Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tips to Protect your Memories & Valuables

This time of year is when fires happen the most. Are you prepared?  Do you have an escape plan? How about after the initial emergency is over and it’s time to rebuild?  What things are replaceable and what are not?  Here are some things to do now, before tragedy strikes:

What your insurance company will look for?  They will want proof that the loss occurred.  Meaning, can you provide some sort of document, like a receipt, proving you owned it in the first place?  And can you estimate the original costs for every item?

Home Inventory  Identifying the belongings in your home may seem like an overwhelming task.  Remember that a loss not only includes the structure but its contents too.  So, taking inventory of each room and its contents before a tragedy will help you and your insurance company make you whole a lot more quickly than if just by memory.  You can start by searching your records for sales receipts, purchase contracts and appraisals.  When it comes to your clothes, tally the number of items you own by type, such as shoes and pants, the Insurance Information Institute recommends. Write down the make, model and serial number of appliances and electronic equipment.  Build a simple spreadsheet to capture all this information. List the items by room.  Identify the item, date when acquired, purchase price and any other pertinent information that would help with identifying the replacement value. This exercise is not just a good idea in the case of a catastrophic loss, but also for theft too.  Lastly, don’t forget to update this list yearly.  

Video/Photos  If you don’t have every sales receipt of your belongings then video or photograph them!  This simple task is cheap, easy and quick to do.  Use your smart phone.  Do one video clip per room.  Walk around from one side of the room to the other.  Narrate to give a description of the items you are looking at.  Remember to identify the brand, age, value and any other pertinent information that would help with identifying the replacement value.  If you photograph then be sure you are able to capture the description by using a document to accompany the photographs.  This exercise is also valuable in documenting your items for your estate or will.  These videos or photographs must then be stored digitally and/or remotely (safe deposit box).  Consider cloud storage with an app like Digital Locker.

Memories  What about all your favorite family photos?  Of all the items in your home, most can be replaced.  But for the most part, photos cannot!  In my experience working with homeowners, this project is usually one of the last that gets tackled.  But if there was a fire, flood or other natural disaster, photos are one of the most devastating to lose.   Make this project a priority!  

Step 1: Gather all of your physical and digital pictures. 
Step 2: Create & sort in an order (by year, holiday, family member etc.). 
Step 3:  Scan then store in multiple places.  On your computer(s), external hard drive and in the cloud.  Check out our featured product of the month, Mylio.  Mylio allows you to gather, organize, protect and share your photos across all of your devices.

This project may seem overwhelming.  Enlist the help of your family and friends or hire a professional!  Break it down into steps.  You will sleep easier knowing your memories are protected.  A little planning now can save you so much heartache down the road.

Note:  RLN Organizing does not receive any kind of compensation for product recommendation. Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

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