Paper paper everywhere. Are you like me in being surprised that we still have so much paper? The more our lives migrate to the digital, the more paper we still seem to have to face. As in junk mail, flyers, bills, statements, estimates, agreements, marketing letters, and don’t get me started on political ads in our mailboxes. 😣
Some paper is wonderful like love letters, kids’ drawings of their family, and marriage certificates. 😊 Some of it is awful like speeding tickets, explanations of benefits, and boring tax documentation. ☹️
But managing and organizing all kinds of papers is a necessary and very present part of our modern lives whether we like it or not.
The trouble is organizing it can all be overwhelming and anxiety ridden. Do I need to keep this? What if I throw this out? Will I need it again?
I am here to help you answer the often asked question of “how long do I have to keep this” and this week I am just going to focus on one aspect of household paperwork:
Appliance manuals and warranties
I am frequently asked what to do with all kinds of papers. You may remember an earlier post this year that was all about mail. I want to answer ALL of your paper questions so let me know what you’d like to see covered by clicking here and dropping me quick paper question.
To help you #uncomplicate your appliance manuals, here are my tips and suggestions:
- Designate a location for them. They are not something you need to access often so they don’t need to take up prime real estate. They can go in a filing cabinet or in a bin on a high shelf. The location just needs to be labeled clearly. The bin in the picture is a multipurpose bin from The Containers Store and works perfectly for this purpose.
- Toss any that aren’t needed. These accumulate fast and technology changes quickly, too. We recently cut cable so there was no reason to keep any of the documentation pertaining to our cable provider. Go through your current inventory and make sure you toss any that you no longer need especially because you don’t have the device any longer.
- Toss any in a language you don’t speak. Many times there are multiple manuals in multiple languages provided with appliances. Scan what you are about to keep and make sure you keep only the instructions that you need in the language you prefer.
- Toss excess papers with the manuals. And by excess I mean additional marketing or informational material you don’t need. The excess papers do not need to take up space in your home.
- Use folders. If you have a lot of papers that pertain to one specific appliance like a refrigerator, put them in a folder. Name the folder with what it is and the date when you purchased it, where, and how much you paid. If you ever have warranty questions or replacement/ repair issues you will have to answer these questions.
- Toss the store receipts. They are printed on thermal paper with ink that fades so don’t bother keeping it. That’s why Step #5 is important for the big ticket items.
- Consider NOT keeping them. While I think it’s important to keep the manuals, instructions, and warranties for your big ticket appliance purchases (refrigerator, stove, washing machine, etc.) you may want to consider tossing the manuals for smaller, less expensive appliances. Once you know how it works, do you really need to keep the manual? Plus, most are available online if you ever need to research them in the future.