Whether you are a homeowner or renter, home insurance (or renter’s insurance) is a necessity. If something were ever to happen to your home that destroyed possessions, it makes sense to have a home inventory of your possessions, big and small. Having a home inventory will help you in a very stressful time should you ever need to use it. Making one takes some time and effort, but with digital cameras, camera phones and computers, it is definitely a lot easier than it used to be!
Step 1: Plan out the process. It isn’t recommended to try and do this in one sitting. It will take time and organization so the best way to plan is to block off 20-30 min. increments weekly until it’s done. Maybe a Saturday or Sunday work best, or maybe a weekday; fit it in whenever you have the time and write it down on the calendar. Figure out what device you will use and make sure it’s charged for that time (if you don’t have a camera, purchase a disposable one.) Also, decide which you will use for the process: home inventory software (this can be purchased online), or a simple spreadsheet program (like MS Excel).
Step 2: Start taking pictures. Take pictures of whole rooms, walls, clothing, appliances…. You get the idea! Everything should be included. It may be best to go room by room in your 30 minute time slots.
Step 3: Take pictures of your important documents (like the deed to your house or birth certificate, etc.)
Step 4: Take pictures of your major appliances and their serial numbers to make sure you can tell the insurance company exactly what you have.
Step 5: Group like items. E.g.: take a picture of all of your pants and then record how many pairs you have; take a picture of all of your silverware and then record how many pieces you have in total. Be sure to do the same with collections. If you have anything that is particulary valuable (like a fur coat or piece of jewellery or collector’s item) make sure to separate it from the group and log it individually.
Step 6: Keep a record of your inventory in spreadsheet format if possible. You can organize it however you wish: by room, alphabetically, etc. You will need to include the approximate value of all of your pieces as well, but remember you can include the value as it pertains to groups of items as well (e.g.: Silver earrings (sterling) , 5 pairs, value: $250 total)
Step 7: Save your inventor and pictures to a USB, disk, or whatever you have around and put it in a fire-safe box or a safety deposit box.