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Home Inventory – Why You Need One, And How To Make It!

by Contributing Author

Here’s why you need a household account book, what to add to your list, and exactly how to make one. As a homeowner, you should always be prepared – so let’s get started!

Imagine a scene.

You have just returned from vacation and found yourself invaded.

Stress levels are high and emotions are everywhere. Police and insurance companies are asking exactly what is missing.

Most people can think of quite a lot about what they own these days, but it’s easy to forget a few things.

Not only that, but you know you have a TV, but do you remember its brand, price, when you bought it, etc.?

Not likely, right?

I really need this information when filing an insurance claim or describing something stolen to the police (for recovery purposes).

Can you do it?

It’s not just robberies that inventory lists are useful.

It could be a fire, flood, or any number of other ways an item could be ruined.

Also, the last thing you want to add to your plate should any of these events occur is that you should seriously think about what you own (edit) for insurance purposes.

So why increase your stress levels when you can spend some time preparing for the worst?

Indeed, it’s better to be prepared than to regret if the worst happens.

What is Home Inventory?

I hope you never need this, but it’s handy if you do. It’s like insurance!

A home inventory, in its simplest form, is a list of what you have in your home.

This is a detailed record of your personal property, including details such as codes, purchase prices, ratings, identifying marks…

What should be included in the household account book?

Exactly what you list is up to you, and it can be anything from absolutely anything, or (more commonly) a list of more expensive possessions such as cameras, jewelry, or electricity.

Below is a quick list of what you might want to include:-

  • jewelry
  • watch
  • furniture
  • artwork
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • electrical equipment
  • bike
  • computer/laptop
  • cell phone
  • game
  • Kitchen utensils (especially blenders and high-end items)
  • Microwave, rice cooker, etc.
  • Curtains/Blinds/Rugs
  • lighting equipment
  • clothes and accessories
  • books
  • bag
  • instrument
  • Antique/Heirloom
  • The contents of the attic/garage (these spaces usually have a lot of stuff!)
  • Expensive items/expensive items not listed here – such as items for a specific lifestyle/hobbies…

…the list really is endless!

How should I determine what is worth?

Some of your personal belongings may have cost you a lot, so you know that you should have or include a receipt.

Other items may be worthless on their own, but in collections and groups they can start to become more expensive to redeem (i.e. CDs, books, etc.).

However, when in doubt, get it evaluated by an expert. That way, you can be sure you have the right insurance as well (this is another thing that makes inventory an important item for homeowners).

Would you like to meet a professional? Another easy way to measure current value is to look at similar items for sale online at places such as: Ebay Or any other second hand store.

How do I create a home inventory?

First, home inventory doesn’t have to be complicated – although it sounds very formal and time consuming.

The best way is to keep it as simple as possible. Otherwise, the work will be procrastinated and never completed.

Now let’s see how to create it.

Step 1 – List Everything

Walk around the house with pen, paper and camera.

Go to each space/room and write a list of all the items you want to record.

Write down all the details (it helps to keep receipts and warranty information, collect these together as well).

Below is the template available in the home maintenance section of my home file. We recommend that you use this template instead of creating your own.

Home Inventory - Why You Need It & How To Make It - 140 Home Inventory Sheet Photos

Step 2 – Take a Photo

After adding each item to your list/inventory, take one or more photos of the item.

The overall picture is important, but sub-shots such as serial numbers, details, and receipt photos are also good.

Note: Don’t miss this step! no matter how tempted. It only takes a few seconds to take a photo. Everything can change if you need to remember what you had.

An additional safety measure is to take pictures of the walls/cupboards, drawers, bookshelves, etc. in each room of your home, as it will give you a complete overview of each space.

Tips – Don’t be overwhelmed. Once a week is fine, but we recommend doing it as soon as possible.

Step 3 – Be careful where your support information is stored

In addition to home inventory, there are receipts and photos to support the record of each item.

That’s why it’s so important to keep track of where these things are in your inventory.

For example, where are the photos filed on your computer (we recommend creating a Home Inventory-specific file)? box or file for receipts and physical information.

Everything is easier when you know where everything is.

It also makes things easier if someone else has to file an insurance claim on your behalf.

Step 4 – Keep Your Home Inventory on Hand

Store your home inventory where you can access it when you need it. Ready to take out when you need it.

I keep a copy in my home file, a printed copy in my kitchen, and a digital copy on my computer and backed up to Dropbox so I can access it from anywhere.

And speaking of backups…

Step 5 – Back Up!

This is important information. This may only be necessary if part of the house has been damaged in some way (fire/flood etc.).

If that location includes where you keep a physical copy of your home inventory, you run the risk of ruining that too.

Then it’s game over.

So back up your list in some way. I like to keep a digital copy of the actual listing, a photo of the item in digital format, and a photo or scanned copy of the receipt in digital format.

Tips – Even if your hard drive is at home, it can be damaged just like any physical item, so make sure everything is backed up away from home (e.g. in the cloud). It’s important to keep your backups in another location.

Step 5 – Maintain

The final step that is often overlooked is inventory maintenance.

After all, you’re constantly changing what you own, with things breaking or buying new ones.

So please check our inventory list regularly to see if there are any updates.

You can do this at the end of the month/quarter/year-end or every time you buy or sell/let go of something.

I tend to review every year, but it doesn’t take long. Just walk around the house and check off each item to add new ones.

Each year is long enough, and these don’t change as much as other items, as we track only the more expensive items. Since we keep the book, we update it at least once a year.

Also, add items directly to home insurance if needed (for example, if you inherited something).

woman filling out a form

Having a home inventory created for your home and possessions pays off in terms of peace of mind.

Even if the worst ever happens, it’s always nice to have one less thing to worry about and know what you have.

Have you created one yet? Please tell me how you did it.

By the way, if you want to create a complete home file, check out this post. If you want a copy of my home files, click here to buy one (why should you make your own?). Thank you for all the help you have given me!

Please read the following:

10 home essentials you need to keep things running smoothly

3 Clever Ways To Make Someone Look At Home

50 important tasks to put on your home maintenance checklist

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