What do you do with all those manuals and instruction booklets you get when you purchase a new item?
Why to keep
Generally speaking we rarely refer back to instruction manuals and need to return items under warranty. That said, there are some times when they are useful.
Electronics are the items we most often have to refer back to for instructions. Having a manual on hand may be useful if you need to reprogram your cordless telephone or figure out how to use your scanner, for example.
Keeping the receipt with the warranty let’s you know when the item was purchased – and whether it’s still under warranty when it breaks!
The booklets often help you access the model number without having to get on your hands and knees to read the numbers on your range, for example.
A system, which includes the receipt, warranty and the instructions, provides an inventory of what you own for insurance purposes.
What to keep
Be realistic about the kind of instructions you’ll need to refer back to. Many small items and small appliances come with instruction manuals but are unnecessary for the consumer. Do you honestly think you’ll ever come back to the instruction manual for how to operate your smoke detector?
Purging out those kinds of manuals can reduce the paper by half. In addition, most manuals are available through the company website.
Where to keep
Manuals and warranties are generally low-use items so don’t let them take up valuable real estate in your home. Wouldn’t you rather have useful tools in your kitchen junk drawer than rarely referenced booklets?
Here are a few of our favorite options for how to store them:
- Filed by category, clearly labeled. Sample headings: Appliances, Electronics, Misc., Sports, Tools, Toys
- Binder(s) with plastic sleeves or file pockets to make it easy to toss in new manuals
- Designated drawer or portable box
Get started! Go grab your stack of manuals and start purging. You’ll be surprised at how few you really need to keep and that will make storing them all the easier.