Inventory Updated in Time to Move   Leave a comment

We have finally finished our annual home inventory update, just in time to move to a new house. I am a proponent of detailed home inventories as an aid to save money, a tool for self-auditing, and hopefully also as an aid while moving our household. My inventory started as just a list of major electronics and furniture so that I had a record of serial numbers and values for large items for insurance purposes. At some point, though, I realized that all of the small items around the house add up and my insurance coverage could be seriously low. So we made a project of expanding the inventory to include pretty much everything non-consumable with a value of at least $20. (Yes, I’m a bit OCD.) It was shocking to realize how many thousands of dollars worth of books we own. It was also shocking to realize that my rather streamlined wardrobe is also worth several thousand dollars (even t-shirts and underwear add up, but once you include nice clothes it adds up fast).

I consider the home inventory to be an aid to save money and a self-audit tool because it is very in-your-face about how much stuff you have. I was absolutely shocked by both the number of items and the total value when we expanded the inventory. It really brought home the fact that we already have too much stuff, and made me not want to buy more until we got rid of something. When casually surveying a room that is organized, with the stuff tucked away in storage, you will invariably underestimate how much stuff is in the room, but when each item is a line on a spreadsheet it can’t hide. The inventory also helps when developing a wish list for future purchases because it eliminates the possibility of duplicate purchases (unless it’s on purpose or a replacement). In a few cases, things that were on the wish list were removed after doing the detailed inventory because I realized that I had similar stuff that I had forgotten about (so why buy something else that I will forget about?) For my clothing inventory I also have a column where I note if something is wearing out (but still acceptable) or if I’m just getting tired of it, so that I can develop a detailed clothing wish list. Unfortunately I have not done a good job of using the inventory for color balancing. I keep forgetting how many purple shirts I have, and then accidentally buy more, for example.

Also, I would consider having the right amount of insurance coverage to fit in the saving money category. If the coverage amount on your renters/homeowners insurance is significantly lower than the value of your stuff, won’t you end up with insufficient reimbursement funds to replace everything in the event of an emergency? Plus, when choosing a deductible I found it helpful to have an idea of the value of the things that I own that is based on fact, not guesswork.

Now I’m hoping that this detailed inventory will be of use as we move into a new house and have to figure out where to put everything. We’re planning on doing the moving ourselves, but if a moving company was doing it I would definitely use the inventory to make sure nothing gets stolen.


Posted June 5, 2010 by mayakey in frugal living, home

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