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Home Contents Inventory Strategy

Home and renter’s insurance cover your personal belongings in the event of theft (and other bad things) if your home is ever broken into. One of the bad things about theft is that the items are now gone and unless you have an inventory, it’s very hard to remember every last thing you know is missing and go through the painful claims process. I’ve read several strategies online throughout the years and have settled on the easiest method I know of, taking photographs and writing on the back.

With a digital camera this process is pretty simple. I’ll go through every room of my house and take a photograph of the entire room and then individually photograph everything in the room of significant value. I’ll write down the value of the item, the date I purchased it, photocopy a receipt if I still have it, and put them in a shoebox or envelope with the name of the room labeled on it. In a few hours on a weekend, I should be done.

I’ve seen complicated systems involving Excel spreadsheets and extensive lists, but I think the easiest way is to use the shoebox full of photo printouts. If something moves from one room to another, I simply move the photo to the other room. If only one room gets raided, I’ll have everything of value in an convenient location along with proof of value, if I have it. I’m at a point right now where I don’t have much of value, perhaps an old TV worth maybe $70 and some old computer parts, so the inventory isn’t as important as if I had a nice LCD TV or some bling bling sprinkled around.

Anyone have a particularly good home inventory system you think trumps the simplicity and ease of this one? I think at one point I might get bored and decide I do what to throw it into an Excel spreadsheet (with links to images and documents) but for now this simple method will probably suffice.