How To Create A Home Estate Inventory List

Instructions for creating a home estate inventory list that will protect you from the losses of natural disasters, fire, and death.

The logic of having a home estate inventory list is clear. You need to protect your personal belongings in case of disaster or uncertain fate like death or illness. Most people see a list as a piece of paper naming everything like one: dining room table, four chairs, large rug, sofa, etc. But a quality inventory roster needs more attention than thirty minutes on a boring afternoon.

If you are young and new at housekeeping or have recently moved, your list is easier to prepare. If you have lived in one residence for ten or more years, you might be surprised at what you have forgotten you own. Whether you are a new resident or long-term inhabitant, you need a system to develop a thorough and dependable list.

First of all, determine what information you should document. Consider these facts as a minimum:

Name of Item

Date Purchased or Received (include receipts if possible)

Place Purchased

Value When Received

Value Today

Make and Model

Serial Number




Initially, you may think that only big-ticket items go on the list. After all, who wants to list the six pillowcases in the closet, the fish bowl, the stapler on your desk or the trashcan in your bedroom? The fact is, if you have to replace it upon its disappearance or destruction, you need it on the list.

Now you realize that a home inventory list means more than names of furniture and electronics. This document records everything you own at a particular address. And all the little five dollar items you purchased over the years might add up to a few thousand dollars to you when they vanish.

Now you need a method to record this information. Pen and paper are fine. A computer spreadsheet is great, too. Software now exists for tabulating your possessions as well, and you might take the time to check it out since the programs are designed to remind you of hidden items you could forget.

Once you determine the method, you establish a routine for recording the information. Here is a suggestion:

Pick one room

List all the major items along with their descriptions

List all the smaller items and descriptions

List all items on the walls

List all the items on the floor

List all the items in closets, drawers and cabinets

Take photos, digital pictures or videotape of the room from different angles

Take photos, digital pictures or videotape of open closets, drawers, and cabinets

Mark the pictures clearly and refer to items or pages on the list

Speak on the videotape referencing the different items

Spend time organizing this information into its final form for storage. Place the information off-site from your residence. A safety-deposit box is a good choice with a copy to a relative, a close friend, an attorney or even your insurance agent. Include copies of the list, receipts, photographs and videotape to all parties. Make sure at least one place is not in close proximity to your home because a disaster might affect whole neighborhoods, even entire towns.

And don't forget these!




Under the beds

Behind large furniture

Pets (note pedigrees and veterinarian)

Once you accomplish this task, remember to revisit the list at least once a year. Add new major purchases immediately. Remove items destroyed, lost, sold or given away. All it takes is one event to make you glad you took the time to preserve your assets or wish you had.

© High Speed Ventures 2011