Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where is That Darn Instruction Manual?!?!

When your dishwasher breaks, the last thing you want to do is have to go hunting for its manual. Here are some ways to organize the pile of paperwork that comes with the gadgets we buy:

1. The filing cabinet (or box) method:

If you have an empty drawer to a filing cabinet (yes, I know I'm talking to the rare few), use it to store your gadget manuals and paperwork. Just get hanging file folders with tabs. Label them with what makes sense for you. I have a kitchen, computer, kids, outdoor/tools, home electronics, and household.

You can also use this system with a filing box. I'd recommend a sturdy plastic one with a handle.

2. The binder method:

If you don't have a ton of manuals or you don't have the space for a filing cabinet, this may be a good way to go. Get a large 3-Ring binder, a packet of the plastic sleeve protectors, and dividers with tabs. Label your tabs with what makes the most sense for you. Add one manual per plastic sleeve. If you have a lot of manuals, you may want to get more than one binder.

Additional thoughts:
  • Although I love alphabetical, I really do try to stay away from organizing that way. It's a pain to have to move all the folders around in the event that you add a new tab.
  • If you go the 3-Ring binder route - get one larger than you actually need, so when you add more, you'll have the space for them.
  • Keep rubber bands on hand as you're organizing. If something has multiple information, you can tie them all together before putting them in the folder or plastic sleeves. 
  • Plan on going through the files every so often to update them. I like to do this when I add a new manual. I will take the file folder out and purge any manuals that I no longer have the product for. 
  • Keep the extra hanging file folders and tabs in the same drawer or binder as your manuals. That way, you won't have to go on a hunt for them when you need to add an additional folder.
  • Do you really need the instructions to your hair dryer in Spanish, Chinese, and French? If not, toss those out and just keep the English. It will save a lot of space. 
  • Unless you have another system for receipts, you may want to store the product receipts with the manual. Staple them so they don't get lost.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely include the receipts and any warranty info, too. Wish we'd done that with our mattress set that's only 3 years old and needs to be replaced.