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When creating a personal property inventory either for litigation or an insurance claim, it is necessary to document everything that you lost.

If you're having a hard time remembering things in your house, try this technique. Draw a diagram of the room you want to focus on. This does not have to be an accurate drawing and it’s not something you even have to share with anyone. It is simply a mental exercise to help you remember what was in the room.

  1. Divide a piece of paper into four squares (or one for each wall).
  2. Draw in approximately where doors and windows were.
  3. Start drawing what was on each wall.

    For example, there might’ve a chair with a side table near the wall. On the table was a lamp. The lamp had a light bulb and an extension cord. The extension cord was plugged into a 3 way splitter at the outlet. The chair had a throw blanket, a pillow and a pouch where the remote control was stored. The remote control had two AA batteries. The wall behind the chair had a picture and a sconce. The sconce had a candle and was sitting on a little shelf that was hung with two screws and two molly bolts and the picture had a custom frame and was hanging by a picture hanger.

Write all of these things down on your inventory. You'll be amazed how all of those batteries, light bulbs, picture hangers and molly bolts add up!

Also when creating an inventory, we do NOT recommend lumping items together unless the items have the same value.

For example, if you have 100 CD's and they were all about the same quality then you can group them together. If, on the other hand, one of the CD's was rare and had value above and beyond the others, than it should be broken out and listed separately.

Things that should NOT be grouped together simply because they were in the same location like "sewing box full of sewing implements" or "tool box " or even "food pantry". Although when making your initial inventory, you can mark that down as a place holder, you should go back and fill in that blank. You will have a tendency to undervalue that "tool box" and when you go back and itemize you'll get closer to the real value of the things you lost.