January Home Maintenance To-Do List

By: Danny Lipford
Living room in home.

Compile a home inventory of the important items in your home.

To-Do #5: Compile or Update Home Inventory

Finally, spend one of those cold winter days compiling a home inventory or updating the one you already have.

While nobody likes to think about losses in your home due to theft, fire, or natural disaster, a little preparation can go a long way to making the process of dealing with your insurance company easier should a loss occur.

To prepare a home inventory you’ll need a computer spreadsheet or paper notebook, camera and/or camcorder, and a tape measure. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Outside: Take a video of all sides of the outside of your home, including patios, landscaping, hardscaping, and sheds. Follow this up with photos from each angle. Take close-up photos of specific items, such as rockwork, outdoor kitchens, water features, and lighting to show detail. Record measurements, model and serial numbers, purchase price, and any other information that could help you determine the replacement value of the object.
  2. Rooms: Next, move through your house room by room with a camcorder to video the interior. Slowly pan the room, starting at the upper left area from where you’re standing and moving toward the right, then down and back to the left across the lower half of the room. Repeat the process by taking wide-angle still photos of the room from each corner.
  3. Individual Items: Now focus your camera on individual items of value. TVs, stereos, furnishings and rugs, equipment and tools, anything that would be important to replace in the event of loss. As you take photos, record on your spreadsheet each item’s name and image file number, along with as much information as possible. Record brands, model and serial numbers, measurements, and descriptive features.
  4. Document Ownership: Finally, you’ll need to compile information to prove your ownership of each item. Record purchase dates and sources on your spreadsheet, and attach receipts and any appraisal statements to the inventory. Or, you can scan relevant document and attach them digitally to your inventory spreadsheet.
  5. Secure File: If you compiled the inventory on paper, organize all documents neatly in a three-ring binder. If your inventory is in digital format, organize the digital files and copy them to flash drive, CD, or DVD. Make three copies of your inventory: one to keep at home, one to keep in your safety deposit box, and one to store in a remote location, such as with your insurance agent or a family member.

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2 Comments on “January Home Maintenance To-Do List”

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  • Don Noel Says:
    January 8th, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I heard that all(?) bathroom sinks can have their top part unscrewed. I tried with some force (didn’t want to break anything) but it seemed pretty solid. Can I unscrew it with no problem so I can more easily clean the drain. Thanks



  • Robert Hron Says:
    February 2nd, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Love your show and the source of all kinds of easy home repairs.


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