How to Take a Home Inventory

Taking a home inventory is not very exciting, but it can save your bacon when working with your insurance company.  I suggest doing this in chunks.  You will get sidetracked in more than one room.  By doing it one room at a time and breaking it up over the course of a few days or weekends, you will be more thorough.  But you can do it however you like.

home inventory checklist

You can make a simple home inventory using a pencil and paper.  A spreadsheet on a computer makes it a little easier.  Use our Home inventory checklist on the computer or to print and take around the house.  But we live in a world of technology and our friendly insurance companies have developed tools that can help us.  I use State Farm personally, so I know the tool they have for taking a home inventory.  You can read all about it here.

Don’t forget that when you complete this inventory, that you store it in at least two places.  One on site and one off site.  I would also have a digital copy of it stored on google drive or another similar cloud based storage site.  Store pictures and videos “in the cloud” as well as in a hard copy of some sort.  An external hard drive is perfect for this.

Taking a home inventory is not just for homeowners.  Renters need to have one as well.  If you are thinking of moving soon, this is a perfect time to take inventory of your household items.  This will cover your bases for the moving company as well.  By taking pictures of your items, they can’t contest that the item was broken before the move.  This is also a good opportunity for you to purge old items you no longer need.  You might even find that you could sell half your stuff at an auction when you sell your house.

home inventory

Have fun with it.  Take the opportunity to go through old pictures.  Reminisce a little with your loved ones.  You may just enjoy yourself.

When you complete your first walk through of the home inventory, take a few minutes and look over your results.  Be sure you got everything.  If you are using our quick checklist, here are a few tips.  Use extra pages for contents of drawers, cabinets, etc.  Chances are you have a lot of stuff in them.  Much of this stuff will add up, so don’t just guess at it.  Plus, you never know when you might find that widget that you thought was lost forever.

Lump items together when possible.  Clothing items are perfect to lump together.  Just go for a rough count of them.  You won’t get the full value of everything, so don’t waste a ton of time on specifics here.

home inventory

Think about making separate sheets for electronics and jewelry.  Many insurance policies only insure these items up to a certain amount and require an additional policy to add more value in these categories.  This is a good time to call your insurance agent and go over what coverage you have.

Do the foundation items all at once.  Flooring and window treatments are in every room.  I like to do them all at once.  You are less likely to forget these items in a loss, but it is good to have just in case.  The insurance company is required to “make you whole” again, so make sure you don’t get quoted for linoleum when you had ceramic tile.

home inventory

Note any landscaping and outdoor upgrades you have done.  Timbers, pavers, etc. all cost money to replace.