Tips for Preparing a Home Inventory

Home inventory checklist

Documenting your belongings can save you time and worry later, and ensure proper reimbursement for all of your losses.

The most effective inventory combines a detailed written list with one of the following:

  • Video recording with audio narration
  • Photographs of valuable or unique items
  • Audio recording with photographs of valuable or unique items

No matter which method you choose, make sure to approach this project systematically so you don’t miss anything. Keep a copy of your completed inventory off premises in a safety deposit box or with a relative or friend.

Your inventory should include the following information:

  • Number of items
  • Description of items
  • Year purchased
  • Cost new
  • Estimated current value

Some tips in completing a home inventory:

  • Begin in one room and cover its contents thoroughly before moving on.
  • Remember to include your hallways, attic, basement, garage, porch, patio, and garden.
  • Open closets and drawers.
  • Group like-items together when possible, i.e. clothing can be grouped by category, quantity, and overall cost. Note anything of special value.
  • Record serial numbers of major appliances and electronic equipment.
  • Attach sales receipts/appraisals to the inventory list.
  • Photocopy important documents and attach them to the inventory list. Keep originals in a safety deposit box.
  • Photograph valuable items against a plain background, next to a ruler. Turn items over to show any hallmark, manufacturer, or pattern information.
  • Keep your inventory list updated by documenting any new items acquired.
  • Collections/specialty items, such as jewelry and art, should be professionally appraised to establish their value. Attach appraisals to the inventory list.

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