What’s in your house?

If your home is ever burglarized, or burns down, the best way to demonstrate what needs to be replaced is with a home inventory – a record of your valuables, when you purchased them, and what they cost. Your insurer needs this information to properly adjust your claim.

This blogger’s home inventory is in a fireproof lock box. Here, for example, is a picture of the home computers:

Bad blogger!
Find the Zip drive

How old is this photo? That hole in the front of the desktop is for a 3.5-inch floppy disk, a feature now most frequently seen on display at the Smithsonian.

Clearly, the Lynch home inventory needed an update.

Fortunately, we have kids.

Our kids (13 and 9) are at the every-media-object-is-a-toy stage, so Dad has given them a new mission: Photograph everything valuable in the home. And since blogging pays less than, say, running Goldman Sachs, there’s not much to photograph. Then we’ll put it all on the laptop’s hard drive. (The kids are better at downloading and uploading than the old man.)

But that laptop can be stolen. It can be destroyed in a fire. So how do we preserve our home inventory?

Thankfully, as we now say in the I-phone age, “There’s an app for that.”

Or several: The New York Times last week rounded up home inventory apps, including one for $25 that lets you scan in the bar code of items like CDs, books and DVDs – speeding the process considerably.

I.I.I. provides a free online home inventory service. (App is coming soon, I gather.) Basically you sign on, upload pictures of your stuff and fill out the details. A I.I.I. video describing the service is here. And, to get you on your way, here is a good list of what sorts of items end up in most inventories.

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