The Huge Advantages of Keeping a Home Inventory

Jon Fesmire |

Just hearing the phrase “keeping a home inventory” can feel overwhelming. We get it! However, just like cleaning and decluttering, when it’s done, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and relief.

Why Keep a Home Inventory?

Here are some excellent reasons for keeping track of what you own.

  1. You’ll end up decluttering your house or apartment in the process. As you go through your home, you’ll notice things that you don’t need anymore, which you can store, sell, donate, recycle, or throw out.

  2. It will help you follow the adage “a place for everything and everything in its place.” You’ll be able to find everything more easily.

  3. It will save you money by helping you avoid purchasing duplicate items.

  4. It makes filing a renter’s or homeowner’s insurance claim easier and more accurate.

Starting a Home Inventory

As with many projects, the first step to taking an inventory of your home is the toughest. If you’re just moving into a new place, congratulations! You’ll have it easier than most. You’ll just need to incorporate it into your unpacking process. If you’re already established in your residence, that’s all right. It’s still completely doable. We’ll explain how to do it in your current place. You can adapt these tips if you’ve just moved in somewhere.

You’re going to need a blank, a pencil or pen, and a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets.

One Room at a Time

Inventory one room at a time. Start with a section, like the first overhead cupboard in the kitchen, your top desk drawer, or your bedroom closet.

At the top of the page, write down the room, and record the following information about each item.

  1. Name of item

  2. Location in room

  3. Make and model

  4. Serial number

  5. General category (clothing, electronics, etc.)

  6. Price

  7. Store where you purchased it

For sets of items, create one entry, but write the number in the set. For example, if you have six matching salad forks or eight black gel-pens. If an item doesn’t have a model or serial number, you can leave that blank.

You don’t have to record disposable items you’re going to use or get rid of soon. For example, you don’t need to inventory the food in your refrigerator or pantry.

Digitize Your List

Once you have the inventory filling the notebook, it’s time to put it into a spreadsheet. This will be similar to the notebook entries, but easier to search, save, and read.

Spreadsheet programs allow for separate “books,” or pages, which can contain thousands of entries. Create a new “book” in your file, one for each room.

The first seven columns will have headings that correspond to the information you collected, specifically the following.

  1. Name

  2. Location

  3. Make & Model

  4. Serial #

  5. Type

  6. Price

  7. Store

In each row, type in the appropriate information for one item. If you’re unfamiliar with how to use spreadsheets, there are numerous tutorials online that will get you up to speed.

Going Forward

Once you’ve filled in the spreadsheet, save it to your favorite cloud service. That may be Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or another. That way, you can access it from all your devices and you can be certain the file won’t get deleted.

With this done, you can search for any item that you can’t find and know at least where it belongs. Also, when you purchase new items, you can easily add them.

In case of theft or a disaster, you’ll be able to access the file and report to your insurance carrier what was lost, including how much it cost.

With this done, you can relax, knowing you’ve taken a big step toward protecting your belongings.