What things to photograph when moving (and why?)

What things to photograph when moving houseMore about Ethan Greenfield

Taking pictures before, during and after the move will be beneficial to you for a number of good reasons. Below, we’ll take a closer look at each reason and explain why you should NOT pack your digital camera yet.

The truth is that taking photos when moving house can help you save money and time, protect your belongings, and more importantly – spare you a nervous breakdown along the way.

Thus said, taking random photos of random household items won’t work – you’ll need to know 1) what important things to take pictures of while moving, and 2) WHY you are taking those photos in the first place.

Of course, you may choose to pack up your standalone digital camera and use your smartphone to take those pictures. That’s perfectly fine – just make sure your smartphone takes high-resolution photos that can be effectively used as proof, if needed.

So, what things to take pictures of when moving house? And why?

#1. Take photos of your valuable items

Despite the fact that you’ve done your homework and selected the top-rated moving company near you, accidents on moving day do happen from time to time. So, no matter how skilled and experienced your hired workers are, it’s best that you are prepared in case any of your valuable items get damaged while being moved by the pros.

WHAT TO DO: Take plenty of photographs, including close-up images, of everything you deem valuable before letting professionals handle those valuables – furniture pieces (especially antique furniture), electric appliances, electronic devices, and other household items that would cost too much to replace or repair.

WHY? If you do find any of your valuables damaged after the move is complete, then those photos will prove that that damage occurred while the items were in transit – that is, in your mover’s possession. And once you can prove that, then you’ll be eligible for proper reimbursement by the moving company.

See also: How to pack valuables when moving

#2. Photograph any existing damage

You may find this tip a bit unusual, but it’s good advice nevertheless. The advice is to take pictures of any pre-existing damage on your items when moving out.

WHAT TO DO: Take your camera and document anything – from scratches on furniture pieces and dents in your large appliances to cracks in the frame of your bathroom mirror, for example.

WHY? After the move is over, you may come to find more or worse scratches, dents or cracks on your items – the ones that already had some type of damage prior to the move. And should that happen, then your movers can’t just say that the damage was already there before they handled your things. Well, they can say that, alright, but then you’ll have visual evidence (the photos) that they are wrong and you are right.

Important info: How to get back your security deposit

#3. Photograph your rental place when moving out

If you’re a renter and you’re getting ready to move out, one thing you should never forget to do is to take many photos of your rented apartment before you leave it for good.

WHAT TO DO: First, clean thoroughly the place you’re moving out of, and then do your best to repair any damage you may have caused during your stay there – fill in any nail holes in the walls, fix any damage to the floors, fix windows and blinds, and so on. Finally, when you’ve made sure you’re leaving the apartment in good condition, document that same condition in photographs.

WHY? Your landlord may try to pocket your security deposit by blaming you for any damage or charging you with cleaning fees. That’s why you want to have those photos as proof that you did your part of the bargain and that your landlord should give you back your deposit money.

Check this out: How to clean your apartment before moving out

#4. Take pictures when moving into your new place

It’s important to have proof of the way the apartment looks like when moving out, but documenting the condition of the place you’re moving into may prove to be even more crucial because it can help you avoid potential issues with your landlord later on.

WHAT TO DO: When moving into the new apartment or house, don’t forget to take out your camera and take many pictures of the entire place before you bring in any furniture pieces or start to unpack. Take detailed photographs of any type of damage that you manage to find as evidence that it wasn’t you who caused it.

WHY? Again, this precautionary measure will be your proof that you’re not responsible for any damages that were already there when you moved in. This way, you should be able to get your security deposit back and avoid unfair accusation from the landlord when the time comes for you to move out in the future.

Useful info: What to do when moving into a new house

#5. Photograph the way your electronic devices are wired up

What items to photograph when moving house? Another way photos can save you from any possible troubles is to snap some quick pictures of the way your electronic devices are wired up.

WHAT TO DO: Take some pictures of the back of your TV, desktop computer, stereo, Blu-Ray player, gaming console, satellite receiver or any other electronic gadget that has a number of cables and wires coming in and out of it. Just take several photos from different angles and then disconnect the cables in order to pack the device in question.

WHY? When you have a good visual reference, it’ll be much easier for you to re-connect properly the electronic devices when you reach the new home. Without any photos to guide you, you may lose a lot of time setting up your electronics, or worse – you may wire them the wrong way and thus damage them for good.

Read also: How to pack electronics when moving

#6. Take pictures of your utility meters before and after moving

What important things to take pictures of when moving? Your utility meters – the electricity, gas and water meters before you leave your old place and right after you arrive in your new home.

WHAT TO DO: It’s simple: just take clear photos of the readings of each utility meter to avoid being charged unfairly later on.

WHY? Utility companies tend to charge their clients on usage estimates, which means that if their baseline reading is not correct, then your estimated utility usage will be off too. What’s more, it’s not uncommon to have lags or overlaps between customer accounts, so just take your photos to save possible headaches in the future.

#7. Take photos of the moving process, just for fun

You may want to keep memories of the place you’re leaving or maybe even from the moving process itself. You can have fun posting some of the photos on your preferred social media, or arranging the pictures in an album after the move is over.

Who knew that taking a bunch of photos on moving day could be so much fun!


  • ALWAYS datestamp your photos to be able to counter false claims by proving the date those photographs were taken. Turn on the datestamp function of your (smartphone) camera or, if that’s not possible, e-mail those photos to yourself.
  • Also, make sure the time and date are correct in the settings of your digital camera or smartphone before you start snapping away.
  • Finally, keep the photos on the memory card, right between other pictures you took at that time to counter “smart” suggestions that you may have changed the time/date setting on your camera prior to taking the photos in question.

Must-see: Week-by-week interactive moving checklist

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