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How To Complete Your Personal Property Inventory Worksheet:
Editors Note: One of my best friends just called, she came home from vacation to a completely flooded house. One of her pipes burst upstairs and has been going for a while based on all the water.
I knew that doing a home inventory was important, but until you see it first hand, you can’t even begin to imagine the devastation that comes from a disaster. I know that doing a personal property inventory is a lot of work and takes a lot of time, but please, please, please take a few minutes and fill out a personal property inventory worksheet.
I don’t ever want any of you to deal with the hassle that my friend is going through right now.
On to your regularly scheduled post:
I’m not the most organized person in the world. I try really hard, but it just isn’t something that comes naturally to me.
However, since starting this blog, I’ve turned over a new leaf and am trying to overcome some of my natural laziness. One of the projects that I’ve been putting off is a personal property inventory.
A personal property inventory is a living document that lists all the personal property items in your home (or anywhere else you may keep stuff). I’m in love with this idea and am slowly putting mine together.
I decided to start with my home inventory content list for insurance claims.
Having a home inventory list is critical in the case of fire, theft, water damage or other natural disasters. When a disaster strikes the last thing you want to be doing is trying to remember all of the valuables in your home.
Having an itemized personal property list for insurance claims can mean the difference of thousands of dollars when making insurance claims.
I can’t even imagine trying to deal with insurance companies, contractors, and adjusters, plus try to remember everything I had in my home. There is no way I could list everything off the top of my head and not forgot valuable items.
I’ve lived in my home for 9 years and have accumulated so much stuff – I need to have a list for my piece of mind.
Your personal property inventory list should include any valuable items that you would want to be replaced if they were stolen or damaged.
I actually didn’t think we had that much stuff until I started writing everything down. Which on a side note, we have way, way, way too much stuff.
I really need to keep up my attempts at following The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Anyway, through trial and error I think I’ve found a pretty good personal property inventory method.
How To Do an accurate inventory of your personal property with a Personal Property Inventory Worksheet:
- Download a free copy of my Personal Property Inventory Worksheet
- Print out the Household Inventory Worksheet based on the design of your home. I’ve customized the pages for each room in your house and then left a few blank sheets for other random rooms you may want to inventory.
- START SMALL – Don’t overwhelm yourself
- Take one room a day (or even a week). Walkthrough the room and write down all of the items in the room. I personally didn’t worry about small items I’ve had for years with little value. My goal was to write down the major items in each room.
- I highly recommend taking pictures of each room as you do your personal property inventory. I put my pictures on a jump drive for easy review later and uploaded them to the cloud.
- On a side note, some items you may want to list based on type.
- For example, I’ve got electronics spread throughout the house. I put all of my electronic items together rather than grouping them based on rooms.
- Miscellaneous Items:
- Don’t forget to record guns, valuable artwork, jewelry and camera equipment.
- We have a room set aside for our outdoor activities. I did a completely separate sheet for all of our climbing, camping, scuba, boating, and canyoneering gear.
- There is a blank form at the end of the package that can be used for extra areas in your home.
- Don’t stress about missing information during your initial walkthrough, the important things are to get all of the valuable items written down.
- I can guarantee you are going to miss a few items the first time you do your personal property inventory. It happens, just remember to add items as you notice them or as you purchase them in the future.
- Once you have everything written down your personal property, it is time to do some research.
- I keep all of our manuals, warranty information and important receipts in a bankers box which has made this process relatively easy. You may want to consider doing the same.
- The important thing is to start filling in the missing information.
- I didn’t go crazy on this part. Most of our furniture is 8-10 years old. I put an estimated value and took pictures, but I’m not going to dig for receipts on older items.
- If you don’t have the missing information write in your best guess and move on.
- If you spend too much time trying to fill in blanks, you’ll lose momentum and never finish.
- The last sheet is for future personal property purchases.
- I’m planning to print a copy and will leave it in my home office. I can add new purchases to the sheet and then periodically add the sheet to my existing list and start a new record. I’m hoping this will make it easy to keep my personal property inventory up to date.
- Scan in inventory Worksheet and Pictures.
- Once you have completed your personal inventory, I recommend scanning in all of the sheets and emailing them to yourself. You may want to do the same with the pictures you took.
- Safeguard your inventory in a safe location.
- Put your hard copies in a safe place that is protected from natural disasters like a safe or a safety deposit box.
My goal is to never have to do a home inventory again. The more organized I am on a going-forward basis the easier this process will be.
I’ve been working on this project for 2 weeks and I’m not even halfway done. It is going to take a lot of time to inventory our whole house. Of course, I’m also using this as an excuse to do a bit of cleaning/decluttering at the same time.
On a side note, I know that not everyone wants to do their home inventory manually. I did a bit of research and there are multiple apps that will help you organize your personal property inventory:
- Home Contents – Easy Home Inventory – This is the one that I’m currently experimenting with. So far it is really easy to use. I love the fact that when I’m done I can generate a PDF report.
- MyStuff2 Pro – Home Inventory and Database – I haven’t tried this one yet, but it is has a 4-star rating with 138 ratings, so I’m going to assume it is a pretty decent option.
Good luck with your personal property inventory!
Please comment below if you have any additional helpful tips on completing this project. More importantly, share if you have a friend who needs a bit of help getting organized.
- Download a free copy of my Personal Property Inventory Worksheet
It is so important to keep a household inventory and update it. If anything major ever happens to your home it will make things with insurance company go a lot smoother. It is very hard after a disaster to have to try to remember what all was in your house.
Exactly! I can’t even imagine trying to do a home inventory after a major disaster. There is now way I would be able to remember everything.
In 2013 we had been through the wost thing imaginable. A tornado hit our house and we lost my husband’s brother the same day. This was 30 days after we had lost his father. All while dealing with another cancer battle for me. Trying to make a home inventory list for the insurance company was ridiculous. 2/3 of our belongings were 6 counties away. We had to sue the insurance company for the personal property and still ended up with only 22,000 due to not being able to provide proof of ownership. No photos, no paperwork or anything else. Please do make the time to do this.
Wow, that is crazy! I’m so sorry you guys had to deal with so much loss in such a short period of time. Such a great reminder of why it is important to do a full inventory of your home.
These are terrific tips. I really need to do this…and soon, as we are in hurricane season!
I’m lucky Phoenix is relatively natural disaster free. I still want to be prepared in case of a home fire or theft.
What a great idea! The thought of actually inventorying the items in my home never even registered – thanks for creating this!
Thanks! I’m glad you liked the idea. It is a serious amount of work, but is going to be worth it when I’m finally done.