The best way to go about documenting your household inventory is to go room to room, writing down all your property in each location, its cost when purchased, year purchased, and current value.  You may not have all that information readily at hand.  That’s alright.  Just be sure to complete the list to the best of your abilities without exaggerating values.  I know this sounds like an incredibly daunting task, but if you take your time and only tackle one room at a time, say one room every Saturday morning until complete, you’re less likely to become overwhelmed, and more likely to be prepared if the worst ever happens.  Don’t forget basements, storage buildings, and the garage. 

Here’s a tip:  Use a video camera.  Take your handheld video recorder, and once again walk room to room filming the contents of your home.  This is in addition to your written list, not in place of it.  For the video you do not need to cover every individual item, just scan the room making sure you get footage inside closet spaces, jewelry boxes, and capture shots of all computer and other electronic equipment.  Narrate as you go, explaining what things are, so you have audio to go with your video.  Here are some inexpensive video recorders that are great for this task: Kodak Zi8, Flip, Sony.

It’s heartbreaking when any of our Northwest Indiana neighbors fall victim to catastrophe.  If you suffer a loss resulting from a fire, for example, that is not covered by your insurance there is still some relief possible through the government.  There’s helpful information in IRS publication 2194 titled “Disaster Losses Kit for Individuals” here which explains potential tax benefits available for people who suffer a loss that is uninsured.  This short article explains the basics as well, and again, I advise you to speak to your professional tax preparer and insurance agent to explore your current situation.