Everything You Should Know About Creating a Moving Inventory

February 22, 2023 / Posted in Moving Basics
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

Even if you’ve been through the process of packing and moving before, one crucial detail often slips under the radar – creating a moving inventory list. In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you should know about creating a comprehensive list, from why it’s important to how you can quickly create accurate records of each item. If you wish to make this process as simple as possible, just read on.

Boxes on a to-do list being checked before cross-country moving
Creating an inventory list will transform your move into an organized, stress-free experience

What Is a Moving Inventory and Why Do You Need It?

Relocating to a new state can be an exciting life event, but it also requires careful planning, especially when it comes to organizing and packing up your belongings. One important tool for ensuring that your move goes smoothly is a relocation inventory. Simply put, it’s a detailed list of all the items you plan to take with you when you move to a new home. Having one can help make sure that nothing gets left behind and that you don’t forget anything important.

When preparing for a move, keep in mind that your inventory should include every item, big or small, that will be traveling with you on your relocation day. If you plan on getting storage services for things that don’t have to make the journey with you right away, such as seasonal items, make sure to note these items separately on your list. This way, they won’t get accidentally packed and loaded onto the truck by mistake.

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Benefits of Creating an Inventory List

Creating a comprehensive relocation inventory has several advantages beyond just helping you keep track of everything during the relocation itself. It can also help save time and money by streamlining the entire process for both movers and customers alike. By providing long-distance movers with a detailed list of items you’re planning to relocate, you make the process pretty straightforward – so there shouldn’t be any surprises, such as lost goods, once you arrive at your new home. Even if some issue occurs, your household inventory list will be there to serve as additional protection, so you won’t end up as an injured party after the move.

A girl making an inventory list
All the benefits of having an inventory list make it worth your time

How to Prepare a Relocation Inventory?

Preparing a relocation inventory requires some planning ahead of time, but it doesn’t have to be complicated – as long as you’re ready to follow our relocation hacks when your time to move comes, you can expect a stress-free moving experience. So, what do you need to do in order to prepare your list?

Gathering Necessary Materials

The most important thing you need when making an inventory is something to write down your belongings on. Most people prefer using either a notepad and a pan or a spreadsheet for this purpose. If you’re using a notepad, make sure it is big enough so that you can fit all the necessary information regarding each item (such as its size and condition). If you decide to use a spreadsheet, set up columns for each piece of data so that everything is organized and easy to read.

Additionally, taking pictures of valuable items as they are packed away can provide an extra level of security by offering visual proof of their condition before they were moved – so you’ll need your smartphone, as well.

Choosing the Right Documenting Method

Creating a written relocating-to-another-state checklist is probably one of the easiest ways to document your belongings because all it requires is a pen and paper (or a computer/laptop). Writing everything down also allows you to mark off items as they get packed away or delivered so that nothing gets lost in transit.

Photos are another great way to document your inventory because, as mentioned above, they provide visual evidence that certain items were part of your inventory before being moved. Videos, on the other hand, are especially useful for recording items such as appliances and electronics. Recording exactly how these items work will make it easier to set them up once they arrive at their destination.

You can also choose some apps that will help you manage your inventory and stay organized so you can move efficiently. One of those apps is Sortly, and you can learn more about it in the video below:

Establishing a Good System

One of the easiest ways to do this is by using colored relocation labels or stickers on each box and then tracking them on a spreadsheet. Label each box with its category (kitchen, office supplies, bathroom, and so on) followed by an item number. You can then track those numbers on your spreadsheet along with descriptions of the contents of each box so that you know exactly what is inside each one at all times during the relocation. However, when labeling items for your move, it’s important to be as detailed as possible while still being concise.

A girl making a checklist during long-distance moving
Find an inventory system that works best for you

Tips on How to Make a Relocation Inventory Efficiently

Whether you’re relocating across the country or a neighboring state, creating an inventory of your belongings will help ensure that nothing gets lost when you’re getting organized to move. Here are some relocation tips on how to make a relocation inventory – these will help you focus more on the excitement of planning a relocation to another city and less on the stress it brings:

  • Start early – as soon as you decide you’re relocating to a new city, start making your inventory list so that you don’t miss any items,
  • Make a room-by-room list – going room by room will help you keep the list organized since you’ll be using this method for packing purposes, also,
  • Don’t forget the closets and attic – make sure to check these areas for items that may have been forgotten or overlooked,
  • Gather items from your vehicle – if you plan on getting help from a car shipping company, like our own Flat Price Auto Transport and Moving, make sure your list contains the belongings from your car,
  • Think about the items outside of your home – goods that you’ve lent to someone (books, clothes, equipment, and so on) or, for example, items at dry-cleaning will be far out of your sight, so it’s important to remember they exist,
  • Separate personal valuables – keep valuable personal items like jewelry or important documents in a separate bag or box,
  • Make copies of your inventory list – make multiple copies of the list to give to the movers and keep one copy with you during the move,
  • Get an estimate from your long-distance moving company – provide your cross-country movers with a copy of the inventory list and get an estimate ahead of time.

Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

Making a relocation inventory of all the belongings you wish to keep when relocating can be tricky and time-consuming, which is why some mistakes can occur when you wish to complete this task. Learn all about the most common relocation mistakes people make when creating their lists so you can avoid them!

Not Being Thorough Enough

It’s important to take an inventory of everything you plan to relocate so that you don’t forget anything or end up losing valuable items along the way – leave nothing to chance. Make sure to include all furniture, appliances, artwork, clothing, electronics, and other items that may be easy to overlook, such as books and knick-knacks. You may think you will remember everything when the time comes – and maybe you will – but there is no need to burden your brain and add to an already stressful relocation experience.

Forgetting Important Details

As mentioned above, in addition to listing each item you plan to move, it’s also essential to include any relevant information related to each one, such as brand name, model number, or size (depending on the type of the item). The better you identify moving list items at the start, the easier you’ll be able to recognize where they are during the relocation.

Not Updating Your List After Packing

Finally, another mistake many people make is not updating their list after they have finished packing everything. It’s important to update your list after packing, so you know which moving box inventory contains which belongings. It will make unpacking after the relocation a lot easier since you won’t have to go through endless boxes trying to find what you are looking for!

How Can Inventory Help You Make Insurance Claims?

Once the relocation day preparations are over and the date of the move has come, you should check everything off against your list as it goes into the truck and then again when it comes out at your new home. This helps identify if anything may have been damaged during the move itself, either by being dropped or crushed inside the truck. Don’t forget that even when you get the best long-distance moving services, accidents can happen – and that’s when your list can come in handy.

If something does go missing or appears damaged when compared to your list, immediately contact your relocation and auto transport company and begin making a claim on the item(s). If you plan on hiring movers, keep in mind that you’ll have up to nine months to file a claim, according to the FMCSA, but the sooner you do it, the higher the chances of it being accepted.

A woman talking to cross-country movers
Having the inventory will provide additional protection for your belongings

It Can Also Serve as a Reference for Setting up a New Home

Once you packed all of your belongings (or got packing services from our Flat Price Auto Transport and Moving company to help you with this task) and all of your belongings have been successfully moved into your new home, use the same checklist to help set up each room again from scratch! This way, nothing will get misplaced or forgotten about during the process.

Instead, all you need to do is unpack inventory boxes based on their contents and then follow along with what was listed on your spreadsheet until each item has found its proper place again in the new house. And just like that – you’ve completed setting up your entire home with minimal stress and wasted time.

Take Your Time to Make a Relocation Inventory and Prepare for a Stress-Free Relocation

Cross-country moving is always stressful, no matter how old you are or how many times you’ve done it. The best way to make sure your relocation goes as smoothly as possible is by taking the time to make an inventory of everything you own. Although it may seem like more work upfront, especially if you have a last-minute relocation, trust us – it’s worth it in the long run.

Not only will you ensure nothing gets lost in the shuffle, but you’ll be certain that everything will end up in its rightful place in your new home in no time. If you need help with anything moving-related, including this issue, know that Flat Price Auto Transport and Moving will be eager to help you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and request a free quote.

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