Instruction manuals are a necessary evil. We need them to put an item together or figure out how to operate something- but then what do we do with the bulky booklets? Stick them in a file, a box, throw them away? All of the above actually. Just keep these things in mind:
- If a manual is in multiple languages- tear out the languages you can’t read and you will be left with a booklet about 50-75% smaller than you started with which is already a huge help. Just staple the pages you are keeping together.
- Tape the receipt of big ticket items right on the cover or inside cover. If you ever need to call customer service about a warranty you will have the information right there.
- Consider how you would find a manual if you were looking for it. Do you want to go to a file or a binder and find a neatly labeled “Warranty/ Instructions- Fridge” file or plastic sleeve? Or is an upright magazine rack or box labeled “Kitchen Manuals” enough and you’ll just dig for it when and if you ever need it? You have to weigh the time it takes to set up your system versus how much you think you will actually reference it. If you rarely go and look at a manual, there is not much sense in spending a lot of time to organize them.
- Why keep the manuals at all? If you never look at them and never have, what is the point in keeping them? There are some online sites like Manuals Online and ManualsLib that have hundreds of thousands of manuals online should you need them. If you have an issue, you can also do a quick search online. Anytime I have a technical problem, I search for an answer online- not in the instruction manual.
Whether you decide to organize your manuals in a neat system, put them in broad categories, or get rid of them all together- just do something with them. They come into our lives on a frequent basis and it is having a plan that makes all the difference.