Recently we received an email from our Home Inventory customer, John Voss, who shared with us the workflow he used to build out his home inventory in the hopes it would help others. With his permission I’m happy to share it with you in this post. I’ve added a few notes where appropriate to take advantage of additional features to streamline the workflow even more. John appropriately calls himself a “process improvement guy”. I couldn’t agree more!

Here are John’s steps for building out his home inventory:

  1. Gather all receipts you have or have access to. You can go online to most retail organizations and get copies of historical receipts or go to the store and do so. Costco was GREAT while Sam’s a little less so. Lowe’s was SUPER while Home Depot was a little less so. The key is, know where you buy stuff and do all you can to find the receipts that are already available.
  2. Do not print the receipts. Instead, save them to a file and import them into the software using the “import receipt from file” option. This will save LOTS of paper.
    • NOTE: If you use the Home Inventory Inbox feature you can eliminate step two. You can install the Inbox Print Plugin from the Help men. As you find the receipts from your emails or online retailer simply use the File Print option and select Send to Home Inventory instead of PDF then the receipt will be stored in the Home Inventory Inbox. From there you can either create a new item using the receipt or attach the receipt to an existing item. This is how I add all our online purchases. There is a tutorial available on our YouTube channel “Binary Formations”.
  3. Walk the house and take photos. Be sure to go outside, through the garage, and each room and hallway in the house. You will miss some that you will need but that’s okay. Those photos will all be imported room by room/item by item so you’ll need them all. Be sure to open all drawers and all cabinet doors when you do this.
    • NOTE: At this point, you can dump all photos at once into the Album view. Then use the Album view to create the items or attach the photos to existing items. Using the Album view is not required. It just saves having to import each photo individually.
  4. Gather all user manuals, warranties, and other paperwork you have for items you own.
  5. Sort all information you’ve collected by room (location) to make it easier to enter the information and add photos as you took them (room by room).
  6. Pick a small room or hallway (a hallway is a room/location) with only a few items. That way you can learn to use the software, see what is required to populate all the data, and see what you may be missing. I found from this that there were categories and collectibles that I needed to add.
  7. Now work room to room to enter the information you “know” from the information you’ve collected.
  8. For items you enter where you have no receipts, go to the internet and look at Amazon, hardware stores, Walmart and Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and so on, and look for the same or similar items. Capture that image from the internet (save as a PDF to a file) and then enter it as a receipt. Update the “value” to the cost shown and be sure to add tax and potentially shipping costs if required. I did not enter this as a Price unless I had the receipt.
    • Note: Print the page to the Home Inventory Print Plugin. Go to the item in Home Inventory and from the Receipts view select Add from Inbox.
  9. For values, be sure that you think about what it is worth now. I paid thousands for a TV that would now cost much less to replace so the value is less than what I paid for it (alas the pain of being out front in purchasing new technology). On the other hand, I have items that are now worth much more and would cost much more to replace. That is what the Value data item is for as well.
  10. NOTE: Make sure to include your inventory file in your backup strategy for your important files and use Home Inventory’s backup features available from the Preferences and via our free iOS helper app Home Inventory Mobile Backup.
  11. Be patient, this will most likely take hours of work to accomplish but once the base is loaded it is only a matter of updating this as you purchase new items that are currently loaded into the inventory. I can tell you as I have family members who are in or were in the insurance game that having this type of data, in their words, would result in the insurance company “kissing you on both cheeks”.
  12. I was surprised by how much my stuff was worth and you probably will too. But don’t over value your belongings as it could result in your buying too much insurance for what needs to be replaced in the event of a total loss.

Thanks for listening and I hope this helps a bit. I’ll bet that you have items that you would add to make this easier to use and more complete. Thanks again for a great package.


A big shoutout and thanks to John for sharing this with us!

If you have tips on how you use Home Inventory or would like to share how it’s helped you send me the details or a video link to We are always amazed how Home Inventory helps in ways we never envisioned and love to share so others can benefit too.