May 17, 2019
About 20 years ago, someone broke into my apartment. Literally. Bashed out the doorknob, and opened the lock…
That was all fine – I’m not attached to my possessions (I tell myself.) But when I went to collect on my renter’s insurance, I found that I was NOT appropriately prepared. If I didn’t have a receipt, or at least a photograph of the item in question (mostly jewelry), the insurance company wasn’t at all convinced that my lovely things ever existed. THAT was a rude shock…
alert – seemingly random change of subject coming up…
And why do we keep buying things that we don’t need? Is it simply because they look so doggone good that we are tempted, and that’s all it takes?
So what if we found a way to make the stuff that we currently own look as nice as things in the stores, AND managed to get that pesky inventory thing done too?
So I’m gradually starting… building little vignettes of jewelry and scarves, and eventually clothing groupings too. My plan for clothes is to pull together 1 or 2 outfits, and hang them on the back of a door, or on a pair of hooks behind our bedroom door. I could certainly hang them on a rack, or lay them out on the bed too…
Could you isolate some key components of your personal style by doing this? Maybe your first and favorite accessory “family” looks like one of these:
I could see this somewhere in my life:
Do you have beautiful blue eyes?
Or perhaps you’re permanently in love with pink!
Maybe a bit of bright, with whimsy?
Do you love a mod flower?
Maybe your personal style is warm and bright?
Or do you love classic navy, with lovely amethysts?
Doing one of these photographs just once a week will, over time, give you a better idea of how well you are actually insured in case of the worst. And you will be able to arrange and admire your possessions – and perhaps learn see that shopping isn’t necessary…
p.s. A couple of quick accessory observations: (1) Did I miss the memo where it is now acceptable to wear earrings as big as your head? I so often see earrings that I think are interesting, and nice, but then I see that they’re FOUR INCHES LONG, and I move on… and (2) If I catch you wearing a fanny pack around your waist, we’re going to have to talk. Didn’t we kill that trend off once before?
p.p.s. I suppose it’s painfully self-evident that packing one of these “families” would be a quick and easy way to choose accessories for travel?
I carry medical supplies in my purse, and phone and keys, and credit cards. Those things are always with me. So, I still have a fanny pack (belt bag) and wear it to concerts and outdoor festivals. i do use a cross-body bag, but don’t too large and uncomfortable for all-day wear. They still sell the belt bags. They are practical to me but still a fashion statement to some. Neiman Marcus sells designer belt bags for $1300-1800. Crazy! But obviously somebody’s buying them! LOL!
Your opening lines reminded me of a time several years ago when a hurricane was headed up the coast and I ran around madly taking photos of each room, cupboard and drawer. Fortunately, we were spared (my son’s home was not), but I now have a somewhat haphazard way of proving the contents of my house should the need arise–and a good idea of what I need to get rid of…
Deborah Singh-Boos says
Janice, hope you are feeling better. This is an absolutely brilliant idea. I have never thought of doing this but given the vagaries of the weather here in Trinidad in recent times – we were hit with disastrous flooding in most of the country in October 2018, this inventory taking is now a necessity. Thanks much and the collections are beautiful.
And remember to store your photos OUT of your home. Maybe a safety deposit box, maybe the Cloud. Unless you do that, if a disaster hits your home, you won’t have your photos, either.
I just email all of mine to myself and keep them in my email in a folder. That way I can get to them from any computer!
What a great idea!!
One of your best posts ever! I’ve been working on accessory groupings, and this is a brilliant way to achieve two goals.
And I do indeed love mod flowers – I was a teenage fan of Mary Quant in the 60s.
Thank you for generously sharing your inspiration!
Chris in Indy says
Such a timely post – I was considering adding a new accessory family to my collection for no particular reason and was hunting around online to see what I could see. Do I really need one? Nope. Do I have way plenty enough already? Absolutely. My bored self would be actually so much better off if I took some time to put together what I already have and document it, looking for holes in my current collection – maybe a small addition to freshen it up. So much easier – and cheaper!
This is definitely something I’ve thought about, especially because everything we own is in a house-on-wheels which a million things could happen to at any given time (my anxiety chews over this thought constantly). While we have records for things vital to our business (laptops, camera, etc) so much of our everday ‘stuff’ isn’t catalogued. I think I need to make this a priority as we pack our motorhome for summer travels! Great post as always!
Janice Coyle says
Great you are feeling better,Janice. And this is a very timely post for me also. We are going on a week-long cruise into Alaska In two weeks and have decided to extend the vacation for another 10 days and go on a road trip to see the sights in Oregon and Washington. Packing for this will involve dressy, casual, warm and cool clothing. I’m resorting to layering items and a limited color scheme. navy, grey and various shades of accent blue – a whatever’s clean as much as possible. This post is so helpful as to accessories. Thank you so much! Janice Collins Coyle. Washington DC
I’m so sorry for your terrible experience, but sincerely appreciate your willingness to share it with us. I remember a jeweler telling me that she was able to provide receipts for a client whose jewellery had been stolen. I’ve been trying to be better at keeping receipts and really appreciate this reminder regarding documentation. Not that my jewellery is worth a lot, but it would be cost prohibitive to try to replace it all.
I also want to thank you for creating this websites and your wonderful posts. My wardrobe has definitely improved since I started following your posts. And, as an added bonus, my knowledge of jewellery increased. I’m very interested in fashion and fashion design, but had little knowledge before following your posts about “costume” jewellery. I’m proud to say that I recognized the ram brooch as a Ciner piece before I scrolled down to your links.
And, I also wanted to share that my good friend Stephen, who owns a vintage clothing store, would say that you have “good gear!”
Years ago a large portion of my jewelry was stolen. Though angry and sad I wasn’t worried about the insurance aspect because I had an inventory with photos and many receipts. Imagine my surprise (and additional anger and sadness) when I learned that my fine jewelry needed to be “scheduled”. My policy only covered up to $1,000 and anything of value – like a diamond ring- needed to have an accompanying appraisal for replacement purposes. Well, that was a very costly lesson! A quick call to the insurance agent is worth a lot of peace of mind when you learn you have (or purchase) the right coverage.
What a great idea and wonderful post!
There are some great apps for wardrobe inventory – it was easy doing the clothes and footwear at change of season (photograph, pack or give away, photograph, hang or give away). I’ve only *just* done my scarves (which includes silk evening scarves belonging to a great-uncle). I’ve got appraisals, photographs and “specified in insurance” for some of my jewellery, but not the semi-precious/costume/artisan ware. Or the family ones where the stones were replaced with paste :)
What I still need to do – catalogue my books, music and paintings! The insurance company have advised that photos are the bare minimum (even if the books are done as “contents of shelf”). Each time I think about it, particularly the books, it’s overwhelming.
But photographing each room on an annual basis – good for insurance, and also a lovely way to reflect on what you care for and how it evolves over time.
Hilarious comment on the earrings as big as your head! I admit I was wondering if you would start adding more statement earrings to your links. I think moderately sized earrings are great with short hair. Gives a nice feminine flair. My hair is past chin length but not to my shoulders so earrings aren’t usually that visible. And I hate wearing heavy earrings! They have to be feather light if they’re large.
I’m okay with moderately sized earrings, but when they hit the shoulders on the models (who have necks much longer than most of us!) I pass…
I totally agree on the giant earrings. I love a good statement earring, but to me that still means a moderate size just a brighter color or some shine or sparkle. I have no idea why anyone wears these gargantuan things. They would drive me crazy and I’m certain I would injure myself!
What a lovely idea! I recently decided to start putting together a few outfits each weekend. This is a nice extension. One question: how do you do such lovely photos without sacrificing a big chunk of time to photo editing?