Setting Up Warranties and Instructions Filing System
Whether you need to organize your warranties and instructions paperwork for home or for business, the process to do so doesn’t need to be time consuming or difficult. There are two basic ideas I’d like to share with you today: Using a category-based system and using a chronological-based one.
First, let’s discuss what supplies to purchase or gather! You will need some type of folders…whether it be manila folders or hanging file folders. Choose what’s going to fit best in your filing cabinet or wherever you’ll be filing things. Grab yourself a bunch of those folders, a pen with blue or black ink, and the stuff you want to file. You’re ready to go!
Let’s start with the category-based system. It’s really as easy as it sounds! Simply start by gathering the items you want to file away. You can include copies of the actual warranties you have along with instructions for the item and a copy of the receipt. Once you’ve gathered your papers, start separating them and piling them together by category, choosing the categories you would like to use. I could name a few categories, such as Appliances, Electronics, Computers and Vehicles, but what works for me may not work for you. Just make sure to choose categories that you’ll use and remember! Use one folder for each category that you create, and label it accordingly.
Once you’ve separated your papers, you can start filing them away. When you file the folders, you can do so alphabetically. This system works very well for a lot of people! I like to make sure my hanging folders with their labels are staggered and spaced so that I can read the labels quickly and at a glance. And then when I create a new category I can simply place it in the back and keep it staggered. Another way you could organize them is by assumed use. If you’ll be referencing some files more than others, you can place them more in the front of your filing cabinet. Pretty simple.
You can also organize your information using a chronological system. This one is pretty straightforward. You’re going to separate your papers according to the original purchase date of purchase, and file them in this same order. You can create one folder for each year; more or less folders as needed. Some families might even benefit from a monthly folder. You could also categorize the year by events (i.e., Christmas 2009, Birthdays 2010, etc). As soon as you’ve separated all the paperwork, you can file them away. I would recommend filing them with the most recent purchases in the front of the filing container, going back toward earlier purchases, but that’s just me. J
Now what about those papers that vary in size and possibly shape, the ones that you want kept together, but really don’t fit into the folder very well? Here’s a quick idea: you can put the loose paperwork for an item into a Ziploc bag (quart or gallon sized, depending on your need) and label the front of the Ziploc bag with the name of the item (for example, DISHWASHER). Then you can simply file that bag into the folder in which it belongs.
That’s really about it! Initial set up will take a little time, but it’s really very minimal, and once you’ve got the system in place, it’s quick as can be to file future information. In fact, I think I’m gonna head on over to my filing cabinet now and do some organizing….
(To purchase the folders you see to the left, you can go to Office Depot.
[photo courtesy officedepot.com]
Photos from sxc.hu. Used with permission.