Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: How to File Instruction Manuals and Warranties

Do you feel like the walls are closing in on you? Is your home filled with Frigidaire’s, Maytag’s and Dyson’s? Appliances already take up enough of your precious space- don’t let the boxes and instruction manuals fill your home wall to wall. Instead, be a fly on the wall and see the strategies I use in filing and organizing manuals and warranty information. Following these tips will help you create and maintain a filing system that isn’t off the wall.

(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at


Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about managing your manuals and warranties.

So you got a new gadget or a new appliance, and you’re really excited about it, but you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to keep. So really, people are confused about all of this. The box and the styrofoam pieces and the receipt and the manuals. So, let’s go through this step-by-step.

The first thing you want to do is figure out what the return period is for this item. For electronic stores, often it’s about 14 days, so check your receipt, and make sure you know what that is. A lot of times, it will be 30 days. But make sure you know what that limit is in case you feel like there might be a chance you need to return the item. You probably want to keep all of it for that return period, so the box, the styrofoam pieces, the packing material, all of the little manuals and things you can keep for that 14 or 30-day period, just in case you need to return it. What you can do is you can write with a sticky note or just a marker on the side of the box, the date that you purchased it so that at a glance, you can look at that box on a shelf or on the floor and say, “Oh yeah, it’s definitely been past the return period, now I can safely deal with that and get rid of some of it.”

So the next thing you want to look at is the warranty period. You might want to get repairs on something or you might need to get this thing replaced, usually warranties are a year, so see what it says in their warranty information about what’s required to file a claim. Do you have to register the product? Do you need the original receipt? Find out and that will help you understand what you need to keep.

So the next thing you want to do is look at whether some of these items are available in digital form. Lots of things are available on the manufacturer’s web site now. So manuals like these, now you can download as a PDF on your own hard drive and get rid of some of this paper. The other thing that I find now is that often, there are duplicates of these manuals, and often, they’re really thick books, and they are completely different languages. So you may have the English one that you might want to keep, but then you can safely discard the French one and the Spanish one if you don’t speak those languages.

So, think about all that bulk that you can get rid of. If you end up with just an electronic copy and your original receipt – by the way you can even possibly scan in that original receipt and keep that electronically too – you may also end up with little parts and accessories that you can put in a re-closable bag. You can file away whatever is left that you’ve pared down from all of that original packing material, put that safely away in something like this. An accordion file is perfect for warranties and instructions, so you can have categories there like appliances, electronics, computer peripherals, toys, outdoor and gardening equipment, all that can be filed in here and at a glance you can get into that information when you need it.

So here’s something else that might help you when you are making decisions about your other paper in your life. This is the book I wrote on how to organize your whole life and your home, and that is available digitally too. You can get that in e-book form, it’s available on the Kindle, or at pretty much any bookstore. You can find out more about that at

See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

You may have been searching for how long to keep product instruction manuals.

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One Comment


I’ve found that most manuals really aren’t necessary, especially since most of them can be found online. These days most get tossed!


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