We own a lot of stuff. No matter if we live with our parents, in a house, or apartment. We need to own a lot of things to get along in modern society, things like electronic gadgets, appliances, tools, and vehicles. And managing the information of all these things can be quite a daunting task.
Perhaps you are familiar with one of these situations?
- TV just broke. Now, where was that receipt?
- I need to adjust the clock for summertime. Now, where is the manual?
- I need to buy new ink, what was the model of my printer now again?
- I need to touch up the wall. What paint color did I use on that wall?
We are the victim of information overload as a result of the modern lifestyle. So many things, so much to keep track of...
And then the house burned down...
Also, having an overview of what you own can be helpful in insurance claims. If your house burns down or items get stolen, it's usually hard to remember what you owned. And if you forget to add some expensive items to your claim, you may miss out on insurance payouts.
How to manage the things you own
I have broken down the things I own into a mind-map, or as a tree, as I like to call it. You can see it below. The nodes in the map contain manuals, bookmarks, and bookmarks. Click on the nodes to take a look at what's inside.
(To view in full screen, click the bottom right button)
With, this map I have an overview of my most important stuff. The mind-map layout makes it easy to see everything at once and makes it fast to navigate.
As with all mind-maps, a map you created yourself is much more effective to navigate than a stranger's tree. The act of creating it synchronizes your mental map and your mind-map. So if you think my map looks overwhelming, that is entirely normal. If you had made this map yourself, you could handle a tree 10X the size without breaking a sweat. You would intuitively know where things are in an instant.
I have included a smaller template tree below for you to use as a starting point if you want.
BTW, If you wonder what this map is made in, it's made in Emberly. A free-to-use tool that helps you organize files, notes, and bookmarks into a mind map. It runs on all devices with a web browser.
Tips to make your tree
After managing my tree a year, I have some tips to share from my experience. Hopefully, this can help you kickstart your own tree.
To help you kickstart your tree, I have made a template. Feel free to duplicate this, and use it as a starting point.
What items to add to the tree
Well, this depends. What do you believe you need to re-visit in the future at some point?
- Receipts - Is it something of value? A TV would be nice to save receipts for. An egg timer, not so much. If something cheap breaks, it will probably go in the trash.
- Manuals - Is it likely you will need to re-visit the manual often? Like a router, alarm clock, or washing machine?
- Model info - Is it something you will need to know the model number for? It's typical to know this for printers when buying ink. Or electronics when downloading the latest drivers.
Manuals are often easy to google. So, it's probably not worth the time to add all manuals to all of your things.
However, it's helpful to store manuals as you use them. Often when you use a manual once, most likely, you will use it again in the future. So, to save time searching for it, keep it in your tree for the next time.
For example, you just had to find the manual to tune your alarm clock? Great, now save it in your home tree, so you will re-find it the next time it's time to adjust it for summertime.
If it's a digital receipt, link to it if possible. If not, export it as a pdf or image and upload it to your tree.
There is much more info than receipts and manuals that can be useful for your stuff. For example:
- Tips and tricks articles
- Modifications instructions
- Maintenance instructions
For example, for my 3D printer, I have saved lots of articles on adjusting and modifying it.
How to organize
Don't worry about the organization of your tree too much. It will most likely evolve over time anyways. And it's easy to move stuff around. Your goal is to make it easy to re-find what you need in the future, not to make it look pretty. So, just get the stuff you need in there. And over time, you will see patterns on how you can break things down into groups.
I have one tip for you, though. When you go looking for a thing but don't find it right away, when you do find it, move it to the first place you looked. Then you will find it right away the next time. 👍🏻
Share your tree
Suppose you built a tree and want to share or discuss it. Don't be shy to drop by the "share your tree" discord channel in the Emberly discord server.
Have a nice day!