Association of Military Banks of America

PCS Like a Boss: Inventorying Personal Items

By Amanda Mitchell, AFC® Candidate

A personal property inventory is an essential piece of your MILDOCs binder. This portion of the binder is invaluable during a PCS, especially when that PCS is to or from an overseas duty station. Things can get lost, damaged, and, unfortunately, occasionally stolen during your move. It is important to inventory your household items so that you can file claims once you realize something is missing or damaged. Not being able to prove ownership or even the condition that your items left in leaves the outcome of your situation up to chance and the moving company’s policies. The more information you have regarding your items, the better your chances are of being adequately compensated for damaged or lost goods.

What to Include in Your Inventory

First, make a list of all of your high-dollar value items. You will want to include the following:

  • Electronics
  • Jewelry
  • Collectables
  • Heirlooms/antiques
  • Firearms
  • Any item that you deem to be valuable*

*The term valuable means different things to different people. Make sure to include all information on anything that you feel is important.

Go beyond your high-dollar value items. Taking photos of all of your household goods is a good idea because it will help you prove what kind of condition your items are in. Having proof that your dining set was, indeed, not broken or scratched up before the movers taking possession of it will help you when you are discussing damaged items. Also, things that are not used every day can fly under your radar, and you won’t realize it is missing until it is too late. Do yourself a favor by putting in the work now to protect yourself later. For more helpful information about inventorying your possessions, please see Military OneSource’s helpful guide HERE.

Creating Your MILDOCS Personal Inventory

Print out your MILDOCS checklist for Personal Property. Gather all the documents you have regarding each item, such as receipts, appraisals, documents proving ownership, etc. Create a spreadsheet or document and begin recording each item. You will want to include important information such as:

  • A clear photo of each item and any accessories that go with it (for example, include photos of gaming controllers that go with your gaming console)
  • Serial numbers
  • Number of items (for example, record how many plates you have in a china collection)
  • Include the name of your item, description, and its condition

Print out your inventory of high-dollar items and place them into the page protectors of your MILDOCS binder. If you have receipts for individual items, staple them to their corresponding inventory sheet or put them in the same page protector.

Making sure that you are organized is one of the golden keys to success as a military family. Inventorying your personal items may seem meticulous or overkill. However, when you are at the mercy of a moving company while trying to prove that your camera that was smashed really did cost you $1,400, you will thank yourself for putting in the work.