I’ve done a great deal of “binderizing” (yep, that’s my slang word for using binders to organize paperwork) in my day. I thought I’d share with you a system that has worked well for me and my family in terms of organizing those product manuals and instructions you get with practically every item in your home. I broke them down into 4, 3-inch binders each dedicated to a different category (see image). Inside the binder each manual, booklet, and instruction sheet is stored in a clear plastic, 3-hole punched sleeve. Using these sheet protectors is nice because they can also hold things like install cds for your electronics or those weird Allen wrenches that only fit a particular item.
This is the binder that I use to store all the paperwork and instructions to do with everything from the computer to the camera to our televisions. Also included is info on things like alarm clocks, calculators, radios and label makers.
This houses all the booklets, receipts, warranties and manuals that come with the major and minor kitchen appliances. I also keep things like the info sheet on how to clean my dutch oven, the do’s and don’ts of knife sharpening and which water bottle is top rack dishwasher only.
Home Appliances & Tools
In this binder you'll find paperwork on other major appliances around the home including our washer and dryer, vacuums, grill, air conditioners, and ceiling fans. My husband’s tool manuals are kept here as well including the lawnmower, weed wacker, leaf blower, saws, and drills.
Furniture & Décor
This is the binder where I keep items like paint chips, fabric swatches, and paperwork on artwork. We also keep furniture receipts and warranties.
I have a 3-year-old son and right now we have a small folder started for paperwork related to his collection of toys and games. As he gets older and his toys get bigger and his interests branch out into collections (possibly Lego!), I’m sure he’ll have to graduate to a binder himself.
In terms of my work with clients, I’ve shared this system with many of them. You could also tweak this binder system with the following modifications:
- Instead of using broad categories like mine, you could devote a binder to each room in your home (ie; kitchen, office, garage, basement).
- You could go so far as to alphabetize the manuals by product name or type.
- You could forgo the binders completely and use such things as accordion files, plastic filing totes or magazine holders.
- Another option is to tape the manual to the back of the appliance or keep it in the room where the item is stored or used.
-Some folks like to get rid of all this paper completely by scanning it into digital storage or downloading it off the manufacturer’s website when they need it.
There’s no right or wrong way to tackle this kind of paperwork around your home. The goal is to be able to find and access it when you need it. I know this system works for us as my husband often uses these binders with success and on occasion (heaven forbid he give me too much credit) has said how helpful they’ve been. Score!
Have you scored with a system that works for you? I want to know!