Preparing Files for Storage

The daily operation of a business has the potential to generate a lot of paperwork and that takes up space. In particular, if you run a small business or a home business, the stacks and files full of inventory lists, receipts, copies of completed work, forms, tax papers and other items may build up and leave your office cluttered and cramped. Despite the trend toward saving paperwork in digital format, scanning takes manpower, which could be expensive and impractical. In addition, you may want to keep the hard copies and feel more comfortable holding onto the originals of material that the law requires you to keep. Rather than renting a larger office space or storing items in unsecured areas of the house where children or guests could get into them, you may find that a self storage unit provides a safe and flexible space to store those items that need to be kept but that are seldom reviewed.

When deciding upon a self storage facility to store important documents, you should compare security features.

Compare Security Features

  1. Is there a wall surrounding the storage complex that is well-maintained and difficult to climb or penetrate?
  2. Find out if the facility uses cameras to monitor activity and how many. Are they located on the outside of the building or inside, also? Ask how the cameras are used. Are events simply recorded and reviewed in the case of a problem, or does someone watch them constantly? If someone monitors surveillance equipment, find out what happens when a problem arises.
  3. Understand how access to the facility is granted. Learn whether or not anyone monitors who comes and goes. Perhaps a keypad entry records which renters enter at what time.
  4. Does the facility provide on-site management during set hours or constantly?
  5. Does the facility employ security guards?
  6. Check with management to see if the facility lies near a police station or on a regular patrol route.
  7. Ask management how they protect against fires, floods and other natural disasters.

You will want to choose a self storage facility that has convenient access. Find out if you can enter at any time or only during business hours. Learn about the lease terms and find out what happens to items if you miss a payment or a few payments. Be sure to check with the management company from time to time to make sure payments are being received. You do not want your private documents going up for auction if the contents of the unit are sold for lack of payment.

Look for climate-control features like air conditioning and humidity control. Documents can mildew when the humidity gets too high. You may want to look for a humidity-controlled unit that maintains a constant temperature between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Think ahead before placing your documents into self storage.

Plan and Organize

  1. Consider using airtight containers to prevent mildew, especially if you do not store your documents in a humidity controlled room.
  2. To protect your documents in the event of a fire, you may want to use fireproof and waterproof boxes or cabinets that guard not only against fire, but also sprinklers and water hoses.
  3. Label boxes clearly, possibly using a filing system. Organize logically so you or your employees can find items quickly and easily.
  4. Store boxes off of the floor. Look for a facility that offers document shelving or provide your own shelves or filing cabinets.
  5. Leave walkways between rows of items to help you retrieve information more quickly.
  6. Leave space between the wall and boxes to improve ventilation.
  7. Cover stored items with a cloth to protect them from dust accumulation.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. When storing documents, it is 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. Consider using password protected locks on files containing sensitive material.
  12. Despite your precautions, something could go wrong, so get insurance.

To find a self storage facility where you can securely store documents, use StorageFront's "refine search" feature.

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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