Keeping an inventory of all your stuff not only helps you be sure everything reaches its destination safely. It’s also important for insurance purposes. Long distance movers often require some kind of proof that an item existed before they’ll admit it got lost or stolen on their watch, and if you’re going to take out specialist moving insurance they will certainly require you to take a detailed inventory of packed goods. It’ll come in handy when the time comes to take out home and contents or office insurance in the new location, too. You’ll be able to hand your insurer a complete list of valuables that need to be covered.
The list can be taken with paper and pen, but it can be easier (and certainly neater) to keep track of your belongings on a computer or an iPad. The simplest way to go about it is to open up Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheeting program and start making a list of items that need to be packed. Allow one column for the name of the object and use the next for the box number. If you like, note down how it was packed, eg wrapped in newspaper.
The next column should be used for the date of packing, and the one after that reserved for an unpacking date or a simple notation indicating safe unpacking in the new location. If you’re moving to storage and won’t be unpacking in the near future, just note that the box was received and safely stored. You might also want to make a note of the condition the box was received in. If it looks crumpled or has a rip in it when the movers deliver it, that fact might be relevant to a future insurance claim.
Dedicated inventory software is easily available, but most of it is designed for warehouses and retailers rather than personal use so it can get overcomplicated. What You Own Home Inventory may be the best free option for moving.
iPad users have plenty of helpful Apps to choose from. Gotta Have It! Home Inventory is probably one of the most useful. Inventory Tracker is intended for small retailers but it can also be used in the home or when moving an office. It’s fairly simple to use and allows you to define categories. For example, you might want to divide up your belongings by the room they should be placed in or the type of item. Inventory for iPad allows you to go even further and tag individual items with GPS location co-ordinates. You can also import and export CSV files and sort your lists quickly and easily.
While not everyone will want to go the whole way and build a complex inventory, a simple one is always a good idea. Whether you keep yours with a paper and pencil, on a laptop, or on an iPhone or tablet doesn’t matter. The important thing is to make sure your list is complete and keep it updated.