Creating an inventory of your possessions and keeping it up-to-date has a range of benefits that can help make your life easier in a myriad of situations. There are various ways to go about making a list of the personal possessions you have in your home, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you do it.
If you’ve already done a home inventory and think that’s all there is to it, think about when that was. If you can’t remember the last time you did one, it’s a good sign that it’s out-of-date and no longer relevant to your current situation, which is almost equal to not having one at all.
At NEATSPACES, we’ve helped our clients prepare home inventories for many reasons. We’ve seen both the short and long-term advantages that creating and updating a home inventory has brought to their lives. Here, we’ll explore some of the reasons why you should make a home inventory.
What is a Home Inventory?
A home inventory is just as it sounds: a complete inventory of all of the belongings in your home. This includes bigger and more expensive items like electronics, furniture, jewelry, artwork, cars, boats and bicycles, but also smaller things, like clothing, books, collections, and dishware. Home inventories can be more or less detailed, but common information on a home inventory includes:
- Photos or videos
- Date of purchase
- Appraisal or estimate of financial value
- Serial or model numbers
Some items have particular information that should be included in the inventory. For example:
- China, crystal and silver – brand, pattern and number of place settings
- Carpets – dimensions and a picture of the label on the back indicating the origin
- Art – close up photo of the artist’s name, a photo of the frame if it’s significant, and the dimensions
- Appliances – brand name
You can categorize the list by room, item type, collection, or any way that is easiest for you. Be sure to update your home inventory regularly.
You might think that you know what’s in your home. But as we accumulate belongings over time, it’s easy to overlook or underestimate our belongings. Creating a home inventory can help to remind you of what you have and decide what you want to do with those belongings.
Knowing what possessions you have allows you to have the right homeowners insurance and ensure you have proper coverage. If you don’t know what possessions you have, it can be difficult or impossible to make sure you are adequately insured.
Having a home inventory also means it will be much easier if you do need to file a claim with your insurance company. It can be difficult on the best of days to recall the contents of any specific area of your house. But if you experience a break-in or disaster, it can be ten times more challenging to list out your possessions while going through such a stressful event. A home inventory can be a massive relief at times like this and help make sure claims are processed faster and with less hassle.
It can also be helpful to include photos of architectural features of your home in case you need to make a claim. Providing photos demonstrates the level of finishing in your home.
A home inventory is an incredibly valuable tool when planning your estate. The inventory will provide the executor of your will a full and comprehensive idea of all of your possessions. This helps to ensure nothing is forgotten or overlooked, which isn’t uncommon if your executor is a loved one who is also working through their grief.
An inventory list is also a tool in helping to determine who gets what, which helps avoid conflicts that can pop up at such an emotional time. You can create a copy of the home inventory and use it to clearly show your wishes if you want certain jewelry, artwork or other heirlooms to go to a specific beneficiary.
It might seem counterintuitive to create an inventory of everything you have in your home just to end up getting rid of some of those things, but a home inventory is an enormous help when decluttering and organizing your personal belongings.
If you don’t already have a home inventory, declutter as you create one. As you move through your home creating the inventory, it’s a convenient time to remove the possessions you no longer need or want. It’s an easy way to get two organization tasks done in one fell swoop.
A home inventory is also a great way to avoid clutter from accumulating over time. Having a list of everything in your home allows you to quickly reference it to review items you don’t use anymore and remind you of things you already have before purchasing duplicates.
The goal here is not to inventory every single individual item – every utensil, dish, game, puzzle, book, etc. – as that’s not easy to achieve or keep up with over time. Try to categorize these types of items as one line item.
The work of creating a home inventory will pay off in spades if you’re managing a future move. The inventory can be a handy asset when making a packing list, estimating the number of boxes and moving supplies you need, the size of moving truck you should get, and how many movers you should hire. It’s also helpful to have a home inventory should any of your belongings go missing or break.
Moving is proven to be one of the most stressful events a person goes through in life, so having a list of your belongings already prepared can be a huge load off.
Creating a home inventory is helpful for any move, particularly when it comes to downsizing. Unlike moving to a bigger home or one of a similar size, downsizing involves significant decluttering. A home inventory is a powerful resource and can help determine what areas of your home hold excess belongings. This is also incredibly helpful if you have a vast collection of items that you plan to donate or sell. Or, if you are downsizing and cannot take all your belongings with you, if you have a home inventory that itemizes who is to receive what in your estate, it can also be used when downsizing.
Creating a home inventory can be time-consuming and overwhelming, but it brings many benefits and can save so much time, energy and effort down the road. If you need help with the process for any reason, we can help. Our team of expert organizers brings expertise, professionalism and compassion to any job. We can help with organizing, decluttering and downsizing in Toronto and the GTA to help minimize your stress and make any transition more manageable.