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Tips & Advice | Storage

4 Common Document Storage Mistakes…and How to Do Better

common document storage mistakes

There are no two ways around it…storing documents properly is an arduous task, and one too many people get wrong.

As one of Sydney’s most trusted storage facilities, we thought we’d share our list of the top 4 most common document-storing mistakes…and how to do better.

1. Storing Documents Without a Retention Schedule

Some people try to make the whole document storage ordeal easier by saving everything. And, while this may seem wise in theory, it doesn’t take long for people to realize the error of their ways—which usually takes place when they begin to run out of room.

Suddenly, you’re left with a mountain of documents crammed into innumerable boxes (which may or may not be organised) and looking at the very real possibility of paying more for additional storage you don’t really need.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires that most records be kept for a minimum of five years, but the records you need to keep will vary depending on the tax obligations and structure of your business. Visit the government’s business page to learn more.

It’s a good idea to sort through your papers to figure out what needs to be stored and what can be shredded. Doing so can save you money in the long run as it may very well allow you to rent a smaller unit.

2. Choosing Cheap Storage Boxes

No one likes to shell out big bucks for boxes that are just going to sit in a storage facility for half a decade or more…but it is really, really important that you do.

Avoid using cardboard to store documents as it is a snack favored by mice, roaches, and various other pests known to frequent some storage facilities. Hungry creepy crawlies have been known to chew through cardboard as their main meal…then happily consume your documents for dessert.

Another point to consider—people often underestimate just how heavy documents are when piled into a box. Using a flimsy container increases the likelihood that, at some point during the storage process, you’ll encounter a pile of destroyed cardboard and crumpled documents strewn about your unit.

Ideally, you want to use clear, acid-free, breathable containers designed specifically for storing documents and that come with tightly latching lids. These containers are durable, easy to lift and carry and allow you to see the contents without opening the box. They are also easy to stack and virtually impervious to the aforementioned critters.

3. Storing Damp Documents

This may sound strange, but paper documents carry some moisture in them…especially if you live in a humid climate or if your documents have been stored in an outdoor shed or garage. And, if left in a moist environment, documents are susceptible to damaging mold and mildew.

If you are determined to store your documents in cardboard boxes (did we mention that is a bad idea?), you’ll want to make sure your boxes are raised off the floor of your unit. You can stack them on a shelving system or place a pallet on the floor of your unit and stack the boxes on that. Having boxes off the floor ensures your documents will stay dry in the event of a water or structure leak in your unit.

Desiccant packets are another great option and can be purchased online. Simply throw a packet or two into each box and they will absorb any moisture.

One of the easiest ways to avoid moisture issues is by renting a climate-controlled storage unit. Such units maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level, ensuring your documents remain dry and mold or mildew free.

4. Storing Unorganised Files

Odds are, you’ll rarely need to access old records, but there’s nothing worse than finding out you do need to find a four-year-old document and realizing you have no idea where to start looking.

Do yourself a favor and keep your documents easy to access. Sort documents according to category—taxes, rental or lease agreements, employee records, etc.—and store them by year. Be sure to clearly label each box on its exterior and store them with the oldest documents at the back of the unit and the newest documents closest to the front.

If you are storing business records, you may want to create a log to keep track of who removed and replaced certain documents.

If you are interested in storing your documents at one of Sydney’s most trusted facilities, we hope you’ll contact us at Holloway Storage. Our units are safe, secure, climate-controlled, and monitored by 24/7 security and CCTV to ensure your belongings are well protected.

Contact us today to receive a custom quote for your storage needs. We’ll help you keep your most important documents secure and easily accessible.

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