Moving Made Easy: How to Inventory Your Belongings

by Patrick Galvan featured on Storage.com

Whether you’re moving directly into your new home or temporarily using a storage unit to store everything you own, creating a home inventory when moving is a good idea. Not only does this help you keep track of your stuff, but it also makes unpacking easier because you’ll know what goes where.

Why You Need a Home Inventory for Moving

images (1)If you’re hiring a moving company or keeping everything you own in self storage until you can move into your new home, a home inventory is a good backup plan should anything happen to your belongings.

Moving companies are usually cautious when moving items, and most self storage facilities have security features like video surveillance, gated access, and alarmed units to protect your items. That said, accidents can happen, and a security system is never a 100% guarantee that your belongings are safe.

Keeping a record of everything that’s being moved or stored is a good way to protect yourself. Should any of your items get damaged or stolen, having an itemized list (or photos) of each belonging can help you file an insurance claim and work faster with your insurance company to recover what was lost.

Label All of Your Boxes and Keep an Itemized Record

When moving, write or attach labels to all of your boxes and storage containers. There are a few different ways you can organize your stuff with labels, but the best ways are by item and room.

  • By Item: Labeling boxes and storage containers by item is good when you have lots of similar items. For example, a bunch of photo albums can be put in one box labeled “Photo Albums,” which keeps them together and makes it easier for you to find all of them when unpacking.
  • By Room: Let’s say you have several kitchen appliances and utensils in one box. It’d be hard to categorize them by item. In this situation, it’s better to label them by room. That way, when you’re moving the box into your new home, you’ll know it needs to go into the kitchen because it’s marked “Kitchen.”

Once you’ve packed and labeled everything, make an itemized record of what’s inside your boxes and containers. The more detailed and itemized the list, the better.

For example, an itemized list for a box marked “Electronics” could look like this:

moving inventory example

If you anticipate the need to retrieve something from the box before you unpack, tape the list to the outside of the container rather than putting it inside. This will help you avoid rummaging through all of your boxes to find what you need. Also, taking photos of everything inside the box and taping them outside can be useful.

There’s an App for That!

mobile-apps-1Of course, electronic records are much more convenient—and easier to produce—than writing an inventory out by hand. That’s why there are apps for smartphones and tablets specifically designed to help! In fact, some apps include features for storing pictures and video clips to help you document your items.

Here are three examples of moving and home inventory apps available through Apple’s app store:

  • Moving Day: With this free app, you can catalog items while you pack, track the value of items and store photos for insurance claims, create bar codes and labels for your boxes that can be printed, and more.
  • Moving Van: While this app does cost $1.99, you can keep track of each box and item you’ve packed and assign them to rooms. If you need to find an item, you can search on the app for the item and the box it’s in. Data can also be exported into a PDF or email if you need to file an insurance claim.
  • Sortly: This app allows you to take photos and organize items with the option to even keep track of product part or serial numbers. You can export items into a PDF and use QR codes to keep track of boxes and where each item is. (This app does have in-app purchases, otherwise it’s free.)

An inventory may not seem like it’s worth the work while you’re packing up your belongings, but it’s helpful to have when moving and storing belongings. With a good spreadsheet or inventory-related app, you can keep everything organized and make more efficient insurance claims should anything happen.

Advertisements

Top Tips for Closing the Cabin

By Paul Reynolds on SelfStorAll

Image

As autumn makes its grand arrival, the time has also come to close your summer getaway. Following some practical tips can help to protect your investment and ensure your return in the spring is a pleasant one.

“In the off season, our summer homes are often left to fend for themselves,” says Carla Bouchard, a broker with Royal LePage Metro in Moncton, New Brunswick. “By following a regimen of indoor tasks to prepare your cabin for the winter months, will help prevent damage from water, weather and pests.”  Bouchard recommends the following:

1. Drain the plumbing. Turn off your water system and drain your hot water tank, toilet, sink traps and appliances. If excess water remains, siphon it into a bucket. In areas where water cannot be siphoned, use a non-toxic anti-freeze.

2. Place mothballs in strategic locations. Mothballs can help prevent animal and insect infestations. Place them with linens, bedding and under seat cushions.

3. Cover your windows with shutters and apply weather stripping. Shutters deter intruders and protect your upholstery from fading by blocking out sunlight. Add weather stripping on the inside of windows and door frames to protect against moisture and the outside elements.

4. Pack up all food and bring it home. Canned and packaged goods can break open under freezing temperatures and attract pests. It’s best not to leave things to chance. Like your perishables, all food items should be packed up and brought home.

5. Turn off and unplug electrical appliances. Unplug all fixtures and appliances to avoid damage from power surges. This includes your baseboard heaters, which are responsible for many fires when summer homes are unattended during the winter.

Bubble Wrap and Padding: A guide to properly packing your valuables

Image
 
For me,  the hugest pain of moving is not attaining boxes and packing all of my worldly possessions, but more so packing delicate items, specifically dishware; those china plates are fragile and will break easily. In order to protect your fragile items, I would suggest:
  • Individually wrapping each plate like a present with a thick layer of bubble wrap
  • Lining your boxes with a towel or a soft material to cushion your items
  • If you do not have a soft towel or soft material, try using wads of crumbled newspaper instead
  • Always place cups and glasses rim down
  • When wrapping glasses, do not only wrap the outside of the glass but the interior as well; you want full protection
  • Place dishes on their side and place smaller items inside of larger items for more storage space within your box
  • Make sure your box is packed evenly and tightly, i.e. no large unfilled spaces within the box, no loose space for your items to slide everywhere
  • Leave an inch or two of space towards the top of the box and then fill in this extra space with more padding (newspaper, foam, bubble wrap, a towel)
  • For extra protection, you can also invest in Dish Pack Dividers. Dish Pack Dividers are exactly that, dividers with multiple columns and rows to isolate your dishes to protect them more. However, please wrap your items even if you’re using a Dish Pack Divider. You can find Dish Pack Dividers online or at your local hardware store.
Furthermore, once you do move your boxes of fragile items into storage, make sure to:
  • Properly mark your boxes; I suggest using a different colored permanent marker for each type of dishware (red for cups, blue for plates, yellow for bowls)
  • Be sure to move boxes you do not need access to, to the back of your unit and place your boxes with fragile items towards the front. If there is not enough space, place the boxes of fragile items on top of other boxes you know you will not need access to anytime soon.
Follow the tips above to successfully store your breakables. Happy wrapping!