Everything I Own – Part 1

Photo: bluelavamedia.com

Photo: bluelavamedia.com

I bet you saw this coming, didn’t you? Since I’ve previously blogged about all the books I own, all the clothes I own, all the food I purchased in a year, and so on…it stands to reason that I’d do a home inventory at some point. Although I’ve pared back on possessions in the past 10 years, I’ve also married a person with quite a bit of stuff! And we’ve had a child move away from home. With all these life changes, it’s a good time to update my inventory.

It’s going to take a while to complete this, so I thought I’d tell you about my process.

In 2002, I moved back to Canada after living in the US for 8 years. For an international move, you have to list everything you’re shipping, and submit it to Border Control. In fine exacting style, I think my list was one of the most detailed household lists that Canada Border Services had seen; they were very impressed, LOL!

I moved across town in 2004 and took the opportunity to update my list while I was packing.

Oh, the joys of moving...

Oh, the joys of moving…

Then, Rom moved here from the UK in 2009 and he also had to supply a list of everything he was shipping! He produced a suitably detailed spreadsheet. (You see, we were made for each other).

More recently, our kid, Link, moved out with a considerable amount of belongings.

So my current task is to combine my list and Rom’s, and to update them. Far easier than starting from scratch! My lists are Word documents and Rom’s is in Excel. But to make the whole process more fun (!) I am going to use an iPad app and enter photos and receipts as I go along. I keep a file folder of receipts and warranties for stuff we buy that has any significant value, so it won’t be that hard – just time-consuming.

FYI, you can export the data from the iPad apps into Excel 🙂

I have an ulterior motive. Since I’ve been trying to pare down my possessions somewhat, I am hoping that when I see them all in print, the list will look so ridiculously overwrought that it will inspire me to pare down further. Let’s call it the “shaming myself into minimalism” plan!

If anyone has advice (other than to get rid of all my useless baggage!), let me know – especially if you have ever dealt with an insurance claim. Or, you can wish me luck!

Postscript: The home inventory was eventually completed and the results are here.

28 comments

  1. Fiona

    Ah! Wishing you MUCH luck! I think a house inventory must be the Holy Grail of lists!

  2. you know I don’t remember having to list everything when we moved to Canada from Britain, I am guessing the shipping company did it for us?

    I would hate to have to list everything in this house, just the thought of it makes my head pound. Well done you being so organized!!

    Gill

  3. I wish you well. I have thought about doing an inventory of my things just to see what it would look like, I have even started a few times, but then I get distracted by other, more interesting, things and leave it. I have a tiny apartment, no storage units so if my home inventory bogs down I can’t image what it would be like to do an entire house. I know you said you plan to merge the lists you currently have, but won’t you still need to go through everything to account for things you no longer have, or new things you have purchased? It seems like a big job, good luck.

  4. I’m curious at the level of detail of your previous and planned lists. For example, set of silverware or silverware type, pattern, # of each type of piece. I have been thinking of doing one for insurance purposes but feel overwhelmed by the thought!

    • Good question! I noted the make and model of all electronics and appliances. For purely functional items like non-matching mugs, I just noted the number of them that I have. I don’t have china and silverware of any value, but as I go along, I will detail any collections I have, such as jewellery.

  5. I want to join you in this, but I don’t have any lists to start me off……still want to do it though……and it would tie in nicely with the nitty gritty de-cluttering I’m doing right now. Eek!!
    Good luck,

    • Thanks! I think your home is much more minimal than mine, and you’ve had a few clear-outs already. But you’ll probably want to wait until after more reno projects are out of the way! I will begin by tackling cluttered areas, cleaning them out, and listing what is left!

  6. I have no good advice to give, but I do wish you loads of luck! This sounds exhausting to me, but also very cleansing and therapeutic. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  7. Mel

    This is a fabulous idea and actually sonething everyone should do!! As you know we’ve had the pleasure(?) of dealing with not one but two insurance claims due to theft and trying to find receipts and manuals is a challenge. I can’t wait to see your final spreadsheet!

  8. Holy Moly! Well, that does it – if I ever move internationally, I’m just selling everything I own and starting over from scratch. Besides, most of the things I own are worth so little that it would probably cost less to replace them than to move them!

    Seriously, I can’t even imagine undertaking such a task. I mean, even the thought of trying to inventory everything on top of my cluttered desk makes my head spin!

    I wish you the best of luck… perhaps you’d like to come do my taxes for me? Sounds like the sort of thing you’d be very good at! 🙂

    • If a person never planned to replace stuff if anything happened to it – you’re right, then it would be a moot point. I like filing taxes – but yours might be complicated because of the self-employment thing 🙂

  9. Ah, love it – and so you! I think I will join you – I did start a while ago, by just listing what I can recall in a room, it’s price when bought, and it’s replacement price. It helps that since I moved out to my own place, I’ve listed every purchase (both ‘stuff’ and ‘stuff & services’ to modify it, so I can have a true cost of my ‘improvements’ when I sell it). Look forward to seeing how you go – even a progress report or two.

    • Thanks; I’m glad you will give it a go! It sounds like you have good records so it won’t be too trying. Now here is a project where age makes a difference – I have lived on my own for several decades and accumulated a lot of stuff, and I will have to look up a lot of replacement values. I will be posting about how it goes!

  10. I think I would start by listing the items that are definitely keepers and hope I didn’t want to keep too much LOL!
    When we bought our beach cottage it was all bare rooms and I loved to escape there because it was so empty of stuff but I always knew my treasured possessions were safely at home! If I had to get rid of them all I am not sure I would feel the same about the empty space.
    I wish you luck but know that you will do it and in your very exacting way.

    • I would feel the same in a “sparse” space. I have moved so many times. Bringing all my “stuff” with me made me feel secure and “at home” in each new place. I was a packrat for a while but I have gradually given it up. It actually helps that my child has zero interest in sentimental objects so I don’t need to keep things for posterity. I think I will make quick progress!

  11. Good luck, it sounds like a great project and I wish I had done something similar when I moved recently. I have too much stuff and am hoping to declutter a lot more before I move again – it took me two weekends to move this time!

  12. I finally gave up listing everything for our home inventory (for insurance purposes) and told hubby to video tape everything in our home!

  13. There’s an app for that? Of course there is, there is an app for everything. I’m intrigued what app are you using?

    Also, any chance you can add an RSS option to your blog? Or am I missing one? I’d love to follow along via a feed reader.

    thanks!

    • I’m using MyStuff2. It was expensive – I’d never paid $8.99 for an app before – but I has every single feature I need. I will add the RSS, thanks, I started off with mostly just WordPress followers and maybe assumed people would go with the Bloglovin reader or Facebook; I could always use advice!

  14. Awesome, thanks for adding the RSS feed – I just subscribed! I think you’ve covered all the subscription bases now, we all have our own preferences I guess!

  15. Pingback: This week… | No More Spending

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