If your home was damaged by fire or other catastrophe, would you remember detailed information about what you own? Creating an inventory of your personal property can help with obtaining insurance as well as ensuring that any insurance claims are promptly and accurately filed.

The best way to start your home inventory is by creating a spreadsheet that lists name and description of each item, model and serial numbers, date and location of purchase, original price and current estimated value.

Next, go room by room and catalog everything. Start with high value items such as jewelry, antiques, artwork, and any collectables. Then count furniture, electronics, rugs, linens, kitchen items, lamps, appliances, media (DVDs, CDs, books, video games, etc.), and tools. Be sure to go through all cabinets, drawers, and storage containers.

If possible, take photos or video of your belongings. Get close-ups of the highest value items and at least one good wide-angle shot of each room.

Once you have your inventory complete, gather receipts, photos, videotapes, and appraisals and store them in a safe deposit box outside your home. Update your inventory whenever you make a large purchase or when consolidating your belongings, at least once a year.

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