Taking stock of your stuff — made simpler!

Fact: You have more stuff than you think!

Whether it’s clothes, tools, kitchen appliances, books, musical instruments, or even children’s toys, people tend to amass a surprisingly large amount of stuff. Often, even those of us who do not get attached to material things have far more valuables than they think.

But if you wait until it’s too late, chances are you will not remember everything you had. Surprisingly, only 33 per cent of Canadians do an inventory of their belongings. And the majority of those who do tend to underestimate the replacement value of what they own. Most Canadians estimate the value of their belongings at $15,000, which is often less than the real value.

The tips listed below are designed to help you make an inventory and ensure all of your valuables are restored or replaced should the need arise. Download this user-friendly form to speed up the inventory process.

Put technology to work for you

One problem people run into when making a home insurance claim is proving that they indeed own the items they are claiming. To facilitate an agreement between the two parties, it helps to take photos and/or videos of your belongings. You can also switch from making lists on paper to using online tools that can help you organize your inventory and get it done more quickly.

Learn to identify the real value of your belongings

Say you bought your latest TV on sale. You won’t necessarily find the same bargain when you make your insurance claim. Always record the retail price of each item and not what you paid for it.

Keep a copy of your list outside your home

Completed your inventory? Well done! But if you want to avoid wasted efforts, save an electronic copy of it to the Cloud (Google, iCloud), or in private mode on a platform such as YouTube, Vimeo or Flickr, so that you don’t have to worry about losing your data.

And what about your wardrobe?

People consistently under-estimate the value of their clothes. It’s normal, we accumulate them over time and we often don’t realize how quickly they add up! In order to have an accurate estimate, first keep your bills and tally them up. Take particular note of your designer items, and don’t forget about accessories and shoes! For items without bills, use the average price you pay. Make sure to take plenty of photos.

Take it step by step

Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’ve lived in your home for some years, do a quick tour of your place with a camera and then go room by room, taking shots of everything you own, down to the herbs and spices in your kitchen cupboards. You’ll feel less daunted once you have an initial overview on video. Then make a written list of your belongings by category and identify your most valuable possessions. Set goals and a deadline for completing your inventory. And if worse comes to worst, a partial inventory is better than none at all.

Update your inventory

If you buy yourself a new piece of jewellery or a state-of-the-art sound system, be sure to take a photo of it and note the value of the new item in your inventory. And try to update your list every year so that you don’t forget about anything.


As you conduct your inventory, you can use this opportunity to follow the minimalist trend and tidy up as you go. Once you’re all done, it will feel good to have that particular task checked off your list! With newfound peace of mind, you can go back to cooking, repairing, playing, and enjoying all those things that play a bigger role in our daily lives than we realize.

Be sure to correctly calculate the total value of your property when applying for home insurance.