Learn from Home Inventory Expert, Tricia Hoekwater

home inventory expertThis week HomeZada was lucky enough to chat with Tricia Hoekwater, founder and president of Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions: Certified Home Inventory Expert and Digital Organizer. As an inventory specialist, Tricia speaks to senior organizations and non-profits about the importance of creating a home inventory and assists her clients with documenting the contents of their most prized asset – their home, as well as, how to declutter and create a digital library of their photos and papers.

Tricia is passionate about educating homeowners about the importance of documenting their possessions and being adequately insured. Tricia’s best friend was the victim of an arson fire and she has seen first hand the trauma of losing your possessions and being uprooted from your home for a long period of time.  She has also seen an increase in the fundamentals around decluttering and the value a home inventory creates to manage the decluttering process.

HomeZada: What inspires you?

Tricia: I’m inspired by people that recognize the importance of planning for the unexpected. It always bothers me when people discount the value of a home inventory – particularly since my home was broken into in 2006 and I had no documentation whatsoever. Which made the process even more painful. I am also inspired by people who overcome adversity, drawing on their inner strengths and relationships to move forward.

HZ: What is the first thing you notice when you walk into a home?

Tricia: I notice the client’s taste in décor and style and the places they’ve traveled based on their collections and art. It’s fascinating to see what appeals to everyone and I live their travels vicariously through them.

HZ: What is the first thing you would tell someone who is looking to become more organized?

Tricia: I always try to find out what their end-goal is, whether it’s documenting their assets for insurance, preparing their estate plan or some other reason. Knowing what they want to achieve helps me to tailor my services to their needs and deliver the best service to them.

HZ: What do you think is the most challenging organizing project that people seek help for? Why?

Tricia: Definitely not knowing how begin the decluttering process and how to stay motivated. We all have a tendency to hang on to things that no longer bring us joy or provide any usefulness to us. Especially when an item was a gift and there is the fear of hurting the giver by letting it go and the misconception that physical items maintain the memories associated with it. I love helping people over the emotional hurdles associated with their “stuff”.

HZ: What is the area of the home that could benefit from better organization?

Tricia: Collections that are not inventoried. I find that collectors tend to re-purchase the same item or items. Because they do not realize they already have one and have forgotten where it is placed. I particularly love documenting collections to help people with this issue, as well as, having a living history of what they are passionate about.

HZ: What is a result of being better organized in your home?

Tricia: Peace of mind. Knowing what I have and where everything else. I lead a very busy life and nothing if more frustrating than losing time having to look for something.

HZ: What is your one quick tip that any homeowner can do to get the process of being organized started?

Tricia: Inventory! It works in tandem with decluttering and organizing. I encourage people to start small with one specific area of a room, say, the magazine rack. In less than ten minutes they likely have purged the contents of that rack. And possibly found something they had forgotten was there. And simultaneously, they can take a photo of that item for their inventory. Their photos can be uploaded and tagged in HomeZada when they are ready. It is wonderful to see them get started.

HZ: What’s one thing in your home you couldn’t live without and why?

Tricia: My Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. I digitized 8 file drawers of paper and now have everything I need at my fingertips. I scan everything that isn’t junk into it’s respective file folder and shred everything else. (with the exception of some vital documents that I keep in my safe deposit box – but those are scanned as well). It’s portable enough to take with me client jobs and saves me lots of time.

HZ: What’s a common challenge that many people have when trying to get organized?

Tricia: Making the decision to get started. It’s much too easy to procrastinate.

HZ: Any specific websites you spend a lot of time on (besides your own)?

Tricia: I rely heavily on Google to stay current on organizing and decluttering trends when I’m not on social media or my email accounts.