Anytime you purchase new electronics, appliances, or even children’s toys, you get a manual that gives you all instructions you could need at that moment, and guidelines for the future.

I used to have a box specifically dedicated to those manuals, and they were easy to find and easy to use. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, really. The only issues that could be improved upon were: 1) although they were easy to find, they weren’t easy to find information fast and 2) they took up space — thereby creating clutter.

Suffice to say, almost every manual you get can be found online. Once you find the manual either download it to a folder on your computer or, and much better as an option, save the file to Google Drive or Evernote. Both web services have the ability to save PDF files, and both have the ability to search through the text.

Doing this means that you can:

  • Organize manuals into folders based on their classification.
  • Search quickly for information regarding what you are trying to do (find a recipe, etc.).
  • Share manuals with others — especially those in your family who are trying to use the same item.

Use a naming system that you can use for another set of folders — such as saving warranties and receipts. For these, scan the item and place them in the corresponding folder. An example of this kind of system:

Manuals

  • Appliances
    • Toaster manual
    • Bread maker manual
  • Television
    • Remote

Receipts & Warranties

  • Appliances
    • Bread maker manual

If you are concerned about security, either create these on your desktop (though you may lose searching capabilities) or blacken out sensitive information using a photo editor.

Let me know your thoughts!