Preparing Files for Storage: A Comprehensive Guide

Managing paperwork can be a daunting task for many businesses, especially for small or home-based ones. With daily operations generating a significant amount of documentation, it's not uncommon for offices to become cluttered and disorganized, leaving little room for other essential items. While the shift to digital storage has become increasingly popular, it's not always practical, and there are instances where hard copies are necessary. These can include inventory lists, receipts, completed work orders, tax papers, and other crucial documents that require safekeeping.
Renting a larger office space may seem like a solution, but it can be costly and unnecessary. Storing paperwork in unsecured areas of the house also presents a risk, especially if children or guests have access to them. Fortunately, a self storage unit can provide a secure and flexible space to store seldom reviewed but important documents. When choosing a self storage facility for document storage, it's essential to compare security features and consider other factors that can help keep your paperwork organized and easily accessible.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Self Storage Facility
Security Features
When choosing a self storage facility for document storage, security is a critical factor to consider. You'll want to ensure that your confidential and valuable documents are protected from theft, vandalism, and natural disasters.
One of the first things to consider is whether there is a well-maintained wall or fence surrounding the storage complex. A sturdy and well-maintained barrier can help deter intruders and keep unwanted visitors out.
It's also essential to find out if the facility uses cameras to monitor activity, and how many cameras they have. Ask whether the cameras are located on the outside or inside of the building, and how they are used. Are events recorded and reviewed only in case of a problem, or is someone watching them constantly? If someone monitors surveillance equipment, find out what happens when an issue arises.
Finally, you should also ask the management how they protect against fires, floods, and other natural disasters. Make sure that the facility has proper measures in place, such as fire suppression systems, to keep your documents safe.
Access control is another essential feature to consider. Learn whether the facility uses a keypad entry system, and if so, if it records which renters enter at what time. It's also important to understand how access to the facility is granted, and if anyone monitors who comes and goes.
On-site management is another critical factor to consider. Check with the management to see if the facility provides on-site management during set hours or around the clock. Some facilities may also employ security guards to patrol the premises.
Climate Control
Climate control is another essential feature to look for in a self storage unit, especially for documents that can be easily damaged by environmental factors. Extreme heat or humidity can cause documents to deteriorate or even become unreadable. Therefore, it's crucial to look for a unit that offers climate control features like air conditioning and humidity control. Consider selecting a humidity-controlled unit that maintains a constant temperature between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent documents from getting damaged.
Keeping important documents in a self storage unit is a smart way to declutter your workspace and protect sensitive information. When selecting a self storage facility, accessibility is a key factor to consider. Find out if the facility has extended hours or if you can access your unit at any time of the day. Additionally, it's important to review the lease terms and ask what happens in the event of a missed payment. Make sure to check in with the management company periodically to ensure payments are being received and avoid having your items sold for lack of payment.
When placing your documents in self storage, it's important to think ahead and plan accordingly. Keep a detailed inventory of what you're storing and consider labeling boxes for easier organization and retrieval. Finally, don't forget to properly secure your unit with a sturdy lock and avoid sharing your access code or key with others to maintain the confidentiality of your documents.
Best Practices for Storing Documents in Self Storage Units

  1. Plan and Organize: Before storing your documents, plan and organize them to make retrieval easier. Consider using a filing system and label boxes clearly. Organize them logically so you or your employees can find items quickly and easily.
  2. Use Airtight Containers: If you do not store your documents in a humidity-controlled room, consider using airtight containers to prevent mildew.
  3. Fireproof and Waterproof Boxes: Use fireproof and waterproof boxes or cabinets that guard not only against fire, but also sprinklers and water hoses to protect your documents in the event of a fire.
  4. Store Boxes Off the Floor: Store boxes off of the floor to protect them from potential flooding or leaks. Look for a facility that offers document shelving or provide your own shelves or filing cabinets.
  5. Store Least Likely Needed Documents in the Back: Place least likely to be needed documents in the back of the storage unit on the bottom if this does not interfere with your filing system.
  6. Leave Walkways Between Rows: Leave walkways between rows of items to help you retrieve documents more quickly.
  7. Use Password Protected Locks: Consider using password-protected locks on files containing sensitive material.
  8. Improve Ventilation: Leave space between the wall and boxes to improve ventilation. Cover stored items with a cloth to protect them from dust accumulation.
  9. Provide Instructions: Provide instructions at your home office or business that explains where your self storage facility is located, how to access it, and how documents are filed. Let someone know where to find these instructions.
  10. Keep Backups: When storing documents, it's always a good idea to keep backups in another location, particularly when it comes to extremely important information. You may want to scan those tax files or legal documents and save them to a backup hard drive that you keep at home or on a flash drive in a safe deposit box. Multiple backup copies would be optimal.
  11. Get Insurance: Despite your precautions, something could go wrong, so get insurance to protect your important documents in case of an unforeseen event such as theft or damage due to a natural disaster.

Storing documents in a self storage facility can provide a secure and convenient solution for individuals and businesses looking to declutter their workspace. When choosing a self storage facility, it's essential to consider factors such as location, climate control, security features, and organization strategies to ensure that your documents remain safe and accessible. By taking the time to plan and organize your document storage, and by selecting a facility with strong security measures and proper climate control, you can have peace of mind knowing that your confidential and valuable documents are in good hands.
The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.