We all have them, those piles of appliances paper warranties and manuals scattered around the house. Where do you put them all? Do you store them in kitchen drawers or have a collection in the basement? Or, do you not have a place to put all of them? After we buy that new appliance, we forget that we need to file away the manual for those times when we need it - later on, years down the road, when that something happens. If you want to organize manuals and warranties, below we are sharing four ways to organizing manuals and warranties.
Organizing Kitchen Manuals Made Easy
First Option: Use an accordion file bin with A-Z tabs
One way is to sort the manuals in an accordion folder labeled A-Z. Then, sort manuals by the manufacturer's name. Since each product has the manufacturer's name printed somewhere on the product, it makes it easy to file and find. Below are accordion folders I found on Amazon.com (affiliate).
Second Option: Use portable hanging folders with tabs
Another option would be to use a smaller organizing bin with use tabs and hanging folders. Label each hanging folder with a generic group name for the products that help you find and retrieve manuals. Here are some categories: TVs, Gaming Devices, Radios, Tablets, Tools, Small Appliances, Appliances, Computers, and Printers. You can also label the bins for A to Z by using large 2 inch hanging folders, so there is plenty of space for the entire home's manuals.
Third Option: Use a magazine holder and label the front of the holders with different areas of the home.
The next option is to use magazine organizers and label the bins with a general group or by specific room. Some room names could be basement, living room, master bedroom, kitchen, garage, and bedroom #2. Or, you can name them by a general group in each bin, like TVs, gaming consoles, appliances, small appliances, furniture, etc.
Option Four: Create a Manuals and Warranties Binder with Sleeves
Another option is to put the manuals in a binder using sheet protectors. This method works for the small looseleaf manuals. This binder could be 2 to 3 inches or thicker. Using self-stick tabs, you can create a section for each area of the home. Purchasing the heavy-duty sheet protectors will help keep the manuals contained without ripping. But, if there are just too many to fit in one sheet protector, feel free to use another sheet protector. The blog: Check out this blog post that talks about Household Warranties & Manuals Binder that I found online, feel free to check it out.
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Whichever system you use, read these other tips below on the organizing the papers themselves.
Easy Tips on How to Organize Paper Manuals and Warranties
Affordable Sorting Tip: If you have several computers in your home, divide each computer's manual and paperwork and place them in a gallon-size food storage bag with a computer name on the front of the bag. Standing them up in an open bin makes for easy access.
Appliance Tip: For appliance manuals, the manual could be on the internet. Check first before throwing the paper manual out by typing in the browser the manufacturer name and the model number. To keep track of the appliance manual online, make a list with the appliance and the website URL for that appliance manual and keep that list in a safe place for reference. A spreadsheet file works great for this purpose.
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Long-term Warranties Tip: For long-term warranties manuals and paperwork that are over two years in length, place them in a separate fire-proof safe filed by the room or by the manufacturer's name. These papers will be protected, and you do not need to sort through all the manuals to get the warranties for a particular item.
Another Warranties Tip: If you have documents that are warranties, you should keep track of the purchase date and where you purchased the warranties. Staple the receipt to the front of the manual for easy access. It gives you additional information also if you need it.
Retrieval Tip: Whatever system you decide to use, stay consistent, and keep the system going.
Remember: To keep the organized paper warranties and manuals from overflowing, go through each section, and make sure the manuals and warranties are still active and in use. Do this task once every 3-5 years.
Well, that is it. Having a well-organized manufacturer manual will help you be able to reach them quickly in case of emergencies, and you can take action quickly. Feel free to check out our other paper management posts.
Please note these are affiliate links through Amazon and at no additional cost to you, I will earn affiliate fees if you decide to make a purchase.
We use an accordion file. I don't like it much but my husband set up the system many years ago and it works fine for me, so why change it. I've also used zip-lock bags for clients.
You have several good options. We use an accordion file that my husband set up many years ago. I don't really like accordion files, but go into it for a manual so seldom, it's OK with me. I have rough sorted manuals for clients that we put each category in a large zip-lock bag. The categories I've used are simple like: outdoors, kitchen, storage, electronics, etc.
I never tired of the different approaches to this topic, and I love that you covered so many different options for manual filing. Over the years, I've been writing more about handling this from a digital perspective -- yesterday, my mother complained that her new Roku didn't even have a printed manual, so I had to Google instructions for her. It's great that you covered the gamut! My personal preference is that I have kitchen manuals in a lesser-used drawer in the kitchen, entertainment-area manuals (that darned FireStick!) on vertically-arrayed on the bookshelf next to the DVDs, and everything else in my filing system. (And of course, I toss out manuals for hairdryers and toasters -- if we really need the manuals for those, we've got bigger issues than organizing!)
I use the binder method, myself. I like to keep small extra pieces with manuals too, just in case we need to fix something. All your suggestions are awesome! Thank you.
What great tips for organizing manuals and warranties! I've used all of the above for clients depending on how many manuals they had and their organizing preferences. I don't know if you've noticed this, but more recently, manufacturers no longer include printed manuals, but instead the manual is available online. We recently purchased a new dishwasher and stove. Neither one came with a manual, so when we had a question, my husband had to go online to look it up. Personally, I like having a paper reference, but I get that it's more environmentally friendly to go digital.
Most of our manuals we store in a file cabinet, but I have two exceptions. For the small kitchen appliances, I store those manuals in a folder in the kitchen cabinet. I refer to them more frequently, so I like have quicker access. There are also several manuals for my office equipment (computer, phone, printer, etc.) I store those in a file in my office filing cabinet. Again, I like having them close to where I will refer to them.
Two other thing I suggest. Write the purchase date on the front of the manual. As you suggested, stapling the receipt to it is also handy. Also, periodically review your manuals. Let go of any that you no longer own.
Manuels can get so out of hand. I’ve organized these in several ways for clients. As you suggested, I’ve sorted the manuals in an accordion folder labeled A-Z. Then by the manufacturer's name. I’ve also set up binders. Both are great options!
Thanks for offering so many options!
I have three file folders for manuals in my filing cabinet: Office, Home - Electronic, and Home - Other. The categories are probably too broad though, because sometimes I have to look in more than one to find the one I need.
All my PDF manuals are in one folder on my computer, but I'm careful to rename them to include the brand name and type of device. I started doing that after downloading one I didn't realize I already had due to the obscure file name.
I'm trying to download manuals for new appliances I buy and keep them in a folder on my desktop. However, I will say that we set up hanging folders back when we renovated our home. Although I'm not a huge fan of accordion folders, I can see that they would work well for this purpose. Last week I helped client with the binder system. She had set up it and it is working for her, so why not? I think the binder can get pretty heavy, but don't fix what isn't broken! My tip... don't keep the "quick start" and "installation" guides. You just need the main manual.