I think this must be a sign - I've randomly encountered 2 articles on doing your own home inventory in the last 24 hours - one while looking for tax info and the other while browsing my Real Simple magazine.
Even as a professional organizer, I have not conducted my own home inventory. While we do have decent records and receipts for what we own, I could not guarantee you that our records are complete and we haven't taken the step of storing this valuable info off-site or on-line. But the timing is right - all of our possessions have been reviewed, purged and packed up for some renovations. Unpacking and setting up our place again will provide a prime opportunity to tackle this smart task. Not to mention that we will have several new items in our home thanks to the renovations and our upcoming baby due in June. We've carefully chosen these items and spent good money on them, so it makes sense to keep good records for them.
Why would you need to know details about your home inventory? First and foremost, it's important in case of a disaster or damage to your home. Having good records will make the insurance process much smoother. Considering that a flood was the original reason for our current renovation project, it is fitting that we use this opportunity to get our ducks (more) in a row. We only lost a couple rugs in the flood (in addition to our floors), and I'll admit I was shocked and dismayed to find that we didn't have the receipts. Good records can also be helpful for selling items in the future, and product recalls and repairs, to name a few. Simply put, it is easier to have this information than to wish you had it later when you need it (and it's too late).
One of the keys pointed out in these articles was storing your inventory on-line so you have access to it in case of home disaster or damage. I plan to try out the Insurance Information Institute's on-line tool, KnowYourStuff.org, which I discovered in this Get Rich Slowly guest post. And here's a link to the article I spotted in Real Simple. After we get settled back into our condo and I've completely the inventory, I'll report back on the experience.
Bottom Line: Knowing what you own and where to find this information is in some ways like carrying an umbrella to ensure it doesn't rain. You'd rather have it than not when the need arises!