Office Progress Week 3: Manuals Drawer | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Office Progress Week 3: Manuals Drawer

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Office Progress Week 3: Manuals Drawer

Have you ever had something break down and had difficulty finding the manual?  Or the warranty?  Or the receipt? I have!

So as part of this week's decluttering and organizing in my "office" spaces, I decided to create a drawer for all the manuals, warranties, and receipts for items in our home.

At one point I had a folder that I kept these documents in.  But over time we've accumulated a lot more manuals and they outgrew my folder.  They ended up being stored in several different places in our house, which isn't practical.

I needed a better solution.

I've seen people put together binders to keep all their manuals and warranties in, but some of our manuals are so big that it would take several binders. And I didn't want to have binders sitting out somewhere when I'm trying to clear up my desk surfaces. 

I had been thinking for awhile of using the empty file bin that I've had sitting around.  But I wasn't sure where the best place to keep it would be, without it cluttering up that area.

Luckily, as a result of all the purging I've been doing, I have enough space in one of my file cabinet drawers to store all these documents!  So I decided to use that space instead.

The treasure hunt began for ALL the manuals, receipts, and warranties in our home.  Then I grouped them into categories and created folders and labels for each category.

There's no "before" picture to show you since I didn't have much of a system, but here's the finished product.

It's so handy having them all in one spot now!  There's still lots of space in the drawer too. 

I thought about having a separate folder for every single manual but since I don't need to refer to these too often, I think I should be able to find what I'm looking for fairly quickly.  It's much better than what I had anyway.  And if I find that it's not working, I can always change it!

I'm rethinking whether I need to keep all the manuals that I decided to keep, since many of them can be found online.  What do you think? 

Next, I purged and organized my archive files drawer.  When I organized our current files drawer in the dining room desk, I mentioned that I keep an archive file drawer in the basement file cabinet.  The archive drawer is for those documents that we need to keep but that we don't refer to very often.

Here's what it looked like before.

I took out the 2005 tax file since I only keep tax documents for 7 years.  I also purged a lot of other paperwork that we never refer to.  Then I put on some new labels like the ones I did in the current files drawer.

Here's what it looks like now.

I put the income tax files at the back of the drawer since I'll only need to refer to them if we get audited.  The rest of the files are at the front of the drawer.  I used different coloured folders to make it easier to see which folders are which.  It's much easier to find what I need now!

Here are my recycle and shred piles after going through these two drawers.

This time the recycle pile is bigger and the shred piles is smaller.  It feels so great to be getting rid of paper!!

Did you see this photo on Facebook


My kids helped me with all the shredding from the last few weeks!  They had so much fun doing it that they just kept asking for more to shred.  Love those little helpers :)

This week I also started to clear up some of the clutter on the shelves above the desk. I'm still working on it though so I'll save the pictures for another post.

So that's it for the basement "office" area for this week.

Here are a few more tips for organizing your office space:
  • Store documents based on how frequently you refer to them.  Keep the papers you need regularly in an easily accessible place but don't use prime real estate for those you only need occasionally. 
  • Purge your files regularly.  This way paperwork doesn't accumulate and become overwhelming.
  • Keep all your household manuals, receipts, and warranties together.  Whatever system you use to organize them, if they are all in one place you will be able to find what you need.

Stay tuned for the rest of the month for more posts on how I organize my "office" spaces.  I'll give a few more updates in the next week as I work my way through both of my desks, several file cabinets, and the areas above and around my desks.

I've still got a lot to do! 

I'll also be sharing tips as I go to help you organize your office.

You can also check out my Offices post from the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series.  Or my Office Organizing board on Pinterest if you're looking for more tips and ideas.

I'm doing this series as part of OrgJunkie's 31 Day Organizational Challenge.

In case you missed any, here are the other posts in the series so far:

This challenge is helping me keep going!  Knowing I need to post at least once each week to show my progress is holding me accountable :)

What organizing projects are you working on?  Do you have archive files?  What do you do with your manuals, warranties, and receipts?  Are your kids as crazy as mine about the shredder?

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Update: Here are all the posts in this series:


  1. I always look for an online version of the manual which I download into my documents/manual folder. I toss out all warranty cards.

    1. That's a great tip. I wish I had done that all along but I think it would be worth the effort catch up now.

  2. This is awesome. I have a drawer in my entertainment system overflowing with manuals. I tried the whole binder thing but it was just craziness so I just started putting them in the drawer. They are impossible to find now. I'll have to try the filing box system.
    Thanks for the idea!!

    1. Glad to help Beth! I was just reading your office updates and I love the built-in desk you constructed. Good luck finishing your office!

  3. Oh and after all the purging I have the perfect file box to use.

    1. I LOVE it when that happens! Have fun getting your manuals organized :)

  4. I love the idea of filing the manuals by room. Genius! I'm copying!

    1. Glad to help Saver Chic! I had a hard time deciding on the categories at first but in the end I figured I'd be able to find them back easily this way. Have fun sorting yours :)

  5. These drawers are beautiful. I have to get a better filing cabinet. I have one but the drawers stick and don't handle the weight of their contents well.

    Filing manuals by room and type is a great idea.
    Stop by Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop this week and share this post? Everyone will love it.
    Sinea Ducks ‘n a Row

    1. A good file cabinet is definitely a good investment Sinea, especially when we want to fill them right up! I'll definitely share it on Wed. Have a great week!

  6. I nominated you and your blog for the Liebster Award, wanted others toenjoy our blog like I do! Please check out the post for details.

    1. Wow! Thanks so much Michelle! Since I've been nominated for this award previously, I won't do another post about it, but I really appreciate you thinking of me for this :)

      Oh, and my favourite movie is Sound of Music too :)

  7. Thanks so much for linking up, Hilda! I loooove the pile of recycle and trash! That feels soooo good.

    Keep being awesome!



I love hearing from my readers! This is a great place to ask questions, answer questions, and share your organizing tips. Thank you so much for commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better :)

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