The most overlooked thing to organize is probably household manuals. They usually sit, untouched, in a box or drawer, wasting space. That box is such a mess that, even if you needed to find a manual, the LAST place you would want to look is in that box because it would take you way too long to find the manual you were looking for.
Instead, you may look for the information you need online or call a professional to make a repair that could have easily been taken care of yourself … if you had found the manual.
Many organizing experts would tell you to throw manuals away … recycle them … after all, there’s no need to clutter up your home with a bunch of manuals. You can always look the information up, online … right?
What IF your manuals were organized in a way that they could be easily found and not take up a ton of space?
That’s where the Organized Manual System comes into play!
There have been many instances where I have found household manuals very useful and was happy that I had kept them. Manuals also come in handy when you resell an item, possibly even earning you more on the resell value.
Who Is The Organized Manual System For?
The Organized Manual System is for anyone who owns or rents a home. If you rent a home, your binders will likely be smaller as you won’t have manuals for a lot of the permanent fixtures of your home.
This manual system is perfect for the person who likes to stay organized, make the most of their money, and easily find what they’re looking for.
What Is The Organized Manual System?
The Organized Manual System is a way to organize your household manuals, warranties, and receipts so they can be easily used. This system uses binders, sheet protectors, dividers, and printables to make your manuals easy to find … and it looks good, too!
When Should I Start My Manual Organization?
The best time to start organizing your manuals is when you move into your home … the second best time is NOW!
For years, I had piles of manuals, haphazardly, in files that didn’t make a lot of sense. I tried to come up with a system that worked but it didn’t really do the job. Then, when we moved into our new home, we had a box full of manuals that I spent a lot of time going through to look for the right manuals or paperwork. One time, I even set off an emergency alarm that had been left in the box. It didn’t make any noise but it immediately notified our alarm company, who then called us, asking if everything was okay and for our passphrase. I didn’t even know I had triggered the alarm.
Three years into our new home, I’m finally tackling that box of manuals.
Where Should I Keep My Manuals?
Some people will say you should keep your manuals in the room they are for … so … kitchen manuals in the kitchen, office manuals in the office, etc. I chose a spot in a closet to keep all of our household manuals. It’s a closet that holds our photo albums and office supplies and is easily accessible.
You should keep your manuals in a spot that’s easy for YOU to access, yet out of the way of your busy life. Manuals shouldn’t be kept in a kitchen drawer that could be much better utilized for day to day stuff.
Why Should I Organize My Household Manuals?
Why take the time to organize household manuals? You can always dig through that drawer full of manuals and hope to find what you’re looking for, right?
It’s likely you won’t ever get around to organizing your manuals if you don’t have a good reason, so here are a few reasons that might make the task worth your time:
- Find the manual you need, easily. If something breaks, you will know right where to look to get the model number or any information you may need to replace parts or relay to a repairman.
- Clear out that drawer. Everything should have a home and loose manuals thrown in a drawer is not a proper home. Use that drawer for what makes sense.
- Sell your items for a higher price. When you have the correct information for an item, you may be able to sell it at a higher price than if you are listing it without the specifics.
- Gift the new owner of your home an organized manual system. Imagine this … you purchase a home and the previous owner leaves you a super organized Manual System that helps you understand the ins and outs of the home. That would be TOP NOTCH!
How To Organize Household Manuals
Gather Your Household Manuals
This step could be easy if you’ve always thrown your manuals in a box or drawer. If not, gather your manuals and place them in one spot.
I also use my Organized Manual System to keep warranties, receipts, and even decor information, like room paint colors.
Sort Your Manuals
Once you’ve gathered your manuals, it’s time to sort.
In the past, I have organized manuals by type. For example, all electronic manuals would go in one folder, then all large appliance manuals would go in another but the categories never worked out quite right.
In this Organized Manuals System, you will organize your household manuals by room. That means, if you have a manual for the ceiling fan in the master bedroom, that manual would go in the Master Bedroom pile.
Use Post-It Notes to help you categorize each pile and recycle manuals that you no longer need.
Collect Binder Supplies
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Once you’ve sorted your manuals, you should have a good idea of the binder size you will need. We have quite a few household manuals and I wanted my binders to look uniform so I chose 4 – 3″ binders. These things are HUGE and they worked perfectly.
To make your Manual Binders extra snazzy, you will also want to purchase the Organized Manual System. These are printables that will help you organize your manuals by room and will make it easy to find a manual, when you need to.
Binder supplies are super fun … so fun that I created an entire post where I share My Favorite Binder Supplies. Here, you will find my favorite copy paper (it’s just the right thickness) and my favorite cardstock … as well as a great 3-hole-punch and awesome pens.
Print The Manual Organization System Printables
It would be BEST to print the Manual Printables on cardstock but, at the very least, be sure to print the Binder Spines on cardstock as they will be hard to insert, otherwise.
Cut The Spines And Divider Tabs
You will find 3 Binder Spine sizes for each section. Cut the spine size that coincides with the binders you chose.
Next, cut the Divider Tabs and fold in half.
Insert Cover Pages And Spines In Your Binders
This is where you start to see your Manual System come alive! You should have four binders with the following categories:
- Living Space
- Bed & Bath
I have found these categories work great to streamline your manual binders.
Insert Tabs Into Tab Dividers
The dividers I suggested you use come in packs of eight. You will not need to use all eight dividers, in every binder, depending on your rooms.
Here’s how I have mine:
Kitchen – No dividers. You may choose to divide your kitchen manuals by large and small appliances or any other categories that would make sense for you. I chose to just lump them altogether as there were enough manuals to fill an entire binder.
Living Space – I divided my Living Space Manuals with two dividers; Great Room and Bonus Room. Here are the tabs that you might want to use in this binder:
- Great Room
- Bonus Room
- Living Room
- Dining Room
Bed & Bath – In this binder, I had plenty of room so I also added the Office and Laundry Room. Here are the tabs you might want to use in this binder:
- Master Bedroom
- Guest Bedroom
- Master Bathroom
- Guest Bathroom
- Downstairs Bathroom
- Kids’ Bathroom
- Laundry Room
Outdoor – For the Outdoor Manuals Binder, here are the categories I used:
- Storage Room
- Equipment – Lawnmower, Powerwasher, etc.
- Outside – Patio Furniture, Light Fixtures, etc.
The Manual Organization System also comes with blank tabs so you can write in your own categories, that make sense for you.
Place Manuals In Sheet Protectors
You’re almost there! Take each category, that you sorted earlier, and place each manual, from that category, into a sheet protector. You’ve already come up with the place to put those manuals so go ahead and place them in the correct category.
I also use the Manual Organization System to keep track of paint colors, for each room, and any other information that I’d like to have on hand, to refer to later.
Find A Spot To Keep Your Manual Binders
This is important. Find a spot where you can easily access your manual binders, when needed. I keep mine on a shelf, in a closet, that’s designated for photo albums and office supplies.
Keep your binders where you will use them!
Use Your Manual Organization System
Now that your organization system for manuals is in place, you will be able to find your household manuals, easily.
Is your oven giving you fits? Flip through the Kitchen Binder to find the oven manual and you’ll be confident in knowing the exact model you have, when you need to order parts or call a repairman.
Selling your bedroom set? Grab your Bedroom and Bathroom Binder, flip to the Master Bedroom section and find the original receipt for that furniture so you can make a good decision on its sell price and be able to tell the purchaser the specifics of the set.
Having a Garage Sale and selling your son’s old gaming system? Head to your Living Space Binder and put that manual with the gaming system so your customer will be confident in their purchase.
Maintain Your Manual Organization System
Every system needs maintenance and your Manual System is no exception.
- As you sell stuff, send the manual along, with the new owner.
- When you’re looking for a manual and notice there’s a manual from something you no longer have, recycle it.
- Keep extra page protectors nearby so you can easily add manuals to your binders, as you purchase new things.
It’s taken me a while to get our household manuals out of a box and to create a system to organize manuals. I’m super thrilled with the way the Organized Manual System turned out and wish I would have done this sooner! Once I put my mind to it, it didn’t take much time at all.