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How To - Before Moving

The Importance of Creating a Home Inventory List: How-to

Home Inventory List

Taking Inventory of your Home in 3 Easy Steps

Have a pen and paper handy, open a document or download one of many available apps on your phone and get ready to do a quick walkthrough of your home through the eyes of a moving professional. It’s time to make some tough decisions about what is being kept, given to charity, or thrown away. It only takes 3 easy steps to make a home inventory list.

1. Organize by Room

Going one room at a time is the quickest and most efficient way of putting together a home inventory list. Whether you start in your living room or your bedroom, take down the large items first. Couches, beds, dressers and large appliances should be the first items from any given room on your list. Next up is smaller like the contents of cabinets and drawers, bookcases, etc. Make sure you thoroughly check your closets to not miss anything like that vacuum cleaner or set of golf clubs. 

This is also the best time to begin making decisions about what will be moving, donated or thrown away come move day. It might be easier to take an initial list of everything in your home than go through it after the fact. Of course, if you know for sure certain items are most definitely not moving there’s no reason to include them on your initial list. (It should be noted, however, that there are rules for throwing away large furniture pieces enforced by apartment management companies and local laws that could result in fines.) 

If you need any tips on how to downsize your home or simply remove some of the clutter, check out our last blog post.

2. Details, details, details

Oftentimes, when moves aren’t accurately priced it’s due to a miscommunication between the company and the client. Details are extremely important when it comes to getting an accurate quote for your move. 

Think about things like getting large furniture items through your door. Will anything need to be disassembled/reassembled? Certain particularly bulky or heavy items like pool tables, pianos, and hot tubs should also be given special attention to as not all moving companies are prepared to move these specialty items. These are all generally extra services that moving companies will offer but at a higher cost. Take measurements of larger items to make your inventory list easily translatable into an actual estimate. 

Pro-tip: Your inventory list can be an important tool when unpacking post-move. Things as simple as having a separate category for electronics in each room and keeping track of what cords go with what will prevent you from getting to your new home and opening a box with a tangled mess of wires. 

It’s also a great idea to mark off items that are particularly valuable to differentiate them from the rest of your inventory. This doesn’t only go for expensive jewelry, antique furniture, and artwork. The sentimental value of an item can be as much if not more valuable than the financial value. If the notion of something getting lost or damaged is devastating, it’s better off to note it down as valuable. 

A separate differentiation should be made for particularly fragile items. Glass and marble tabletops, china and furniture items with mirrors could very likely fall into both categories as valuable and fragile.

3. Take Pictures!

This goes along with the last point about being detailed; time to break out the camera or phone. Certain furniture items or art pieces may be hard to describe or measure over the phone. It’s good to start off with a picture of the entire room then move to individual items like artwork, furniture (especially anything custom-made), closet interiors, bookcases and any appliances/electronics from each room. 

While you don’t need to take an inventory of every single book or piece of clothing you’re moving (unless they’re particularly valuable) but pictures can be useful for a moving company to estimate the number of boxes your move will entail. While you may have an idea of the number of boxes from a previous move, professional movers are trained in looking at what you have and determining not only the number of boxes but what kind of boxes will be needed for various situations. 

Things, like crating services for artwork and having packers transfer the contents of your closets or kitchenware into specialty boxes, maybe an extra charge from your moving company but a service you might be interested in when receiving quotes. Having pictures will make this process that much easier and make sure you get an accurate quote when it comes to packing as well as moving. 

Now that you’ve created a stellar home inventory list you’re ready to make a decision between hiring a moving company or moving your items yourself. If you’ve already decided to hire a moving company or at the very least use that shiny new inventory list to get a few quotes, take a look at our post on how to get a guaranteed moving price on Unpakt.