One flat screen TV. A pine bookcase. Hickory hardwood floors. One sofa from Pottery Barn. One Butcher Block dining room table. One entertaiment center. One area rug. A french door refrigerator. A one-of-a-kind original painting from the Grand Canyon.
Know Your Stuff. As we spend more and more time inside, what better way to be constructive and defuse cabin fever, than to compile a home inventory. I never really gave much thought to all the items that make up our home before moving to Nederland. The only thing that seemed within the realm of possibility of losing “our stuff” was a robbery. And with two extremely territorial dogs who go crazy barking if a neighbor even walks down the street, that seemed pretty remote.
But confronting the reality of living in the wildfire zone made me think a lot more about “our stuff.” The truth is that if a fire burned down our home, trying to remember every little thing in each room of the house would be pretty challenging. Even more so, under the emotional duress and PTSD of a wildfire having burned down our home.
I confronted this initially during the Fourmile Canyon Fire in 2010, and set about documenting what exactly we did own. It’s more complicated than you might realize, and we own a pretty modest home. I read an article about taking photos of everything, compiling spreadsheets of items and their estimated value. And then saving it to a flash drive to be left in a safe deposit box. The task seemed daunting and exhausting.
Fast forward to this past year’s Cold Springs Wildfire. I revisited our my very incomplete home inventory and happened upon a really great website, KnowYourStuff. This website walks you through compiling a home inventory, room by room, including your garage and shed. It puts together a database, while you enter each item, and pertinent information like the price paid, receipts, even attaching photos that you upload.
It also allows you to enter PDFs, scans and photos of your home insurance information as well. There’s ample room more than one property, each time you visit the site, it saves all your data under your profile, retrievable from any computer (or even a Smart Phone) that accesses the internet. No more worries about where to save all those spreadsheets, photos and everything else — it’s all there under one easy login and password. And if you’ve forgotten information, next time you log in, it will remind you and prompt you for the missing information.
So next time you’re suffering a bad case of cabin fever from being trapped indoors all day from the snow and cold, get to know your stuff. Six months from now, during the height of wildfire season, you’ll be glad did.