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How to Take a Home Inventory

When moving, a home inventory can be a life saver. There are a few reasons for creating a home inventory, but one of the most important is for insurance purposes. No one wants to think about loss, theft, damages, or fire, but they are actual disasters that could leave you in ruins if you have not taken the appropriate steps to document your belongings.

Create the Checklist – Clock Model

The best way to make a home inventory is to go room by room. This way you will not have forgotten to catalog anything. By going from room to room, you can write down everything you see in the space. To take it a step further, use the room as a clock model. Start on one wall and call it ‘noon.’ Make your way around the entire in a clockwise rotation until you are back at ‘noon’. This guarantees you have not skipped over anything in the area. Repeat for every room in your home.

Open Every Drawer/Door

While taking inventory, it is critical not to overlook items within a large piece. If you are cataloging a living room cabinet, do not just include ‘cabinet’ and move on. You need to open the door and see what is inside the cabinet so you can include those items. It is also important to open every drawer. Moving can be a fine time to downsize or purge items you no longer want or need. After purging, you are still going to have small items to disclose. Instead of noting every minuscule item on the checklist, include ‘miscellaneous items’ if the belongings are small and unimportant. This will save your list from becoming too large, clunky, and cumbersome to review.

Assign Tasks to Others

Taking a home inventory can be quite the challenge. It is not hard to do, but it is time-consuming. One way to make a home inventory checklist easier on you is to involve others. You can delegate tasks to a family member such as cataloging all the media items including CDs, DVDs, and gaming console games. Another method is to assign each family member to inventory their rooms (age specific accordingly).

Use Visuals for Organization

One of the best methods for organization is to color code. One way to perform this task is to assign each room a color. While packing, use this system to your advantage. Mark each packed box with the color code of that specific place. Another way to organize inventory is by using the floor plan concept. Draw or sketch a simple layout of each room. If you are not a good artist, find a floor plan of your home and then pencil in items the way they are situated in each room. You can combine both methods and shade the color code you chose for the room onto the floor plan to visualize the content/inventory even better.

Item Description

When you list your belongings, don’t just note the item and price, mark down if there are any scratches or blemishes to things. This way you have documentation if you believe an item was damaged in transport. Another traditional method of taking descriptions is to take photographs. By taking a photo inventory, you essentially have proof for the insurance company if there is a dispute between your moving company and yourself.


Do make note of any valuables you have on your home inventory checklist. Expensive artwork, jewelry, or antiques need to be documented with price as well. Check with your moving company on their policy for transporting valuables.


After the move is complete, but before the movers have left, be sure to inspect and evaluate appliances, furniture, and boxes for damage, scratches, and any items that are missing. Pull out your photographs and go over each one. By having your home inventory checklist handy, you can verify that all your belongings have made it in good condition to your new residence.

Insurance and Claims

Always make sure you have insurance on your belongings in a home move. Insurance will protect you from damages and unforeseen circumstances during transport. If you do not have insurance, most moving companies have insurance you can purchase from them for the move. If you do have damages to any of your belongings, be sure to call your insurance company, or the moving company purchased insurance hotline to file a claim as needed.

If you follow these suggestions on how to take a home inventory, you should be in good shape for your big move. Be sure to stay organized and the next time you have a large move coming up, look over these recommendations for a home inventory checklist so all your belongings will arrive safely and securely documented!

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