Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Home Inventory

I've mentioned before that home keeping is not just about cleaning - the art of home keeping is keeping our homes safe and making them comfortable, so cleaning is merely one part of that process. There is one thing that has been playing on my mind recently after both my mum and my friend's homes have been burgled, and that is to protect ourselves in case of theft, fire or a natural disaster. We have take out home insurance, but if you expect to be compensated properly, you'll need to have a list of what is in your home and this is done in the form a home inventory. We've not done one ourselves yet, so that's what I'm planning to do today.

A Home Inventory helps you to keep a list of valuable items you have accumulated over the years and is extremely handy when you need to decide on a home insurance policy and even more important when you need to make claims on your home insurance. The thought that any of us could be affected by crime, a house fire or a natural disaster seems unbearable to think about. However, something such as a home inventory is fairly easy to put together considering what help it could be in various situations. It seems daunting at first to have to think about everything you own, but taking it room by room, it doesn't take too long. Here are ideas to help you put together a Home Inventory - you'll sleep better knowing that if anything was to ever happen, you are just that little bit better prepared to cope with it.

There are plenty of online home inventory software programmes you can download. They allow you to easily make a list with pictures that are linked to the list. These are useful if you find the idea of doing it yourself daunting. Try these examples below, or follow my steps on doing it yourself.

Creating a home inventory:

1) The easiest way to do your home inventory, is to start by using a digital camera. Go through your house room by room, taking pictures of the rooms,making sure you include general appliances, artworks, and furniture in the photos.

2) Don't forget the garage and to look in cupboards too, since it's easy to miss out valuable items such as collectible crockery or an expensive cutlery set. These must all be included in your inventory. If you have any specific items of value such as an expensive quilt, vintage dress (don't forget your wedding dress if you still own it), artworks, cameras or antique collections, photograph these separated.

3) Next comes the tedious part. You have to sit down, go through your photos and write down (or type of course) a list of all valuable items. Categorise your list by room, or you can also group things such as General appliances together. If you can remember write down the model, the amount you paid and where you bought these items. Even better, if you have receipts for any of your expensive items, keep these with your home inventory.
4) Once you have your list and your photos - you can either print them off or just save them to disk. Whichever way you do it, you will need to keep your home inventory in a safe place - as in a fireproof safe. Alternatively leave a spare copy at a friend or relative's home.

If writing or typing out a list isn't something you look forward to doing, you can make a videotape instead whereby you can walk through your house, videotaping as you talk through what the items are. But I know that I'd just be too embarrassed to talk on a videotape that might have to be seen by some stranger at an insurance company.

But that's all there is to making a home inventory. Now comes the important bit - you will need to remember to update your inventory list. The next time you make a substantial purchase, keep the receipt, and don't forget to add that item to your inventory. A good idea, is to add 'update inventory' to your list of things to do the beginning of the new year - especially if you might have been given a Christmas present of value. Alternatively add 'update inventory' to your spring cleaning list.

And while we're on the subject of keeping things safe, do remember that passports, birth and marriage certificates are valuable items that are a pain to replace, and are a definite target for burglars who sell them on the black market. These items always need to be kept in a secure place such as a fireproof safe. I'd also highly recommend that you make copies of these items (you can have them certified by a police officer if you like) and leave them with a relative or friend, this is extremely handy if ever you are travelling for instance and you loose your passport.

We shouldn't go through life paranoid about losing our possessions or being burgled, however things can happen, and doing something such as creating a home inventory is a simple step that will help ease a potentially stressful and emotional situation.

Thanks to Lesley for my award!


thriftymrs said...

This is a great post. It has inspired me to do an online inventory today. Thanks.

The Vintage Kitten said...

Excellent idea. Years ago before the digital camera was available I kept all special photographs and small momentos in a tin alongside my parents wedding album so in the case of a fire I (hopefully) would be able to grab it easily and not lose them. Mr K has now scanned all of our old photos and put them on a memory card and done another card which is at his parents so if we were burgled/fire then we have another copy. The inventory and taking photos of larger items would certainly make it easier for an insurance claim particularly if you have very valuable items as insurance companies will try to get out of paying for such things as Im sure there are alot of false claims. Your post has certainly made me think! Great stuff X

Judy said...

I need to do this again. I happened upon my old inventory not too long ago and had to laugh at how things have changed. I had pictures of things I didn't own anymore and so much was missing. I promised myself I would update but haven't!! Maybe your post will give me a kick in the butt to do it.

Ivy said...

Hey you!
Congrats on your award. You are a rockin' blogger.
I love digital cameras! It makes home inventory so much easier.
Great idea and extremely useful post.
Thank you for helping all of us stay safe and insure maximum compensation in a time of loss(God forbid.)
Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

Mamma Lalla said...

Thanks for the reminder - I always say I must do it and unfortunately always put it off due to other commitments. Taking photos is a definite must and that we experienced after an unfortunate burglary.

Alison said...

This is such a great post and very helpful too, so thank you.
Congratulations on your award.
Love Alison x

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

I though that through blogging... would be a lovely way to keep record of my treasures in my home!
Also some years ago... I took some photos of my home contents... and gave a copy to my in-laws to keep hold and one for us... also!
Although just like lovely Judy...
these photos are now quite out dated... and need replacing!
Thanks for remind us all!
Debbie moss

Wishing you a lovely week!

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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