Owner product manuals and guides…who the heck were these really intended for? Every time we buy an appliance, we are told to keep them. Have you ever looked at yours? And if you have, can you understand their technological lingo? I’ve collected a multitude of them over the years, and I’ve never opened one yet. Every time I buy something new, I go on automatic pilot and stick one in my filing cabinet. Somewhere along the line, I actually convinced myself that someday they could come in handy. I actually made files for the various products I bought, labeling them, and inserting the manuals into the said files. It made perfect sense to me. If I was going to keep them, and rely on them as an important reference in the future, then I wanted to find them as quickly as possible. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?
Well, I have this entire file drawer devoted to this so-called important information. I’ve now lived in four different homes over a span of twenty-five years, and realize I have not once ever used this IMPORTANT INFORMATION, which makes me wonder how important is it and why do I still feel compelled to keep it.
I think that I can blame all of my past teachers for this compulsion. Elementary school, middle school, high school…these teachers pounded into my head to never throw anything away. Keep your tests for future reference, they told me, which did make sense for the duration of the class. Of course I expanded upon this by keeping certain tests and notebooks for years; after all one never knows when they can be an important reference. When my oldest daughter was in high school, I gave her my high school French notes. I realized by then that I was never going to use them. It turns out that she didn’t either! What a waste of space.
I actually still have some of my college notes and articles, which probably by now are out-dated. Nevertheless I just can’t let go of them. Whenever I clean out my cabinets (every five years or so), I find them and get giddy with excitement. I read a few lines, and flip through the pages with glee. I tell myself, when I have time, I’m going to go back and read these things again. Maybe it is just a reminder of what I enjoyed learning, when I actually had the time to learn. I do plan to re-read them….at some point. I’m beginning to wonder when that point will be.
Recently I had a rash of work being done on my home. None of this work was being performed by myself or my husband. We tend to hire electricians, plumbers, and HVAC people. We just don’t do this type of work ourselves. But what I realized is that, throughout the years, not one of these people have ever asked us for a manual. In fact the only thing that I’ve ever been asked to provide is a product number, which makes me think, “Why don’t I just create a list of product numbers, and save lots of room in my filing cabinet?”
Habits are hard to break. My plumber just installed new faucets in my home, and when he was finished he handed me over the booklets that came with them. “File these away, so that if there is ever a problem, you can use them as a reference,” he said. Like a robot, I took these booklets from him, walked over to my filing cabinet and placed them inside. I think I’m hopeless.
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