Dude, Know Your Stuff!

The idea of the house burning down or a break-in where you lose your valuables lurks in all our minds, whether we’re homeowners or renters. It got me to pondering the importance of knowing what you own.

So I went on a search for home inventory software and found a website from the Insurance Information Institute called KnowYourStuff.org. They have an amazing and free (did I say FREE?) software product that allows you to organize your belongings by room or by category. You can load photos and receipts to establish value. If you’ve ever had appraisals of jewelry or artwork, you can scan those in and attach them to the inventory.

The website also has lots of tips on how to inventory your belongings, where to store the inventory and even a list of items to include.

I didn’t think I really owned anything of any substantial value, but when you start adding up toys, clothing, CDs, computer software and many other smaller items, you realize that there is considerable value in everyday mundane things. Like dishes. Lamps. Winter coats. Appliances. You don’t just inventory the big ticket items, you inventory your whole life. Because that’s the kind of inventory you’ll need if the unthinkable happens.

This software is incredibly easy to use and even fun to start setting up. I sat down with my laptop and just started in one corner of the living room. I entered everything I saw – okay, not my husband – everything from the waste basket to the fireplace screen. Later I’ll start entering values for stuff because I have no idea what some of it is worth.

There’s even a “room” called Donation Room. I created a new room called “Yard Sale”, because I realized just how much stuff I never use.

Maybe I’ll have one someday. This is a good start.

Business people might be interested in their business inventory software at $10/month.

(c) 2011 Susan Pruden

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