USAA Member Community 4 Ways to Prevent Lost Boxes.jpg

I have heard an increasing number of stories regarding lost household goods shipments. Families are left without the legs of their tables, integral pieces of furniture rendering what was delivered useless, their entire wardrobes missing and even more distressing; lost family heirlooms or sentimental items. It is not always possible, but there are items I recommend you pack yourself (and not let movers transport) but how do you prevent the majority of your household goods from being lost in transit!?


These 4 things will help decrease the likelihood of missing household goods:

  • Create your own labels with your Name, Email, Phone number and New Duty Station (if you have it). Place this label on the inside and outside of every box packed, on the separate legs of your table (so many people end up missing table legs) and any other large item you think could be lost (dog kennels/crates, grills, bikes etc.) Don’t be shy with your stickers- it could mean the difference of never seeing that item again.

  • Buy a stamp with your family name on it (unlike a sticker label, it cannot be removed or fall off) and stamp it on an inside flap and outside of all boxes.

2. Tape:

  • Put clear tape over the packer’s inventory labels and over your own personal labels to decrease the chances of it falling off

  • Place brightly colored tape on your boxes so that when they are being transported or moved in and out of storage it will be obvious one of your boxes has been left behind. (I recommend crazy colored tape like this)


3. Social Media

  • Join Lost Boxes Facebook group- great tips shared in this group as well as photos of lost and found boxes

  • Join Facebook groups for the duty station you are leaving and going to - enquire about other families moving at the same time (maybe your shipments were packed together) or someone received your items by mistake.

4. Micromanage: Do not be not be afraid to ask questions, label your own boxes and insist things are packed and managed in a certain way. Too often we don’t speak up and regret it when the move is complete.

  • Create your own inventory sheet that you track each box being loaded and unloaded (and ensure the packers don’t miss anything on their inventory list)

  • This warrants repeating: don't let anything leave your house without being inventoried, documented and with an inventory sticker

  • Have photos/video/documentation of the condition of all of your items prior/during and after the move. Photo evidence will assist immensely should you have to submit a claim

  • DO NOT RELENT. Keep calling and reminding movers, packers or storage facilities about your shipment or missing items. I have read many success stories from families whose belongings have been found after much persistence



Please share your lost boxes success or lessons learned story in the comments! Good luck moving… and may the odds ever be in your favor…


About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (3 years and 6 months), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.


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