Does your business require you to store a lot of documents for a long period of time? Self-storage is used nationwide by private investigators, doctors, lawyers, and accountants to store important documents and materials. Before you move your documents into storage there are a few things you need to know before you move in.
1. Store Documents in a Secure Location
While most locations available through Self Storage Advisor are secure, it doesn’t hurt to do some due diligence on your own. Here is a list you can use to assess the security of a facility.
- Does the property have a fence or other barrier to entry?
- Is there electronic gate access that requires a pin or entry card?
- Is access to your floor restricted?
- Does your unit have an individual alarm system?
- Is your unit covered by video surveillance?
You may also want to check with your professional associations to make sure the location you select complies with industry-specific security requirements such as HIPPA.
2. Store Documents in a Climate Controlled Unit
Paper is fragile. Hot, humid rooms are not an appropriate environment for document storage. The facility you choose must offer climate controlled storage units. Typically it’s easy to tell because the units are located inside a larger building. When inspecting the unit pay attention to the humidity and make sure there are no obvious signs of water-related damage.
3. Sort and Thin Your Documents Before Storing Them
While self-storage is a more affordable option than other document warehousing options, space still costs money. To avoid overspending, you’ll want to sort your documents into three categories before you move in. Those categories are:
- Recycle, and
These categories are pretty self-explanatory. Obviously, you’ll want to shred sensitive documents that you no longer need, but for other, less classified information, you can save some time by simply recycling them.
4.Carefully Prepare and Pack Your Documents for Storage
Even though your documents are stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment, you’ll want to take care when preparing your documents for storage. Don’t just throw them in a box and stick them in storage. You may need to access these documents while they are stored and you’ll want them to be in good condition if you need them.
To start, use a filing system such as file folders or an accordion file to organize the documents. Most people typically alphabetize their documents for easy retrieval, but some industries may require numeric organization. Once you have your documents organized into files, you’ll need to figure out the best way to keep them that way.
To keep your files in good order, Self Storage Advisor recommends using filing boxes or cabinets. Once the files are properly boxed or filed away, you can begin moving them into storage. Just make sure you leave enough space between boxes or cabinets to move around freely and open drawers. The last thing you want to do is get hurt trying to access your files.
5. Control Access to Your Documents
Do you have employees? If so you’ll want to make sure you control access to your files. Only allow employees to enter when it’s necessary to fulfill their job requirements. For those employees who do need access, you should consider requiring a sign-in / sign-out sheet. This will help you keep track of who has entered the unit, what they removed, and whether or not it’s been returned. Last but not least, don’t share access codes via email or text. These methods of communication are not secure.
Self-storage is a great way to reduce office clutter caused by document retention requirements. It’s safe, secure, weather-resistant, and easy to access as needed. Do your due diligence to make sure the facility is a good fit for your needs. Once your ready to move it, get things organized and you’ll be all set. As always, if you need help locating the perfect storage unit, our self-storage advisors are here to help!