October 20, 2021 Posted in How-to
Lucy Lucas

Born and raised in Miami Lucy is a content writer with a love of moving and packing. She is an expert at making sure everything fits into her suitcase.

How to Do a Home Inventory in 5 Simple Steps

Providing your long-distance moving company with a full directory of all stuff you possess is necessary for a precise estimate. Here is how to do a home inventory in the most effective way so all the items you entrusted to long-distance movers can be insured in case of any loss or damage of goods.

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We all feel anxious when our stuff is in someone else's care. Writing down all information regarding our possessions is the best guarantee in case of unpredictable scenarios.

What Is a Household Inventory Checklist and Why Is It Important to Have One?

Simply said, a household directory is a detailed list of all household items you possess. It should include all the valuables like electronics, jewelry, or antiques, as well as basic things such as clothes, linen, or packed shoes. Aside from the name of the item, it is highly recommended to include some other details like:

  • A detailed description of the item,
  • Model or serial number if possible (especially applicable to electronics),
  • Cost at the time of purchase,
  • Date of purchase,
  • Receipts or warranty,
  • Estimated replacement cost.
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Why Is Doing a Home Inventory so Important?

Memorizing all the things you have is impossible to do (especially if minimalism is not your lifestyle). And having a record of all possessions is essential in scenarios where something doesn’t go by the book, and you need to claim insurance.

Is There An Insurance Policy Provided By Cross-Country Movers

Once they are loaded on the truck, all the possessions are insured with a basic insurance policy that applies to all damaged things and guarantees compensation of 60 cents per pound of damaged goods. This type of insurance is included in all quotes provided by relocation companies, so there is no need for an extra payment.

If you want to ensure a full value replacement in case of damage for things packed by professional packers, then going for an upgrade is definitely a good option. Especially if you want to move some valuables like paintings, sculptures, instruments, electronics, or anything similar. However, keep in mind that claiming insurance is not possible unless you have all the possessions cataloged. That’s why writing down all this information is of essential importance when moving cross-country.

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Don't forget to check all the information and conditions of the insurance policy before accepting the quote

Step #1: Decide What You Will Need to Bring to the New Home

Downsizing the household is one of the first steps to take when you’re about to start organizing your move, especially if you’re relocating to a smaller home. Not only will it help you to exclude all the unnecessary belongings from the packing process, but it will also provide you with an opportunity to reduce costs when moving. Don’t forget that the price of relocation is based on the items you have on the household inventory list. The fewer things you have, the less you’ll pay, and you’ll move more efficiently.

For that reason, keeping only the things you need is the best way to facilitate the whole process. Deciding what to get rid of when moving is never easy, and moreover, it can be a pretty emotional process, especially when it comes to personal memories. However, minimizing the number of things to be packed is essential. Here are some simple but effective moving hacks on how to organize decluttering and establish a decision-making process.

The Question to Help You Decide Whether to Pack an Item or Not – Is It Still Purposeful, Useful, Essentially Needed?

People are just used to assigning sentimental value to their possessions. Going through your kids’ old toys, dresses you’ve worn in the happiest moments of your life, family photos, or souvenirs you brought from trips and deciding to get rid of them doesn’t sound like fun.

However, allowing possessions to overtake your house will only create chaos. For that reason, having a developed decision-making process while decluttering will accelerate the whole process significantly. Every time you’re not sure whether to keep something, ensure to ask questions that will define its purpose, use-value, and if this thing is essential to equip your household. If you don’t come up with a clear answer to those questions, then this is a certain sign you should consider if it is actually needed.

Feel like you need some extra piece of advice to explore how to declutter a house in the most efficient way? Make sure to take a look at the video below and follow the instructions.

The Stuff You Don’t Need Can Get a Second Chance

The main question people usually have is what should I do with all the stuff I don’t need? Throwing everything away is definitely the last option because many things you have are still usable. Here are a few ways on how old stuff can get a second chance:

  • Donate unwanted items – whether it is clothes, appliances, or furniture you won’t need in a new home, there is a charity that is ready to accept donations. So, ensure to check local charities and give stuff to people who need it.
  • Sell them in a garage sale or in Facebook groups – if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to get rid of all unnecessary stuff, selling it is the best solution.
  • Forward them to the recycling center – if none of the solutions above are possible, recycling all the unnecessary stuff rather than throwing it away is the right thing to do. This way, not only will you protect the future house from any clutter, but you will also help the environment stay cleaner and healthier.

If You Run a Home-Based Business, Don’t Forget to Go Through All Papers and Sort Out the Necessary From the Unnecessary

Business documentation is always an issue for homepreneurs, and especially when it comes to relocations. Going through papers is an essential preparatory step that could help you downsize the number of things to be packed. Taking business papers that no longer have to be stored has no point, so make sure to go through everything and save only the pieces you actually need.

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Before categorizing possessions, decide what will be on the packing checklist for certain

Step #2: Go Room By Room and Categorize Items

Now that the decluttering is done and your packing checklist is fully ready, the next step is to go room-by-room and categorize the items that are supposed to be packed. The best way to organize the moving essentials is by coming up with groups of stuff like:

  • Antiques,
  • Artwork,
  • Clothes and shoes,
  • Collections – makeup, books, purses, china, decorations,
  • Jewelry,
  • Electronics,
  • Musical instruments,
  • Toys, video games – if you’re moving with a toddler or older kids.

Create a Printable or Digitized List That Covers All Essential Data on the Property

All homeowners should keep in mind that the possession directory is valid only if there is a detailed description of every item. Serial numbers, receipts, warranties, anything related to the specific item should be covered by this record. This task is pretty time-consuming so be patient and fully focused while working on it. Also, if you go for a printable version, make sure to keep the record with you, make a few copies, and ensure not to lose it!

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Homeowners should categorize possessions and include essential data in the description

Step #3: Take Photos or a Video of All the Things You Plan to Bring With You

Another effective way for homeowners to create a directory and prove the total worth of their stuff, in case of damage or loss, is to take photos. This implies you should take pictures of whole rooms, closets, drawers, and specific personal things, including all serial numbers, warranties, and any other characteristics that could prove how the damage occurred.

In case you go for a video catalog, ensure to give verbal descriptions as well, and let them be as defining and descriptive as possible.

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Photos and videos are great solutions to capture all personal possessions and their condition

Step #4: Use an App to Make a Digitized Home Inventory List

How to inventory your home? Another convenient way to create a directory of all belongings you have is using some of the numerous apps specially designed for this purpose. On top of accelerating the whole process, it will also give you a few more benefits like:

  • Advanced functionalities to research your database and categorize it by room, type of item, or location instead of searching through papers,
  • Ability to upload videos or photos of specific things,
  • Ability to create and print labels,
  • Integrated calculators,
  • Search feature.

Another plus? Well, you’ll always have a chance to take a look at the list, because it will be easily accessible through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. So our ultimate moving tip would definitely be to try some free apps like Sortly, Encircle, or Nest Egg, which will be especially useful for all those who are about to move out for the first time. Once you create the moving out for the first time list and get an estimate of the value of household goods, you’ll be ready to move to a new city, and making an inventory list will be a breeze!

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The greatest benefit apps provide is easy access to information from wherever you are.

Step #5: Re-Consider Your Insurance on Valuables

There are different types of insurance policies intended for homeowners, and all of them cover belongings of specific value. In case you’re relocating, it is most likely that the insurance policy won’t cover damage, loss, or theft during transport. Still, this is something to check with your insurance broker. Also, when it comes to relocations, there are two types of policies you can agree with relocation companies, and both options are provided by third parties insurance companies.

However, to ensure adequate protection for high-value goods, make sure to explore all the details when booking the relocation with a moving company, and try to explain what type of policy you need during the relocation. You don’t want to end up depressed after relocating just because some of your valuables got damaged or lost, and you can’t file a claim. Prevention is, after all, the most effective way to deal with potential problems.

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Some family heirlooms, pieces of art, or jewelry are simply priceless. Insure them adequately before the relocation starts

Let a Professional Cross-Country Moving Company Ease the Whole Relocation

Dealing with moving stress is maybe even worse than organizing the whole relocation. Not only will you have to be cautious when choosing a moving company, but you’ll also have to know exactly which cross-country moving services to book so all the possessions are delivered whole to the new house.

Going for packing services is the best way to be sure all your belongings will be packed properly – no matter their value. And of course, if you want to move the car, then auto shipping services are another thing to pick. Once you schedule all the services and dates, you’re free to focus on other things and let the professionals do their part of the work. This will allow you to overcome the anxiety about moving out easily!


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