Taking a home inventory is one of those tasks that needs to be done but we all avoid. We just don't put it as a priority until something bad happens. There are several ways to create a home inventory list and I'm going to lay them all out for you so you can pick what works best for you. It's important to have a home insurance inventory in case of loss by fire or theft so you can replace them and get the highest value for them.
What's Important to have in a home inventory?
There are just a few basic things you will want to include in any home inventory list, they are:
- A photo of the item
- The name of the item
- The original cost of the item
- The manufactural and serial number if there is one
The Best Ways to Make a Home Inventory List
There are 3 ways to take a home inventory and here are options that anyone can do whether you are good on a computer or not.
Taking a Home Inventory on Paper
If computers are not your thing you can easily take your inventory on paper.
A Notebook – Use a regular spiral notebook or a three-ring binder with tab dividers. If using the tab dividers, you can label each divider for a room in your home. Glue in a picture of the item to your paper and under it write the name, cost, and the manufacturer or serial number. You may also want to include when you bought the item if you know the date. Later when you buy new items you can even glue or tape in the receipt.
Use a free printable spreadsheet– There are many free printable home inventory list templates online like these. If you use excel you can download this one and get started. Just print it out and fill it in.
Take an Inventory using Home Inventory Software
If you are very computer literate then you may want to organize it all there and download home inventory to a flash drive.
There are many home inventory software's on the market. I like Home Inventory Pro. It allows you to do more than one home and will even print barcode labels to put on the bottom of items if you wish. Here are a few of the things it will do:
- Manage your household assets and calculate the value of everything you own. Add an unlimited number of images, videos and file attachments to each inventory item in your databases.
- Never lose a receipt again. Scan your receipts directly into the software. You can also add your product user manuals, contracts, warranty documentation and more.
- Do you have a storage unit, cottage or vacation home? Home Inventory Pro lets you track your inventory for each location independently.
- Expedite insurance claims with documented evidence of everything you own. Home Inventory Pro lets you manage all of your insurance policies and claims.
- Simplify your estate planning by choosing a beneficiary for each of your assets.
Home Insurance Inventory Apps
Now you can use apps for taking your home inventory and store them in the cloud. Most phones now have cameras allowing you to snap a picture and enter the information right in the app. There are apps available for Mac and IOS
Here are a few of the best home inventory apps available:
My Stuff 2 Pro – Is an easy customizable powerhouse and lets you organize your home contents including collections, music, movies, books, video games, electronics, wine lists, jewelry, or anything else in your possession. There is a My Stuff 2 lite version, but it only allows you to enter 15 items, however if you want to just try it first it's a great way to do it! Available on mac.
Inventory for Homeowners by Encircle– In addition to pictures Inventory for Homeowners app lets you add details such as purchase date, price, model and serial #s including text notes, picture notes, and contacts. There’s no limit to what and how much you can track. Available on mac, ios, blackberry.
Dream Vault by American Family Insurance – Creating a complete home inventory has never been easier. DreamVault lets you upload pictures and descriptions of your belongings and organize them any way you prefer. If you ever have a claim or need to report something stolen, the information is right at your fingertips – accessible anytime, anywhere in the world. Available on mac or ios.
Liberty Mutual Home Gallery – Simply start snapping photos or scanning barcodes to capture your personal belongings as you move through your home. You can then assign details to each item right on your device. Soon you’ll have a complete, accurate list of all your belongings, including their pictures and any receipts. You can also easily export your inventory via email as an attached file. Available on mac or ios.
One other item that might come in useful if you don't want to print labels or write on your furniture you can buy these Invisible Pens and UV light. These pens allow you to put your social security number or phone number on the bottom of furniture, electronics, or other items and it will be invisible to the naked eye. Using a UV light will make it appear if your item is stolen.
Where to keep your home inventory list
If your house burns it does you no good to keep your list in your home! If you keep your home inventory on paper then make a second copy and put it in your safety deposit box or give it to someone else for safe keeping. If you use software you need to save a copy to a flash drive and do the same thing as a paper copy. If you use an app be sure to back it up to the cloud so you can access it if your phone get's lost or broken.
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