Inventory Management for Beginners

The first thing you need to know about inventory management is that “inventory” is just a fancy word for a packing list. That, however, does not make it any less important. Moving is regarded as one of the most stressful things you have to undertake in your day to day living, and a lot of that stress comes from lack of planning.

Having a system in place helps you keep track of your personal or business items, and is the key to ensuring they make it to their final destination in one piece.

Prepare Before You Move

There are some preliminaries you need to take care of first in order to simplify your inventory preparation process. First is to declutter – basically get rid of unnecessary stuff. Second is to sort out the remaining items in order of their importance or value to you. Prioritising helps you organise your belongings more easily.

Useful tip: Make an initial tally of items you need to move and arrange them by room

 

Document everything 

Once you’ve organised your items you can begin the documentation process. Remember, your inventory can be as simple as a sheet of notepaper that you use to check off items, or as sophisticated as an electronic spreadsheet from which you print your packing sheet.

Useful tip: For the more valuable items, it may be a good idea to photograph them, so that if there is any mishap during the move, claiming compensation from your insurer will be easier.

 

Packing and labelling

How you pack and label your items goes a long way in making your inventory an effective tool for relocating. It goes without saying that you will require an adequate number of packing boxes for your stuff; adequate, being the key word here. You don’t want to be left with a bunch of empty boxes to get rid of before you’ve even moved. An optimal number of cartons is not only economical, but also helps in tracking your possessions.

As you pack the items, note down which items go into each box in your packing list. Label each box in terms of where the items will go in your new home or business premises. For example, all toiletries can be packed into one carton labelled ‘bathroom’ so that the box is taken directly to the bathroom of the new premises. When you have things in their correct place, unpacking becomes a much more stress-free exercise.

Packing by weight and orientation is also important, and you should label eacj box accordingly. This helps in avoiding damage to delicate items – say, for example, by placing heavier items on lighter ones which can break.

Useful tip: Colour coding the boxes is an easy way of identifying where they go in the new house. Coloured masking tape can come in handy here.

 

Back up your inventory, and share

This is where an electronic inventory comes in handy. Your packing list isn’t always final until you’ve actually moved, so you have to keep updating it with any new changes that you make. Backing up your inventory online makes a lot of sense not only because the original one can get lost (especially if it’s in hard copy), but also because you may need to move again in the future, and this will help you avoid repeating the process all over again.

When you engage the services of a mover, sharing your inventory with them is critical. You can email the final copy to them a day before you move so that they know what items are to be moved in advance. Sharing with members of the family or friends who help you moving is also important so they can all share in the responsibility of keeping track of items.

Useful tip: There are mobile apps available in the market that can help in inventory management.