Inventory Management: How to Keep Track of Your Stuff | My Move

Inventory Management: How to Keep Track of Your Stuff

Author: Nancy LaFever

When you're preparing for a move, just the thought of packing all your stuff can be overwhelming. But like any other big project, it helps to break tasks down into parts.

Start by downloading our Inventory Checklist. Then, scroll down to find tips on how to use it and make sure nothing gets lost in the move.

First, organize your things and purge what you don't want or use anymore; then perform a home inventory. A home inventory will come in handy both during your move and in your new home, for insurance purposes. Whether you're moving yourself or hiring movers, these thoughtful packing tips will help make your move more organized and less stressful.

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Start with Three Categories

Before making a packing list, get rid of items you no longer need or want.

  1. Toss It: It's silly to move junk to your new place. Think of how much less packing you'll have to do if you just toss it! Don't make snap decisions because you're in a hurry, but don't linger over items either. As you're going through your things, ask yourself the following questions:
    • When was the last time you used it?
    • Do you really need to keep it?
    • Do you really want to pay to move it?
  2. Give It Away or Sell It: If the item is in decent shape, donate it to organizations that take second-hand goods, like Goodwill. You also might want to have a moving sale.
  3. Move It: If it's going with you, proceed to your home inventory.

Home Inventory List

It's easy to break your possessions down into groups of things by room. But a visual aid can also be helpful. Draw a rough floor plan of your new home and label the different rooms. Make separate lists of the items that will go into those rooms. You'll be using these lists when you start packing.

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If you're a color-code kind of person or someone who just needs an excuse to buy office supplies, make up a system of color-coding for different rooms. If coding isn't your thing, make up a system that will work for you and your family. It might help, too, at this point to start making labels that correspond to your inventory lists by room. But don't just label something "Master Bedroom;" add a more specific description like "Master Bedroom: nightstand contents."

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Insurance Purposes

Remember to save your home inventory list after your move and to add to it as you purchase new items for your home. The list might come in handy one day if your home sustains fire, flood or earthquake damage or if you are robbed. You'll need to submit an organized record of your possessions to claim insurance reimbursement.

Why Should You Have All the Fun?

Most couples or families have one person whom they see as the "organizer." It that's you, it can be good and bad. While it's nice to be thought of as organized, it's also an excuse for you to do all the work. So get the whole family involved. Make sure that everyone understands the system in place for your home inventory. If children are old enough, make them responsible for their own rooms.

Illustration by Kena Ravel

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