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Home Inventory – Today’s Necessity

February 8, 2014

Last year at this time we received our screening message to be posted to the UK. If I’d known then, what I know now, I would have started my home inventory as soon as the screening message arrived. If you have received a screening message for an OUTCAN posting in 2014 – START YOUR HOME INVENTORY NOW. Please learn from my mistakes!

Why do I have to do a home inventory?

If you’re going OUTCAN, you are required to provide a detailed inventory of the furniture and household goods you are bringing into the host country as well as the fair market value of the goods.

What if I’m not going on an OUTCAN posting?

Do a complete household inventory anyway. It is useful to determine the amount of insurance you need as well as provide details to your insurance company should something awful happen (theft, fire, moving truck crash, etc.)

Do I need to do an inventory of things I am leaving in storage?

YES! You should have a complete detailed list, with photographs, of everything that you leave in storage in Canada. You should retain a copy of the list and leave the list with someone you trust in Canada. Many items go “missing” from storage lockers. Your inventory will allow you to make claims on your insurance more easily.

Additionally, you will be able to refer back to the list of your items in storage to help you remember what you own and you don’t inadvertently buy another of the same thing.

How do I do a home inventory?

There are many different types of software applications that can help you do a detailed inventory, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

These include:

Do I need to do buy one of these programs to do a detailed inventory for my OUTCAN posting?

Not really. You can use a simple Excel spreadsheet (download here .xls). Many of the programs listed above will export the required information and these programs will also allow you to store photos with the description of the item. The spreadsheet will not allow you to do that. It all depends on how much time you’ve got to do the inventory and how detailed you want to be.

I don’t remember how much I paid for items and some were gifts. How do I find the fair market value?

The value can be determined by finding the equivalent item online. For example, if you bought a shelving unit from Canadian Tire, look on their website to see what the cost would be for that model. If they do not have that model available, quote the price for an equivalent model. Please note that you CANNOT artificially inflate the value of what you own. Other places to look for equivalent pricing are kijji and ebay.

What about my valuables? Do I list them?

You must list all items, including high value items on your home inventory. The moving company will advise how to pack them. High value artwork, (paintings, sculptures, etc.) will be specially packed and labelled by the moving company. Some items such as jewellery, you should carry with you. If high value items have serial numbers, record them in a safe place. You should include serial numbers in the  “Item Description” field on the spreadsheet.

What do I do with the list once completed?

Your HG&E will not leave the country until you have provided a copy of the list to Base Traffic/Movements section along with copies of your passports and visas. You will also need to have a paper copy with you when you arrive at customs of the host country. If you’re flying to your destination, make sure a copy is in your carry-on luggage. To be safe, we also kept an electronic copy in the “cloud” so that if we were separated from our suitcases for any reason, we could still access a copy and have it printed.

Now that I’ve arrived in my host country and unpacked I can get rid of the inventory, right?

NOOOOOOO!! As long as you have an accessible, working electronic copy of the inventory you can shred any paper copies. You will need to prepare another complete inventory prior to coming home. Keep the electronic copy as a starting point for your inventory to return to Canada.

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