Today we are going to talk about how to organize all those pesky manuals and warranties you get every time you purchase a new item for your home. I am going to share several methods of organizing, as I have found different methods work well for different types of manuals I have in my home.
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How to Organize Manuals
Before I had all my manuals organized, I had them shoved in a box to sort through. This is definitely one method of keeping them all together. Mine was just a leftover shipping box, but you could certainly use a couple of nice document storage boxes and call it a day.
However, when it came time to actually find a manual I needed, it would take so long to go through the entire box to find what I was looking for.
Binders work great for all types of paper organizing projects. They keep everything together, you can add dividers to make it easy to locate what you are looking for, and everything stays together. I have a binder for all my furniture assembly manuals and for all my kid’s toys.
For the furniture instruction manuals, I don’t mind punching holes in them. They are all relatively the same size, so it makes it easy to store them in a binder after punching them with a 3-hole punch. Having a heavy duty punch is helpful for larger manuals.
For the kid’s toys, I chose to use a binder because we have to get it out and flip through it often. My son went through a phase where he was really into Transformers toys. I could never “transform” them without getting out the instructions. I chose a large 2″ wide binder. So we can easily find what we are looking for, I added page dividers. My kids tend to collect certain types of toys, like NERF guns or Barbies. Each of those toys got their own section. For everything else, I divided them by each child, outdoor toys, electronics, and the toys that they share.
Note: Although many of the different instructions come in different sizes, I simply punched them where I could and added them to the binder.
Pocket Folders or Plastic Envelopes
For most of the other manuals we have, I created a system using pocket envelope folders and a large plastic bin. I sorted out all the manuals by categories, placed each category into a plastic pocket folder, and labeled the front of each one using my label maker.
This system is definitely more organized than having them all thrown into a box, but some of the larger categories would take a lot of sorting through to find the manual I needed.
I recently switched from using the plastic pocket folders to a large accordion file. It is compact but allows me to fit all the manuals in one spot. I can also further categorize and separate the manuals out from the broader categories I had set up with the pocket folders.
While you are sorting everything out and creating your categories, it helps to put a temporary label on each tab, before you create permanent labels. I use inexpensive page flags from Target.
The accordion file I purchased has space for 26 pockets, plus 2 CD holders. It is legal size so it fits all the manual sizes easily. Even after adding all the manuals from around my house, I still have some space left.
Zip Top Plastic Bags
I use large zip-top plastic bags for sorting manuals as well. Gallon size bags work well for smaller manuals. I have all the kids bicycle and helmet manuals in one stored right by the bike helmets. The bikes and helmets all come with large booklets that would not be easily stored in another way.
I also keep all the tool manuals in a large plastic bag that we keep out in the shed with all the tools. I like to keep the manuals as close to the items they are for as possible.
Warranties and Maintenance
As soon as you purchase an item if it comes with a warranty fill out the information right away. You will have your receipt handy with all the purchase information. You can find the warranty cards inside your product purchase, but often now you can find information to register your products online.
Once you have filled out your warranty information online or mailed it in, staple the receipt right to the manual. This way you will have it for future reference. If it is an expensive purchase and you are keeping the original box, you could also store the receipt inside the box.
Helpful tip: For very pricey items, I like to scan the receipt and keep a digital copy on my computer. This way, if the ink on the receipt wears out, you still have a copy that you can use to show proof of purchase.
Once per year, go through your manuals and pull out any for items you no longer own.
So tell me, how do you organize your home manuals?
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