Friday, September 16, 2011

Home Inventory

Someone at work mentioned the other day about having a true home inventory of all the items in their home, for insurance purposes.  I was surprised that several people said that they have full inventories of the items, with a document listing serial numbers as well as a video inventory walk through.  I realized that is something I've been meaning to do as well and DropBox free online storage would be a great place to store that information, since you would want that offsite and available in case you did have a loss and needed to make a claim.

When you sign-up you get 2GB of free storage and if you sign-up through the link above, you and I both get an additional 250MB.  Also, when you sign-up, you just give your name and email and then you will be prompted to download the installer, so be sure to do that on your home PC that you use most often.  Definitely a very cool product. 

A video walk through is pretty easy to do these days.  Being able to record video on your phone you could just do a walk around the house, going from room to room, highlighting the main items.  However, it would also be best to have an inventory listing out serial numbers from TVs, computers, gaming systems, audio systems, refrigerators, etc. since that would allow you to prove the value of items to an insurance company, getting the most for your $.

I did a quick inventory with a video camera one time in the past, but it was on a physical mini-dv tape and I am not sure where that is.  That's where DropBox comes in handy.  You can just take the video inventory with your phone or camera, upload the file to your DropBox account and then it's available from anywhere, anytime you need it.  You can also store your inventory documents on there as well.  Then you are covered in case you need that info.  And the more prepared you are for a potential disaster, hopefully, the less likely you will be to actually need to use the info you gathered!  It always seems to work out that way and the opposite is also true. 

Doing this post has motivated me to get this done and out of the way now.  I just finished the video inventory of the whole house, inside and out, in 10 minutes.  Based on the default settings on my phone, the size of the file is just over 1GB.  Bigger than I expected, but you can probably decrease the quality/size if you need to.  It's currently transferring to my DropBox account in the background and I noticed by default it limits your upload speed.  You can right click on the DropBox icon in your task bar in the lower right and select Preferences and then Bandwidth and then tell it not to limit upload speed.  That doubled my upload speed right away.  It is still going to take about 50 minutes, but that beats 2 hours. 

I also wrote down serial numbers on anything electronic/large over approx $100 in value, such as TVs, Wii, laptops and even a few items in the garage, such as my Sears toolchest, lawnmower, etc.  For lesser items such as an MP3 player, I will just record the model numbers instead.  But when in doubt, include serial numbers whenever possible, as that will provide proof of ownership, above and beyond just including model numbers.  It took me about 30 minutes to write it all down myself and another 30 minutes to put it in a spreadsheet and upload it.  If you had 2 people, one reading off the info and one writing it out on a laptop, you could probably do all that easily in 30 minutes. 

I am glad that is all done and stored online!  I really thought it would take me a lot longer than 90 minutes total, but that wasn't too bad.  I had that on my personal to do list this week and I love checking things off and wiping the slate clean. 

Have you ever taken a full home inventory?  Perhaps you already have a video or documents, but never thought to put them online?  I'm curious to know if anyone else out there has done that already?


Jen said...

Goodness you have too much time on your hands... all good points though. I am in the middle (have been for a while) of gathering a passwords document so need to get that going. We actually just ordered some fire escape ladders for our upstairs bedrooms, that counts as preparing for things, right? Never thought about doing a video walk through. Will put it on the list.

Jen S said...

Good ideas! Will have to do that.

Chris said...

Heh, sometimes I do have time on my hands, but it's more a matter of if I put something on my own to-do list, I want to get it off there as soon as possible. Escape ladders, would have never thought of that, but I guess having a 2 story house that makes good sense also! That definitely counts.

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