Organizing Household Property Records

Taking careful inventory of your valuable possessions will give you peace of mind-and save you a lot of trouble in the event of a catastrophe or life change.

By FamilyTime


Most people are apt to maintain personal and financial records more accurately than property records. This is because few of us believe anything catastrophic will happen to our home and possessions.

This is dangerous thinking and could prove costly in the event of fire, flood, burglary, divorce or death.

The Benefits of Maintaining Property Records

With well maintained records, you can:

  • Prove ownership.
  • Furnish documentation if original records are lost.
  • Easily document claims for insurance. Check with your insurance company to see what information you need to document in case of catastrophe.
  • Make quick decisions in times of emergency.
  • Have information available in case of divorce or death.
  • Reduce stress levels in the event of loss, damage, or destruction.

Taking Inventory
Working room by room, record as much information as you can about every possession of any value. Don't forget basements, attics and garages. Use a camera or video camera and a large notebook for keeping track.

You can do this alone, with a friend or family member, or hire someone to do it.

  • Write down a brief description of each piece, including the manufacturer's name, model number, serial number, and the name of the store where you purchased it.
  • Record the purchase date and warranty for every item. Make note of the purchase date, price, and warranty expiration date.
  • Do this with jewelry as well as other valuable possessions, such as furniture, appliances, and electronic equipment.
  • Jewelry with any value should also be appraised by a reputable jeweler or appraisers who will give you a certificate of authenticity.
  • Photograph or video tape everything.

Safe Keeping
Keep the information from the inventory in a safe place, including copies of all computer records, video tapes, and photographs. The best choice is a locked fire-and-water proof safe or a safe deposit box.

Maintaining Your Records
After taking the initial inventory, keep a folder for receipts of any additional large or valuable purchases. Once or twice a year, review the existing information and update it. Do not forget to delete the records of any items you have discarded or sold.

A relatively small amount of exertion can lead to a great deal of peace of mind! And might even help you regain your life should you experience a calamity.