December was a month for gift-giving. Many new products have warranties and user manuals that come along with them. This is especially true with new electronics, kitchen appliances and cell phones which are often given as gifts. Organizing warranties and user manuals is important, so you can find them when you need them.
Why not just toss all of that paper?
If something breaks it’s important to have the warranty in order. Once you register your warranty, you will be notified if there is a recall on the product.
Most user manuals have a troubleshooting section to help you figure out what is wrong if you have a problem. In addition, manuals list part numbers if you need to order a replacement part.
Selling your home? It would be really nice to leave the manuals with the appliances that stay with the home. And you don’t need to take them with you when you move.
Gather the papers
The first step is the hardest. Go around and find all of the paperwork for the user manuals and warranties of everything around your home. Once you get them together you will realize you have too much for just one file folder. Divide the instruction manuals and the warranties. Then divide them into categories to make the paper files more manageable.
Possible categories (but organize them how you see fit):
- Major appliances
- Home improvements (carpeting, plumbing fixtures, etc.)
- Computers, laptops and add ons (printers, fax, scanners, etc.)
- Electronics (gaming systems, chargers, DVD players, etc.)
- Kitchen (countertop appliances and kitchen tools)
- Mobile Devices (cell phones, tablets)
- Cameras and accessories (lenses, tripods, etc.)
- Home (vacuums, carpet cleaners, humidifiers, smoke detectors, etc.)
- Outdoor (lawn mower, edger, electric hedge clippers, etc.)
You can add the manuals to your home filling system. Create a file for each category. Know that if you do lose the manual at some point, you can usually search for it online. Have your product name and model which can be found somewhere on the product, and look up those terms. A sample search might be “user manual, Bissell Model No 2859J SpinWave Wet and Dry Robotic.” All electronics have online manuals and many other products do as well.
If you don’t use a filing system you can create a binder (or a few binders if you have a lot of manuals). Pocket folders for the binders will hold even thick manuals. You can create categories in the binder system too.
Digital manuals can be kept a couple ways. You can bookmark the web page with the instructions for each item and keep a folder in your bookmarks just for manuals.
Or, you can save the webpage to a PDF file and keep the file in a folder within your Documents folder on your hard drive. Some companies have downloadable PDF files already set up and you only need to click to download them. Just remember that after you download the file, put it into your Manuals folder.
Warranties can also go into your home filing system or in a binder. Repeat the process you used for your user manuals when filing the warranties.
It is important to fill out the warranty card when you start using the item. You want to be able to take advantage of what the warranty provides if you ever need it.
Between the cold weather and the new COVID Omicron variant, most people are not going out as much. Take this time spent at home organizing warranties and user manuals so you have them handy when you need them. This is an organizing job that won’t take all day, but you will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you complete it.
As always, if you need any help, I am here for you. Contact me to set up a time to get your paperwork (or your whole home) organized.