Sensitive Document Storage

Items as diverse as old or rare books, your great-grandmother's citizenship documents, the love letters you saved from your youth, family birth certificates, the Bible that has recorded every family birth and death for the last three generations, property deeds and those important tax records all have a common thread. You would like to preserve them, at least for awhile. Each of these sensitive documents needs to be cared for properly so that it does not get lost and does not deteriorate.

Self storage facilities offer private units that allow you to remove sensitive documents from your neighbor's prying eyes, your children's sticky fingers and, potentially, the humidity of those hot summer days or the damp that comes with the rainy season. Yet, you may easily retrieve your documents whenever you wish to review them or show them to others.

Keep in mind that moisture is the enemy of paper. It can cause documents to mildew, pages to stick together and fibers to break down. For this reason, placing sensitive documents into a climate controlled environment can be crucial to their preservation. Climate control features may be found at some self storage facilities. When you have located a self storage facility that offers climate control, find out what experience management has with storing sensitive documents. They may offer special shelving or cabinetry or have tips to help you choose the best features for your unit based on the climate in your region. Look for a room that has temperature and humidity control. Find out if climate features in your room can be adjusted by you or if management adjusts the temperature and humidity controls for the whole facility.

In addition, look for a well maintained facility that provides good security. Find out if the facility offers security guards, onsite management, secure fencing around the facility, closely monitored surveillance cameras, or monitored access. In addition, be sure the hours you can enter the unit meet your needs. Many facilities offer 24-hour access. Be sure the security is sufficient at all hours to ensure your safety and the safety of your documents.

Whether you plan to use the self storage unit for all your odds and ends or only for your sensitive documents, you will want to organize your valuable papers and books so that they are easy to find.

  1. You may want to purchase specially made filing cabinets or display cases. Ideally, these would be fireproof, waterproof and airtight to keep moisture out. Look for boxes and packing material made especially for archiving documents.
  2. Lay documents flat or provide stiff dividers between papers or files to prevent the documents from sliding down and bending. If left this way, they could become permanently misshapen.
  3. As you fill the self storage unit, lift boxes off the floor by placing them on stands or pallets.
  4. Allow space between boxes and the wall to improve ventilation.
  5. Label boxes or files with permanent, waterproof ink.
  6. Consider keeping a log of the items in your self storage unit. Store copies of this register in the unit and at home. This will help you to find documents more quickly in the future. It may also help others who may one day need to know what you have preserved to locate important information or family treasures.
  7. If possible, leave walkways between rows of boxes so that you can look through your material more easily.
  8. Cover your boxes, files or displays with a cloth to inhibit dust accumulation.

Use the tools at StorageFront to search for a self storage facility in your area that will provide you with a secure place to preserve your sensitive documents.

The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. "Storage Tips" are offered as-is and no warranty is expressed or implied. For more information, see StorageFront's Terms and Conditions.

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