Now, Where Did I Put That Manual?

This morning, a friend called to ask if I'd check on her house, as she was away.  A strange noise was heard emenating from somewhere within, and concerned neighbors had called. When I arrived, I found nothing amiss but I did notice the furnace was flashing a series of letters and numbers so I called her back to locate the manual so that I could look up the code.

Here's the fun!  She was able to tell me right where to go to find it.

Consider for just one moment...where do you keep your manuals?  



If you are like most people, they are scattered in various places throughout your home.  

My clients tell me that this is one of the best benefits of getting organized.  They have been able to locate their manuals! (and thus have saved themselves a lot of time and aggravation, not to mention money.)

The furnace is an easy one.  Put your manual in the holder that many manufacturers built in, just for the purpose.  Then it's a cinch to locate the manual and also to look up the type of air filters you need. If you're smart, write the name and number of the installer (or whoever you like to call for repairs) on the cover of the manual.  Then you are all set in case of an emergency.  September is National Preparedness Month after all!

If you have an older furnace, like we do.  Tape a clear plastic folder to the furnace itself and slip in the manual.  Instead of tape, I used my latest obsession.

Is there such a thing as a vintage furnace?
For all other manuals, they should be sorted into categories, then either filed in your filing cabinet in these hanging pocket files...
Office Depot
Or sorted into clear plastic sleeves, placed into binders and set on a bookshelf.  

Be sure to label them! This is an especially handy way to store them if you have many of the same type of items or own a very large house with lots of different items.

Categories can include:

  • Appliances (dishwasher, refrigerator, stove, airconditioner, microwave, air purifier, dehumidifier, humidifier, TV, washer & dryer, portable heater)
  • Household (furniture, cookware, clothing)
  • Outdoor (lawn furniture, gas grill, lawnmower, weedwhip, camping equipment)
  • Technology  (computer, printer, camera, video recorder, watch, cell phone, gps, thermostat, watch) 
  • Tools (power tools, hand tools, crafting/sewing equipment)

Once you gather all of your manuals in one place, it will be easy to determine the categories, but be sure to check that you actually still own the item!

What about warranties?

Personally speaking, I keep each warranty clipped to it's corresponding manual.  That way, if the item breaks, I locate the manual and I can easily see if it's still covered.  

If you're really organized, you can log in warranty expiration dates on a separate calendar as you make purchases. (I love Google Calendar for this, as it allows you to create as many calendars as you want that are then linked together)  Then you can easily see if a warranty expiration date is coming up to return something that hasn't worked out as planned.  

We had a defective printer that we returned 3 times and the company replaced it 3 times for free over the course of 3 years as we kept a close eye on the warranty expiration date for each subsequent printer.

Whenever you go to look up a manual, take a moment to rifle through the pile to see if you still own the items there.  If not, they are easy to pull out and toss.  And, if you decide to sell an item, you can quickly locate the manual that goes with it.  The new owner will thank you heartily.

When you're all done, check to be sure you have all the manuals you need.  Don't despair if  you find you're missing one.  Remember in this digital age, you can always go online and find it to print out.  I have a Singer sewing machine circa 1958 and guess what?  I found the manual online!

So what happened with the furnace?  

It was flashing an operating code not an error code and now all is well.  

Did you just check to see where your furnace manual is?

Are you one of the brave who throws out all manuals, knowing you can access them online if needed?