My much dreaded home project for 2008 is underway. Thanks to my Mac and Home Inventory, I’m creating a home inventory. It turns out that what I expected to be a royal pain with months of tedium actually is a rather pleasant exercise. Here’s how I started…
You know how it is. If you’ve lived in one place for awhile then some kind of universal Creeping Possessions Law goes into effect. We collect stuff.
What I wanted was an inventory of all possessions in our home. Top to bottom. Left to right. Easier said than done. I chose Home Inventory to start.
A powerful, easy to use application for keeping track of all of your possessions. Maintaining a complete and up-to-date inventory is critical when making an insurance claim and in assessing if you have the proper amount of coverage in your policy.
Home Inventory is an affordable Mac application which tracks your home or office inventory in a database, complete with photos, serial numbers, original cost and current value, warranty information, and more.
This is a project I’ve started and stopped half a dozen times in recent years. It’s tedious. Home Inventory’s interface is inviting and intuitive, which relieves the tedium somewhat.
Download, unzip, copy to the Applications folder gets you started. Then there’s the Preferences. Totally non intimidating (click any image for a close up view).
Four tabs get you started, none of which require any adjustment to begin using Home Inventory.
Adding & Tracking
Home Inventory’s basic window is typically Mac-like and straightforward. Give the inventory document a name and save it. You can have multiple inventory documents.
Create a location. Home is a good start, but a home office can easily be segregated as a different location. Click the Plus sign in the upper left for a new location. Click the Plus sign in the lower left for a new item to be added to the inventory.
I started with photos and general information. Take your digital camera around the house and start snapping photos of what you own. First, a room, then individual items.
Home Inventory lets you have a virtually unlimited number of photos for each item (different angles, a closeup shot of a serial number, pictures showing an item’s placement in the room, or anything else you want). You can import photos into Home Inventory from your hard drive, take a picture with your Mac’s iSight camera, scan them in directly with a TWAIN compliant scanner, or drag and drop them from other applications (such as iPhoto).
One click shows you the item details, and one click Album view shows you all the photos for your inventory. The key at this point is to not get bogged down into details. Take photos, import them into Home Inventory, then add the details. You’ll feel as if you’ve accomplished more in a shorter period of time.
The album view saves you a lot of time putting together an inventory by letting you import a bunch of photos all at once then quickly assign each of them to the correct items. You can even create new items on the fly from selected photos with a single click of the mouse button.
How easy is that? Easy.
It’s one thing to get all your earthly possessions into your Mac, but it’s something else again to know what to do with it. Home Inventory does reports, page-by-page, item-by-item, of your inventory.
The extensive reporting options let you determine how item information is organized (by location, by category), what fields are presented, and much more.
Not only can you save the Home Inventory file and put it in a safe deposit box, you can do the same with the reports. Extra copies saved somewhere else besides your home is just extra security.
Not bad for $22, huh? I started by taking a bunch of photos, then filling in the details for each item. Within an hour I had dozens of items listed, while my wife collected the details
The interface is plain and simple. Click the hard drive to add a new photo, click the scanner to scan information, click the camera to use iSight. Album view is a click away, so you can scroll through all your home inventory.
I’m impressed. Gathering a home inventory is a tedious, time consuming, laborious, monotonous, forgettable project. The only way a home inventory project would be easier is if someone else used Home Inventory to do it for you.