There is no single “right way” to inventory your home goods prior to your next military move, but experts agree that adding a video record to any written or computer-stored list can help with any claims issues.

And, if you use your cellphone, it’s one inventory record you’re less likely to misplace (or accidentally pack) prior to your permanent change-of-station move.

Here are some quick tips for making your video inventory the best it can be. Have some of your own? Leave them in the comments below.

1. Get the details. Don’t just fly through your stuff, especially high-value items. Take good shots of the edges in case of future cracks and scratches, and zoom in on barcodes and serial numbers of electronic goods, for easy identification in the event of a moving mishap.

2. Know your medium. You could write down on your inventory list that your TV is in working order, but why not film it with the power on instead? Ditto for other electronic equipment: Such videos of functioning gear in your old home could help with a claims process in your new one.

3. Don’t forget the soundtrack. Narrate your video with clear explanations of what you’re filming. Be as detailed as you can when it comes to makes/models, prices, estimated values and so on. If you still owe money on an item, say how much. If nothing else, the narration can serve as a backup to other documentation.

4. Timing is everything. Breaking out the camera the day before the move as you’re trying to fill boxes or deal with last-minute issues may not make for the most friendly film-making experience. Try to schedule your cinematography in advance so it doesn’t get shelved for more pressing moving projects.

5. Save and save again. The most complete inventory video ever does little good if the phone where it lives is broken by an unfortunate drop, ill-advised throw by a toddler, unexpected swim or one of multiple other everyday hazards. Even if you’re not a fan of cloud storage, back the video up on another device, like a thumb drive or other external storage, that you can keep with the rest of your moving materials.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

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