Set a Goal for 2016: Create a Home Inventory

Imagine going through your entire house, videoing all of your possessions and also recording serial numbers, gathering receipts, and recording monetary values of the big ticket items. Have your eyes glazed over? Does it sound like a great idea, but just incredibly tedious and something you’ll get to some distant day in the future?

Now imagine you’re away from home and faulty wiring causes a fire. Everything you own is destroyed. You have no record of what you own, but you have to start figuring it all out because your insurance company will need that inventory. Don’t you wish you had that video inventory uploaded to your cloud account, or stored on a hard drive at your office (or preferably both)? Don’t you wish you’d completed that spreadsheet or document listing all your furniture and high-value possessions?

I challenge you to set a goal to get this done by the end of January 2016. First, open up every drawer, cupboard, and closet in your house. Take your smartphone and slowly record a 360° view in every room of your house. Get behind, around, or underneath all of your electronics and appliances and take a photo of the model and serial numbers. Then, back up the video(s) and photos to at least one place, preferably two – once in the cloud, once on a thumb drive or external hard drive. At a minimum, do this. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but if you ever do, you’ll be so glad that you have it!

Next, if you’re feeling ambitious and really motivated, open up a spreadsheet or document and start listing out all of your possessions. I have the following tabs in my home inventory spreadsheet:

  • Furniture: Item, Information about the item such as where we bought it, Price or Replacement Value (for military or other people who move a lot, I also recommend recording dimensions, which makes it really easy to check what will fit where in your new home)
  • Kitchen: Separated into 3 tables – “Cooking and Serving,” “Eating and Drinking,” and “Appliances”; each of those tables has Item, Information about the item, and Price
  • Household Items: Separated into “Small Items,” “Luggage,” and “Linens”
  • Artwork: Item, Type of Art, Price
  • Electronics: Item, Serial Number, Model Number, Price

Please leave a note if you don’t have an inventory, plan to make one by January 31, 2016, and would like some follow-up or accountability to make sure you do it! I’m happy to give a nudge or prod where needed.

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