Waking up to discover your finished basement is knee-high with water or returning home to find that a thunderstorm “installed” a new window in your living room is every homeowner’s fear. But we purchase home insurance, and those of us in towns with less than reliable water infrastructures add “sewer backup insurance”, and we carry on hoping that’s enough.
Still, even with good coverage, the disruption and stress that home damage brings is significant. This is especially true for homeowners who have had to put their home back together after a natural disaster – when the damage and loss of personal possessions can be devastating.
Jack Buoscio, owner of a State Farm agency in Palos Heights, IL urges his clients to take the time to inventory their possessions proactively. “Making a list of your possessions, and their worth before you have to contend with cleanup, gives you an extra piece of mind. And honestly, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task if you tackle it efficiently.”
1. Find out exactly what you need to inventory.
A quick call to your insurance agent before you start taking stock of your home can save you quite a bit of work. He or she can tell you what kind of items you should be documenting and which ones are worth taking time to photograph and obtain serial numbers for.
2. Channel your inner Marie Kondo.
The KonMari Method of organization encourages people to take stock of their possessions, letting go of the items that don’t bring purpose or personal joy. The book, The Magic of Tidying Up and Netflix show, Tidying up with Marie Kondo has homeowners around the world upending drawers and emptying closets.
Merging this popular, personal organization method with your initiative to take a thorough home inventory is a great way to gain both serenity and security.
3. Automate the process.
Most insurance agencies have downloadable checklists or apps that can save you quite a bit of time. In Laura Daily’s Washington Post article, “Don’t wait for a disaster to take inventory of your belongings” she asks certified organizer Susan Kousek which independent home inventory apps she recommends as well. Kousek advises clients to look for apps that “allow you to list each item and attach a photo and supporting documentation such as receipts”. Her top picks include; HomeZada, Sortly, Memento Database and Nest Egg.
4. Make your own documentary.
Ideally, you’re working towards an inventoried list that includes pictures, receipts and serial codes. But a great “in time meantime” or “please, do I look like have that kind of time?” solution is to create a video inventory.
Daily suggests that you, “Stand in the center of a room and narrate as you record. Film the entire space, including every wall, the ceiling and floor. Describe every item and feature, such as hardwood flooring or that pricey light fixture, to the best of your ability. Some detail is better than nothing.”
Your home inventory should be an ongoing task on your todo list. When you upgrade appliances, or purchase new home furnishings it’s important to add those to your list. Keeping that list safe is key as well. Home inventory apps have the advantage of putting your hard work into the cloud, but if you are opting to use a personal spreadsheet be sure to give a relative or friend a flash drive copy.