I have worked with several clients whose homes have been heavily damaged by fire or water damage. In these cases, the insurance company contracted with a company to come in and remove the items from the home, clean them, and return them. Sadly, there have been badly damaged pieces and some valuables that never returned to the owners. The proof that these items were in the home and in good repair is up to the owner. It often looked like old china and crystal were run through industrial dishwashers and chips and breaks occurred. The client swears they had service for 12 but pieces are missing. Some items may have been destroyed by the fire or water but the client has to remember and fill out forms as to what they had. I recommend that everyone do a quick inventory to begin with. Go through your home and take pictures of everything. Open up cupboard doors and drawers and take pictures. Take pictures of large items like TVs or antiques. Put these pictures in a safety box or send them to a relative or save them off site. Later, go back and do a more compete inventory. As you organize and clean each zone of your house, make a spread sheet of your valuables. Include item name, description, quantity, brand/manufacturer, serial/model no.,where purchased or obtained, date of purchase or age, current value or replacement cost. This takes a long time to begin with. However, the next year when you go through your zones you can just update it by adding new purchases and deleting items you no longer have. If you have a disaster, this will make life so much easier.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer