Why you need to inventory homes and storage units

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Are you moving house? Renting a storage unit for home or business?  Then you need to know this about creating an inventory. 


Whether you are moving house directly or keeping everything you own in self-storage until you can move into your new home or business or as a long-term storage solution, having an inventory is a good backup plan should anything happen to your belongings.

Moving companies are usually vigilant when moving items, and the good secure self-storage facilities will have security features like CCTV, gated pin code access, and alarmed units to protect your items. That said, accidents can happen, and there is always a human factor so it can be beneficial to be organised.

It is prudent to keep a record of everything that is being moved or stored.  If anything was to get damaged or stolen, having an itemised list (and preferably photos or video) of your belongings can help you to file an insurance claim and recover what has been lost. 



Label All of Your Boxes

When moving or putting things into storage write or attach labels to all of your boxes and storage containers. Sticky labels are great for this; you can print them off as you go and keep a record simultaneously.  Although there are a few different ways you can organise your stuff with labels, the best way for household goods is by item and room.

  • By Item: Labelling boxes and storage containers by item is good when you have lots of similar items. For example, linen can be put in one box labelled “Linen,” which keeps it all together and makes it easier for you to find everything when unpacking.  Back it up with a numbered Room Sticker.
  • By Room: This is great when you have miscellaneous items such as kitchen utensils in one box. It’d be hard to categorise 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, your movers will know which room to place it in.

Keep an Itemized Record

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

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



Towels – White


Facecloths - White


Bathmats – Charcoal


Bathmats - White



If you anticipate the need to retrieve something from the box before you unpack, ensure your boxes are numbered alongside the inventory list.  Numbering will help you avoid delving through all of your boxes to find what you need.

Keep Records Electronically

Electronic records are much more convenient and more accessible  (and they are searchable), than writing out an inventory by hand. That’s why there are apps for smartphones and tablets specifically designed to help!

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

  • Moving Day: With this free app, you can catalogue items while you pack, track the value of items and store photos for insurance claims, create barcodes and labels for your boxes that can be printed, and more.
  • Moving Van: This app is a paid app which allows you to keep track of each box and item you’ve packed and assigned 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 organise items with the option even to keep track of product parts 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 is free but does come with a premium version.


 Make sure you have at least one extra copy if you are using a handwritten inventory and if you are using an electronic version print a copy off, just in case you lose access to data or your computer on the day. 

It may seem like a lot of work, but once it is done, it is a valuable long-term insurance tool to have than you will just need to add and delete from for future use.