Weekly Challenge – Organizing warranties & manuals

April 29, 2011
Hi, I am Oksana from Order Matters! Thank you, Toni, for allowing me to guest post on A Bowl Full of Lemons. I am thrilled to be sharing an organizing system with you all that has always worked for me.
One order matter not to be ignored is the organization of warranty information. Our homes, closets, and garages are filled with valuable assets. Most of these assets make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Thus, in the unfortunate and stressful event that an appliance fails to perform or a certain product is being recalled, it is critical to have your warranty information and user guides well organized. If you do not have a stress-free system in place to keep track of all the paperwork, I challenge you to try and get your warranties in order.
Here is a list of supplies you will need for this project:
Binder (3″ heavy-duty preferred)
Sheet protectors
Index tab dividers
Label maker
All of your warranties, user guides or manuals, and original receipts
Your calendar
Camera (optional)
Access to computer with printer (optional)
Time required:
Depending on the condition of your current filing system and a number of warranties you have, this project can take 90 mins or longer.
General guidelines – records to keep:
  • Original purchase receipt
  • Owner’s manual or user guide
  • Warranty
  • Model and serial numbers (sometimes located on the packaging, please cut them out or take a picture)
Please note that it is critical to maintain a receipt of purchase. Most manufacturers and/or service providers will not honour a warranty without the actual proof of purchase.
Items to toss:
Make sure that your new purchase functions properly before throwing anything out. I recommend keeping the original packaging for at least a month. After that, there is no reason for dedicating valuable storage space to empty boxes.
Once you got your supplies and warranties/manuals/receipts ready, you are can create your binder.
I. I use a 3″ heavy-duty view binder. Depending on the number of items you have, you might require more than one binder.
II. I printed out the following general categories of valuables on Avery Ready Index 5-tab dividers (with a table of contents):
  • Appliances
  • Furniture & Custom Cabinetry
  • Home Improvements & Outdoor Items
  • Technology
  • Miscellaneous
Depending on the number of warranties you have, you might want to create additional categories. Does your car or boat have a warranty? Is there one for your home (if you bought a newly constructed home, there should be a warranty on the house)? If you have expensive hobbies, you might want to dedicate a special section in the binder to those items as well.
III. Staple the original receipt to the product warranty.
IV. Use a sheet protector to hold all items relevant to one product: receipt, warranty, and user guide, if any.
V. Print out a label with the date of warranty expiration and stick it onto the user guide so that it stands out.
VI. Sometimes you might have more than one of the same item or perhaps, the warranty and the receipt do not clearly identify the product to which they belong. In those situations, I recommend you either make a note specifying what that item is or attach a picture of the product.
VII. Insert the sheet protectors containing documents into the appropriate sections of your binder.
VIII. If you plan to extend a warranty on a product you own, I recommend marking your calendar in advance to contact the manufacturer or merchant prior to the expiration of the current warranty.
A note about digital warranty organizing options. You can scan warranties and receipts and save them on your computer or even use a website designed specifically for this purpose: https://www.warrantyelephant.com/. My serious reservation about recommending this method of storing warranties and receipts is that many manufacturers and merchants still require to see original proof of purchase in the event of a needed repair or replacement of a defective product. Warranty Elephant is an effective tool for reminding you of an upcoming warranty expiration. However, I feel that you can easily achieve the same goal by using your own calendar.
Looking forward to seeing your warranty organization systems. Happy organizing!
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