The reality of life is we never know what is going to happen tomorrow. Situations will arise that are out of our control, but with some organizing tips and a plan in place, we can be prepared. When it comes to disasters, dealing with insurance companies in the aftermath can be a hassle. Having a home inventory already completed with save you time and worry, as those first few days can be very overwhelming and anxiety filled.
Here are some tips from this Professional Organizer in NYC on creating a home inventory.
First, decide on a process and collect supplies. You can collect the information in a number of ways. You can use a notebook or binder to categorize your items, making sure you photograph items and add a description and dollar value to each one. You could even use the video camera on your cell phone to document your walk through your home, and describe your items verbally rather than writing them down. You could also use any number of apps that help make capturing, organizing, and updating your household inventory even easier. TIP: Check with your home insurance company and find out what information they may require in an inventory list and if they have any specific reimbursement requirements. Include those now in your list so you won’t be frantically searching later!
Next, break your home into zones. You can do this by room, or even take a larger room and break it into smaller zones. Then go through each zone and document everything with photos and descriptions. Make sure you open boxes, drawers, and closets so that important items are not excluded. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this step – make sure you focus on the big ticket items and large groups of items, rather than taking inventory of every item separately. TIP: Also include any receipts or documentation regarding those big ticket items. Don’t worry if you no longer have the receipts, but it’s a good idea to save them in the future when you make any other big purchases. Having receipts and documentation is helpful to prove that you did in fact own an item and to verify its value.
Finally, create multiple copies of your home inventory. You can make copies of your notes or create a CD or DVD of your video. Scan everything, or at least make photo copies. Make sure that you store your home inventory in a physical or virtual location that will be easy to access when you need it. Don’t forget to periodically update your inventory as you bring new items into your home. TIP: Store at least one copy of your home inventory outside of your home, such as in the cloud or in a safe deposit box. This is important because if your home is a total loss, you’ll want to be able to still access your inventory.
Discussing disaster preparedness is not always a comfortable topic, but it is an important one. If you lose your home or belongings in a natural disaster, fire, or burglary, it can be hard to reconstruct a list of everything you owned, especially considering the stress and emotions you’ll be feeling. In situations like that, people tend to underestimate their losses as it’s hard to think clearly. This Professional Organizer in NYC urges you to create a home inventory today so you are prepared in the event a disaster occurs. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it!