I lived in my last house for about five years, during which my husband and I did quite a bit of work to the house. We bought a new washer and dryer, new couches, new beds, installed window treatments and upgraded most of the technology to slowly build a “smart home“. So much to do!
Organizing Home Warranties and the
Tiny Parts You Should Save
But one thing I wish I had done a better job at was keeping better track of the warranties, installation guides, and all of the other “goodies” that came with each item. I didn’t have a system in place for this important paperwork or those dang Allen wrenches, so I typically defaulted to either stuffing the stuff in a drawer or throwing it away because I thought, “When will I ever really need this?!”.
Spoiler Alert: more often than you honestly think.
Examples of Stuff We Lost, Then Needed
This became a problem in a variety of different situations, allow me to share a few instances.
First, the couch dilemma.
Our couch came with a seven-year stain warranty. Amazing, right? In theory, yes, but I never could find the receipt, warranty, and information about this perk. So guess what? We couldn’t capitalize on getting our couch cushion replaced when we spilled red wine on it four years after purchasing it. So frustrating!
Or how about the time we wanted to sell our dining room table on Craigslist and we couldn’t find the specific Allen wrench that came with the table.
We needed that specific piece to disassemble the table and sell it. We tore up the entire garage and kitchen while the Craigslist buyers awkwardly stood and watched. Thankfully we eventually found it, but only after lots of frustration, embarrassment, and a big ol’ mess!
And how about when new homeowners request the owner’s manual and warranty on the washer and dryer that they bought with the house and you just cannot find them? Ugh, that was the worst!
Our DIY Solution
There’s got to be a better way, right?
I know I was determined to get my act together in my own, new house right from the start. The great news is that the new system I implemented has made such a positive impact, and it’s easy to replicate. It’s a $15 investment that makes a world of a difference.
If you find yourself misplacing warranties and important home documentation, today’s organization system may be perfect for you as well.
1. The Box Of Docs
I bought this big, plastic box from Michaels, but any large container would do the trick. I vowed to keep all important warranties, receipts, directions, etc. in this box. No being picky; I didn’t care if the warranty was for something in the kitchen, garage, or baby’s nursery, just having one place to put all of this information was already a better system that I previously used.
I tried using binders in the past, but many of the warranties or installation information is so thick that a binder just didn’t work out very well in the long run. This box is nice because it can hold A LOT of paperwork.
Labels Are Still Key
To organize this documentation even further, I simply labeled file folders for each room in the house. Papers stay even more organized when I can group them by room.
For example, the warranties for the kitchen appliances can be found in the “kitchen” folder while the directions to re-program our garage door opener can be found in the “garage” folder. Easy enough, right?
Okay, so the papers are accounted for but how about all of those little gadgets (like that dang Allen wrench!) that can’t be misplaced?
2. Tackle Box of Tiny Pieces
I also picked up this adjustable jewelry organizer from Michaels (a tackle box would work too!). This small investment has made such a huge difference corralling all of the tiny parts (read: screws, hooks, extra washers, Allen Wrenches, etc.). It’s awesome because the plastic spacers can easily be adjusted to create compartment sizes that fit your needs.
We recently bought a crib for our nursery and it came with an Allen wrench that we used to put it together.
The bad news is that you need to save this Allen wrench because we will need it when our little guy gets older/taller and we need to lower the mattress. But the good news is that we already learned our lesson and we were ready to take good care of this one!
We wrapped a piece of washi tape around the wrench and labeled it “CRIB”. Then I placed it in one of the compartments, alongside some of the other tiny pieces we need to save, then closed the top.
A Life Saver
Personally, I keep both the tiny parts organizer and the warranty organizer together so I can easily access any of this information quickly and efficiently. What a difference this tiny upgrade has made for us.
If you’re finding yourself in a situation similar to my last home, it’s not too late to reevaluate, corral the important stuff and get organized once and for all. That way you’ll be prepared for that couch stain, Craigslist sale or whatever else life throws your way! It may seem like unnecessary work, but trust us, it’s well, well worth it.