Moving Inventory List


  • Keeping track of all your possessions during a house move is not an easy task.
  • Fortunately, there is an efficient planner tool that can help you bring order to the chaos.
  • Create a moving inventory list to get a better idea of what you own, assess your moving and packing needs, and pack in safely, efficiently, and logically.

Have you ever wasted hours looking for something that should be right there but seems to have miraculously disappeared?

Have you ever rummaged through your belongings and come across an item you’ve totally forgotten about?

Keeping track of all your earthly possessions is not an easy task – especially under exacting circumstances, like moving house.

Yet, that’s exactly when you need to know the whereabouts of all your belongings all the time – so you don’t forget, misplace, or lose something in the moving chaos.

Fortunately, there is an efficient planner tool that can help you bring order to the chaos and keep things under control throughout the entire relocation process – a moving inventory list.

Having a detailed inventory of your possessions will allow you to achieve excellent organization and efficiency in your moving preparations – and, most importantly, to keep track of your items and ensure that everything has arrived safely in your new home.

Here is everything you need to know about moving house inventory in order to make your relocation safer, smoother, and better organized.

What is a moving inventory?

A moving inventory sheet is a document that lists all the items you intend to take to your new home.

It contains the most important information about each item (type, distinctive features, current condition, and estimated value) and specifies what room the item belongs to and what number box it is packed in.

Such a comprehensive inventory list is extremely useful in all stages of the relocation process.

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Why do you need an inventory list for moving?

There are many important tasks to complete when planning a house move, so you’ll be very busy in the weeks before your relocation and may not be sure that making a moving inventory will be worth the time and effort.

As soon as you start your moving preparations, however, you’ll come to realize that a home moving inventory list will be extremely helpful.

Whether you will be using professional moving services or moving your belongings yourself, it is a good idea to document everything you own beforehand.

A moving inventory list will help you

1) Get a better idea of what you own to decide what to take

A home inventory will allow you to get a better idea of what you own.
You may be surprised when you realize exactly how much stuff you own.

A home inventory list is a visual representation of all your belongings – it contains every single possession of yours.

You may not have realized how much stuff you actually own.

Once you make an itemized record of your belongings, however, you will know exactly what you have and will be able to easily identify duplicate items, outdated items, outgrown items, damaged items, and items you won’t be able to use in your new surroundings.

It will help you decide which of your belongings are worth moving to your new home and which ones you should get rid of before the move.

How to Decide What to Take and What to Leave Behind When Moving

Once you’ve made your decision, be sure to include all the items you want to take to your new home in your moving inventory list.

2) Assess your moving and packing needs

When you know how many and what kind of items you have for moving, you will be able to:

  • Decide whether you need professional moving services or not;
  • Determine what size of moving truck you’re going to need (if you’ve opted for a self-move);
  • Decide whether you need professional packing services or not;
  • Determine how much and what type of packing materials you’re going to need (if you’ve decided to pack your belongings yourself);
  • Estimate approximately how much time packing will take (when packing by yourself).

All in all, your moving inventory will help you plan your move better and more effectively.

3) Pack in a safe, efficient, and logical manner

Having an itemized record of your belongings to refer to when packing for moving will considerably speed things up – and will make packing safer and more efficient.

Your moving inventory list will double as a packing list, so you won’t forget any of your belongings and will be able to organize them in a practical and logical manner.

When you can see all your items on the inventory list, it will be easier to decide which of them to pack together, what kind of boxes to use for what items, how many things to put in a box, etc.

How to Pack Boxes for Moving

A movign inventory will help you keep track of your items and your boxes.
One little, two little, three little moving boxes… Wait, these look like BIG moving boxes…

Labeling will also be very easy, as it will be enough to just number the boxes (write large numbers in bright colors) and enter the number of the box against the corresponding items on the inventory list (write 5 against all items that are packed in box number 5).

This labeling method will save you plenty of time – and having an itemized record of the contents of your moving boxes will make unpacking faster and easier too.

How to Label Boxes for Moving

4) Learn the cost of your move

Moving costs are based on the weight of the shipment (for long-distance moves) or on the time needed to complete the job (for local moves).

Moving Costs: Average Cost of Moving

When you have a detailed moving inventory, you will be able to estimate approximately how much your items weigh and roughly how long loading and unloading will take – so, you’ll get an idea of the final cost of your move.

Besides, when you give your moving inventory list to your chosen movers, they will be able to correctly assess the weight of your shipment and the complexity of the job (special packing requirements, special handling requirements, required extra services, etc.) – so, they will be able to give you an accurate estimate of your moving costs.

What’s more, knowing all the specifics in advance will allow the movers to prepare properly for the job, so they will perform your move in the safest and most efficient way possible.

5) Get proper moving insurance

Seeing the estimated value of your belongings on your moving inventory list will help you determine what kind of liability coverage to get for your items – you may choose to pay extra for full value protection or even to get third-party insurance for some highly valuable articles.

If your shipment includes very expensive items (valued at more than $100 per pound, you’ll be required to fill out a high-value article inventory form to get proper insurance for your valuables.)

Moving Insurance: Released Value Protection and Full Value Protection

In addition to helping you get appropriate moving insurance, a detailed moving inventory list will help you prove the validity of your claim if you need to file an insurance claim against your overs (in case any of your items get damaged or stolen while in their custody).

Just be sure to include a clear statement of the pre-move condition of your belongings in the inventory list – together with indisputable evidence (dated photos, videos, warranties, maintenance receipts, authenticity certificates, etc.).

After the relocation, you can use your house moving inventory list to get home insurance.

6) Keep track of your possessions

An inventory list is great tracker tool.
Your inventory list will double as a packing list – so, you won’t forget anything and will know exactly where everything is at all times.

The primary purpose of making a moving inventory is to keep better track of your boxes and items.

On move-out day, you’ll be able to go through your inventory list and make sure that every single box, piece of furniture, kitchen appliance, etc. has been loaded onto the moving truck.

On move-in day, you’ll be able to check your items against the inventory list upon delivery and immediately find out if something is damaged or missing:

  • In case some of your boxes or other household items get mixed with other people’s goods transported in the same moving truck, you will be able to quickly identify them and prevent further troubles;
  • If something has been lost or stolen, you will be able to notify the moving company right away – and will have enough time to file a claim, if your items are not found and returned to you;
  • If any of your items have been damaged during the move, you will notice it upon delivery and will be able to file a successful claim against the moving company.

Without a moving inventory list, you may not notice the problem until several months later when it will be too late to do anything about it.

Clearly, a moving house inventory will be of great help during the entire relocation process, so you should not hesitate to make one.

How to make a moving inventory list

It’s best to have a detailed list of the items you want to move to your new home right from the start (it will be very helpful when considering your moving options, when negotiating prices and conditions with potential movers, when looking for packing supplies, etc.), so creating your moving inventory should be among the first things to do when you start planning your relocation.

Step 1. Make your home inventory room by room

When creating a home inventory, it’s recommended to work on one room at a time – for maximum efficiency and better organization.

So, when you start making an inventory list for moving, you’re advised to make a complete inventory of all the items in one room, then move on to the next.

If this is not a convenient option in your case, at least make sure you create separate inventory sheets for each separate room. 

When inventorying a room, start with the major items – furniture pieces, household appliances, electronics, etc. Document them in detail, then proceed to smaller things.

Inventorying your home room by room is both convenient and efficient.
Record all the items in a room before moving on to the next.

It’s not necessary to record every single article – such as individual dishes, for example.

Just be sure to note down how many items from a category you have (4 salad bowls, 8 dessert plates, a 12-piece dinner set, etc.) and specify valuable articles (a hand-painted ceramic teapot from the 18th century).  

It’s a good idea to indicate items that will require special care during the moving process (a crystal chandelier, a large fish tank, an 80-inch LED TV, etc.), items of high sentimental value (family heirlooms, keepsakes, collectibles, etc.), and very expensive items (jewelry, artwork, etc.)

Bonus tip: You’re strongly advised to move your most valuable possessions yourself – to eliminate the risk of losing them during the relocation.

So, take a close look at the valuables on your home inventory list and try to figure out a way to take as many of them with you as possible – smaller things may fit into your luggage, you may be able to move most of your valuables in your car (so you may decide to drive to your new home), etc.

Step 2. Make a detailed record of your belongings

When it comes to actually creating your moving inventory list, you can either use the old-school method (write everything on a piece of paper) or take advantage of modern technology (your computer or your phone) to create a moving inventory spreadsheet that can be easily edited.

Either way, make a table and add the following essential columns:

  • Type of item;
  • Quantity (if you have multiple of the same items- such as dining room chairs, crystal glasses, books, etc.);
  • Item description – material, make, model, serial number, and any other distinctive features;
  • Condition – a statement of the current condition of the item. Be objective and note down any pre-existing damage;
  • Value – the cost of the item at the time of purchase and the current estimated value of the item (including receipts and warranty paperwork). Consider having high-value items professionally appraised and include documentation of the item’s appraisal and worth in the inventory. The value you declare in this column will be used to establish the limit of the movers’ liability for loss or damage to the item;
  • Destination location – the room where the item will be located in your new home (it may or may not coincide with the room where an item is currently located). Knowing where an item should go will considerably speed up unloading and unpacking;
  • Packing details – the number of the box in which the item is packed and/or any relevant packing details (packed in its original box; wrapped in a red blanket; etc.). This column will help you keep track of your items and your boxes and will make unpacking faster and easier;
  • Notes – you may want to add a personal note or some additional information about an item that falls outside the above-mentioned categories.

In case you have homeowner’s insurance, your insurance company will already have a list of your household items that you can use when making your moving inventory.

Step 3. Create visual records

You can easily create a moving inventory with teh help of a specialized app.
Making a moving inventory list is child’s play with modern-day home inventory apps.

Adding pictures and videos to your home inventory moving list will considerably increase its practicality and reliability.

The visual records will capture the distinctive features of every individual article and will serve as undeniable proof of the pre-move condition of your items.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to make short videos – or take photos – of your belongings and attach them to your moving inventory spreadsheet.

Pay special attention to valuables – get close-ups of serial numbers or other identifying details.

In fact, you can easily create a video home inventory – just walk through your home with a video camera (or use your phone’s camera), record all your household items, and speak into the microphone to provide any necessary information (have someone help you by holding up items, opening drawers, etc.).

Making visual records of your belongings is a very convenient way to create a moving inventory – it will save you plenty of time and effort. Yet, a written moving inventory will be more convenient to refer to during the relocation process.

Step 4. Use a home inventory app

Perhaps the easiest way to create a home inventory for moving is to use a specialized home inventory app.

The best home inventory apps have various advanced tools and features that allow you to quickly and effortlessly document your items, insert pictures and attach video clips, store the inventory list online, print out paper copies, etc. It’s very convenient and very efficient.

You can create a digital map of your home by creating virtual rooms and filling them with all the household items and personal possessions you’re going to take with you to your new residence.

You can edit your items list whenever you need to, delete items, add new items, or make any other necessary changes and save them right away.

What’s more, the top-rated home inventory apps, such as MoveAdvisor, can calculate the overall weight and volume of your inventoried items and even estimate the approximate number of moving boxes you are going to need for your relocation.

Finally, you can export your moving house inventory and share it with others. You can even e-mail your complete inventory list directly to a reputable moving company to receive an accurate moving quote.

Bonus tips for making a moving inventory

Make sure you make a detailed moving inventory when you start planning your next relocation.
Is your home inventory checklist for moving complete?
  1. Once you finish your moving inventory, double-check all items to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
  2. Back up your moving inventory. Make several paper copies of your moving inventory list and store them in different places (keep one copy in your moving folder, another in your essentials box, yet another in the box that will be loaded on the moving truck last (and unloaded first), etc.). Make sure you have digital copies of your moving inventory too – if you used an app or a computer program to make the inventory, you will already have an electronic record of your belongings; if you created a paper inventory, scan the list and save the file to your computer. E-mail the inventory list to yourself and/or store it in the cloud, so you can access it at any time and from anywhere.
  3. Keep a copy of your inventory sheet with you on moving day, so you can compare it to the one prepared by your movers and check if everything is correct. Check your items and boxes against the inventory list as they’re being loaded on the truck to make sure nothing is left behind.

Having an itemized record of your belongings will take you one step closer to a smooth and successful relocation – so, be sure to make a detailed inventory list when you start planning your next move.

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