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Updated October 2021
The loss of household goods and documents can be devastating. The risk of something being damaged and lost during a move comes to mind first for most military families, but it is easy to forget unfortunate burglaries or fire can happen anytime. A dear friend of mine returned from a holiday trip to find their home had been broken into and everything was gone (electronics, cars, personal documents, even her clothes). It has reminded (and encouraged) me to update our home inventory and make some smarter decisions about keeping track of our household goods in the unfortunate event something happens and I need proof and documentation of my personal and household belongings or for our next PCS.
How do you get started?
Here are 3 steps to help you create an inventory of items in your home.
Step 1: Make a plan
It is an enormous task to tackle so choose one room a day or week depending on your available time. You can also assign each family member a room and have it be their responsibility to track the items in their assigned room. Whatever you decide, do not give up!
Step 2: Pick a method
This list can also be used to update your renters and homeowner insurance policy.
Step 3: Do it!
I am not disciplined enough for the manual spreadsheet entry option (the most comprehensive) but instead chose to use a Home Inventory mobile application in addition to making a quick video (filmed on my smartphone) of our big ticket items (TV Computers, cameras) as backup.
By taking time to record and document items in your home, you’ll be better prepared should something need to be replaced due to natural disaster or mishap after a move.
How do you handle inventorying your home? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?
EVERY January 1 (while the house is somewhat neat and the Christmas decorations are up!) we make videos of every room in our house AND the outdoor areas!! every closet, every dresser drawer, every bath, kitchen and garage cabinet. It's the LITTLE stuff that adds up after a calamity. we learned this lesson the hard way after my mother-in-law had a fire and she didn't have an inventory... trying to recreate how many pairs of shoes/boots... how many sweaters and pairs of slacks and dresses??? before we had Cloud back up, we put our recorded videos and photos on memory cards/sticks and sent them to a relative (won't do you any good in the house or your PCSing load!). now it's backed up to the Cloud and we have access wherever we are! and we now SCAN important docs and receipts which are also backed up!!
Navy Wife Navy Mom,
I applaud your thorough efforts! It is a wonderful idea to video everything (and great thinking to do it around Christmas time!). I also think sending a back up to a relative is a wonderful idea- not only in case of a PCS but in your mother in law's case- after a disaster! Thank you so much for sharing!
Great idea for documenting household items and values. Thanks for the comments. Valuable information.
Thanks for commenting Mo45!
I have used the Know your stuff inventory program but was notified today that the program/app is not going to be supported and closed down. I was advised that any thing I have needs to be downloaded by July1. So now a search for a new app commences.
Sciwiz- I was disappointed to hear they are not continuing the support of the Know Your Stuff application. At this time, I don't have a recommendation for a different program- but I am researching! I will be sure to keep you posted! Thank you for taking the time to comment!
The Encircle App is a good alternative if you want to use a mobile app for inventory. Similar to the Know Your Stuff application. You can also access it through a web browser.
Encircle app iTunes Apple Store
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