Many years ago when portable home video first came on the market I had a small business focused on taking inventories of peoples houses on video tape so that they would be protected if there ever were an insurance need. It was a great idea, something that everyone needs back then and even today. However the shortfall of my business plan at that time was the basic distrust folks had with regard to letting a strange into their house to take video of their stuff. Then of course who could blame them? I was a good honest young man trying to make a living but let's just say I did not set the world on fire with this business. This was even true despite marketing directly to high-income neighborhoods.
All needed the concept and service but the execution was not great on my part. Now however each and every one of you has the ability to do this for yourselves and it is not too hard. Start with the basics and get as in depth as you think is necessary.
Take digital pictures of all your stuff, your house, your car, and your collections, everything you love that you own and store it away digitally. You can either store the images on a memory card, which you place in your safe deposit box at the bank, or you can load them off to a CD or DVD disc and store them that way. No need for a box load prints, a VHS tape or two, which may not last more than 8-10 years before breaking down, or a written list of inventory.
Take the pictures! Do it this weekend and you are all set. Shoot pictures of your new stuff as you acquire it. Here is the plan in short order:
Start with the big stuff first as this will help you systematically organize your important items such as the car, the appliances, TV, stereo, computers and so on. Computers usually have a variety of items connected to them so make sure to get model numbers and serial numbers of all of them on tape. You can do a v can do a voice over as you go along telling when you think you bought the item, how much you spent, and even where you got it.
There are certain things that you are going to want to get on tape with good detailed close up shots. Jewelry, silverware, collections, is especially valuable to us and so you want to lay them out on a table. Put down a dark colored cloth first and then spread your items out on the cloth. Make sure there is good light so the details will shine. Put your digital video camera on a tripod and take good close up shots of each item.
Now you don't have to go crazy shooting video of every single thing in your place but rather find a balance between what you love and what is just stuff.
When you are done make a second copy of the tape, carefully label both of them and then store them away in your safe deposit box, in home safe or other secure area where you can access it should the need ever arise where you need to document your possessions in the case of disaster or theft.