Packing & Inventory Management

If you’ve selected a great mover, then you’re well on your way to making an easy transition. By making yourself an informed customer you become a real asset to the mover you chose to hire, because you know how to prepare for the move, and by having realistic knowledge of what to expect on and before your moving day, you can minimize surprises and protect yourself with contingency plans.

As long as you’re organized, you’ll handle all the details such as updating your mailing address with vendors and government authorities, reserving the loading dock and freight elevator in your new building, checking your homeowner’s insurance coverage to see which items may need additional valuation, giving away your plants before crossing state lines, defrosting your refrigerator, or packing your antique china. Organization is the key, and it will save you time, money, and frustration.

If you’re packing for your move on your own, it’s important to pick the right packing materials for the job. You can consult your mover before your move about tips on how to pack your things.

Here are some questions you can ask your mover:

  1. When should I start packing my belongings?
  2. Which items should I plan to move myself?
  3. Which items should I leave for the movers to move?
  4. How can I choose whether to do the packing, or leave it all to the movers?
  5. What should I do in the event that I need to store my things while I’m in transition?
  6. How can I find out if my homeowner’s policy covers my belongings in the event of damage?
  7. What else can I do to prepare for my move?

Also, make sure to take the time to ask your mover questions such as:

  1. How many boxes will be enough for my specific needs?
  2. How long would it take me to pack?
  3. What kinds of materials will I need in order to properly protect my belongings?
  4. How should I pack my fragile items?
  5. Are there any moving materials that I will need apart from boxes?
  6. If so, where can I get these materials?

What to pack, and what not to pack

  1. If you’re going to do your own packing, it’s best to limit yourself to non-fragile items such as books, linens, and clothing, as well as replaceable items such as inexpensive plates and dishes, and small kitchen appliances. Since anything you pack is not covered by the mover, your non-fragile items will most likely be safe, and your replaceable items are easy to replace. Unless you’re a professional mover, you should leave the furniture and heavy appliances to the mover, and allow the mover to do their own packing to ensure that these items will be fully covered by the mover’s insurance.
  2. Heavy items should go in smaller boxes, and you should not exceed 50 pounds per box.
  3. Always pack your jewelry, family heirlooms, or other valuable items yourself, and take them out of the house with you before the movers arrive.
  4. Use high quality industrial strength moving materials to pack your things, and use the right packing methods for each item based on its size and weight. If you have questions about how to do this, call your mover and ask for advice.
  5. Make sure to wrap each fragile item separately before putting them in boxes. Careful packing will go a long way to ensuring your items arrive safely at your destination.
  6. You must disconnect all major appliances yourself (such as refrigerators, dishwashers, etc.) before the movers arrive, because the movers will not disconnect them for you due to liability reasons.
  7. You’ll need to plan your own shipping for plants and pets, because movers are not allowed to transport them for you.
  8. Keep all your related boxes grouped together according to the room from which they came, or the room in which they will arrive, and stack them all in the room closest to the door. This will make the movers’ job a lot easier, and will shorten the loading time.
  9. Label the boxes with essential items (items you’ll need immediately upon arrival at your new location) so that they will be available to you right away. Examples of essential items could be: food, medicine, personal hygiene items, emergency items, camping gear, disposable plates and silverware, and tools.
    The first thing you should do is create a “moving” file in which to store all moving-related transactions, receipts, and general information. You should then inventory all of your belongings, regardless of whether you plan to move them yourself, or have a mover relocate them for you. Run this list by your homeowner’s insurance provider, and see what they cover. Then, ask your mover what additional insurance they may have above and beyond what you already have.

Creating your inventory:

  1. Create your 3 categories first, before starting to inventory your belongings (1) items you’re moving (2) items the mover is moving (3) items you’re giving away.
  2. For all the items you want the mover to move, you need to create a list of replacement values to give to your insurance provider. Ask if there are additional stipulations for highly valuable items.
  3. Note which items are difficult to replace, and make plans to carry them personally, or find an alternate way to ship and insure them.
  4. Figure out which of your things you’ll need to use immediately upon arrival at your new location, so you can label them as essentials, and make sure they will be available to you when you need them.

The next step would be to give the mover you chose a list of your inventory which you’d like the mover to handle. The mover will most likely take note of the condition of each item, and attempt to cover the company from pre-existing conditions. On the day of the move the foreman will likely go through your things and inventory them as described above, so you may want to follow him and make sure that everything is fully accounted for and accurately labeled.

  1. Please note that movers are not liable for any items or boxes that you choose to pack yourself, because they can’t verify the contents of these items, and the reliability of the packing methods and materials used to do the job. Nevertheless, your self-packed boxes are still inventoried as part of your shipment, and the visible condition of the items is assessed on a per item basis.
  2. Do not sign anything with which you don’t fully agree, because the inventory taken on the day of the move will be your basis for filing any damage claims after the move is complete.
  3. Make sure the mover provides you with a copy of the inventory, so you can verify that everything arrives safely at your new location.
  4. Be aware that it’s your responsibility to check all the items on the inventory list upon arrival at your new location, and to make note of any damage incurred in transit. If you find evidence of new damage make sure to note it on your copy of the inventory list, and have the driver record the damage on his copy as well.
  5. After your belongings are fully unloaded into your destination, the driver will ask you to sign his inventory list to verify that you received your shipment in good condition. Don’t sign this form until you’re absolutely sure that all of your things have been safely delivered, and that both you and the driver have taken correct notes on any damaged or missing items on your inventory list.