I used to throw the paper manual in a file folder full of instruction manuals whenever I bought something new. Yes, call me a pack-rat. This thing grew so full that the manuals started looking like they were not in a file folder anymore.
I went through it one day and realized there were several manuals in there where the product had long since went to a better place. This system had failed. Now when I get a product, I check the manufactures website for a pdf of the manual and save it into a SmartFile folder just for manuals.
As an added bonus, I can drool over the accessories on their website that would be awesome to have with my new product. If the manual isn’t available on the manufactures website or a disk that came with the product, you can scan the manual that came with the product. There are some awesome devices that scan directory to SmartFile.
In a recent example of this, I ordered a product online and saved the manual off the retailer’s website directly to my SmartFile account. When I got the product, I had a question about installing the lock. I sent Ryan Jr to find the manual in the box. He didn’t find it. I just told him, “Don’t worry, I have the pdf manual here.” Even though it turns out the manual didn’t have the answer to my lock question, my new manual storage system has passed the test.
- Tag all my manuals with a “manual” tag to find them later.
- If you really want to make life easy, create a link to your manual in SmartFile. Right click and save the QR Code. Then print the QR code on a sticker. You can place this sticker on the product so you just have to scan the QR code to pull up the manual.
- Create an “archive” folder inside your manuals folder to put manuals for products you no longer have; yet, you insist on keeping if you are a pack-rat like me.
- Recycle the paper manual that came with your product for bonus green points.
- Use loss-less compression on the pdf file because it is usually way larger than it needs to be. This applies to scanned documents and manuals downloaded from the internet.
- When something breaks and you are searching for parts, you might find the manual or parts lists. Go ahead and throw those in your manual archive too.