How to Perform a Home Inventory

Frank Lanigan
Researcher & Writer
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Edited By Sarah Cimarusti
September 30, 2022
4 min read

At a glance

With moving day fast approaching and your moving company booked, you may be wondering what else there is to do before the truck pulls into your driveway. Whether you’re moving a few towns over or across the country, you’ll need to perform a home inventory.

A home inventory sounds a little more daunting than it is––basically, you want to know what you’re taking from your old home, where it’s going in the new home, and a way to identify those items. This isn’t only for your organization but also in case you need to present these items on an insurance claim. You can use a notebook, spreadsheet, or specialized home inventory apps to help you keep track of these belongings and stay organized on moving day.

Heads Up

Once your home inventory is complete, you’ll better understand the type of moving services you need. Learn more about the best moving companies for you.

How to document your home inventory

There are several ways to document and protect your appliances, electronics, or other items you’ve purchased. The most basic way you can perform a home inventory is with a notebook and pen, but we recommend making several digital and physical copies that you can access anytime. There are some great apps and templates that you can use to keep your information digitally secured if you prefer.

Best home inventory apps



NAIC Home Inventory

Nest Egg

Home Inventory Remote Entry

United Policyholders Home Inventory Spreadsheet (Excel template)

If you’re using one of these apps on your smartphone, the app will walk you through the process of documenting your items. If you decide to perform your home inventory manually, you’ll need a smartphone or a camera with picture and video capability, a notebook or template to describe items, and access to all of your items.

How to perform your home inventory

To begin, go from room to room and document your large items and appliances. Try to capture a holistic view of your item using plenty of photos and videos. Be sure to take pictures of barcodes and serial numbers to identify the item if necessary. After this is complete, be sure to document the following for your large items and appliances:

  • A detailed description of your item, including serial numbers, manufacturer, and model
  • An approximate date of when you purchased the item, where you bought it, and any receipts you have for it
  • The approximate current value of the item

Determining the value of an item can be accurately done if you’ve saved receipts from your purchases. Otherwise, try searching for the make and model online. Based on current retail prices, you can make a decent estimate for your item value. Most inventory apps estimate the value of your belongings, but it never hurts to research on your own.

As you can imagine, the larger items and appliances in your home will take a little more time to add to your inventory list. After that, you can document smaller items as you pack them. If you’re using an app or pre-made template, your belongings will likely be categorized by item type. If you’re entering these items manually, it’s a good idea to organize them into categories so they can be easily found in your inventory list.

Stay organized!

Moving day can be a whirlwind, but our free, printable moving checklist will help you to get to your new home quickly and efficiently.

What to do after you complete your home inventory

After you’ve inventoried your belongings, take some steps to keep that inventory list safe and available in multiple formats. If you used an app, that data will always be available on your smartphone. Otherwise, make copies and store them securely. You can make physical copies and store them in a fireproof safe or lockbox. You can securely store digital copies on your computer, in USB drives, and in encrypted cloud storage software and access them anywhere.

Going forward, try to save receipts for large purchases and add those to your home inventory list. Not only will this help you stay organized, but in case of disaster, theft, or destruction of property, you can easily identify your items down to the last detail for insurance or legal purposes.

Why is a home inventory important?

Aside from the benefits we’ve mentioned, here are a few other reasons why it’s in your best interest to perform a home inventory:

A home inventory can save you money on moving day.

Hiring a full-service moving company, while worthwhile, can be expensive. By completing your home inventory before receiving a moving estimate, you can be sure you’re being as accurate as possible.

When you perform your inventory, you begin to see what items may not have a place in your new home. These items won’t need to be included in the estimate if you catch them during the inventory process. Additionally, you can rest assured that the moving coordinator performing your moving estimate won’t miss anything because you’ll have a complete list of your belongings to consult. If any items are damaged on moving day, you can file a claim through your moving insurance.

Info Box
What to do with items you no longer need

There are plenty of options to get rid of items that don’t make it on your home inventory. Consider donating unwanted items to a charity that will pick them up, hiring a junk removal company to remove them, or selling them online.

A home inventory can help determine how much homeowners or renters insurance you need.

In case of an event such as theft or destruction of property, having a complete home inventory will help you quickly replace the items you’ve lost through the claims filing process. Before this happens, going over your home inventory with your insurance company can help to pinpoint exactly how much you need to pay for homeowners or renters insurance based on the value of your items.

A home inventory will verify losses to the IRS in case of natural disaster.

In addition, you’ll be able to easily verify losses to the IRS in case of a sudden or unexpected event that results in damage, destruction, or loss of property. If you live in a Presidentially-declared Disaster Area, you could have more benefits based on the amount of loss you’ve sustained.


Your move might be tax deductible. Check if your move qualifies for a tax deduction and how to deduct those expenses before tax day.

Frank Lanigan
Written by
Frank Lanigan
Frank Lanigan is a writer and internationally-published journalist who has over a decade of experience in the moving industry. With thousands of completed moves under his belt, Frank hopes to bring years of experience to and help readers to navigate moving day with ease.