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Home Inventory & File

In my previous post about my Moving Planner, I mentioned that I use a home inventory file to keep track of all the items in my house and use it for packing and moving. I'm here today to gift you with my home inventory file and show you just how I use it for packing. Keeping an inventory of everything you have and intend to move ensures an organized packing and moving process and I'll show you just how you can benefit from this kind of organization and planning.
Taking Inventory
The first step in preparing to pack for a move is to take stock of what you have. This process can also help you to sort out the items you no longer use and donate items you do not want to take to your new place. Here's a look at a piece of my home inventory.
It may seem like a daunting task, but believe me when I tell you that once you get started, it is actually quite easy and will go by quickly. In the file I have also included easy to follow instructions so you can get started right away.
Filling out the Inventory
Tabs on the bottom help you to distinguish different worksheets provided for you. The tabs I've included are Instructions, Home Inventory and a copy you can rename to get you started. I recommend keeping the Home Inventory tab clean and in tact serving as your template. Start by renaming the Rename tab with the current month and year and work with that tab going forward. Now just fill 'er up!

Using the File for Packing
Once your inventory has been completed, putting it to work will be a breeze with a little bit of prep work. The goal of this is to use the data you just entered to make a packing list for each box. The prep needed in order to help with a move involves the following: sort, filter and print a list of each boxes contents.

By printing out the inventory, you can get a tangible sense of the supplies needed for packing and enable others to help.  These inventory-turned-packing-lists will be super useful if you have others helping to pack. The benefit to you is that the workload can be shared with older kids.

The home inventory is an excel file compatible with Microsoft 2007 and above. You will need to have a basic understanding of excel functionality in order to make this file work for you, but I will give some basic instructions for those who are not familiar with spreadsheet files.

The first thing to do to prep your inventory for use is to put order to your data. Sorting is the first step of this process.

Sort your data in alphabetical order by room. Select the first cell in the room column, find the sort button and sort all your data by room.

Tip: Before sorting, make sure that there aren't any empty cells. Even if it means putting a hyphen in the cell, do not leave any gaps in your data.

  Next is to filter your data. To do this, enable the filter function before starting. In Excel 2007, the filter button is located in the same menu as sort {see image above}.

The filter icon looks like a funnel with an equal sign. When you have enabled the filter, you will notice a drop down arrow next to each column label. Click it to filter data.

Clicking on the drop down filter arrow will bring up each entry you have entered in that column. In the image to the left, I have filtered the room column. Go through each room and print a category or two to pack into each moving box. The file you get here, should already have the filter enabled.

Tip: Make sure your data is consistent and concise. Only one to two words are needed for each data entry. Keep it short and sweet.

Sorting and filtering will get your list widdled down to packable chunks, now just print! Customize your print by updating the header with your name. I have set all the parameters for you, all you have to do is insert your name by updating the header in the print preview screen using the page setup wizard.

To update the header:
- Click Print Preview
- Click Page Setup
- Go to Header/Footer tab
- Click Custom Header
- Replace {Your Family Name Here}
- Click OK
- Print

Here is what your list will look like once it has been sorted, filtered and customized.
Don't let the short list deceive you, because the items on here could be any size. If you like, you can choose to put several categories together to fit more into a box {like cooking and food prep items}, but be careful not to overfill your boxes, making them too heavy.

Tip: Print two copies of each list. One to pack and one to keep as a set, serving as a Master list.
A Gift for You
Now is your chance to put it to work! It's wise to keep an inventory for insurance purposes anyway, but to be able to put it all to work when moving is a win win. The file is ready for you to fill in and go. I've done all the formatting and page setup for you. Get your inventory on and pack away.
Having trouble with the images? Download your gift here!
As with many other organization projects, organizing a move by utilizing a home inventory file requires an analysis of what you have, a strategy for accomplishing your goals, a plan of attack and the proper tools to execute with success. It is a formula that can be applied to any organization project and I hope that the gift of a home inventory file serves you well for whatever you decide to use it for {personal, insurance or moving}.

Have you tried to use an inventory list to pack for a move? Does this seem simple enough for you to do? I have confidence that you can do it! Share your thoughts in the comments.

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