example, a bunch of photo albums can be put in one box labeled “Photo Albums,” which keeps them together and makes it easier for you to find all of them when unpacking.
- By Room: Let’s say you have several kitchen appliances and utensils in one box. It’d be hard to categorize them by item. In this situation, it’s better to label them by room. That way, when you’re moving the box into your new home, you’ll know it needs to go into the kitchen because it’s marked “Kitchen.”
Once you’ve packed and labeled everything, make an itemized record of what’s inside your boxes and containers. The more detailed and itemized the list, the better.
For example, an itemized list for a box marked “Electronics” could look like this:
If you anticipate the need to retrieve something from the box before you unpack, tape the list to the outside of the container rather than putting it inside. This will help you avoid rummaging through all of your boxes to find what you need. Also, taking photos of everything inside the box and taping them outside can be useful.
There’s an App for That!
Of course, electronic records are much more convenient—and easier to produce—than writing an inventory out by hand. That’s why there are apps for smartphones and tablets specifically designed to help! In fact, some apps include features for storing pictures and video clips to help you document your items.
Here are three examples of moving and home inventory apps available through Apple’s app store:
- Moving Day: With this free app, you can catalog items while you pack, track the value of items and store photos for insurance claims, create bar codes and labels for your boxes that can be printed, and more.
- Moving Van: While this app does cost $1.99, you can keep track of each box and item you’ve packed and assign them to rooms. If you need to find an item, you can search on the app for the item and the box it’s in. Data can also be exported into a PDF or email if you need to file an insurance claim.
- Sortly: This app allows you to take photos and organize items with the option to even keep track of product part or serial numbers. You can export items into a PDF and use QR codes to keep track of boxes and where each item is. (This app does have in-app purchases, otherwise it’s free.)
An inventory may not seem like it’s worth the work while you’re packing up your belongings, but it’s helpful to have when moving and storing belongings. With a good spreadsheet or inventory-related app, you can keep everything organized and make more efficient insurance claims should anything happen.