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How to take a home inventory



If you had a fire or were a victim of a natural disaster would you be able to remember all of the goods you have in your home - items that you've accumulated over a long time?  A current home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled quickly and you'll also be able to verify losses for your income tax.  Also knowing the value of your household contents will better help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.

The best thing to do if you're starting off is to make a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model.  Also if you have any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have you'll want to keep these handy
. For your personal clothing, count the items you own by category -- pants, coats, shoes, and make notes for those clothing items that are especially valuable.   With your computers, appliances and other valuable equipment, record the serial numbers that are found on the item.


  • Don't be put off!
    If you're a new home owner or recently moving into a new household, taking an inventory can be relatively simple for you. If you’ve been living in the same residence for many years, however, the task of creating a home inventory list can a bit scary. Regardless, it’s much better to have a partial inventory of your items than nothing at all. Start with your recent purchases first and then try to recall what you can about older items.
  • Valuable items
    Valuable possessions like heirlooms, collectible's, art and jewelry may have actually increased in value over the years. Check with your insurance agent to verify that you have enough insurance for these valuable collections. These items may need to be separately insured.

  • Take a picture
    Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items.  The pictures can then be put into the Home Inventory Software product. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers.
  • Videotape it
    Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents.  Use the video tape as a quick and dirty way to get the main items cataloged.
  • Use a personal computer
    Use your PC with specific software to take your home inventory list.  The Home Inventory Software product will enable you to catalog all of your room-by-room home inventory.

  • Storing the home inventory list or video tapes
    Regardless of how you do it (written list, photos, videotape), keep your home inventory or home inventory backup files along with receipts in a safe deposit box or at a friend's or relative's home. That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance agent if your house is damaged.  An advantage of using Home Inventory Software is that all you have to do is create a PDF file using the software and burn that PDF file to a CD.  It will contain all of your pictures, information, receipts and documents.  You can then mail several copies of the CD to different friends or relatives. When you make a new purchase, add the information to your Home Inventory Software product while the details are fresh in your mind.


Suggested Items to Record on Your Home Inventory List

  • Kitchen/dining room:
    • table & chairs
    • china cabinet
    • appliances
    • utensils
    • furniture
  • Living/family room:
    • cameras
    • electronics including serial numbers
    • sofas and chairs
    • artwork
    • tables
    • desks
    • DVDs, CDs


  • Bedrooms:
    • furniture
    • electronics
    • books
    • jewelry
    • clothing (categories)


  • Bathroom:
    • appliances
    • hamper
    • linens
    • jewelry


  • Garage/storage:
    • lawn mower
    • tools
    • luggage
    • outdoor furniture
    • sporting equipment