How can I create a household inventory for insurance purposes?

Creating a Home Inventory Step-by-Step

Let's begin. The first thing we'll do is write down all the expensive items including jewelry, furs, and collectibles. I don't have any furs or jewelry, but you might. Let's not forget to list toys, old record or comic book collections, CDs, video games and clothing [source: Insurance Information Institute].

There are a couple of ways to create a list. We're going to write down the belongings in each room. Some people might choose to categorize their possessions. Others might decide a combination of the two. Whatever way you decide, make sure you include general appliances such a dishwasher or air conditioner; household items including carpets, rugs, bookcases, chairs, clocks, mirrors; living room furniture; dining room furniture; clothing; the contents of all the bedrooms, including linens and night tables; kitchen tables and chairs; patio furniture; everything in the garage, home office, library and den [source: Insurance Information Institute]. You get the picture.

As we go from room to room and item to item, we will take photographs. Others might decide to videotape. We'll add the photos next to the written descriptions. Are you still writing? Thanks. Digital cameras are great for taking an inventory. If you have a film camera, scan the photos into your computer [source: Insurance Information Institute].

No matter how you're going to record your possessions, open drawers, cabinets and closets. If you're videotaping, narrate what you see as you go from room-to-room, closet-to-closet and drawer-to-drawer [source: Insurance Information Institute].

If you can, keep all your receipts and serial numbers of the big-ticket items. Once you complete the inventory, it is extremely important to safeguard the information. You can purchase a fire resistant box or safe; give the inventory to a relative or close friend; lock the document up in a safe place at work; give the list to an attorney or accountant; or put the inventory in a safe deposit box at your bank. In addition, make sure you update at least four times a year [source: California Department of Insurance].

The inventory of the library is finished. Let's move on to the living room!