Owner's Manual & Warranty Organization

Murphy's Law: When you finally get to heat up your lunch for the third time this afternoon and your child is actually napping, your toaster oven calls it quits with cold pizza still inside. You know it's not dead and you want to troubleshoot it, but where is that owner's manual - and warranty in case it's broken. 

Yes. I have lived this situation. Owner's Manuals. This is one area that Marie Kondo, the creator of the KonMari Method, and I disagree on. And this is probably the only time I will tell you that I think it is ok to keep papers around.

Organize your Owner's Manuals and Warranties Easily. Great method on keeping your directions handy. Free printables for your binder too!
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Kondo states in the book, that manuals do not need to be kept because you can find them easily online and it is clutter. I agree you can find it online. I disagree that being online makes it easier to access. Plus, most of the time the warranty information is in there as well. So my solution is to have all of the manuals in one convenient place in a binder.

I have two binders for our home - one for our household appliances and products, and one is for my daughter's products. 

Our household binder includes:
  • All Major Appliances: A/C, stove, refrigerator, vacuum, etc.
  • Kitchen Appliances: blender, toaster over, coffee maker, etc.
  • Office Products: printer, computers, etc.
My daughter's binder would include:
  • Car seat manual, warranty and recall information
  • Furniture: crib, mattress, pack n play, etc
  • Toys: Jumpers, play mat, talking toys, etc.
  • Anything that she uses exclusively.
Organize your Owner's Manuals and Warranties Easily. Great method on keeping your directions handy. Free printables for your binder too!

For our household owners manual binder: 
I think this idea of keeping the manuals in clear pouches in a binder originally came from a blog I read a while ago. I have since added the card stock though, here is why. When you place your manual in the clear plastic pouch, it is heavy. And when you have as large a binder as I do, they tend to fall out of the bottom. So adding the card stock to the pouch allows it to be stiffened up AND you get to add another manual to the other side, limiting the number of pouches you need.

Here is the simple process:
  1. Place the card stock into the clear protector. 
  2. Choose your owner's manual and print a label with your label maker or write a label on washi tape. Place on plastic sheet.
  3. Insert manual in protector.
  4. Turn over and repeat on other side.
  5. Repeat process for all of your manuals.
Organize your Owner's Manuals and Warranties Easily. Great method on keeping your directions handy. Free printables for your binder too!

Here are my tips for keeping it organized:
  • I try to keep the manuals in alphabetic order by something I would remember. So my Vacuum isn't under Dyson, it's under Vacuum - in the V's.
  • I say try to keep it in alphabetic order, because as I add products to the home, I don't switch the labels. I just keep the first letter alphabetic. So you will never see 'Coffee Maker' in the M section. It would be in the C section, even if it's after 'Coffee Grinder'. (Did you get that??)
  • I am not overly Type-A about the labels - initially. When we get a new product, I will put it in a backside of a pouch in-use or a new pouch, but label it with washi tape to just get it inside. Then later, I may go and add a label when I have my label maker out. 
  • Keep extra pouches with card stock in the front of the binder for later use.
  • When you have a warranty, be sure to staple the original receipt to the manual or warranty and slip it in the pouch too.
Now when we need to troubleshoot a product or we need to clean it properly, we can go right to the binder and access the information immediately. 

We store our household binder on top of the fridge in the kitchen, right under the cabinet and my daughter's stays downstairs near my desk. You can classify your manuals in anyway that works for you. 

I am including a couple free printables for you, for the cover of your owner manual binders. There are 4 to choose from: Household, Family, Children & Personal. Each one has the option of color or b&w - the b&w one I made lighter so you can color it in if you so choose.
color / B&W color / B&W color / B&W color / B&W

Go ahead and organize your manuals, it won't take you too much time and you will feel so much better about storing your information.
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