How To Organize Product Manuals & Warranty Information

So far during the 31 Days of Real Life Organizing, I’ve posted mostly about theory and mindset. Today, I’m thought I’d share with you how I organize my product manuals and warranty information.

I use the FreedomFiler Home Filing Kit for all of my filing and I have had it in place for six years. It’s a great filing system for organizing and managing your papers according to their “shelf-life” but it’s also valuable if you’d like to transition to paperless. Over the years, I have had less and less paper to file into it but it’s still as effective for the things I haven’t digitized. I don’t endorse many organizing products but I love this filing system and it has truly stood the test of time for me and my clients. Here’s my affiliate link for the FreedomFiler if you’d like to check it out.

Organizing & accessing product manuals & warranty information is definitely a common problem for the average homeowner. I’ve seen binders busting at the seams, broken hanging file folders, overflowing & toppled piles, etc. I don’t feel you need to go overboard in organizing this information because you don’t need to access it on a daily basis but it can save you money in the long run.

Saving Money

Organizing and filing my product manuals and warranty information in this way has enabled me to take advantage of numerous warranty programs. I’ve received replacements {at least $500 worth} by processing warranties on a shower head, new vacuum (broken part couldn’t be fixed), iPad screen protector, laptop charging cord, etc. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this system in place when I needed to replace my mattress 7 years ago, it would have saved me about $900. But I have learned my lesson and have the current information ready at my fingertips. Finally, I often sell items we no longer use and buyers are always impressed when I offer the manual, warranty and proof of purchase {along with the item in very good condition, of course}. They may not pay a lot more but I do find they are often more generous because it shows the care you took.

How To Organize Your File 

The “permanent” section of my files is coded in red and is where my warranties and manuals live. {Permanent indicates that the file should be kept for the life of the property, person, pet or product.} I currently have seven hanging file folders labeled “Warranties,_____” for:

  • Appliances
  • Baby
  • Conveys
  • Furniture
  • PC+
  • Tools +
  • TV/Media

IMG_0969

I’m sure you can guess what I keep in the appliances, baby, furniture and TV/media folders. The “conveys” folder is great, especially since we move so much. Anything that is “nailed down” or goes with the house if we were to sell belongs in this folder. This way when we move I can simply hand the contents of the folder over to the new owner. They love it and I no longer have a need for any of these papers. This file is a little thicker than I would like but here’s a trick for you. Most standard hanging folders have several lines embossed across the bottom. Crease the folder along two lines on either side of the folder to fit the width of your papers. This will allow the paper to sit nicely without purchasing box bottom folders. I don’t often recommend keeping files this thick but it works in this instance.

Folder Embossed Lines

The PC+ folder contains camera, computer accessories and any type of tech gadget and the I put any tools used in and around the home, including small kitchen appliances, saws, vacuum, etc. in my Tools+ folder {Your mileage may vary}.

Before You File

In order to process a warranty, you need to be the original owner and often need original proof of purchase. On occasion, a product will indicate that the original packaging is required but this is rare and stated in the warranty policy. When I purchase an item with a warranty, I will staple the paperwork, UPC code from the package and the receipt together and file it immediately into the appropriate warranty folder. Done and done.

Cashing In

When something around the house breaks, I check my files to see if there is a warranty and if the item is still covered {so easy to do when you keep the receipt here, too!} If so, I contact the company to find out the current process. If you do so, you might be able to save the trouble of mailing the product back to manufacturer.

Cycle it Out

When getting rid of an item that is broken and out of warranty or selling/donating, I make sure to remove the manual and other papers from the warranty file.

I’d love to hear what you think! How do you currently file your product manuals and warranties? Is that working well for you? Let me know in the comments.

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