Do you ever look around your house and think “Man, I’ve got a lot of stuff”? From the obvious things like televisions, computers and appliances to the things tucked away in cupboards and closets like pots and pans and personal paperwork, chances are good you own hundreds, if not thousands of things.
While we’ve been advised over and over to back up our important personal data on our computers and tablets so we don’t lose dozens of baby pictures or our entire collection of music on iTunes, PC Mag notes it’s also extremely important to create an inventory of our possessions. If the worst happens and your home catches fire, a burglar breaks in or there’s a natural disaster, having a complete list of your belongings will make the entire insurance process go a lot smoother. For example, the Quote Wizard website features a helpful article about actual cash value versus replacement cost for your things; in order to effectively determine this, you have to have a handle on what you own in the first place. In addition, some people like to have a running inventory of their stuff just to know what they have and where they can find it.
The following tips can help people started on the road to cataloguing their possessions:
Think about getting help from an app
In order to catalog your items, you’ll need to decide the best way to do it. Although you might imagine yourself wandering through your home or apartment equipped with a pen and notepad writing down things like “big screen TV” and “blue couch from Ikea,” this system will probably be much more time-consuming and tedious than you realize. Fortunately, there are a variety of handy apps that can help you keep track of your many possessions.
For example, MyStuff 2, will help to keep tabs of your electronics, appliances, jewelry and more, and it features a handy barcode scanning tool. The app is available for iOS and has no limits on the number of items you can enter. Another great app is called Visual Inventory, which allows you to take photos of your many items and then tag them appropriately. This app is available for free for iOS users, and a similar one called Visual Home Inventory is free for Android.
Capture your possessions on film
As Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association notes, another effective way to document all of your belongings is by taking pictures or videos. You can either walk from room to room videotaping your items and narrating what they are, including important registration codes and other data, or you can take and then print out numerous photos of your things, and write down what they are and other important data on the back of each snapshot.
Take it slowly, and room by room
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the inventory process, remind yourself that it is not a task that needs to be finished in a day or even a week. Set aside some time each day for cataloging your stuff, and take it room by room or even closet by closet. Once you have finished your list, keep in mind that it will need to be updated as you get new things or discard other stuff, so make sure you can access it as needed.