Hacks for Home: Organizing Manuals and Warranties

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I aspire to evolve our home with new ideas, solutions and inspirations. Some changes that I make are meaty enough to share and have been a part of my blogging journey, others are really small,  although with a great impact but never made the cut to feature. This series of posts is like a cheat -sheet on HOME -HACKS or simple (mostly organizational) projects that I have taken up around our home and I hope reading on you also will take a page from my book (excuse the lame reference to the opening image). 

I have been that person, for the longest time, that shudders at the thought of any of her appliances breaking down…only and only…because she is more scared of going through the mountain pile of manuals and warranties lying in a bottom drawer somewhere. Earlier, I had this devil-may-care attitude about keeping the manuals in the first place, off they went into the TRASHCAN mostly (it hurts to even admit that). Once my conversation with a vacuum cleaner company representative went something like this…

Rep: “May I know what model is your vacuum cleaner?”

Me: “Ummmm….it is small and handheld…the sticker with technical details came off…so..”

Rep: “Do you know the date of purchase?”

Me: “Ummmm…. I definitely bought it before Diwali….for cleaning and all…so may be 10 months ago…give or take 2-3 months”

Rep: “So, is it an out of warranty product?”

Me: “I am not really sure…could you send someone down to figure that out for me?”

There are so many things wrong with that conversation, why did I remind her that “vacuum cleaner was for cleaning and all….”. But, I have learnt my lesson. After copious amount of  pinterest-ing and roaming around the blogosphere, I too have come up with my own binder for bills, manuals and warranties of all the products and appliances in this house. Meet my LLB…little blue binder.

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It is a 2-inch D ring binder that is now stuffed with all the paper pile. I might have to upgrade for a thicker one soon. But, this is fine for now.

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I divided all the bills, service slips, warranty cards and manuals into these 6 categories with room for more in future. I made one with my name too, I think you can do this for all the family members if there is a serious repetition of gadgets in your house, like rather than putting 4 iPhone bills in the gadget category put them under everyone’s names. It would be easier than figuring out which one was bought first.

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The easiest thing about this project is the short list of required tools but the changes are so substantial. All that is needed besides the binder are sheet protectors, document bags, some index tabs, dividers and a label maker. If you wanna dress up the binder a bit or have an old one at hand, check out how I up-cycled an old binder here.

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I must recommend a D ring binder if you are using sheet protectors and document bags, O ring binders will make it very hard for you to manage the sheets as the end ones will curl and crumple in the corner constantly.

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The only problem I faced with using sheet protectors is that the separators (at least the ones I found online) are made for the simple A4 size paper (8.3″) and not a 9.5″ wide protector. So, it gets covered by them completely and you will not be able to see the dividers. For that reason only, I use these index tabs to mark out the category but with a number. I chose to number them because like I said the amount of manuals will soon increase and I will update to a thicker binder. I can chose to remove the tabs/dividers as well or leave them with this binder for another purpose. All I will have to do is, change the first Index page and the binder would be completely re-purposed. This small change made this binder quiet versatile.

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A great tip I have to share is to always put any recent service bills right behind the original cash receipt, like I did with my laptop’s. This ensures that I know what all was changed by the service people as well as their contact information for any future reference.

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I have already blogged about my RO Maintenance Checklist and I keep this in a document bag with all the manuals and bills. I folded a recent service bill right in the front, tucked in a small pocket to keep a tab on the contact information of the service provider and the last date of maintenance. You can also put a business card there, it is just easier to check the next date for maintenance and call straight away rather than go looking around for their number.

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This step is a bit of a stretch but if you want to get into hyper-organizing then you could also make a note of what all the appliances or gadgets are in every category by listing them on each separator page in their order. It makes things really easy for kids and husbands (mine…for sure) to find something if they ever have to in your absence. But, skip it as it won’t save you a lot of time, but will definitely look more sorted.

Below, I am listing the products used and their links (affiliate).

P.S. I did not use this binder, I had mine already. But this is the only one I found to have a D-ring.

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1. Solo Separator/divider Multicolored 2. Solo 11 Hole Sheet Protector 3. Solo Document File Bags 4. Solo Flipper Index Tabs  5. Epson Labelworks LW-400 Label Printer 6. Nourish 2-inch D-Ring Binder

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