Even in today’s electronic world, many businesses and government agencies have hardcopy paper documents that are filed and stored often taking up too much space. But how can you avoid taking up all that space in your office? Many businesses have found that storing these files in self-storage units is the best solution.
As the volume of paper records outgrows the business space available, businesses may need to look for off-site storage. Private self storage facilities offer many advantages for records storage. They offer units in many sizes to fit your needs, are easy to access, secure and often offer temperature controlled units. Furthermore, our units start at under $11 per square foot which is much less than average office rents in the Hudson Valley.
We love to go above simply finding you a unit to rent. So, here are some helpful tips when storing your paper documents.
Tips for Storing Your Documents
Storing paper documents has to be carefully considered. Outside factors, such as temperature, light and humidity, directly effect paper. Warm, moist air can cause mold spores to sprout on paper. Light also damages paper causing inks to fade and accelerating the browning of the paper. So, here are some suggestions from Guardian when storing your documents:
- Store the important documents that you may need to access in the front of the unit. By loading these boxes last, you will avoid having to dig for them which will save you valuable time.
- Make sure your items go in dry so the unit stays dry. Mold will grow quickly and cause damage. Keeping things dry from the start is the best way to avoid damage.
- Store your documents and other valuables on wood pallets to keep them elevated. In the unlikely event of a flood, your documents will be above the water line and will have better air circulation to help them dry should they get wet.
- Limit access to your unit and have secure locks. Many business documents and records are confidential and need to be private. Guardian Self Storage locations are secure and gated with video surveillance, but being diligent with your unit will help insure their security.
- Clearly label boxes. There is nothing worse than having to dig through box after box looking for one document. If the boxes are clearly labeled and dated, this can save you from a big headache.
- Organize your boxes by year and type of record. You’ll be happy you did.
- Store your documents in a convenient location. Choose a location that is close to your office so you can easily access your documents and records when needed.
- Choose a unit that is right for you. Guardian offers many unit sizes and styles to best fit your needs.
What Documents Need to be Stored?
Medical, legal, insurance or other industry regulations may require storing contracts, tax records, approved plans, project records or other documents for extended periods of time. Some businesses may require backup copies of material to be stored in a secondary location as part of disaster management plans. Even individuals may have personal papers and family archives that they don’t have space for at home and would like to keep in a private and controlled location outside of their house.
For example, accountants provide the following guidelines for retaining human resources records:
- Permanent records – Retirement plan agreements and employee W-2 forms.
- Ten years – Worker’s compensation benefits; employee withholding exemption certificates; and payroll records.
- Seven years – Attendance records; medical benefits; performance records; personnel files; payroll checks; and time reports.
- Five years – Safety reports; garnishments; and life insurance benefits.
- Three years – Family and medical leave; and contractors (from date of contract completion).
Many facilities offer special services for businesses. For example, Guardian Self Storage offers a complete “branch office setup service.” Guardian Self Storage staff will meet with you at your place of business and work with you to develop your ideal storage solution—at no charge. When you sign with us, we will pick up and move files into your custom-designed storage unit, free!
Business and legal records or documents can take up too much valuable space in your office or home. Storing these items off-site can be the best solution. Call us today to speak with a helpful storage expert.