Best Organizing Tips for Dad: Part 1
Warranties, manuals and instructions, oh my! With the purchase of any new gadget, tool or toy, you also find yourself saddled with a lot of paper. Father’s Day is around the corner and new devices — and the accompanying paper — are sure to find their way into your home. In this first post of my series Best Organizing Tips for Dad, you will learn how to control, corral and conquer this paper and be the master of your home domain.
When I organize a home (including my own), I’m often tickled by where I find these manuals. Most often, they are located by the item, which is understandable as you may want a quick reference or how-to guide before you master the refrigerator’s temperature controls or the printer’s settings. After that newness wears off, however, it’s time to relocate these manuals to their proper place.
Recently I did this in my own home and was surprised at how many manuals we had! There was one for all of our home appliances, kitchen appliances, bath fixtures, the AC, water heater, spa and spa heater, garage door, A/V equipment, bikes and more. And that doesn’t include all the tiny manuals that come with those small items such as computer accessories, watches and electronic games.
We were buried! And my file of “Warranties” was beyond overflowing. It was time to do something about it.
First, I gathered all the manuals I could find . . . and believe me, we had put them in some “creative” places: in a cabinet above the coffee maker, under a utensil organizer in the kitchen, my son’s toy bins and so on. I then brought the manuals to one place to be organized.
I then sorted the manuals and warranties by category, using either function or location to make it easier for future retrieval: home, kitchen, bath, garden, garage, A/V, TV, bikes, etc.
Finally, I made individual files for each category and placed them in a file box. That file box is now tucked away in our garage, yet still accessible and retrievable should we ever need it. Which, hopefully, is never.
Warranties, manuals and paper, begone!
Great article! I was tempted to throw them away.
Actually, you can, Kari! That is part 2 of this article which I have yet to write: see if you can find the instruction manuals online first, save a pdf and then toss. It’s part of my journey towards a paperless lifestyle, and something I will do when I have the time. For the meantime, however, we have the paper version, and it turned out to be a good thing: our microwave oven started doing something it shouldn’t. But I knew where the manual was, it was easy to pull and figure out the problem. Best of luck with organizing your manuals — let me know how it goes!
With a collection of homemaking gadgets since the 1960’s, we have saved manuals from items I barely remember owning or using! I like the snap-closure plastic locker/case idea that you illustrate, so I am on my way to collecting and organizing the various bunches of instruction books that will make a good bonfire someday after I find the digital information which I had not thought of doing before you mentioned it. Thank you for your creative ideas of making home management an easier tool.
Good luck with this project, Jo Frances! And be sure to check and see if you still own or even use the items for which you have manuals. You may be tossing out more manuals than you think, and your collection will shrink!