Update Your Home Inventory

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Home TheaterIf you watched any television during the holidays, chances are you saw (and fast forwarded through) a lot of jewelry commercials. I learned what ever kiss begins with, where “he” went to, and how long a diamond is “for.” If you bought anything sparkly this winter, chances are you’ll want to make sure it’s protected in the event it’s lost or stolen. That goes for any new golf clubs, televisions, or other big ticket items you may have purchase (if you had a December to Remember… well that’s covered by auto insurance).

While jewelry is typically insured by a jewelry rider, almost everything else is covered by your base insurance and you’ll want to update your home inventory to make sure you remember you owned it. While insurance will cover it if you can prove you own it, the home inventory simply makes it easier for you to remember and document if you need to.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!

Home Inventory

A home inventory is simply a list of all the “valuable” items in your home. It’s really up to you how you decide what is “valuable” and what isn’t, but ultimately you want to cover everything you consider valuable. It’s really a matter of documentation, do you want to spend the time to document your ownership of a $10 item? If so, that’s valuable to you.

A home inventory can be very simple to very complex. On the very simple side, simply get a list of all the valuables in your home, take a photo as a kind of “proof of ownership” and condition of each, and any purchasing information you have (receipts, invoices). Some people like to take a photo of each room and then closer photographs of high dollar items like televisions. Digital photos are basically free and you can keep them on your computer, so the more the merrier.

A photo of the room is helpful because it can help you remember what was in a room. If your home is robbed, you’ll probably remember that you had a television on the wall but you may not remember that $200 universal remote until much later. A photo can be helpful.

Updating Home Inventory

Updating the inventory is a cinch, the key is simply remembering to do it after big gift giving events like birthdays and the holidays. When updating the inventory, the same rules apply – photograph and document anything new you’ve acquired since the last time you did a home inventory.

In the event you received a gift and don’t know how much it cost, you can always get a copy of the current price of the item at a retail shop. Insurance companies usually pay replacement cost of its current market value, so the original price won’t matter, but it’s good to know, for yourself, how much it currently costs.

Remember, the key to a home inventory is keeping it up to date. The last thing you want to do is to try to remember what was in a room after a fire or burglary.

(Photo: pascalsijen)

{ 10 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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10 Responses to “Update Your Home Inventory”

  1. Ryan says:

    But hopefully the thief doesn’t take your computer with your digital photos on it, or the camera that took the photos…

    • Sarah in Alaska says:

      Which is why you find an online vault to hold the data…or just email it to yourself.

      • Strebkr says:

        You need backups of backups to cover yourself. But its pretty easy with online backup companies like Mozy. I find it easy to use.

  2. My wife and I are actually in the process of selling all of our non-essentials because we’re getting ready to move! My plan is to sell enough so that we can move with only what’s in our Jeep (since we’re traveling 1400 to our new location), but I suppose that’s only a pipe dream. There are more things that we’ll need to keep I’m sure. But, the point is, the inventory should be pretty easy once we’re done! 🙂

    • billsnider says:

      When i moved, I mailed bulky, less heavier stuff like clothes to my new address. kept overall costs and headaches down.

      Bill Snider

  3. I’m not big on January organization. It’s just not the best time to sell your stuff. Organization supplies are more expensive in January too because it’s the “thing to do” that month. I prefer end of summer. When the kids go back to school, I take the extra time available for organizing, cleaning out the stuff that doesn’t fit anymore and figuring out my game plan for selling all my second hand stuff. This way, I’m selling as the holidays approach, the time when most people are buying.

  4. zapeta says:

    I need to do a home inventory, but I think the best question is where to store the information. If a thief takes my computer, camera, and locked box then it will be gone. I guess a safe deposit box would work or a place in the house thats not obvious.

    • Strebkr says:

      An online backup of your computer is a smart thought. Or you could buy an external hard drive. Back it up once a month then throw it in a safe or deposit box.

  5. Shock says:

    I use free home inventory software called “What You Own”. It can be downloaded at You can upload and attach receipts and pics of your items. It’s organized by room. I then make a backup of the file and save it on my external hard drive, another copy on an SD card which is stored in my fireproof and waterproof lock box and I upload a third copy to my Google Docs account, which makes it accessible via the internet. I also have a online backup service.

  6. Daraius says:

    It is a big pain to create the home inventory list for the first time, but it is completely worth it.

    I was surprised to see the pages filled with stuff I owned and even more surprised when I calculated the replacement cost of my possessions!

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