I am writing about today why taking inventory of your belongings is a good thing to do when you are packing for a move. There have been so many moves I have done that I barely knew what box I threw something into--let alone what it was that I threw in there! (Everything blurs after hours of packing, taking care of kids and emotional stuff that is going on at the same time!). However, since I now have developed this horrible fear of forgetting things as I have gotten older, I realize I WON'T remember every little thing I put in a box and that all of my belongings aren't really as important as "the ring" was to Gollum "my precious"...! When I was younger I lived under the assumption that could remember anything and everything I put somewhere and that things would always be easy to find on the other end. Ha ha ha ha ha ha... Seriously. I believed that. After so many moves...so many lost things...I have put together a few things to help you decide about taking inventory of your stuff.
What Do You Do to Take Inventory - Well, you can take pictures of everything--where they are before you pack them away and you can write down lists of what all goes in every box and keep that list in the box as well as with you in a folder. I haven't been very good with these options EVER in a move. It's all too time consuming for me. So, I try to pack things in a organized manner. For instance: Everything in my hutch/buffet cabinet is packed (and marked) as to what they are from. I do NOT throw something from the bedroom or bathroom in there just to "fill up space", much to my husband's frustration! Since my cross country moves are over--just cross town ones now--generally my things aren't packed for too long and I will know what is going where. IF THAT BOX DISAPPEARS, I will know what is missing from my hutch right away!
REASONS TO TAKE INVENTORY:
For Insurance Purposes - This is the first and most logical reason people take inventory. Especially if you have costly items that you have insured. But, even if you DON'T have costly items, this could be invaluable when you are using a moving company to move your belongings, especially if it is cross country! If your moving company has insurance, then it might be wise to pay for it and then inventory what you have in case they lose something. Insurance on self moving trucks, however, does NOT cover the cost of your belongings. It just covers if something happens to the truck when you are moving (which is a good thing too, since I have moved in a truck before that broke down no less than 5 times during our 8 hour move).
To Know What You Are Leaving with and What Arrives - Another reason to take inventory is so you know what you leave with and what actually arrives. Now this isn't in terms of movers losing your things at all--this means so YOU don't lose your things! I can't tell you the number of times I thought something left one home and would be at the next home and somehow it never made it...and big debates have happened as to whether it was ever packed in the first place! When you are packing, generally you are under some amount of stress. Stress can cause us to forget things we normally wouldn't. Also, it can make our brains play tricks on us. For instance, we may have battled whether to part with Aunt Sophie's tattered quilt or not in this last move, but finally parted with it..only we remember NOT parting with it and then somehow it has vanished! Taking pictures or writing it down somewhere--will help us know what was reality and what wasn't!
For Help With Unpacking and Set Up - If you like to get settled and feel "normal" as quickly as possible in your new surroundings, then taking inventory of how things were set up at your "old" house will help you put it all together easily at your "new" house. We think we will remember every little piece and where we had it placed, but, get into a new place and all of sudden it has vanished from your memory! Taking a picture of even the inside of your kitchen cabinets or pantry might be a good plan. Or your neatly organized garage shelves that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. You don't want to spend hours solving THAT puzzle again, do you?
To Help the Memory - (I sound like a broken record with this memory thing...but this one is really important!) If you are going to be storing things for a longer period of time, taking inventory of the things that are going in storage will help you remember what is kept where. You will instantly know NOT to look all over the house for a particular item if you KNOW that it is for sure in storage. Plus, if things will be in storage for a long while, you will know what you may need to buy down the road and what will be usable when the things come out of storage. Plus for all of us that HATE to throw anything away, we can look at a list of things that we haven't seen for a while and maybe really realize we don't need those things. This would have been a good idea if I had done this when I had so many boxes in my garage for so many years that I felt like had important things in them....only to open them 17 years later and nearly all those boxes were no longer important and ended up in a dumpster. Boy, I would have felt so much better if I had known what was in there and had gotten rid of them a long time before I did!
These are all good reasons to take some careful inventory as you pack up your life, yet again. It won't solve every issue. You still may "lose" something or forget you have this or that...but it may help with your peace of mind along the way...and we sure all need some help with THAT from time to time!