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How To Organize Warranties & Manuals

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Today's mission is to organize warranties and user manuals that you've got in your home, so when you have a question about how a piece of equipment works, or need to diagnose an issue with an appliance, or something breaks down and needs to be fixed by the manufacturer you can find the right documents and information.

This mission is designed to be done when working on the Organize Passwords, Warranties & Manuals Challenge here on the site, which is one of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenges.

How to organize warranties and manuals in your home in three ways, in your home filing system, in binders, or digitally {on Home Storage Solutions 101} #OrganizeWarranties #OrganizeOwnersManuals #PaperOrganizationuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
It is also a follow up to yesterday's mission where we decluttered manuals and warranties that were old or no longer useful from our filing system to reduce the total paper clutter in our homes.

Once you only have current warranties and manuals in your paper piles it is time to organize them.

How To Organize Warranties

You can keep warranties separate from your user's manuals in files within your home filing system, or you can attach them, and the receipt which acts as proof of purchase, to the user's manual it goes with, using a stapler.

I personally suggest keeping all of these documents together, by stapling them to the front of the manual, just because it makes it easier to find them all at once when needed.

How To Organize Manuals

There are two main ways to organize owner's manuals if you keep the paper version, and another way to organize them digitally, and you can choose the method that works best for you.

How To File Manuals

The first way to organize paper manuals is to add them to your home filing system. To do this you merely create a file for them in your file drawer or box called "user manuals" or "owner's manuals" or something similar.

What often happens with these manuals though, is that there are a lot of them that accumulate with time, and if you throw them all into a general file it can be
hard to find the one you want when you need it (although periodically decluttering the ones you no longer need is helpful in minimizing this problem).

Therefore, I suggest creating subfolders within this main owner's manual folder, to help you organize your manuals more efficiently.

Here are some suggested categories for these subfolders:
  • appliances

  • cameras

  • computers and software

  • electronics

  • kitchen

  • phones; and

  • other household
Adding the manuals into the subfolders will make it easier to find the one you need more easily within your filing system.

Make A Manual Binder

The second way you can organize manuals is to create a binder that holds them. Instead of punching holes into these manuals, all of which seem to be varying sizes, I suggest instead using pocket folders or sheet protectors to place the manuals in.

You can use tabs with similar categories to those suggested above for the filing system to subcategorize the manuals within the binders, if that's necessary, or, depending on how many manuals you've got, you could instead create separate binders for various manual categories.

The advantage of keeping all kitchen user manuals in a binder by themselves is that, for example, you can keep the binder somewhere in the kitchen. Then it is convenient, when you need to reference the information, to have it close at hand. If you use a filing system you may need to go to another area of the house to access the manuals, which is not near the actual equipment.

How To Digitally Organize Manuals

How to organize owner's manuals digitally
Finally, you can organize manuals digitally, and get rid of the paper manuals all together. I discussed how to do this, in more detail, in yesterday's mission article here.

I've got photos below submitted by readers who've already done this organizational mission, showing off how they organized their manuals and warranties. Make sure to scroll down and see them to get ideas and inspiration, and once you do the mission for yourself be sure to submit your photos here. The best photos will be featured here on the site.

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Organizing Owner's Manuals In Filing System

How to organize owner's manuals in a filing system {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
As mentioned above, one possible way to organize your manuals is to add them to your filing system.

You can either add them to the other files in your file drawer or box, or you could file them in their own file box, like a reader, Linda, did. She explained about her photos, to the right, that she sent in, "Here's my owner's manual file. I had a Sterilite portable file box and I converted it over to putting all owner's manuals in.

I make a copy of the receipt of purchase and staple it in the cover page of the manual. As something is discarded I pull out the manual. Garage sale, I pull the manual out for the item being sold and that's given to the new owner. I get more in sales for items at a garage sale when owner's manuals are included, it reassures the new buyer the item was in fact well taken care of.

When keeping owners manuals I do toss the foreign language copies often included into the recycle bin. This is a quick access method and one location! Frees up real file space in my filing cabinet!!"

Another example you can see is below, with a before and after photo supplied by a Declutter 365 participant, Sarah, who also added of her owners manuals into a file box.

Sarah said, "Finally got owners manuals and warranties under control. From everything thrown in one cabinet to sorted, organized and labeled!"

The after photo shows that she has a file box containing files with manuals within them, as well as a small labeled bin with additional manuals, and finally a binder with receipts and warranties, all of which she placed inside a cabinet.

How to organize owner's manuals in files {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Use A Warranties & Manual Binder

How to use a warranties and user manual binder to help you organize these documents for reference in your home {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

A reader, Leigh, sent in the photo above, showing how she used a binder to organize these documents in her own home. She said, "My organization project for today. The manuals used to clutter up two areas and drove me crazy. I turned an old three ring binder into a user manual holder today. It's a great way to take all of those manuals that I can never find and keep them in one place. Now they're easy to find and store. I used my planner paper and made a sticker to make it my own."

How to organize manuals in a binder, to organize these documents for reference in your home {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Another reader, Barbara, also used binders for organizing her manuals, as seen from the photo she sent above. She said, "We organized all our manuals for different things we own. 3 ring binders with page savers, just slide manual in, date of purchase and receipt. Everything is in one place for easy finding. When an item is replaced, pull out old manual and insert new one."

She went on to say, "My husband also made a map of where all the utilities enter our property, so down the road if there is a problem we know where each line runs. A gas man came to do a JULIE and couldn't find the line because no tracer wire had been attached. Hubby brought out the map and he could do the JULIE. Gas man said he wished everyone had a map."

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If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

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More Home Storage Solutions

{A-Z} Storage Solutions & Ideas
I hope you enjoyed these ideas and instructions for how to organize user manuals and warranties in your home to take control over this paper organization issue.

There are even more ideas for storage and organizing on the site in the {A-Z} Storage Solutions & Ideas round up page. Go check it out if you'd like to see even more ideas.

In addition, if these ideas have inspired you to organize even more types of paper make sure you check out the Paper Organization Series here on the site.

Organize warranties and owner's manuals {a #Declutter365 mission on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Related Pages You May Enjoy

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Comments for Use A Warranties & Manual Binder

Click here to add your own comments

how I use binders to organize mine
by: Helen

For years I have used a 4 ring binder for my manuals, warranties etc. I even made one up for DGS when he moved into his own flat a couple of years ago. Lately I have updated to a lever arch binder.

I staple the receipt to the warranty and file it with the instruction book in plastic sleeves. When an appliance is thrown out, the paperwork is thrown out as well.

Appliances that I use frequently - e.g. the breadmaker - I file in a display folder with my recipe books in the kitchen.

I put mine in old notebooks
by: Anonymous

I have my manuals alphabetized and in old notebooks. I think I have 4 or 5 notebooks by now. Thanks to the person who mentioned recycling the part in a foreign language. Never thought of that before. I am going to make an index sheet for each notebook like we did for the files.

Receipts for Warranties
by: ChefRee

Maybe this was already mentioned, however, If you're keeping a receipt to go with a warranty, I'd recommend scanning it. Most receipts these days fade over time, and I've found most of ours are now illegible. So scan and then keep or toss the original.

Filing warranties & manuals
by: Lonna

Rather than using a filing system by use (appliances / computers, etc.) that relies on what you categorize them as now, I file them in general hanging folders by letter of the alphabet-all together in one place. Usually there's a brand name stamped on the item like Sony, so it goes in the S folder. For as often as one has to refer to an owners manual, it's not a big deal to pull the folder and flip through the 6 manuals that are there.

what do you do with piece parts?
by: Shopping Deva

I was wondering what people do in cases where there are piece-parts and accessories since these are not really "file-able".
- A lot of products come with piece-parts you don't use frequently, or probably won't use, but should keep for resale purposes. This is especially true of electronic gear. I currently keep all the paper and parts together in combinations of document holders/protectors and labeled ziplock bags and store them in small plastic tubs by product type/category (cameras, phones, kitchen, etc). It's not pretty but I don't use the stuff often and this gets it out of the way.
- Samsonite dealer recommended keeping the receipt and warranty info inside the zippered lining of the suitcase!
- Scan receipts cuz they fade!

by: Mama Bear

Since I rarely have to look at these warranties and owner's manuals, I simply filed them A-Z. I made 13 files for "A-B", "C-D". So a clock would go under "c", a TV would go under "t", and so on. Yes, it can be confusing (did I file that alarm clock under "a" for alarm? Or "c" for clock?) Still, that's only two files as opposed to looking through the whole stack. Hope this helps someone and saves you some time.

Piece / parts
by: Linda

I 3 hole punch large zippered plastic bags and put the warranty and instructions booklets in the bag along with the parts. Makes the binder bigger but everything is handy and findable.

House Files
by: Anonymous

Since my husband picked up some plastic file folders several years ago, I use them to file the paperwork for items generally considered a part of the house. The folders are more durable than the filing cabinet type and they came in 5 colors; so my system coordinates the items by color. The tabs are "1/3 cut" and it's easy to label them with printed tape. (Because we have a manufactured home, much of the documentation will remain in these files for the next owner.)

Green for Major kitchen appliances: Refrigerator, Microwave (built-in), Dishwasher. (Other appliances include a Freezer, Washer, and Dryer; these papers are kept in manilla envelopes and will be optional if we move.)

Blue for Utilities: Heat--A/C, Plumbing (blueprint), Service (details).

Red for Heat producers: Gas Range, Water Heater (now electric), Fireplace.

Orange for Safety: Fire Safety (detectors and extinguishers), Security System, Locks.

Yellow for Fixtures: Decor (tub, shower, jacuzzi, faucets & showerheads, carpet care, wood trim, draperies, windows, and some closet shelving that we added), Stereo (system that no longer works in parts of the house), Fans/Lights (on the ceilings).

This is paperwork that is rarely referenced for model and serial numbers, trouble-shooting and/or repairs, etc.; but when it's replaced, we throw out the old papers to make way for the new papers. To otherwise keep these files accessible and not mix them in with more active paperwork, they have their own place in the cabinet above the refrigerator.

by: Anonymous

I use the binder system. Easy manual along with the receipt is placed in a sheet protector.

Storage of warranties
by: Anonymous

I tried using drop files but found this very space consuming. In separate plastic wallets bits drop out. So now I strip out all the foreign languages which reduces things by 80% stick them in a plastic wallet with a label at the front (e.g. mobiles) and put them all inside a footstool size ottoman. They're out of site. In the dark so things don't fade. And reasonably easy to sort through if something is needed. It also freed up a whole filing cabinet drawer.

Location location location
by: Mrs. Lassiter

I file them by location in the house. Like freezer goes under kitchen. Desk lamp goes under office. Weed eater under garage. Etc. That way you just need to go to the file of the room where you are using the item. Alphabetically can lead to misinformation.

Avoid Overorganizing
by: Anonymous

There is a point where too much organizing wastes time and effort. Keeping all receipts, warranties and manuals together, then in a folder or file near where those products are used or stored, is adequate. All small appliance papers in a kitchen drawer spot; all yard equipment in a garage folder; all electronics stuff in the stereo cabinet. It is easy to look through a dozen manuals all relevant to tv/stereos without sub-categorizing and making separate folders or notebooks, etc. The same with lots of timely papers; any tax-pertinent papers can go into a few folders, for the entire calendar tax year. If they get too full, add monthly subfolders. It is impossible to precisely create folders for these sorts of documents, and yet easy to sift by type at tax time (i.e. deductable expenses, income, donations, dividends, 1099s of all types).

My method...
by: Dallas

I use an alphabetical file separate from my main files. I place manuals, warranties, etc. of items according to the product brand. Most items are recognizable by brand. If not, I use the retailer as a guide. (Most of us will remember where we bought it.) This method spreads the docs out more uniformly and reduces the likelihood of ambiguous folders, such as electronics, computers, cameras, phones, etc. Hope this is helpful.

by: Anonymous

It is a good idea to have a section for everything that will convey when a home is sold: major appliances, trim work, lighting, built-in cabinetry, flooring, etc.

file by brand
by: Dallas

I find it logical to file product info into a separate A to Z section, alphabetically by brand. Brands are usually quite evident so there is less ambiguity about its location. For items whose brand is not obvious or is irrelevant, I choose the retailer/store from which it was purchased. This process usually results in spreading out the files so as not to overstuff certain categories. Some brands, however, become too numerous (such as Apple), in which case I create a binder of all Apple products. Rarely do I not know in which file to look. Of course, receipts are stapled to the inside of the manual and they are purged periodically. Works for me!

by: Anonymous

I organize mine by rooms. The appliances are kitchen, laundry or the radio in the living room. Yes the kitchen file is large but you can sub category there.

Manuals/Warranties and Pieces Storage
by: Sheila

I've been using a simple A-Z accordion file pocket/box for decades to store my manuals & warranties. Sorted by brand (or item-type if there's no brand). The accordion file is expandable and I have it in the bottom drawer of one of those plastic 3-drawer units from Walmart. It fits perfectly in there and the extra room in the drawer I use for the over-sized documentations or packaging I want to keep. I keep my house fixture and major appliances stuff separate in a plastic file box. And all my extra pieces get put in ziplock bags labeled with what they go to; and just stored in a plastic shoebox in the garage.

Warranties & Manuals
by: Brenda Knebel

I’ve had a long history of an organized system for these items. My spouse and friends often make fun of me, but then admit they are jealous they don’t have theirs organized. You should have seen their faces when I was able to produce the receipt and information about my golf clubs purchased 25 years ago!!!

I have a hanging file system with the categories:
* House pictures and notes (where I keep the floor plan, paint numbers, etc. and other general house information.)
* Cats (any items purchases for the cats, their ID collars, etc.)
* Collectables - inventory list of cookie jars, light house collection, etc.
* Electronics - TV, Phone, Computer, Printer, Camera
* Furniture and Decor
* Household Appliances
* Lanai and Garage
* Main Appliances
* Sports - Apparel - Luggage

This works well for me. Find what works best for you.

Washer/Dryer Manuals
by: Roses

Acquired a condo with built in washer/dryer very different from what I had had. Was able to find online and print out their manuals. I put them into a duo-tang that stays on a shelf along with laundry supplies. Easy access.

Same with kitchen appliances. All different from what I had had. They are in pantry. Plan is to get them into a 3 ring binder using magazine holders.(those are being reused from an old project.)

Furnace & A/C & air cleaner & water heater are in big envelope next to furnace. Plan is to get it into a plastic envelope and hang it on side of furnace.

Manuals and warranties
by: Laura G

We have everything that is a fixture to the house saved in a zippered bag (like one a set of sheets comes in). The previous owner did this and I think it’s genius. It is in an extra cabinet just off the kitchen. I then have the other manuals in our file cabinet. I’m planning on a file box for all the garage stuff.

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