Easy Ways to Make a Home Inventory

Packing list

In the strictest sense of the word, a home inventory is just a list of everything that you own. Similarly, you may consider a packing list to be merely a list of things that you're moving with. But in relation to moving, these lists take on a specific significance and a function that cannot be ignored. When you move, a home inventory is a document which will enable you to make sure that you've received all of your belongings and to ensure that they're in proper condition. When done properly, a packing list can fulfill the same purpose. You can later use this document to unpack your items in the proper rooms and to make a claim against your homeowners insurance company in the case of theft or damage to your home. Creating a proper home inventory before your move requires a bit more effort than simply walking around your house with a pen and paper. You'll need to document exactly what you own, where it goes and how much it costs. You may also want to record any problems with specific items or the condition of items that you're concerned may get damaged during the move.

Getting Started:

Before you can create your packing list, you'll need to decide what medium you'll use to build the list. For many people, using a paper and pen is the easiest way to record each item as you place it into the box. Creating a packing list electronically is a great way to stay organized, but may be a difficult task if you don't have a laptop or PDA. If you're creating your packing list electronically, consider using Excel or special packing list software to keep you organized. If you plan on using this list for insurance purposes or want to make sure that your belongings survive the move, you can also take pictures or videos of your valuables, fragile items and electronics. Store these images with the home inventory so that you'll have them on hand if necessary.

Creating Your List:

The following steps will guide you as you create your packing list and home inventory. Make sure to start this process after you've decided which items you'll be getting rid of before the move.

  1. If you're moving, the first part of your inventory list should be copying all of your important documents and storing them in a different place than your originals, for the unlikely event that disaster strikes your originals (or you lose them). Consider copying your electronic files as well onto an external hard drive or using an online data backup.
  2. Once you've copied your documents, start by videoing or photographing your valuable (if you've chosen to do so). It's important to do this at the beginning of the home inventory process so that in case you lose steam in the middle the most important things will be properly recorded.
  3. Now it's time to roll up your sleeves and start the documenting. At the very least, your inventory list should have the following columns:

    ItemValueRoom
  4. If you're using your home inventory as a packing list, you should also record the box number of each item.
  5. Video your items while making your home inventory
  6. Make sure to document the value of your items (if possible, the price that you paid or the appraisal value) so that in the event that you need to make a claim to your home insurance company or to your movers, you'll know how much each item was worth.
  7. It's a good idea to write down the room that each item "lives' in so that you can easily find a place for it in your new home.
  8. It is recommended to cover one room at a time so that your inventory list will be as organized as possible. If you're moving, this is also a good way to pack as you can record your things as you pack them.
  9. Make sure to open jewelry boxes, toolboxes and other cases to record everything valuable found inside.
  10. If you're moving large appliances, make sure to include them on your inventory list.

Securing your Packing List:

If you do choose to write your list by hand, make sure that it's written neatly and that you make several copies immediately upon completion. Store the copies in different places so that you'll always have one available. You may also want to give a copy to a relative or friend to store so that it won't get lost during the move or damaged in case of flood or fire in your home. Another good option is to store your home inventory in your safe deposit box. When moving, make sure to take the packing list in your hand luggage so that you'll have it available when you're ready to unpack.

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