Though stereotypes abound, I (a man) love to read the paperwork and manuals that come with a new purchase. I’ll sit down and read the whole thing before I even mess with my new gear, somewhat for safety and know-how, but mostly to prolong the excitement.
And I keep all the manuals. There’s boxes in my basement, and it takes way too long to sort through all the nonsense just to reference a quick setting. So, though they’re not rocketscience, here’s a few steps to organize, purge, and store all your instructions.
Gather and sort. Look through your home, filing cabinet, workspace, etc, and pull out all product related paperwork. Sort them into similar categories, such as: appliances, audio/visual, tools and hardware, automobile, hobbies, computer/office, etc. Here’s my pile of tool-related manuals:
Purge. Once sorted, throw away anything you don’t need. Start with expired warranty cards, rebates, and ‘getting started’ guide. Then, use scissors, a paper cutter, or a staple-remover to rid yourself of instructions in any language you cannot speak.
Cut to size. If you have any manuals made of one sheet, map-style, check both sides, then trim away any unnecessary info. Then, cut along the fold lines to make pages of a similar size, then staple.
Create Dividers. Grab some tabbed dividers and a label maker or permanent marker, and create dividers that correspond to your sorted categories.
Alphabetize and Punch ’em. Organize your manuals, in alphabetical order, by the name by which you refer to the item. Thus, if you call the thing that plays vinyl albums a “record player”, then file under “R”; if turntable, then T, etc… Then, use a three hole punch to make the manuals binder-ready.
Organize and Store. Clip your manuals into the appropriate sections, then label the spine, and store!