Is anyone else overrun with instruction manuals? From toys to appliances to furniture to dishes…. Everything comes with an instruction/care manual. Which is a good thing, obviously. It’s important to know how to care for a new purchase, and it’s always good to have the manual on hand when an issue arises.
But what do you do with it all in the meantime? All that paperwork takes up space and can quickly become a jumbled mess, creating clutter and impeding progress when you actually need to find a manual.
We have a few suggestions for streamlining your instruction manual collection. Think about how often your manuals are needed, and how much space you have – you may decide a hybrid of one of these suggestions will suit you best. Here are our top 5 ways to keep all those manuals under control:
Accordion File – Do you have only a small stack of manuals? If they will fit easily in a divided accordion file, this is a great way to keep them contained and organized in a small space. An accordion file fits easily on a bookshelf, in a closet, or somewhere else out of the way, while still allowing you to easily access its contents. We like how little space it takes up.
Hanging File Folders – Hanging file folders are inexpensive and easy to use. You could designate several folders in your current file drawer for instruction manuals, or (better yet) use an individual file folder box for all manuals. These file boxes look like Tupperware bins, but are designed to hold file folders. This allows you to label the bin with “Instruction Manuals” and place the bin in an out-of-the-way space.
Bins – Speaking of bins…. If you aren’t sold on the suggestions above, a regular bin will work just fine. Just make sure it’s big enough for regular 8.5” x 11” paper and comes with a lid, and that will be sufficient. Bins are inexpensive, easy to carry, and stackable. They can be labeled on the outside and placed in the attic or the back of a closet so they’re out of the way. For something that isn’t needed very often, this is a great option for keeping the manuals in good condition and in one location so they’re easy to find when needed.
Magazine Holders – If you have space on an office shelf, you can store manuals in magazine holders. Magazine holders come in lots of beautiful materials and colors, so it can add to your office ambiance and décor. The manuals are easily accessible, if needed, but out of the way of every day items.
Digital – Last, but not least, you can create a digital folder on your computer or stored on a hard drive with all your instruction manuals. Instructions can either be scanned in and kept as a pdf, or (for bigger items) you can find them online and download them as a pdf from there (or bookmark for future use). Then the paper versions can be recycled and all manuals are accessible on your computer. If you do this, be sure to scan in your registration card for the item since this card has information pertaining to your individual item (like serial and model number). You may need these numbers in the future for troubleshooting issues or for possible recalls.
We hope this helps you sort through the mountains of manuals you may have laying around. Think though your needs and what you have, and decide which system (or hybrid of systems) works best for you. Happy Organizing!