When you think about self-storage, you may picture boxes of holiday decorations, seasonal equipment, and special-occasion dishes. However, storage units can also provide the ideal space to keep more important and sensitive items, such as personal documents.
You should take specific steps when you place important documents into storage to ensure the paperwork's safety and accessibility. In this blog, we list six tips to help you get your documents in order and into storage.
1. Identify Needed Documents
If you're considering remote document storage, chances are that you have stacks of paperwork lying around. While you should keep certain records, other documents needn't be kept at all, and still others should only be kept for a specific period of time.
Before you start working with your documents, create a preliminary list of the documents you actually want to keep. Plan to put financial, housing, and government documents in storage. Check the recommended retention time for documents like your W2 forms.
2. Sort and Shred
If possible, go through all of the documents that might end up in your storage unit before you put a single piece of paper into the space. Create piles based on document type and date. For example, you could create a separate pile for each year's utility statements.
Your storage space will stay better organized if you can eliminate unnecessary papers. Eliminate what you can, and shred these papers to dispose of them properly.
3. Keep Copies
While many individuals choose to keep the majority of their documents in their self-storage units, you may also want to make digital or paper copies of certain items. For example, you should have a copy of your birth certificate and Social Security card to ensure that you have those forms of identification available as needed.
If you decide to make digital copies, check that you're storing those copies in a secure, encrypted file.
4. Choose Your Container
Once you have a clear idea of the volume of paper that will go into your storage unit, choose your container. Consider plastic file boxes for smaller amounts of paper or several batches of documents with clear separation, like one box for household documentation and another for business records.
If you have documents dating back several years, you may want to choose a filing cabinet with two or more drawers instead. Avoid using cardboard containers, which may be vulnerable to moisture damage.
5. Organize and Label
As you place your documents into their respective containers, create an organizational system that you'll remember in the future when you need to access the paperwork. For example, you may find chronological filing easier to navigate than alphabetical filing.
As you organize your documents, label each file folder or envelope clearly. Additionally, label the outside of each container or filing cabinet draw for easier access if you need to grab a single document from your unit in the future.
6. Start With Shelving
Once you're ready to move your documents into the unit, prepare the space with shelving or platforms. Never store documents directly on the floor, as this position may make the boxes more vulnerable to water damage or pests.
If you have other furnishings to store, your documents can go on top; otherwise, you may want to use wooden pallets.
Whether you need a place to keep your home business's tax documentation or your family's personally identifying documents, use the guidelines listed above to prepare your important documents for long- or short-term storage.
For a reliable range of self-storage unit options, including document storage, trust Blanco Self Storage. Our storage units are secure and easy to access.