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Create Your Home Inventory in Minutes with Neat

July 31st, 2013

Last week I discussed some of the top documents you should have digitized in the event of a disaster or emergency. To offer more tips and guidance for making sure your home is prepared, Laura and Janet Greenwald, co-creators of groundbreaking disaster preparedness system “Ready In 10,” will take you through how to create a comprehensive Home Inventory.

 

Until Next Time…Keep it Neat!

-Kevin

 

By Laura and Janet Greenwald

A Home Inventory is something no home should be without.

Why?   Because, if something happens to your big screen TV or your favorite oriental rug, your insurance company isn’t just going to hand over a replacement check.  First they’ll make you provide proof of ownership, insurance and proof that it was in reasonably good condition, before it met its untimely end.

The good news is that creating a home inventory couldn’t be easier – especially if you have a NeatDesk or NeatReceipts.

So grab a notebook, a digital camera and open up Neat’s Digital Filing System software on your computer.  Ready?  Let’s get started!

First, you’re going to need a home inventory form.  You can either create your own using a piece of notebook paper or a blank Word document, or you can download and print a Home Inventory Form absolutely free from our web site, http://getyourstufftogether.com/neatdownload.htm.

If you’re creating your own form, write the name of the room you’re inventorying first. We suggest the living room, since it’s usually home to the most expensive electronics and furniture.  Below that, create five headings:  Name of Item, Manufacturer, Model/Serial Number, Date of Purchase and Warranty Number.

Beginning with the living room, walk through and record the items in each room.   You want to list every item that is:

  • Separately insured or under warranty
  • That would be expensive to repair or hard to replace
  • Valuable
  • Or that has sentimental value to you

Jot down the name of each item, and then fill in the rest of the information about it, under each heading.

When you’re finished with the room, take a photo of each item, then take a few photos of the room itself to show the condition of the walls, floor and the configuration of the furniture.   This way, if the room or any of the items in it are damaged accidently or in a fire or disaster, you’ll have proof of the original condition to send to the claims adjuster.

Continue doing this for each room in your home, the exterior of the house and all the vehicles that you own.

Now take your list to the place where you keep your important documents and receipts and gather all of the warranties, original purchase receipts, protection plans, insurance policies and certificates of insurance, along with the business cards of your insurance agents for all of the items on your Home Inventory.

Here’s where it gets fun.  Turn on your NeatDesk or NeatReceipts and open up the Digital Filing System software on your computer to access your Neat library of file folders.

Right click on the main folder and create a new folder called Home Inventory.  If you have a lot of documentation to scan you can always create folders for each of your rooms inside the main Home Inventory folder, but for most people one will do nicely.

Scan the home inventory form pages, along with all of the receipts, warranties and documentation and save them to the Home Inventory folder.

I bet you didn’t know that you can insert photos into your Neat Digital Filing System did you?  It’s easy. Just upload the pictures from your digital camera to your computer desktop.  Go back to the Home Inventory folder and click on Insert, Photo, then Browse to the folder containing the photos you took and insert them right into your Home Inventory folder.  If you have any photo prints of your items, simply scan them with NeatDesk and place them in the folder.

Once you’re done, Neat will automatically sync your entire Digital Filing System, including Home Inventory folder to NeatCloud.  That way you’ll have your Home Inventory right at your fingertips, no matter where you are, the instant you need it, even if you’re miles away from home. Now that’s what we call having your stuff together!

 

Mother and daughter screenwriting team Laura and Janet Greenwald are creators of the groundbreaking disaster preparedness system “Ready In 10”. Their latest book, “Get Your Stuff Together” is helping families nationwide keep the things that are important to them, safe and secure, quickly and easily. You can find them on Twitter @readyin10net or at www.getyourstufftogether.com

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Getting Started Going Paperless

July 16th, 2013

Do you dream about being paper-free or at the very least, paper-less? If so, a member of our Neat Fleet and a productivity strategist and professional organizer, Joshua Zerkel, has some great tips to help you achieve what seems just out of reach.

Until Next Time…Keep it Neat!

-Kevin

 

By Joshua Zerkel, Neat Fleeter

It’s a refrain I’ve heard time and again: “I’ve tried to go paperless, but then I got overwhelmed and stopped.” Or even worse – “I want to go paperless but don’t know where to begin.” After working with clients over the years to help them start on the paperless path, I’ve seen what works – and what doesn’t. Here are a few ways to get started on the right foot:

 

Set goals and expectations. Paperless is a relative term. For one person, it may mean that all the documents in their filing cabinet are gone and have been replaced with digital versions. For another, it may mean that all their bank statements are no longer coming in the mail. What does going paperless mean for you at home or at work? Definitely think this through, as it will help you set some parameters for the scope of your paperless project. Decide what will and won’t be scanned, and why. Determine where your scanned docs will be stored, and what will happen to the original paper once it’s been scanned (will it be shredded, recycled, archived, or…?). Finally, be realistic for what you can achieve – paperless does not mean paperFREE. You’ll still have some paper that you’ll need to process, and new paper will still come in the door.

 

Pre-organize to save time. The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” is especially apt for going paperless. The last thing you want to do is to spend your time scanning documents that you don’t want or need, are duplicates, or that you won’t access again in the future. It’s worth spending a bit of time pre-organizing your docs before you scan them to maximize the utility you’ll get out of your Digital Filing System. Go through your docs and toss out any duplicates, and get rid of papers you know you won’t need again. Create categories for your docs, and once they’re scanned you can group them the same way. Of course, your documents will be searchable once you’ve scanned them into Neat, but it always helps to have some structure for what you’re storing – it makes it even easier to find what you’re looking for later.

 

Use the right tools. Not all scanners and scanning software tools are right for every use. Consider the context where you’ll be doing your scanning, and invest in the scanning solution that best fits that particular need. For instance, if you travel frequently for business trips, you’ll want a NeatReceipts to scan the business cards and receipts you’ve collected while on the go. Back at your desk, your NeatDesk can be used to scan your everyday documents, contracts, and files. If you use both tools, you’ll be able to sync your scanned docs from both your NeatReceipts and NeatDesk via NeatCloud, which also allows you to access and scan items with your phone or tablet.

 

Start small. A big mistake I see people who want to go paperless make is trying to tackle too big of a project, too early on during their paperless journey. Rather than trying scan your entire four-drawer file cabinet right after you’ve set up your scanner, start with a more manageable sub-project. Perhaps begin with one folder or set of folders, or just the papers that are sitting around the edges of your desk. Keep it manageable, complete that project, and then move on from there. You’ll be much more successful overall if you take your big project, break it down to smaller, easier to complete chunks, then work to complete one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be well on the road to creating your paperless world!

 

Joshua Zerkel is a Productivity Strategist, Certified Professional Organizer® and the CEO and founder of Custom Living Solutions, the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier productivity and organizing consulting firm. Find him on Twitter @joshuazerkel and check out his helpful books focused on organization and productivity.

New and Unique Ways to Get Neat

February 28th, 2013

If you’ve been reading our blog, you’re probably familiar with our popular Digital Filing System solutions NeatDesk, NeatReceipts, NeatCloud and NeatMobile. These solutions have made it possible for so many people to simplify and organize their lives so that they have more time to do what matters most to them. But do you really know everything that you can do with Neat?

We’ve been asking our customers for some of the unique ways they’ve been using Neat, and we were surprised with the wide array of responses we received. Below we included four customers whose use of Neat truly inspired us to keep providing solutions that simplify life.

  • Karen scans sewing patterns into Neat so that they’re easy to find, back-up and share no matter where she’s located. Scanning and exporting patterns to PDF makes reprinting a snap and eliminates the need to buy new patterns.
  • Paul tracks paper sales receipts from his craft gallery, which supports local artists. By scanning the receipts into Neat he can assign each to a specific vendor, track their sales volume and request more products from top local crafters.
  • Barbara digitizes all of her recipe files to make finding recipes from her 2000+ collection quick and easy. She started by scanning all of her handwritten family favorites to preserve her Grandma’s handwriting and now clips her favorites directly from online.
  • Andrea goes eco-friendly by scanning all of her important paper documents from invoices to magazine articles and then shreds them to use as compost in her garden.

Are you using Neat in a unique way? If so, we’d love to hear all about how you’ve been using Neat, just Tweet us @neatcompany using #NeatIsUnique in your response.

 

Until next time… Keep it Neat!

-Kevin

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