Sometimes we must say good-bye to an old friend. A couple of months ago, I ended a love/hate relationship with an inexpensive hand mixer that I acquired nearly 18 years ago. It was one of my first appliance purchases when I moved to San Francisco, and being that my apartment then, like every apartment I’ve lived in since, had the notable feature of the mostly counterless kitchen, holding onto this little utilitarian and occasionally used tool made sense. Sort of.
Over the past couple of years, apparently, I uttered a few audible criticisms of the mixer while trying to wrestle batter or potatoes from it’s clutches. It just wasn’t up to snuff, yet, I persevered. And then came the change I didn’t realize I was waiting for: on my birthday, my sweetie surprised me with a sexy, seven-speed, cranberry-colored hand mixer. Ooooh! I literally jumped for joy when I unwrapped the birthday bundle, but not just because it was really beautiful and made cool vroom vroom! sounds. It had the inherent potential to make some aspects of cooking and mixing things fun again.
And so it was, that the old mixer and I parted ways. I could have added it to the urban mix (ha ha!) by putting it out on the sidewalk for some passerby to find and bring home, but instead, I added it to the bag of outbound donations. But there was one more thing to do: I had to put away the new user’s manual where I could easily refer to it when need be…and get rid of the old one.
Which finally leads me to the point of this post: Do you have a go-to place for manuals and warranties in your home? If you don’t have one yet, maybe it’s time to get one started. And if you do, when did you last rifle it and get rid of the paperwork for things you no longer own?
Why organize product manuals and warranties?
They are easy to access when you need them for any number of reasons…
- They are at your fingertips when you need to contact the manufacturer regarding product defects or to send an item back for repair or replacement.
- Save yourself time, especially when you’re on your way to the store and you need to find the model number of the vacuum bags that fit your Hoover, or the filters for your water purifier.
- You can quickly get your hands on the manuals to reset the clocks in your electronics those handful of times each year when the power goes out!
- Very simply, there’s a place to put the little booklet that come with your new camera or television or blender.
How should you organize incoming manuals and warranties?
- For many people, it is most convenient to store appliance manuals and warranties in the room where the appliances are stored and used. A drawer or folder in the kitchen will hold manuals for the major household appliances and smaller kitchen appliances (i.e. the refrigerator, toaster, coffee grinder, etc.) A designated place on a bookshelf or in a drawer in the living room or den will house the manuals for the electronics inhabiting that room. And so on.
- If you prefer to store all manuals and warranties in one place, add a section in your filing system called “User’s Manuals / Warranties.” Create a folder for each area of the house or type of product and file the documentation accordingly.
- When you purchase a new product, attach the receipt and/or proof of purchase to the user’s manual or warranty. This ensures all your documentation for the purchase is kept together.
What to do when you no longer own a product?
It’s a good idea to flip through your collection of users manuals and warranties at least once a year. If you no longer own a particular item, remove and recycle the paperwork, thereby eliminating unnecessary papers and ensuring you’ll have less clutter to sift through when you need to find the manuals for items you currently own. You may find you suddenly have some extra room in the filing cabinet!
And now it’s time for me to mix up a little batter for banana bread…