Long-time readers know I’ve spent the past 6 months working on a complete home inventory. I started in March and I still have about 2 weekends of work to finish it off, plus another weekend to format the results. There is some chance it could be done in September!
There are lots of ways to do a quick home inventory, such as:
- Take video in each room and talk about what’s there
- Take photos of each room, and list the main items or costly items
- Take photos of the insides of closets, cupboards and drawers
- Print off a checklist of common household items and check off which ones you have
- If you have ever used a moving company, keep the packing list from your last move
- If you’ve made an international move, keep the list of items you exported to your new home
I would recommend any of these rather than doing nothing!
Higher on the effort scale, you can list your possessions individually and take photos/video of them, and/or you can enter all that info into an app or a software program. I have been using the iPad app MyStuff2 Pro because I can easily bring it from room to room with me.
I started with higher value items such as furniture and electronics and worked my way down. In true exacting fashion, though, I realized there is almost nothing too small to be included. For instance, it really doesn’t matter whether I have a $2 spaghetti measurer or egg separator. However, it’s good to know that I have 68 small kitchen gadgets/tools and that their combined value is about $340 (since several of them are sets, like a set of cookie cutters or a set of wooden spoons). The individual items may not count for much, but their replacement value does. Beyond money, I like having a list of the gadgets I own – it’s easy to check what I have, and avoid duplication.
The main reason it’s taking me so long is that I have moved furniture and bins and boxes and cleaned the entire house and everything in it from top to bottom. Every area is decluttered and re-organized. As you might have seen in a previous post, that includes the garden shed, and the horrible deep closet under the stairs (not shown)! You may remember I was rather traumatized by cleaning out my kid’s room, who left home two years ago. I am over it now – I redecorated it just enough to cheer myself up when I go in there. (Link would be appalled to know I have put the childhood Pokemon poster back up, LOL!)
So far I have delivered more than two car loads of excess to yard sales and charities. I am still embarrassed by how much “stuff” I have.
Not long into this project, I knew I wasn’t doing it to assess the insurance value of my stuff, or even to declutter the house. It turned into almost a mediation on ownership. By handling every item, and cleaning it, and deciding whether to keep it, and if so, how to display it or store it, I came face-to-face with how I am living my values. Why do I have 8 vases and no flowers in the house? Why do I have 64 photo frames and only 6 photos displayed in the house? Why do I have 40 trinket boxes packed away with nothing in them? Anyone walking in would see I have a lot of books and movies, but wouldn’t guess at all the items neatly packed away and never used.
So am I a hoarder? I don’t think so. To me, a hoarder is someone who saves 90 ice cream containers because they’re “useful,” or who can’t even use their home because of all the stuff in it.
Some conclusions I would make about myself are:
- I am sentimental and save a lot of personal mementoes
- I have an unhealthy obsession with toys and games and childhood memorabilia (my own and Link’s)
- I am thrifty and refuse to re-purchase anything I ever bought (“I have one of those! And it’s still good!”)
- I have a warped sense of what is Enough
- I am completely wrapped up in First World Problems
I have just one more room to list, the office, which was just re-designed last January. And the books are already counted! When I’ve finished, I will need to make some decisions about all of the unused stuff in the house, and how it would feel to let it go, and what kind of person I would be if I weren’t surrounded by my comforting cocoon of possessions. I will be giving myself until January to figure that out. I’ll let you know how it goes – and who I turn out to be!
Conclusion: The home inventory was finished on December 26 and posted here.