Guest blogger Pauline Hammerbeck is a digital content strategist at Allstate Insurance.
Spring temperatures usher in a flurry of home cleaning and home purging activities—and an opportunity to better organize and protect the possessions that make the cut.
Cataloging those coveted items in a home inventory can pay big dividends if you consider that a fire, flood or other disaster can wipe out everything you own in a blink of an eye.
Do you have a detailed list of all your stuff? Or, know what it’s all worth? If you’re like most people, the answer is no.
But the reality is that a simple home inventory can take the edge off the recovery process if everything you own is damaged or destroyed. Here are some simple strategies to simplify the task:
Organize by room. List-making becomes more manageable if you chunk it by room. Use a home inventory checklist as a starting point and document the important items as you walk from room to room. A quick visual scan makes sure nothing is left off the list.
Photograph your stuff. Take a video of each room, and focus on individual items. Then, take photos of smaller things like jewelry, the family silver or other valuables. You can also use a home inventory app to conveniently photograph and capture descriptions of your possessions, and electronically store the info to protect it from the hazards that might invite a claim.
Make some notes. Receipts are great for documenting the cost and purchase date of an item, but that’s if you have them. If not, write a quick description of each item and, for electronics, take down the make, model and serial number. You can estimate the value of your personal property with an interactive tool—you’ll be surprised at how quickly it all adds up.
Secure the information. Whether you store your inventory on paper or electronically, you’ll want to lock the info away (in a fireproof safe, with a friend or relative, or behind a password). Keep it in an easily-accessible location that won’t be lost in the same event that might destroy your home.
Once you’ve created a home inventory, you can use it as a template to make periodic updates: after a major purchase, the winter holidays or any other event that includes gifts you’ll want to replace if misfortune ever strikes.