Watching your home burn down in a fiery blaze is a downer. Getting robbed kinda sucks too. Losing one’s personal possessions doesn’t just happen to other people, it can happen to you. It happened to me about 12 years ago while still a student. I came home after an exam to find everything of value stolen. The thieves even took my dang Chia Pet – you know, the pottery that grows?
My “better half” has lost everything too. He watched his family home burn to the ground in a massive house fire. Both his belongings and family home were reduced to ash. Smoldering stuff is not sexy, delicious, or fun.
From my experience, making an insurance claim is a bit$h without knowing exactly what you own and how much you paid for it. Since stuff can be replaced in times of disaster, it just makes sense to create a home inventory listing all of your possessions.
The Printable Home Inventory Worksheet will help you to:
- List all your personal possessions in one convenient place.
- Organize your belongings room-by-room.
- Catalog, document, photograph, and describe valuable serial numbers, models, and receipts.
- Prove ownership of items if an insurance claim is required.
- Jar your memory when all seems lost.
- Strengthen and establish an insurance claim in case of fire, robbery, or a natural disaster.
- Determine how much insurance coverage is needed.
- Get enough coverage by totaling the cost of all your stuff.
1. How to make a home inventory.
There are several ways to create a home inventory. Pick the method you are most likely to embrace and update.
Notebook with photos.
Get a notebook. Make a section for each room in your house or apartment. Go through each room and document everything. Take photographs. Download the 15 Free Printable Home Inventory Worksheets (PDF) to help. These sheets are blank so just fill in the details! Don’t forget to list serial numbers, manufacturers, models, and price paid. Attach receipts. Using a spreadsheet and then attaching photos is also helpful.
Make a video.
You don’t have to be from the MTV generation to know the value of video. Creating a mini movie with a room-by-room playback is very valuable when making an insurance claim. Walk through each room and record your stuff. Be sure to shoot serial numbers and add commentary by reading out model numbers. Collect all receipts and store with the tape. Dubbing in your favorite theme music is totally up to you.
Use home inventory software.
Do the digital thing by finding free home inventory software (freeware) or by buying a trusted brand. Use home inventory software to document your stuff by room, upload photos, and make digital copies of receipts.
2. Reasons to store your home inventory off site.
Do not keep your home inventory at home. What use is a home inventory if it burns in a house blaze or gets whisked away in a whirling twister? None at all. So be sure to keep your notebook, video, or digital back up on CD and place it in a safe deposit box.
3. Should renters have a home inventory? Students?
YES! When I was a student renting a little apartment, I would have benefited greatly from having a simple catalog of all my stuff. When the time came to make a claim, I had no idea how many CDs I owned, or the worth of my wardrobe.
4. Update and repeat!
Be sure to update your inventory with each big purchase. Don’t let it get out of date.
A home inventory is a very valuable tool in times of theft or natural disaster. A listing of all your stuff can really help when dealing with the unpleasant task of making an insurance claim. I must admit, I never claimed my Chia Pet.
Other home checklists you may like:
A video is a great idea. We have done this and we keep 3 copies, one at our home, one at a friends, and one at my parents. The only thing is, you have to make sure you update each year to cover new items.
This is great! My boyfriend and I just yesterday decided we needed to get renters insurance. We’ll be moving at the end of the year so I was just going to take pictures of everything as it was getting ready to be loaded into the truck, but a list will help me make sure I got it all AND keep it organized. Thank you so much!
Thanks! I just printed off yours. Glad for the extra pages. Will use for Toolshed/Woodshed, Patio, Porches. Also for Sewing room and Scrapbooking room and the Mudroom.
I used to have one of these, but not since the new home and it’s time to update and take new photos.
[…] loves making spreadsheets. This time, she’s giving away 15 free printable home inventory worksheets. That reminds me that we seriously need to inventory our […]
I use Microsoft Excel to keep track of my items.
Before I moved into my school’s housing, I made sure that I accounted for everything that I am bringing. Your worksheets look really helpful! Thanks for sharing :]
[…] 15 Free Printable Home Inventory Worksheets […]
Yup, i’m all about this too! i snap pics of everything every year or so, and then do a quick video as well….much easier these days w/ digital and all. haven’t written anything down as yet, but def. a good idea to do so.
Couldn’t agree more with your comments regarding using a free inventory service. I use http://www.third-drawer.com which is free and has lots of useful features. My main tip would be to enter minimal information about low value items and enter lots of information (like warranty info) for the high value items.
I find that using Microsoft Excel really helps in keeping inventory at home and at the office.
@William This sounds amazing! Awesome suggestion, thanks!
Another software possibility for Mac users is Delicious Library 2 from Delicious Monster. Basically, if it has a barcode and it’s on Amazon (and let’s face it, what isn’t these days), it can figure out what an item is from a webcam snap of the barcode! Very useful for cataloging media.
[…] you may not know how to organize such an inventory or even where to start. Luckily, Fox over at SquawkFox.com created 15 worksheets to help you keep track of what it is that you own. The first 12 pages are […]
I just found your post today..
thanks for sharing the listing formats, they seem helpful and intelligent.
I started making a home inventory a while ago. Tested 2 different pieces of mac software – Compartments, and Home Inventory. I liked them both, but I think Home Inventory is the winner for me because it has a companion iPhone app to make snapping photos for your inventory a lot easier.
Anyway…the reason my home inventory not finished yet is that I have way. too. much. crap. But that’s a whole other problem 🙂
I just love the idea of making up a video. I dont want something as techy as an MTV vid clip but it is worth a try.
This is a neat idea but I lose or forget paperwork all the time. Over the years I’m sure I’d forget to update the list. Although it won’t improve my memory, I would keep these lists both as hard copies and online. SugarSync or DropBox is pretty useful since your documents are both “online” and in file folders on your desktop. That way if your house burns down or a separation happens, an online list exists to give insurance companies or lawyers.
I use google for storing my documents. When you sign in you get an email account but also access to a number of services, in particular documents under “drive” at the top. I downloaded Kerry’s document and simply uploaded it to there where I can still edit it from anywhere. No paper for me, which I would lose anyway lol
Great article. I’m in Law Enforcement and one of the additional ideas I tell people, especially for high ticket items that have a higher rate of theft: Three Ring Binder. Get a three ring binder and clear sheet protectors. Every time you buy something take the receipt, owner’s manual and if you can take a picture of the item and put them all in one sheet protector. Each purchase gets its own sheet protector. If the item has a serial number/make/model write those on the back of the owner’s manual or picture(s). Firearms, ATV’s and electronics are a high theft items here in the South. People want to know how will they get their stuff back. It’s disheartening when we have to tell people that unless we have the serial number the chances of us being able to return the item, if we find them, is null. Reason is, if we don’t have a serial number (or some sort of ID #) to compare to than how do we know it’s your item? How will we know it belong’s to you vs someone else who reported a similar item being lost/stolen? Another thing you can do is etch or write in permanent marker your Driver’s license number on the item-NOT your SSN! Write your states DL initials then the number. Example for SC: DL SC-123456789
I also urge people to buy a small or medium sized fireproof safe to keep their inventory in.
Good article , I Appreciate the facts . Does anyone know where my assistant could possibly obtain a fillable Statefarm Home Inventory Checklist version to use ?
Thanks for sharing this with us. After reading your post I can make my worksheet with ease.