|CC BY 3.0: Shadwwulf at en.wikipedia
There’s the old adage: Don’t let what you own own you. This idea has pushed some amazing advances into minimalist lifestyle, especially with how versatile modern technology is. For the rest of us who have a family, perhaps have hobbies that involve a lot of physical stuff, or just plain like having stuff, we should recognize that it’s very easy to live for your stuff instead of your stuff facilitating your life.
|CC BY-SA 3.0: Kpahor on Wikimedia Commons
If your stuff is so important that you do need to keep it all, what happens if your house is robbed, or ends up on fire? Do you have insurance to cover the losses? A few years ago, we were broken into, and had my entire collection of movies stolen. Most insurance companies want evidence of ownership of these things before paying out (nothing like giving money for things you don’t own…), and expect a listing of everything stolen. Even if they are lenient (like ours was) you still need that list, and it’s a royal pain to remember the whole collection off the top of your head.
I wont harp on that side of things, but there’s few things better to have control of your stuff, know where it’s at, and most importantly have record of your stuff. It’s spring cleaning time, and there’s few better times to actually go through what you have, figure out if it’s necessary or not, and if it is, inventory it. When it comes to something like this, it would seriously irk me to have to buy things to track the things I buy, so I prefer something robust and FREE for this application. After a lot of trial and error I found myself using a program called What You Own Home Inventory (WYO)
Unlike many programs that are cloud based, this one is a local install, which I really prefer since I do not want to push out all my serials and a thieves shopping list on the Internet for anyone who can figure a way to hack a system. It’s got report generation, searchability, handles images for receipts and pics of your stuff (you will want a digital camera for this, a quality cell phone camera would also work in a pinch), and has very usable import/export features so you can keep your inventory listing outside of the software.
This software can especially come in handy when moving, tracking what’s gone into what boxes, and making sure you have everything when you arrive.
For those who are really serious about this, there’s some extra tools that can be helpful as well. I personally use a Eye-Fi Connect X2 4 GB Wireless Flash Memory Card
in my digital camera, which automatically uploads my images and movies to my laptop as well as my choice of an online site for management of photos and of videos separately. It accomplishes this via a wifi adapter built right into the memory card. It will even automatically clear space on your camera when you reach a certain threshold of used space (it only deletes things it’s sure it’s uploaded). There’s also a pro version that will coordinate with various brands of public use wifi networks such as AT&T.; Rumors have it that this has even helped people track down their stolen cameras since the perpetrators often go places with the camera, allowing upload of the images to the owner of the device after the theft. For me, all I need is the home version for inventory purposes.
All in all, with such easy access to technology and free software, there’s no real excuse to not make sure you have your act together when it comes to what you own.