I used to have a couple of boxes worth of product manuals stashed away in my house. I kept them just in case I needed had a problem and needed to look up the answer.
This eventually became unmanageable so I decide that I could easily do this more effectively on my Mac. Now, when I buy something that comes with the manual here’s what I do.
I search for the manual on Google. Try this search
kind:PDF BRAND and MODEL of your product
I download the manual to a folder on my Mac. For all PDF files I download it to a folder named 1 Scans. Why “1 Scans?” That folder is stored on Dropbox and I use it in a number of places. Putting a 1 in the filename ensures that it ends up at the top of a sorted list.
When I download the file, I give it a special name. I use the format YYYY-MM-DD Product Brand Name Manual.pdf
Then, I use the awesome application Hazel to process the file. It looks for any files in the 1Scans folder labeled “Manual” and automatically file it away to a “Manuals” folder in my paperless office.
Finally, I toss the paper manual. Obviously, if you can’t find the manual online you should scan the manual.
Since I’ve done this I’ve rid myself of maybe a hundred different product manuals I accumulated over ten years and when I need to find something I search Spotlight rather than dig through a box in my garage. It’s a huge timesaver.