In All

Taking inventory of your belongings is a great way to take control of your PCS. And it doesn’t have to happen just when you’re about to make the big move.  Knowing exactly what you’ve got and where it’s stored before you have orders will make for a smoother transition when you pack up your home.

Here are some tips on how to inventory your belongings:

  • Take pictures and videos of your items.
  • Record the serial numbers.
  • Keep your inventory list in a safe place like the cloud or a safe deposit box.
  • Update your list often.

The movers will inventory your household goods, but their list won’t account for the value or condition of your belongings. Conduct your own inventory to cover all your bases. (And don’t even get us started on movers who do a… less than perfect job, let’s say.)

One great resource to help keep you organized is Ready.gov.

You’ll just need a smartphone or a camera and a computer to make the list. You can also download free home inventory software at Ready.gov, or ask your insurance company for a recommendation.

Here’s what to record:

  • Item name, description and condition.
  • Number of items, (for example, “12 pewter forks”).
  • Model and serial number, if applicable.
  • Purchase information: where and when you bought it, the cost, an estimate of its current value, and whether you have the receipt (shoot or scan it if you do).
  • Photo data, such as filename or number, and how it’s tagged in your files.

For the best inventory, you must have pictures. Record specific brand names for any high-priced items.

To get top-quality photos and video:

  • Unclutter the area. Put away your stray socks and tidy up around the house before you photograph your valuables so they can be clearly seen.
  • Capture every room and photograph everything. Shoot high-value items separately, and don’t forget small items ? they can add up if you need to replace them all. Don’t forget to shoot the camera or digital device you’re using, too.
  • Shoot from all sides to show the condition and any brand names. Make note of the serial number.
  • Open cabinets, drawers and closets. Get close-up shots of these areas for an overview of what’s inside them.
  • Don’t forget the garage or attic. Shoot both inside and outside to capture everything.
  • Talk while you walk when shooting video. You can add a lot of details if you narrate your video.
  • Keep your list, photos and/or video somewhere safe. They won’t help you much if they get lost it in the move. A digital copy is always best.
  • Don’t forget to update your inventory. You’ll want a record of any new items you get, too.

Do you have any tips for keeping an inventory of your home?

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Mackenzie
Mackenzie is a military spouse currently living in Texas with her husband and son. She is a freelance writer and avid traveler, visiting 65 Countries solo, now taking the baby along. When not writing for MilHousing Network she blogs about family travel at A Wandering Scribbler & Co. while writing novels and binge-watching British TV.
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