Happy first day of spring! For me it’s time for spring cleaning.
I don’t clean per se, I just clean out and look for reasons to get rid of things.
In my home office, which is also where I scrapbook, the closet is FULL. Any chance I have to clear some space is awesome. I set my attention to our collection of owner’s manuals.
Get Rid of Your Owner’s Manuals
I’m the only one who keeps these right? I thought I was pretty smart about it – all manuals had a place to go and weren’t strewn around the house. I even got this nice Ikea box so it didn’t look ugly.
Did you know that most owner’s manuals are available free online? If you didn’t, now you know. The last time I went to take apart our vacuum cleaner, I didn’t bother looking in the box, I just searched for it online (lazy).
Hmmm. Do I really need to keep hard copies then?
Find Your Manuals Online
It’s very simple. Pick up a manual and Google the name of the product.
For best results, choose the manufacturer site first.
Look at that! The manufacturer has the full manual in PDF form!
What’s even more awesome – a lot of the time PDF’s are word searchable! When you need to find something in the PDF, you just search instead of having to flip through. Simple!
Save Your Manuals in the Cloud
I know what you’re thinking. Just because the manuals are available online now doesn’t mean that they’ll be available forever. I thought of that.
First, I found all of our manuals online and saved them.
Then I scanned anything that wasn’t available online.
Thirdly, I scanned receipts I wanted to save. There are two types of receipts: receipts you need the original for and receipts you just need a copy of to prove you own something. I kept a small envelope of original receipts for products that were still under warranty. Everything else got scanned (such as the receipts for our china, below).
Finally, I uploaded everything to Google Docs. Having just dealt with a computer crash, I think it’s safer to store these types of things in the cloud.* I can also get to these from any computer – if I’m at work and need to call customer service, I have the product information easily available.
I created an Owner’s Manuals folder in my Google Docs account and drag-and-dropped the whole lot all at once. Presto! I shared the folder with my husband, so he can access them from his account. You knew you could share entire folders on Google Docs, right? That means every time I add a new manual to the folder, I don’t have to share it with him – it gets shared automatically.
What happened after that? This!
I freed up space in the closet and the Ikea box (though it didn’t take me long to find something else to put in it).
I ended up with a couple of original receipts and one owner’s manual that I couldn’t find online. Getting rid of stuff is a pretty good feeling.
*I know some people aren’t comfortable storing documents in the cloud. What if the company storing them loses them or cancels your account? I agree, it’s a leap of faith. However, I still think the convenience and security (as opposed to having them on a hard drive) outweigh misgivings. If you’ve never tried storing documents in the cloud, owner’s manuals are a pretty benign way to try it out.
Google Docs is owned by Google. I work for Google. My affiliation with Google in no way affects or sways my opinions on its products. The opinions expressed here are my own.