"Survey" of Household-though Probably Not the Right Word.....

Updated on June 15, 2017
D.S. asks from Bear, DE
17 answers

You'd think I just moved in and never had anything before with this, but I'm really just asking to see if anybody has come up with better ideas or solutions than I can.

I'm especially asking those who are NOT tech whizzes with computers, etc. I'm trying to clean and ORGANIZE things around here, but want to know how others do it. I have a slight (?) problem with product warranties and instructions/manuals. That means some of the packaging, too. Where and how do you keep it so it doesn't take up the whole house or make you look like a hoarder? The same goes with power/charger/extension cords. Some you don't even know what they go to, but you don't want to throw out in case you manage to find what it goes to, and some might be expensive to get a new cord for.

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answers from Dallas on

I run my company from home therefore I also have filing systems for my home use as well in my office.

I file things away in a file cabinet clearly labeled as far as receipts, manuals. I have cabinets strictly labeled personal vs business and all files are filed accordingly.

As for cords which we have plenty, I keep them sorted and banded with a label as to what the cord is for. These stay in a decorative tin.

This info stays in my office. EVERY cord is labeled. I have specific folders (ex: grill, fridge, etc)

I can locate a receipt, cord or directions within 20 minutes or less if requested.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

In 50 years, I've never needed to use a warranty so I just put all of them in an accordian style file folder. I have a drawer in the kitchen in which I put most extraneous cords. I keep cords to appliances I use with the appliance. Many can be put inside the appliance. If the cord comes out, i bundle and rubber band it. In the past, I've put cords in an empty.toilet paper roll. You can easily label the roll.

I'm now focused on clearing out a shelf so that I can put all appliances in one place.


In 50 years, I've never needed to use a warranty so I just put all of them in an accordian style file folder. I have a drawer in the kitchen in which I put most extraneous cords. I keep cords to appliances I use with the appliance. Many can be put inside the appliance. If the cord comes out, i bundle and rubber band it. In the past, I've put cords in an empty.toilet paper roll. You can easily label the roll.

I'm now focused on clearing out a shelf so that I can put all appliances in one place.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

I've seen people use paper towel cores (or toilet paper cores, for smaller things. Coil the cords in a sort of oval, and squish it in he middle, and shove the coiled cords into the center. Then label the cardboard core with a sharpie marker or even a cut-out from the original package. These can be stacked easily in a drawer, or vertically in a divided container like a beer six-pack or a 12-bottle wine carton for the taller ones.

If you buy a roll of velcro tape, that's handy. Or you can use the long velcro strips that sometimes come on heads of romaine lettuce and other veggies like that - they are great for loose cords as well as the iron cord, fan cords, all the stuff behind the entertainment unit, etc.

Definitely take photos on your phone. Having the manuals is a great thing especially if you sell the appliance later in a yard sale. You can also use a ziplock bag for small parts as well as the front of the packaging, the manual, and even a photo. We tape a ziplock bag to the air conditioners, for example, and enclose the screws, anchoring parts, brackets, and foam insulation, and then tape the bag to the A/C unit during winter storage.

A lot of people use those little plastic square things that secure packages of bread and rolls - the blank ones are the best, but you can use the blank side of one that has the price/expiration date. On the blank side, use a fine-point sharpie marker to write "TV" and "Cable box" and "router" and so on, and attach them to the cords behind the TV unit. It really helps when you have to "unplug and wait 60 seconds" to reboot something if you know what the cord is connected to! We use one at the outlet/power strip and one higher up, closer to the piece of equipment. You could use those on your stored cords too.

I've done the accordion file for manuals of other things. I also keep the ones to kitchen appliances on the bookshelf with my cookbooks - so much handier than dragging down a storage box from the attic.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I think that being organized has a lot to do with not being afraid to throw things out. More people than you imagine still have the warranties and instruction manuals for tvs or blenders or vacuum cleaners that they got rid of years ago.

I keep warranty and purchase info (receipts, clearly labeled with date and price of purchase) in an accordion style folder. I try to keep them separated by category: kitchen small appliances (coffee makers, toasters...), large appliances (washer, fridge...), tools (power tools, lawn mowers...), computers and peripherals (external hard drives, monitors, keyboards, laptops...). Then, it's important when throwing out that coffee maker that died to go get the receipt from 1999 and throw it out, too.

I don't keep instruction manuals for the most part, as most manuals are now online. It's easy to find them. So many manuals devote multiple pages to common sense (don't use this toaster in the bathtub! don't use this weed whacker in a swimming pool!), and many of the pages are devoted to technical stuff, like how to replace the condenser in a fridge. Unless you are comfortable taking an appliance apart and repairing a motor, throw out the bulky manual and assume that the repair person that you hire when your fridge stops making ice will know how to fix it without reading your manual.

It is tempting to keep every cord and plug, but, try to keep track of how long it's been since you actually used that plug. Test the plug or cord and see if it goes to anything you currently use. If it doesn't, toss it. Many chargers are obsolete pretty quickly, and extension cords shouldn't be used if they're really old. If you use extension cords for indoor and outdoor holiday decorations, keep those cords with the decorations.

Packaging is one thing I keep, such as the box to a tv or computer, but that's because we move a lot. If you're settled in your house, and don't move around due to military service or a job, toss the box. Places like Home Depot or U-Haul sell tv boxes and specialty packing boxes. If the box goes to a computer or tv that will accompany a child to college or his/her own apartment soon (like if they're 17, not 6), then probably it's a good idea to save that box too.

Be brave and toss stuff out!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I keep an accordion type box with dividers for all the manuals and warranties. I have them separated into categories like large appliances, tools, kitchen gadgets, etc. With all the phone, tablet, tech chargers and such, I just put them in a labeled ziploc or wind them up and tape a label to them. Like Margie, I have taken pictures of things as well, especially for insurance purposes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I tape instructions or ziplock bags to things - so to an extension cord I'd tape it to the thing it goes with, or tape some kind of little piece of paper to it (so I remember later on). I don't keep boxes for things. I keep warranties in one folder.

I have a ziplock baggie system for a lot of things. I just shove household stuff into it. Even if i don't sort it for a while, it's in one place.

I also am known to tape screws, nuts, bolts, pieces, etc. of things to the thing they go with. So if I dismantle something, I tape the screws to it. I take pictures of things too - so I know how it goes back together if we dismantle it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Use ziplock bags to keep types of things organized.
You can keep these in a file cabinet drawer or a covered storage box.
Be sure to label the box so you know what's in it.
Depending on how much you have you might be able to keep it under your bed.
Under bed storage is great for this.
My husband is an electrical engineer and he has LOTS of various cords stored this way but he has so many he keeps them in the garage.
Small electrical components he keeps in a tackle box.
Packaging you can keep in the attic but soon as the warranty is up - you can throw it away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

power chargers stay with what they are used for and when they are lost they go into the tote of electrical stuff. i file the manuals in the filing cabinet and all packaging hits the trash



answers from Boston on

For warranties and manuals, I have a file in my file drawer called "Warranties & Manuals" and any materials that came with a purchase, plus the receipts, go there. I only bother with this for big purchases like expensive appliances and electronics. I don't really care about whether or not a $40 remote-control car or toaster or a $20 iron craps out before the manufacturer's warranty runs out. I used to save everything and years later would be tossing warranty materials, etc. for things that we no longer owned. Actually I toss most user manuals too after the initial set up because those are available on-line.

I never keep packaging - it all goes into the recycling bin.

For cords that are more specialized than a standard electrical cord or USB/micro-USB etc., if they're things like chargers or spares that don't get used all the time with the product, I try to put a small label (like a mini return address label or one from my label-maker) around the cord (and or on the part that plugs into the wall if it disconnects from the cord) and label what it goes to. Then I can wrap it up and stash it in a file drawer. In my old house, we had a peg board in the garage from which we would hang cords as well but I have a file drawer that works well for that now. The hard part is getting the kids to put them back when they're done, but at least they're labeled and have a home. Do this for any new cord/charger that comes into your house.

For your old cords, i would put them all in a big gallon-sized Ziplog bag and put them in a drawer. If, a year from now, you haven't used them yet, then toss them.



answers from Los Angeles on

-I have a file box with hanging file folders.
-I keep all receipts in a folder labeled receipts.
-Then I keep all manuals in the front of that box but I tear out the parts in different languages and throw those away.
-I label all cords with plain white address stickers from the Dollar Store labeling
what they go to. I keep these cords in the desk drawer.
-I get rid of all packaging, recycling what I can.


answers from Santa Fe on

We have a big white three ring binder that all the warranties/instruction manuals go in. It's nice and neat and stays in a closet. We keep the chargers/extension cords in a large tupperware with a lid. This is kept in a storage area under the stairs. One that we use often outside is hanging (rolled up) on a peg board in the garage.



answers from Houston on

I label my folders by category: tools, toys, appliances that stay with house (air conditioner, water heater, dishwasher, microwave, ceiling fans), appliances that go with us (washer/dryer), miscellaneous household items, computers/printers, televisions (mark dates of purchase and room they are in). Good luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I have a 4-draw file cabinet, and 1 full draw has warranties/receipts/instructions manuals. I have them organized alphabetically by the item. For example, I don't have separate files for the hand vac and the roomba, but I have 1 file that named "vacuums". When an item dies and I get a new one, I make sure I throw out the information on the old item when I replace it.

I also have a drawer with power cords that was organized at one time. The cords used to be wound up and held with velco and I used a plastic tab to say what the cord was for. But it's a disaster right now because some of the tabs fell off plus I added new stuff by just throwing the cords in instead of following my system. I need to go through it to figure out which cords go with what, and get rid of unneeded ones. But it was really good when I first did it...

ETA: I'm getting some great idea for this. Return labels to mark the cords - so much better than the plastic tabs I tried to use that fell off, and so easy - I already have lots of them. And everyone is correct that all manuals are online and the reason most manuals are so big is that they are written in 3 different languages plus the pages of common sense safety. It makes so much more sense to recycle that paper and look up online if needed. From now on, I'm keeping the warranty and receipt, but not the manual. Thanks everyone!



answers from Oklahoma City on

I have open top cardboard boxes with labels on the front that say "Extension Cords" "Vases" "Craft books" "Cutting tools" "Thread" and things like that. They are on a bookshelf in my office area and I'm the only one that touches them. His tools and stuff are piled up in his office. Mine are always easy to find and tidy.



answers from Portland on

Product warranties/manuals go in a file, in a filing cabinet.

Automotive paperwork/items go in a separate file.

Old boxes are broken down and stored flat whenever possible.

Tech cords (cell phones, smaller ones) go in a cute flowerpot near where we charge all that stuff. Longer cords, I wind, bind, and hang on nails in a closet. Larger extension cords (and trouble lights) in the basement and in the garage where they are used. Wind, bind and hang or place out of the way near the items that require it (like the weed whacker).

For cords, if you don't know what it's for, when you find out, use a large piece of masking tape to make a tag for it, grab a sharpie or other pen and write it on the tag. Bingo. Done.

I'm not a tech whiz-- I don't even know how to change my screensaver. I just use common sense and put things where they are most likely to be needed and easiest to be located.



answers from Miami on

I have a 3-ring binder with sheet protectors (you can get them at Office Depot - make sure they are heavy-duty so the plastic doesn't tear.) I put my warranties and instructions/manuels in them. And like one poster mentions, DON'T keep the ones for the appliances you have gotten rid of.

I also put the receipts for them in this notebook so that if I need them, I know where they are.

I can't give you advice on cords. My husband knows what cords are for...



answers from Baton Rouge on

I have a folder in my filing cabinet with owner's manuals and warranties in it.

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