An inventory of your possessions could be very useful in the event of a fire, burglary, or natural disaster. It is a list of all the personal items you own and includes information about when you purchased each item, its price at the time of purchase, and any other identifying details (e.g. model or serial numbers).
Even though itemizing all of your possessions may seem like a daunting task, there are some tricks and short cuts you can use to complete your household inventory faster.
1. Use an app
Numerous apps are available for iPhone and Android users to assist with home inventories. Through the app or web-based software, you can add rooms, items, and photos as well as information about your possessions. Ensure that your data is stored in a private, password-protected account.
2. Use a home inventory worksheet
You can make a list of your possessions using a home inventory worksheet if you don’t feel comfortable using an app or web-based software. The majority of worksheets include some starter suggestions and are organized by room.
Simply jot down the product’s name, its maker, its serial number, the time it was purchased, and its cost (or estimated value). Keep track of your possessions by using a worksheet or checklist for a household inventory.
It’s simple to make copies so you can keep one in a safe place (like a safety deposit box or the home of a dependable friend or family member). You can add items, cross items out if they are sold, given away, or disposed of, and you can easily make copies.
3. Do one room at a time
Start small if you feel like you have too many possessions for you to possibly keep track of them all. Select a single room or area of your house at a time.
Not everything has to be finished at once. You may select one room per day or one per week. This will help it seem less daunting and enable you to stop procrastinating on what might seem like an insurmountable task.
Do just a little every day or week and you’ll soon have a complete inventory of your home!
4. Categorize your items
Sorting your home inventory by category is one more way to start small. Focus on just one category at a time, like entertainment. You would put TVs, DVD players, iPods/iPads, and other devices in this category.
List how many of each item you have if you decide to complete your worksheet by category (e.g. TV-living room, TV-bedroom). Again, make sure to mention the maker, serial number, cost, and any other crucial details. You can also include any necessary invoices and valuations.
NOTE: To ensure you have adequate coverage in the event of a loss, you may want to add any valuables, such as jewelry or collectibles, to your home insurance policy.
When these items are not explicitly listed out on a policy, you may end up shorting yourself. Why? Because most policies have a cap on the amount of reimbursement, but with an inventory of your stuff your payout in the event of a loss may be enough to help you recover your losses.
5. Use photos and/or video
Making an inventory is much simpler if you make a video of each room in your home. Major assets should be verbally described in a comprehensive video inventory, along with their value. Keep in mind the exterior of your home, the garage, the attic, the basement, the landscaping, and the fencing.
Send a copy of the worksheet and the video to a friend or relative for storage in a safe place (or save to the cloud).
6. Only worry about the big stuff
Start off by only bringing your most important possessions. When you consider all the little things in your house, such as the things in your closet, cabinets, and drawers, it might seem like way too much work. For instance, placing your furniture and electronics first will make the process seem simpler.
7. Put a copy elsewhere
It’s crucial to keep a copy of your home inventory somewhere other than your house, regardless of whether it’s on paper, electronic, scanned to your computer, or on video. This makes sure that your household inventory is secure in the event of a disaster.
You won’t have to worry about the data being lost due to a fire, flood, or theft if you use the app or web-based version. Save everything else to the cloud, store a copy in a safe deposit box, or give it to a family member or friend you can trust. Make sure to swap out your copy whenever necessary for an updated version.
8. Add as you go
After finishing your inventory, don’t forget to update it as necessary with new items. Once you’ve finished your initial list, updating it is simple and takes no time at all.
Review your inventory every few years to remove items you no longer own and to add new ones. Include a new appraisal for any items on your list if needed.
10. Start right now
Nobody intends for a burglary, fire, or natural disaster to result in the loss of their valuables and other possessions. Make sure you are able to accurately describe your losses to the police, the IRS, or your independent insurance agent in the event that one of these calamities completely destroys your home.
Inventorying your home now is simpler than sitting down after a disaster and trying to recall a lifetime’s worth of purchases.
And finally, remember to keep your important papers with you. These should be scanned and saved, with the original (if possible) kept in a safe deposit box and one kept at home or on a secure cloud server.