A couple of years ago, this was how we stored all of our product manuals:
Yup, that was my kitchen drawer and I had no idea what was in there. It became the drop-zone for product manuals and parts when we made new purchases. You know, those manuals that you “HAVE” to keep for instructions, even if you never end up using them?
Clearly we needed some way to organize manuals and warranties (and parts) that was less of an eyesore, more accessible and took up less space…
and a binder with page protectors was the perfect way!
I have no idea what that key, that came with my deep freeze, is for but I know that the day I throw it out I’ll need it – so it stays neatly tucked away with the operator’s manual and warranty for my freezer.
You could organize manuals and warranties for smaller items if you like – like the toaster and kettle or flat-iron and steamer – but often those items are somewhat disposable in that you would probably buy new instead of getting them repaired. Our binder is specifically for big-ticket items that would get repaired over replaced – like the furnace and those two spare wires. (WTF?)
With all the DIY on the blog, I’ve upped the number of power tools in my garage and having manuals for these items is imperative.
Not only do most (good) power tools come with 1, 3 or 5 year warranties, but you need the instructions when you need to change out a blade or make big adjustments.
I have the pages labelled and then sorted in alphabetical order so they are easy to reference when needed. One tip that my Dad gave me was to write on the front cover when the item was purchased – this way you quickly know if you are within your warranty period. You could go so far as to tuck the receipt inside the page protector so that you have it accessible should you need to make a return.
When you organize your manuals and warranties, you can tuck special Allen keys inside the page protectors to keep them from getting lost in the sawdust.
The binders are organized, compact and can easily be tucked away – great for a quick-reference while still taking up (considerably) less space than our previous storage method.
One tip, buy binders with a locking mechanism. As you can see from our “Home” manual and warranty binder, the pages fill up quickly and the weight could force the binder clips open – then you’re back to almost the same mess you started with.
An easy, inexpensive and totally useful way to organize manuals and warranties.
I should create a third binder for ‘tech’ stuff – keep all of those spare wires tucked away and labelled!
I’m off to get another binder – have a great one!