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Old 06-22-2017, 05:25 AM   #1
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Home Inventory Programs...

I was wondering what programs you use for recording and categorizing the serial numbers and markings on the items you have. Have you found any good free shareware programs that are good? I am looking for a program that will store an inventory of the important items we have in the house and workshop.
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Old 06-22-2017, 07:39 AM   #2
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Why not just enter them in a spreadsheet, or even word processor (I think the cells of a spreadsheet are best though)? You can even insert pics and/or links to pics.

What would you gain with software?

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Old 06-22-2017, 07:41 AM   #3
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About 25 years ago, my MIL gave us a binder with spaces to put a photo and a brief description of the item. Very Old School. We didn't have much in the way of expensive possessions at the time, so it was easy to get started.

Over the years, as we got new "stuff" the first thing we did was jot down the serial/model number and take a picture. Never felt the need to change this method (and went thru a few computer crashes, so that might have posed a transfer problem).

Thank the Good Lord we never had to make a Claim for anything.
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Old 06-22-2017, 07:46 AM   #4
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I confess that I don't have an inventory of items I own. Back when digital cameras just came out (remember the Sony Mavicas that used floppy disks?), I used a free software program and my goal was to keep pictures of stuff but this never took off for me. The "chore" seemed much too tedious for me.

Probably should work on this as a goal again, but as for now, my inventory consists of having an executor deal with my stuff when I pass on .
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:13 AM   #5
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Best method I've found:

Walk through your home shooting video.
Keep up a running commentary to describe everything you're filming. Go through the place methodically, room by room.
Open every drawer, rummage through its contents. Closets, too.
Try to get closeups of the more valuable items. Read the serial numbers on items while you're shooting them.

It actually doesn't take as long to do this as you might think, and you can store the video and backup on a thumb drive or two, kept with your other valuable documents.
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:17 AM   #6
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About 25 years ago, my MIL gave us a binder with spaces to put a photo and a brief description of the item. Very Old School. We didn't have much in the way of expensive possessions at the time, so it was easy to get started.

Over the years, as we got new "stuff" the first thing we did was jot down the serial/model number and take a picture. Never felt the need to change this method (and went thru a few computer crashes, so that might have posed a transfer problem).

Thank the Good Lord we never had to make a Claim for anything.
Where do you keep the binder? What if that burns up in a fire, or if a thief happens to grab that too?

I back up my laptop so records kept on a computer won't get lost. You can put the file somewhere in the cloud or just email it to yourself so if your backup drive is damaged/stolen you still have the info.
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:44 AM   #7
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The Binder fits in our Fire Proof Strong Box. The Thief can't carry the Strong Box cause he's got his eye on the Big TV.

The Cloud is probably the last place I'd put my records.
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:20 AM   #8
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The Binder fits in our Fire Proof Strong Box. The Thief can't carry the Strong Box cause he's got his eye on the Big TV.

The Cloud is probably the last place I'd put my records.
Sounds like a solid method to me.

This thread reminds me that I need to update my inventory.
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:34 AM   #9
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Why not just enter them in a spreadsheet, or even word processor (I think the cells of a spreadsheet are best though)? You can even insert pics and/or links to pics.

What would you gain with software?

-ERD50
I just have a text file right now. I'm going to create a file and add pics. Why do you think a spreadsheet is better than a word doc? Seems to me you can be a little more free form with a doc and use tables if you need the structure, but I wanted to see what I might be missing before I get started.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:11 AM   #10
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I just have a text file right now. I'm going to create a file and add pics. Why do you think a spreadsheet is better than a word doc? Seems to me you can be a little more free form with a doc and use tables if you need the structure, but I wanted to see what I might be missing before I get started.
No big difference, I just find the 'cells' in a SS provide some order for me, and if I keep the item info in a row, I can sort it. But whatever works for you. I'm lousy with tables in a word processing doc, I always screw 'em up! I guess I should learn.

I also agree that a video is a good way to go I did that years ago, should do it again. Easy to put in the cloud and on a thumb drive in a Safe Deposit Box these days.

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Old 06-22-2017, 10:16 AM   #11
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OK, mostly personal pref then.


The video sounds good, but harder to update. If I've got things listed in a file, I can add/delete easily. With video, you're either dealing with multiple files, or reshooting the whole thing. But again, personal pref.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:21 AM   #12
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Question for folks that keep up a home inventory ....

Where do you draw the line as to how much to record?

Only more valuable items? Or do you go in great detail as to what you own?
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:47 AM   #13
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Question for folks that keep up a home inventory ....

Where do you draw the line as to how much to record?

Only more valuable items? Or do you go in great detail as to what you own?
Struggling with that myself. I think I'm pretty much going to list things, but with very little detail on things under $100 or $200 (not sure of the line yet). I want a reminder of what I had in case my home is devastated by fire and I have to come up with everything, but I'm just putting "double set of plates/bowls/flatware", and "blender, toaster, crockpot" with little or no detail on maker, value, etc. For things like fine china and silverware that has more value, and might be more of a target for thieves, I'll be much more specific.

I'm also going to rely on pictures too. I have an abundance of jackets and running shoes, so I'm going to take a picture of those type of things so I can say, "Yeah, I really did have 3 or 4 dozen pair of running shoes, see?"

I'll record serial numbers and specific make/model of stuff that might get stolen for tracking, like TVs and laptops. I've recorded the purchase date and price of my nicer furniture to give an idea of the quality.

I'm starting to see more value in the video idea. I might pan all my rooms as an extra documentation step. That could be a good reminder of smaller stuff without having to document them all.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:50 AM   #14
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OK, mostly personal pref then.


The video sounds good, but harder to update. If I've got things listed in a file, I can add/delete easily. With video, you're either dealing with multiple files, or reshooting the whole thing. But again, personal pref.
True, but each room can be a separate video. You can even divide a room into quarters or some other subdivision. That makes updates much easier.
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Old 06-22-2017, 11:19 AM   #15
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True, but each room can be a separate video. You can even divide a room into quarters or some other subdivision. That makes updates much easier.
Yeah, I'm on the verge of doing a 180 on this. Shoot a separate video for each room, and add a file with some notes on the high ticket items, and maybe put model/serial # stuff there too.

Now I've got to clean the house first. Or at least one room at a time while I shoot video. Probably not a wasted effort.

Heck, probably half my stuff can be documented from my Amazon order history!

Thanks for the suggestion. I can't see it taking too long to shoot a video for the room, so if I get new furniture or a new TV or something, I can just shoot a new video for that room or add an extra video file, or update my notes file.
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Old 06-22-2017, 11:31 AM   #16
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Struggling with that myself. I think I'm pretty much going to list things, but with very little detail on things under $100 or $200 (not sure of the line yet). I want a reminder of what I had in case my home is devastated by fire and I have to come up with everything, but I'm just putting "double set of plates/bowls/flatware", and "blender, toaster, crockpot" with little or no detail on maker, value, etc. For things like fine china and silverware that has more value, and might be more of a target for thieves, I'll be much more specific.

I'm also going to rely on pictures too. I have an abundance of jackets and running shoes, so I'm going to take a picture of those type of things so I can say, "Yeah, I really did have 3 or 4 dozen pair of running shoes, see?"

I'll record serial numbers and specific make/model of stuff that might get stolen for tracking, like TVs and laptops. I've recorded the purchase date and price of my nicer furniture to give an idea of the quality.

I'm starting to see more value in the video idea. I might pan all my rooms as an extra documentation step. That could be a good reminder of smaller stuff without having to document them all.
I see the purpose of keeping an inventory. But every year recording item donations for taxes is tedious enough and this sounds similar. I can think of many other things I'd rather do, so I procrastinate .
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:00 PM   #17
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Thanks for the suggestion. I can't see it taking too long to shoot a video for the room, so if I get new furniture or a new TV or something, I can just shoot a new video for that room or add an extra video file, or update my notes file.
You're very welcome. Certainly not my original idea, but I've always thought it made the most sense. If, for example, your home burned down (while you were away, of course), most people would have no idea what they lost. So making an insurance claim could be problematic for them, and they might have to settle for less than they really should get.

I use this system and update it by making a new video of a room whenever I think of it -- typically every 2-3 years.

Another handy tool is to occasionally download a copy of your Amazon order history. That will have lots of good information, such as price paid, date purchases, etc.
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:03 PM   #18
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My insurance company told me to video my home in case of a fire. I dont have the slightest idea why i would want a serial number to my fridge or stove, but they have them. When i call for warranty service they make me get out the magnifying glass and give it to them. My son did a video 5 years ago. I have zero idea where it is.
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:11 PM   #19
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Although I haven't created a home inventory (oh the humanity) I have loaded several thousand records (cylinder and disc) into a spreadsheet I specifically created for that purpose. Very easy now to search and sort.

So I also endorse the spreadsheet approach.

I might suggest to the OP to browse around the net and maybe find a free home inventory template or two that might do the trick. You could always modify it for your own specific needs.

_B
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Old 06-22-2017, 01:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Why not just enter them in a spreadsheet, or even word processor (I think the cells of a spreadsheet are best though)? You can even insert pics and/or links to pics.

What would you gain with software?

-ERD50
ERD...I was just wondering if there was some program out there that was easy to use and maybe you guys knew of one. Thought I would ask first.

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Although I haven't created a home inventory (oh the humanity) I have loaded several thousand records (cylinder and disc) into a spreadsheet I specifically created for that purpose. Very easy now to search and sort.

So I also endorse the spreadsheet approach.

I might suggest to the OP to browse around the net and maybe find a free home inventory template or two that might do the trick. You could always modify it for your own specific needs.

_B
Beldar...The spreadsheet approach that you guys mention may be the ticket. But, I will search around, and see if there is something easy. It looks like most are doing spreadsheets and videos.
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