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Conducting A Home Inventory – The Systematic Approach

Congratulations. You’ve finally decided to conduct a home inventory. So, what’s do you do first, you are probably asking. “How do I do a home inventory?” Well, I have some great news for you. Inventorying your home’s contents is simple. All you have to do is make a list of all your possessions. Now, before you run off and start writing down everything that you have in your home, let me warn you, the task of conducting a home inventory can be a bit overwhelming if you go about it haphazardly. Let me give you a few steps to follow, so that you maintain your motivation just long enough to complete your home inventory.

STEP 1: Clean your home. If your home is already clean, then move on to STEP 2. For the rest of us, this step is important, because it helps to eliminate potential distractors. If your home is not clean and you begin the inventory process, you may become distracted with cleaning your home and less interested in creating your list. (light bulb) Cleaning your home is a short term goal needed to accomplish your overall goal of completing a home inventory.

STEP 2: Set goals. We’ve established that the overall goal is to get a complete list of all the items in your home. STEP 2 will help you develop a simple plan for accomplishing this. Walk through your home and make a list of each room in your home. Using a wired notebook or some other pre-generated inventory sheets, write the room’s name at the tops of individual pages. The first page is Living Room, the second Kitchen, etc. (light bulb) Break down your overall goal to complete a home inventory into smaller goals of completing room inventories. With each room completed, you can track your progress towards completing the home inventory. WARNING! If you jump haphazardly from room to room, the task of completing your inventory will probably seem overwhelming.

STEP 3: Start the home inventory. Ok, so what should you inventory? Everything should be accounted for. Make a list of everything in the room. That’s why we clean first. Here are some pointers for accounting for everything.

o If you have a digital camera, I suggest that you take pictures of your important items.

o High dollar items lists should include make/model, serial number, date/location purchased, what you paid for it, description, current condition and an estimate current value.

o Items like clothes or everyday utensils should include a brief description and the quantity. (Example: Jeans 10 pair; shirts 40 each; books 30 each etc.)

o For jewelry, be as specific as possible. Note inscriptions, scratches, stones etc. The more detail the better. Also, consider getting your jewelry appraised.

o Do not waste your time inventorying consumables. The quantities fluctuate, which make it difficult to maintain an up-to-date home inventory.

o Do not disregard the small stuff. Remember, inventory everything. If a loss does occur, this inventory will assist you in getting the fair market value of your loss, damaged or stolen property.

STEP 4: Secure your inventory. Once you’re done, you need to store the findings. You could take the written lists and store them in a file cabinet, but if there is a fire… well, you get the point. You need to have the list in multiple locations. If you have home owners insurance, you can send your insurance company a copy of the inventory. You can also scan the findings and save them on a computer hard drive, thumb drive, CD, or DVD. I suggest you take it a step further and email the file to yourself. This way, the only two ways you can lose the inventory is if you forget the password to your email account or the internet goes down. If the latter, a home inventory is the least of your worries.

And you’re done. That didn’t take too long, now did it? Ok, don’t answer that. Keep in mind the importance of conducting a home inventory. If you think it is too difficult or tedious a task, I suggest you hire an Inventory Specialist to do the job for you. Just get it done.