I recently renewed my home contents insurance and thought the same level of cover I already had ($25,000) should be enough… but maybe I should just double check. So I created the home inventory spreadsheets I’m going to show you in this post, went to each room in the apartment and recorded all of my possessions.. and ended up calculating I had about $35,000 worth of stuff… so I was potentially going to under-insure my belongings by $10k!
Why keep a home inventory spreadsheet?
1. Insurance purposes
This was the main reason I created these spreadsheets. I wanted to calculate the amount of home contents insurance cover I needed to take out. Now in the albeit unlikely event that something happens, I can simply provide my insurer with a a copy of this spreadsheet.
2. Forecasting future expenditure
I added a column in the spreadsheets to record the date purchased so I could see how old my possessions were. I have quite a few things that at 10+ years old and really do need replacing soon (or are likely to need replacing soon). And they’re big ticket items like the fridge and the couch which aren’t cheap to replace.
I also added a column to record warranties to help forecast when items are likely to need replacing, so I can start setting some money aside to replace them before they break, or so that I have enough money set aside for when they do eventually break.
3. Useful when moving
If you’re moving houses this detailed inventory spreadsheet ensures nothing is forgotten. You can use it as a checklist when you get to the new place to make sure nothing was lost in the move.
It’s also helpful to compile a home inventory before hosting a garage sale to clear stuff out before moving, or just for general decluttering.
4. Making extra money
By listing out everything you own you might find some things you forgot you actually owned. by creating an inventory spreadsheet you can quickly see items you could list for sale on eBay, gumtree, Facebook marketplace or elsewhere.
5. Wish list / upgrades
Similar to forecasting which items will likely break soon, you can identify which items you have that you want to upgrade at some point, so in a way you’re creating a shopping list at the same time.
6. Dividing up assets
When a loved one passes away, you can create a home inventory spreadsheet to see all of the items and decide how to divide them amongst the family members or which items to sell and donate.
7. Share house
If you have roommates each person has probably bought a few things here and there. When the lease ends or you choose to go your separate ways, you can avoid disagreements by keeping track of who owns what.
My sister recently moved out and we thought she had taken all her stuff with her, but when I was compiling this inventory I found a few items of hers that she’d left behind.
8. Adult children
If you’re kids are moving out of home they’re going to need some new appliances, bedding etc. to get them started. If you create an inventory spreadsheet you can see which items you might want to gift to your kids when they move out… so you can upgrade and buy new + better versions. It would also help avoid wasting money going and buying things they don’t really need, as you might have some items you aren’t using that you wouldn’t notice if they took with them.
My home inventory spreadsheet
To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).
I made the spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel however you can open the spreadsheets in Google Sheets on your iPad or other portable device, and walk around your home populating the inventory of all your possessions as you go.
If you prefer photos and text to video, here some tips for how I use the spreadsheets:
Home Contents Quote Comparison
The first tab is the home contents quote comparison spreadsheet. I recently made a claim on my contents insurance… which was rejected by my insurer. I was told they had made a change to their policies last year and actually when I renewed it last year, portables cover was a paid extra and not actually included in my insurance premium. Um.. what?!
When I called up to check what was covered and not covered when I renewed it last year, the person from the insurance company made no mention of this. After much back and forward with the insurer, I was told to read the fine print on the PDS. There on one page of the huge document was a comment about accidental damage in the home (in my case, dropping my camera), now requiring customers to choose an extra premium for ‘portables cover’.
So after a bad experience with that insurer, I set off to obtain quotes from other insurance companies and created this spreadsheet to compare them.
I added columns to record:
- Insurer name
- Date of quote
- Quote reference #
- What’s covered
- What’s not covered
- Contents value quoted
- Extra cover (portables)
- Extra cover (valuables)
- Extra cover (accidental damage)
- Total insurance premium cost
- The amount of excess
Home Inventory Summary
Tabs by zones in your home
Next, there are 18 tabs organized by different zones in your home e.g. kitchen, main bedroom, office, kid’s playroom, garage etc. The colors and zones correspond with the colors and zones in my home renovation spreadsheets.
You can go as detailed as you like on these spreadsheets. When I set up mine I took the approach of ‘if the apartment building burned down, I’d need to replace everything‘.
The cost column is the price you paid for it, or if the item was a gift, the approximate value you think it was worth. This is the column you should refer to when deciding your insurance level of cover.
Value now is either the researched value (based on similar items you’ve found on marketplaces) or I usually put 50% of the purchase price.
If you want to use the spreadsheet to work out what to upgrade first, you could start by replacing the big ticket items, the older items or items that have little value but which you use all the time e.g. toaster.
Adding photos of your belongings
I take photos of each room as I go through and list everything in the inventory. You can add photos at the bottom of each tab below the inventory list. Go to the top menu in Excel or Google Sheets then Insert > Pictures > This Device
When I buy something new I’m going to try and take a photo of the item next to the receipt and file it in these spreadsheets.
If you want a ‘clean’ copy of your receipts, warranty information etc. I use the Evernote Scannable app which is really good at removing backgrounds from photos. You can take a scan using your phone camera almost anywhere (e.g. place a receipt on your desk chair, desk, floor, dining table etc) and the app will automatically remove the background and make the piece of paper look like a scan not a photo. You can download it for free from the Apple store (I’m not affiliated, I just like the app).
More helpful life admin tips
- 52 Life admin tasks to add to your planner this year
- 50 cleaning task reminders to add to your planner
- 100 things to put in your habit tracker of your planner or bullet journal (plus free printable habit tracker)
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