Do you re­ally need to keep prod­uct man­u­als?

The Island Packet (Sunday) - - Real estate & homes - BY NI­COLE ANZIA

Prod­uct man­u­als for ap­pli­ances and other ma­jor house­hold de­vices are a lit­tle bit like mar­tini glasses. You never use them, but the minute you get rid of them, you re­al­ize you need them.

So although some peo­ple choose to dis­pose of the hard copies and find their man­u­als on­line when nec­es­sary, the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple still pre­fer to keep the orig­i­nal hard copy.

No mat­ter which method you pre­fer, here are ideas for keep­ing the in­for­ma­tion or­ga­nized.


Let’s be rea­son­able: It is not nec­es­sary to keep the pa­per­work that comes with a prod­uct duch as a fan, hair dryer or cof­fee pot. If the item has an on/off switch and you know how it works, toss the pa­per­work.

Man­u­als and war­ranties for big­ger (and more com­plex) ap­pli­ances such as your dish­washer, air con­di­tioner and hot-water heater can be stored in la­beled files and or­ga­nized by cat­e­gory.

If you are on the fence about items that fall in between, think about how of­ten you might need the man­ual. For in­stance, you might want to keep a bike man­ual for oc­ca­sional ref­er­ence. It also may make sense to keep the man­ual for a kitchen ap­pli­ance that you use only once or twice a year.

And there are some items for which you’ll want to keep the man­ual for as long as you have the item, such as a crib or car seat. Some baby and tod­dler items have im­por­tant height, weight or age rec­om­men­da­tions, and if you even­tu­ally give them away, it’s best to also pass along the pa­per­work.


Sort through the pa­per­work. Keep the man­ual and war­ranty, and re­cy­cle all ex­tra­ne­ous in­for­ma­tion. Also, write the pur­chase date and ven­dor on the front of the man­ual be­fore fil­ing it.

The files will be bulky, and you’re not go­ing to ac­cess them fre­quently, so they don’t need to be stored with your other house­hold files. Con­sider keep­ing them in a sec­ondary fil­ing cabi­net or in a clearly la­beled box on a shelf in a closet.


Some peo­ple opt to record model num­bers, se­rial num­bers and pur­chase dates elec­tron­i­cally, and then use on­line prod­uct man­u­als to find the per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion when nec­es­sary.

The key to mak­ing this work is to ac­cu­rately and con­sis­tently record the in­for­ma­tion. While some peo­ple pre­fer to make a spread­sheet, dig­i­tal tools such as Ever­note make it easy to record this in­for­ma­tion. The tool al­lows you to type in the essen­tials or upload pho­tos of box la­bels or man­ual cover. As with any or­ga­niz­ing task, pick one op­tion and stick with it.

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