Monday, March 15, 2010

Tip 47: Users' guides, warranties, receipts

Let me start by saying how happy I was this afternoon when I made some popcorn and saw all my pots and pans lids were neatly hanging inside our cabinet door. (See how this blog is coming full-circle already?!) The newly organized awesomeness almost caught me off guard -- I had forgotten about yesterday's 15-minute project.

Now, to today's topic...
About a month ago when our Craigslist vacuum cleaner broke, I was looking around for our users' guide and receipt so we could first try to fix it ourselves and then have it fixed professionally while under warranty. All our guides, warranties and receipts for bigger purchases were thrown together in one disorganized heap, so I realized I needed to do something.

Tip 47: Using files or DIY dividers, group your users' guides, warranties and receipts for pricey purchases into categories that make sense for your household.

Step 1: Go through your pile of users' guides, warranties and receipts once to simply throw items out and get a sense of what you own.

Before I could sort and come up with categories for our items, I needed to throw out any guides or receipts we still had that went with anything we sold or gave away or that had broken. I also found that we had plenty of other random papers mixed in there that we no longer needed.

The pile looked like this, ready for the trash!

Step 2: Group the items you plan to keep into piles based on categories of your choosing.

I spread everything out on the floor and wound up making seven piles.

Each pile was labeled with one of my S-shaped pieces of paper (for Stephanie, of course!) that I got in kindergarten. Literally. This is who I am.

Step 3: File away!

I love storing papers in plastic accordion folders. We don't have a filing cabinet, and I don't plan to get one anytime soon, so I like this current organizational system. We have about five plastic folders currently holding just about every paper we need, and they're arranged on a shelf in our office closet. For this project I used two accordion folders, not because I needed all that space, but because I am saving space for those to grow. I add those Post It Durable Tabs that I also like so much to keep items more permanently organized.

Here's the labeling system for our users' guides, warranties and receipts:
  • Tools -- primarily electric tools
  • Home improvement -- for items such as blinds, our storm door, our impending backsplash project. This is also a great place to keep paint samples should you need those down the road.
  • Clothing -- for more expensive clothing purchases, especially ones where the company promises to replace items if they fall apart before their appropriate time.
  • Furniture/decor -- especially including receipts for more expensive furniture purchases (seeing as most of our furniture is from IKEA or Craigslist)
  • Appliances, kitchen -- blender, food processor, coffee maker, rice cooker (one of our more-random but frequently used items). I also threw in here our paperwork for items such as knives and pots and pans that aren't appliances per se but seemed to make sense in here.
  • Appliances, other -- because most of our appliances are made for the kitchen
  • Electronics -- mostly for entertainment items, such as cameras, TVs, DVD players, cell phones
Now we will need to remember to take out corresponding items when we sell something on Craigslist or need to donate/recycle/throw something out.

 Next I keep receipts and warranty promises for nicer clothing purchases. What are those purchases? Let's go through my closet this week and point out some of my favorite clothing purchases as part 1 of "spring clean yourself."

1 comment:

  1. Here are the categories that work for me

     Appliances (Large)
     Appliances (Small)
     Electronics
     Furniture
     Jewelry
     Other
     Phones
     Tools