older adult going through closet

If you’ve been living in your home for a while, the thought of making an inventory of all the contents may be overwhelming. This task may be low on your priority list, but an up-to-date Household Inventory is invaluable.  

Information you gather can help decide the type of home and moving insurance to purchase and track your possessions during your move. This list can also help you and your insurance company expedite a claim in the event of damage or loss by fire, flood or other catastrophe.

  • Start by working from room-to-room and listing all large items. Check cupboards, closets, shelves and other display and storage spaces. Note and describe everything in the house including things in the attic, basement and garage.
  • Include serial numbers of appliances and electronic equipment and all information you can recall about the purchase price and date. Clothing and costume jewellery can be categorized and counted (5 suits, 12 dress shirts, 8 pairs of earrings, etc.) while valuable items should be listed separately. Photos provide supporting information.
  • Attach receipts, appraisals or purchase contracts to your Inventory pages. Scan these items and file the images with the rest of the documents.
  • Record information electronically to save time and provide accurate images. Transcribe audio information for a permanent record of your list.
  • Create a "Household Inventory" chart for every room by listing each Item, Model/Serial #, Purchase Cost, Purchase Date and Replacement cost. If you are taking photos, attach the photos to your Inventory. Video images, with a voice-over, may provide sufficient proof of ownership and cut your inventory time in half.
  • Find a safe place for your inventory list. The document, videotape or electronic file must be safely stored off the premises. Consider giving it to a trusted friend or relative or putting it in your safety deposit box.
  • Update your Inventory List regularly by adding new purchases and deleting items that have been replaced or discarded.

Tell your family where you store your Household Inventory. Better to be safe, than sorry!

Karen Shinn

Karen Shinn

Downsizing Diva Co-Founder. Toronto East & North York

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