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How to Approach a Home and Household Inventory During a Move

If you’ve been putting off completing a household inventory, we don’t blame you. But a home inventory is an arduous task that you’ll need to tackle at one point or the other. Learn why and how to do one during a big move.

If you haven’t heard of a household inventory before, you’re not alone. Completing a home inventory typically doesn’t come up until homeowners and renters need to purchase insurance and even then, most people just estimate. 

However, according to State Farm, creating a thorough household inventory list can help you figure out how much insurance to buy, how to speed up the claim process and help verify losses during tax time. Even if you won’t be purchasing home insurance any time soon, completing a home inventory is a smart way to have an accurate snapshot of what’s in your home. While this is undoubtedly an arduous task, what better time to tackle it than during a big move? If you have a move looming on the horizon, schedule your home inventory at the same time. Check out these tips on how to approach the process.

1. Documenting Your Home Inventory

There’s no hard or fast rule on how to document your first household inventory as long as the method you choose works for you. State Farm recommends using an Excel spreadsheet, taking photos or videos or simply jotting down a list on a notebook.

If you’re tech-savvy, you can also use an automated home inventory mobile app like AllState’s Digital Locker app that allows you to take photos, export your list as a CSV and track & update your total inventory amount as you go.

2.  Listing Your Belongings 

When it comes to assessing all your household belongings, before or after moving day is the ideal time to do it. Taking a household inventory is as simple as walking throughout your house and making a list of all your belongings, their current condition and the current value. This process is made significantly easier when all your things are out of storage and ready to be packed up. Take inventory of each item as you place it in a moving box - this way, you won’t miss a thing!

3.  Adjusting the Value Up or Down

An important aspect of completing an inventory is ensuring that you’re listing the right value for your items - this value isn’t always what you paid for it. Understandably, many items depreciate in value depending on its condition, how long you’ve had it, etc., so it’s important to adjust for these factors. 

In that same vein, items such as jewelry, artwork and other collectibles can increase in value after purchase date. Make sure to properly adjust the value for these items and if necessary, insure separately to get maximum coverage. 

4. Keep Your Home Inventory Safe for Future Use

Whether you create a written list, take videos/photos or save it on a thumb drive, make sure to store your inventory along with the receipts in a safe deposit box or at a trusted friend or relative’s home. That way, in the unfortunate case that your home is damaged, you won’t lose your detailed household inventory as well.

If you’ve never thought of completing a home inventory, you may want to consider it. If you have an upcoming move, this is even more of a reason to tackle it ASAP.

Need more helpful moving tips? Check out SmartMove's week-by-week visual snapshot of all the tasks you can't afford to forget during the first month after a big move - The First Month: Move-in Checklist

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