Whether you own your business or manage one, record keeping is an essential part of operations. Companies small and large must retain certain records for specific time periods as dictated by local laws. Tax filings, employee paperwork and other important documents are only a few of the essential records that need to be kept.
Organized document storage, safe from time and weather damage, is as important as how the documents are stored. Organization can be a challenge, especially as the fiscal or tax year ends and the number of records increases. Making sure you have space for it is another challenge, let alone a safe and secure spot.
Here are a few helpful tips and tricks that will aid you through the process of sorting, filing and storing your business documents and files in our self-storage facilities.
How to Store Documents and Records in a Storage Facility
1. Organize Your Files
If your records aren’t already organized to your liking, start by reviewing your documents and sorting everything into three different categories: store, shred and recycle.
- Recycle: These are documents you don’t need any more and aren’t sensitive.
- Shred: These are documents you don’t need any more but have sensitive information.
- Store: These are the documents you’re keeping in your storage unit.
For the documents you intend to store, be sure they’re efficiently organized. Depending on the business you’re in and the documents you’re retaining, you might organize them by year, document type or importance. To help keep things organized, use file storage tools, such as:
- Large envelopes (8.5” x 11” or larger)
- Plastic holders
- File organizers (available in plastic, paper or metal)
File organizers are the best option as they generally come with labels and color-coding systems that you can use to help you be organized. They also offer superior protection for your documents.
3. Invest in Document Storage Solutions
Once all your documents are sorted and organized, you’ll want to keep them in a safe and secure spot; something more efficient than envelopes or file organizers. For that reason, invest in a filing cabinet or storage shelf that you can place in your storage unit.
- Filing cabinets are great for keeping your documents protected from the elements and are available in multiple sizes, shapes and materials. Metal filing cabinets are going to be the most reliable, durable and weatherproof option. Most will come with rails that can accommodate file organizers easily, which makes them a useful option.
- Storage shelves with boxes or plastic bins are another great option to keep your documents stored and organized. Shelves with file boxes may be a cheaper alternative than a filing cabinet and offer you the opportunity to visibly see record boxes and documents. Filing boxes are also easier to transport, which may help if you are storing files temporarily.
5. Arrange Storage Space Appropriately
Once you have your cabinets or shelves in the storage unit, arrange them in a matter that makes sense to your business. If you have documents that someone will need to access frequently, try to place them toward the front of the storage unit. Meanwhile, if you have documents that don’t need your attention and are there for just record keeping, place them in the back of the unit.
6. Keep documents Secure
If you are going to have more than one individual accessing your storage unit for documents, place a log in the storage unit that the employee can sign in/out and the document they accessed. This ensures that your employees can access items when needed, but also keeps your documentation secure. To give you added peace of mind, U-Haul has a number of security features available at each facility that work overtime to keep your sensitive documents and files secure. These features include:
- 24/7 monitoring
- Individually alarmed rooms
- Fire sprinklers
- Limited access to floors/buildings
- Electronic access
7. Choose a Climate Controlled Storage Unit
It goes without saying that the best storage unit type to get is a climate-controlled storage unit. These facilities manage the climate and temperature, meaning your papers won’t get damaged over time. In addition, a climate-controlled storage unit has double the security, with individually alarmed rooms available.
From storage supplies to climate-controlled self-storage units, U-Haul has everything you need to keep your important documents safe and secure. Find a self-storage location near you and make U-Haul your Storage Place.