Since I can't take it with me, help me organize my inventory.
January 13, 2014 7:14 PM   Subscribe

Ms Jabo and I would like certain items go to certain folks (or sides of the family) if we were to pass away. I'm looking for ideas to inventory our possessions using photos and descriptions that will help our executor to find and distribute it.

Ideally, it would be something that could be organized by category, easily edited and; most important, include a photo(s) of the item(s).

I thought of InDesign but that seems like overkill. I'm not sure that Spreadsheets or Word are a good option. I've checked out home inventory software but it doesn't seem to have any ability to add photos, Easy and free would be nice.

It would also be useful for insurance. This is not a legal document, we have that covered.
posted by jabo to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What are your objects to just putting this in a spreadsheet? Google Docs and Excel both allow you to add a photo to a cell.
posted by jamaro at 7:37 PM on January 13, 2014

I've used mystuff but that was 10 years ago, it allowed photos and customizable fields and had nice reports. Here's a review site showing you 10 options, none free.
posted by Sophont at 7:39 PM on January 13, 2014

99% of the people reading this question will have an inventory of personal possessions sufficiently modest that they can be catalogued and bequeathed on video in a reasonable time.

i love your use of the subjunctive mood at the end of the first sentence of your question.
posted by bruce at 8:29 PM on January 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you talked to the attorney you're working with on your will? My mother is an estate lawyer and this is the kind of thing she loves helping clients with.
posted by lunasol at 9:23 PM on January 13, 2014

A video inventory, updated once a year, sounds like a great idea (HT to bruce).

Even if you have tons of stuff, I imagine that only some limited number of items are valuable or sentimental enough to need this sort of instruction. I shouldn't take more than 30 mins or so with a handheld camera to walk through your house room by room and point them out.

You could also attach a typed list. In Excel you could make it sortable, with columns for object,
\recipient, room of the house, est. value or other details, and photo.
posted by amaire at 9:34 PM on January 13, 2014

The chances of you both dying simultaneously are exceedingly slim. I have actually had a spouse pass away and had to go through all of her/our stuff and see what to do with it. You'll find that while you have a few important things of value, most of your stuff is just sort of junk.

When my wife died I put a few pieces of jewelry away for my daughter when she's older. I gave a few paintings (that she had painted) to some of her family. I kept the practical stuff that was "ours" even if it had been purchased as "hers" (like cookware).

Most of her "stuff" was just stuff. Closets full of clothes. Old memorabilia that she'd been carting around since high school that neither I nor anyone in her family wanted. Kitchen equipment that nobody in my house will ever use again (i.e., cheese making supplies).

"Will anyone care about this stuff when I'm gone?" is a perfectly valid, useful question to ask yourself. For most of that stuff, the answer is "no". I only kept things like our silverware because it was my silverware. There's no particular reason I would have even wanted that stuff if I had a separate set because I was a more distant relative who lived in a different house.

I keep a folder on my computer with photos of valuable possessions in it, where the title of the image contains a short description and possibly a serial number or something if relevant (mainly for insurance purposes). It could easily be broken down into sub-folders by name of the person who was supposed to receive the item in the case of your death. Frankly, this list of items is pretty short, and will be for most people. Unless you're a collector of valuable antiques, it's probably in the neighborhood of 20 items worth mentioning.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:05 PM on January 13, 2014

You generally want a video updated yearly anyway for insurance purposes (if there's an issue, you can prove you had X assets in the house). As you film each thing, state who you'd like it to go to, and kill two birds with one stone.
posted by skittlekicks at 7:11 AM on January 14, 2014

I'm not crazy about the video idea because if you want to make any changes, you'll need to record a whole new video. Also, I feel a bit creepy about leaving "Jabo Returns from the Dead: Showcase Featurette" for my heirs to have to sit through. On the plus side, it would be simpler.
posted by jabo at 10:02 AM on January 14, 2014

What about Evernote? Free, on-line backup, you can upload photos with tags...
posted by yggdrasil at 4:41 PM on January 14, 2014

Why not digital pictures printed out two to a page, with notes written alongside each? Put them in a three ring binder in the same place where you keel your will, health care directives, funeral music playlist, and such.

Even if you have an open and frank discussion about it now with all parties, don't trust anyone's memory: get it down on paper and avoid hurt feelings.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:24 AM on January 15, 2014

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