Despite the continued practice to store all records digitally, having a hardcopy of recent medical files, insurance paperwork, financial records and more is never a bad idea. Keeping a real paper record provides an extra layer of security against hackers, crashes, or file corruptions, but this doesn’t come without risk of its own. For one, there’s the chance that such hard files can fall into the wrong hands, they could also be misplaced, get damaged by water, bugs, fire, and more.
So, how can you keep important paper records safe? A storage unit. Using self storage for personal records gives you a secure location to keep your hardcopies with the right storage features and considerations.
How to prepare paper records for a storage unit
You can start by gathering and organizing the paper records based on the type and need. Some types will include life insurance paperwork, birth certificates, medical records, financial records, and more. These can be organized in specific folders or binders, which should be labeled outside for easy finding later on. From here, place these folders or binders into a larger container.
Your container can differ depending on your needs, from a simple cardboard box to an airtight tote. You can even find acid-free containers to help prevent from fading and yellowing from acids on the paper. Be advised that cardboard isn’t waterproof, so it isn’t recommended unless you find a storage unit with climate control, which we’ll discuss more later. Be sure to label the outside of this container on what’s inside.
As you organize these records, be sure to take an inventory list on your phone or notebook for home. This will allow you to easily look up what you have stored and where.
Storage features for paper records
We teased it earlier, but there are some key storage features that will further protect sensitive hardcopy records. The first of which is climate control. Paper in most forms is weak to water. It will degrade over time, or its ink will fade and smudge. Additionally, high temperature fluctuations can cause paper to become brittle and yellow over time. To protect your paper records from weather-related damages, find a storage facility with climate control.
This feature maintains a constant temperature and humidity level within the unit, preserving your paper records for the long haul of storage.
Additionally, let’s not forget that the information on these records are just as important as the paper themselves; you do not want these files getting lost, stolen, or vandalized. Protect your sensitive records with key security features such as electronic gate access, video surveillance, and onsite management.
Tips for placing records inside a storage unit
When it comes time to actually place your paper files inside the storage unit, there are still some tips you should follow. For instance, unless you’re using a shelf or file cabinet system, do not place your boxes directly on the floor. This will decrease the chances of water or pest damage. Thankfully, the fix is as simple as laying down a pallet or plastic tarp on the ground.
If you are stacking these boxes, do not stack them more than three boxes high. This isn’t just to help maintain the containers integrity of potentially heavy stacks of paper, but it will also help protect you and your back from accidents.
When you organize your storage unit, its recommended that you line the walls of the unit to give yourself easy access to everything inside the unit. If you are using a particularly large unit, its OK to stack things off the walls, but definitely provide lanes and aisles you can travel through to find what you need.
Paper records are a great way to maintain your peace of mind for important information. Thankfully, with self storage you can keep these important files in a safe and secure location.