The following is a guest post with simple tips for organizing user manuals and warranties from regular contributor, Rachel.
My husband and I have purchased and sold many homes over the course of our married life. Whether for a job opportunity or for personal family reasons, we’ve found ourselves in the home transition process enough times to know my favorite tool for organizing warranties and manuals is an expanding file folder.
An expandable file folder is such a basic and age-old office product. It seems too simple to be deemed “my favorite” but it’s true! This gem has proven over and over to be the best way to manage hard copy manuals and household paperwork.
I have found it helpful when purchasing a new home and mounds of important papers are piled in front of us at the signing table. It’s also helpful for resourcing throughout the years of living in said purchased home. And, finally, it’s a great tool to give to the new homeowners when you sell a property – it makes you look extra organized and you didn’t have to do anything special. 🙂
For a brief time, I tried using a 3-ring binder system but the manuals would slip out or were too awkward in size to fit properly. I ended up getting more annoyed at that method than finding it useful, so I reverted back to the expandable file folder method.
When it comes to organizing household manuals in a file folder, here are a few tips I find helpful…
First, it must be inexpensive yet durable. I’ve always given ours away to the new homeowner upon selling our house. Hence the reason I never invest much beyond a few dollars. I like THIS ONE shown above (affiliate link). It’s an “add-on” item via Amazon, so the price is kept low but will only ship once you have a certain amount fulfilled in your cart. Since Christmas is around the corner, it might be a good time to stick it in your cart and it’ll ship to you after you’ve purchased a thing or two for gift giving. I happen to like this particular product because it’s tear proof and water resistant yet cheap. It’s what I used in my last house and handed over to the new owners when we sold… so I don’t have a personal picture of mine to show you. I just ordered one for our new house. 🙂
I recently ran across THIS version (affiliate link) of an expanding file folder to organize manuals vertically. Sorry, no picture, but it’s an accordion style piece that holds your pages vertically rather than horizontally. I’ve never used it but thought it might be interesting to some of you who would prefer a vertical storage system.
Second, I dedicate my expandable file folder to containing only manuals and warranties that are related to the actual house. If it’s not something I would sell with the house, like a coffee pot, it doesn’t get filed here. Paperwork related to the dishwasher, water heater, sprinkler system, etc. are all things that are “fixed” structures and therefore the corresponding paperwork would be stashed in my folder. I do this purposefully so that I’m never hunting for a serial number or how-to manual when something needs repair. It’s also the best way to contain paperwork often times requested during a house closing. I’ve never had trouble accidentally packing important paperwork during a move. Everything that would be necessary for a home sale is usually found in my file folder.
Third, don’t over label. Shocking, I know. 🙂 Maybe it’s because we’ve moved enough that I realize how little we actually access our manuals. Or, maybe it’s because I never had time to make a big ordeal about organizing user guides because I was too busy unpacking boxes. Or, perhaps because it’s a small file with most items already clearly labeled on the front of each booklet. I’m not exactly sure why but I know it’s never mattered enough for me to invest time labeling this file system. Regardless, I’ve always kept it simple and filed away my household papers without much fuss by grouping similar items together and moving on to bigger items of importance.
Fourth, if possible, write model and serial numbers on the manuals of new items you’ve purchased. This helps tremendously down the road. I’ve been thankful for this in past years when we had an appliance recalled. It was a quick and easy reference for us.
There’s my two cents and personal experience when it comes to this type of organization. One last story to share… we recently purchased property from the original home-owner of this house. I know y’all understand when I say that my little heart skipped a happy beat as the previous owner handed us her file system full of user manuals, HOA material, and a sweet welcoming note that included her future contact information. It was such a special touch to be the recipient of someone else’s thoughtfulness and care. I share this because it’s a very easy project to organize and yet it carries a significant impression beyond your efforts. 🙂
Have a blessed week! 🙂
In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughters. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours!
- *Please note that affiliate links are included in this post to make it easier for you to find what is being referenced. A small commission is made should you purchase product using these links, but this is at no extra cost to you. As always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own – or the author, in the case of posts by my guest contributors. Thank you!*