The devastating tornadoes in the Midwest this spring and the risk of hurricanes in the months ahead are a clear reminder of the importance of having an up-to-date inventory of your household possessions. Though homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will pay to replace your belongings, the impetus is on you to provide a complete list of everything you’ve lost.
In my work as a professional organizer, I find that most people don’t have a household inventory. It’s really one of those things that you don’t need until…well, you need it. If you lose your home or possessions in a natural disaster, fire or burglary, it can be hard to reconstruct a complete inventory of everything you own, particularly when you’re dealing with the stress and grief that accompany the loss. And most people have far more than they realize, so tend to underestimate their losses when reporting to their insurer.
People who have a household inventory recover about 25 percent more than those who do not. Their claims are processed more quickly and they receive thousands of dollars more in benefits. A household inventory makes working with your insurance company, police department and attorneys much more simple – and simple is what you need when you’re trying to reconstruct your life!
Creating household inventory can also help to ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage. Without knowing the value of your possessions, it can be difficult to estimate the amount of coverage you actually need.
You can create a household inventory in a number of ways. A notebook that includes photos of all of our belongings along with a description and dollar value of each is one option. Once you’ve photographed and logged everything, be sure to store a copy of your inventory outside of your home; perhaps in a bank safe deposit box.
There are also several apps that make capturing, organizing and updating your household inventory even easier. Here are just a few:
MyStuff2Pro – this iOS app is priced at $8.99 and with it you can keep track of not only furniture and electronics, but music and movie collections, jewelry, books and more.
Visual Inventory for iOS and Android lets you snap a photo of an entire room and then tag your items.
Remote back-up, such as cloud storage, is important for app-based inventories should your mobile device be lost or damaged.
Guest author Terri Stephens is the founder and Chief Professional Organizer of Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC. Since 2003, she’s helped busy homeowners with their clutter and organizing needs in metro Atlanta and surrounding areas. Terri is also a Senior Move Manager and helps older adults and their families with later-life moves.