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How to Create a Home Inventory of Personal Belongings

Hats in a room

Creating a home inventory of personal belongings can deliver many benefits, including helping you purchase the right amount of coverage, settling your insurance claim faster, and verifying losses for income tax purposes.

But, how do you create one? I’ll walk you through the process and provide all the information you need to get started. Let’s start with the basics.

What’s the Purpose of a Home Inventory?

Imagine that faulty wiring causes a fire in your home. While it was contained relatively quickly, it still caused massive damage to your bedroom and bathroom. And in the process, many of your clothes, handbags, and other personal belongings were damaged or destroyed.

When filing a claim, having a detailed home inventory can help save you time and headache since all you have to do is consult your list to know what was lost. In fact, creating a home inventory can even help you determine the right amount of insurance coverage you need before a loss occurs.

Furthermore, if you find that certain classes of property (e.g., fine arts, jewelry) you own are limited under your homeowner’s policy, it might be a wise idea to take out a personal articles floater. Depending on the property classes and limits, you might only pay a couple hundred dollars per year for adequate protection.

Related: Do You Need a Personal Articles Floater Policy?

But how can you complete your home inventory? Let’s discuss this next.

What Details Should You Include In Your Home Inventory?

For each item in your home inventory, you’ll want to include the following details:

  • A description, including the make and model (if applicable);
  • A picture or video, which can help prove its previous condition;
  • Cost new at the time of purchase;
  • Date and location of the purchase;
  • A picture of the receipt(s);
  • Estimated current value for rare or especially expensive items (an appraisal can work well here, if applicable);
  • Serial number.

To help you save time, you can group less expensive items instead of listing them individually. For example, when it comes to clothes, you can write something along the lines of “five pairs of jeans, two jackets, 10 dress shirts, and three pairs of sneakers.”

However, if you have more expensive clothing, such as a custom-tailored suit, you’ll want to list these items individually.

But do you have to write everything down?

Helpful Apps for Creating a Home Inventory

In our modern age, gone are the days when you had to create your home inventory on a piece of paper, write everything down with a pen or pencil, and store your list somewhere safe. 

Instead, there are dozens of apps and programs that can help you quickly and efficiently create a custom inventory, update it as needed, and store your database in the cloud where it won’t become damaged or lost when a claim occurs.

Depending on the program you choose, common features include:

  • Create labels (including printing);
  • Assign photos or videos to different items;
  • Scan barcodes;
  • Create and assign categories;
  • The ability to group items by room, type, location, and more;
  • Stores your list in a cloud where it can be accessed from just about anywhere;
  • Calculators
  • Search for items by keyword.

With these details in mind, some of the most popular home inventory apps include:


Available on iOS and Android devices, Encircle is a free home inventory app that allows you to list contents and inventory and store and share data, whether online or off. Compared to competitors, Encircle also features custom forms and documents, digital signature capture, and moisture and psychrometrics.

Encircle collage
The Encircle app can help you create a custom, visual-based home inventory, along with many other useful features for businesses.


This free, visual-based iOS and Android app allows you to access your inventory anywhere from the cloud, scan barcode and QR labels, print labels, create customizable fields, and import and export data via CSV. This app can even help you track stock levels when used for business purposes.

Sortly collage
Advertised as the “simplest inventory system,” the Sortly app allows you to create labels, input customizable fields, give third-party access, and generate custom reports.

Memento Database 

Memento Database gives you the ability to track and organize anything by creating dozens of field types, organizing and analyzing data in multiple views, and synchronizing data with the cloud for access anywhere (even offline). 

Currently, the Memento app is available for iOS and Android devices. There’s also a desktop version.

Memento collage
Memento Database is a popular and powerful tool for creating your home inventory.

Home Inventory 

Home Inventory is a desktop app for Mac that costs $9.99. Although you’ll have to pay, you’ll also gain access to powerful features like the ability to take pictures and scan receipts, store them in a cloud database, and undergo a personal property insurance coverage analysis.

Home Inventory collage
The Home Inventory desktop app can help you store photos and other documents, list property values, and even build custom reports.

Blue Plum Home Inventory 

The Blue Plum Home Inventory app is available on Mac, Windows, and iOS devices and is currently priced at $19.99. With it, you can create a customizable home inventory, import photos and other documents, maintain journals, and even schedule one-time or recurring events.

Blue Plum collage
The BluePlum app helps you include all necessary information for each item in your home inventory, store photos and videos, maintain a journal, and generate custom reports.

Do You Have Questions About Creating an Inventory of Your Personal Property?

Do you need help creating a personal home inventory or deciding whether to create one in the first place? The professional staff at IHS Insurance Group is standing by to answer all your questions!

Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding Homeowners Insurance Coverage? We have three convenient ways to reach us:

  1. If you prefer to talk to a licensed agent directly, please call (866) 480-5063.
  2. If you prefer to fill out a quick form and have an agent get back to you at your convenience, use the GET A FREE QUOTE.
  3. Lastly, for those that want an immediate quote, please click HERE.

We look forward to speaking with you!

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