If you haven’t found a home for all your essential documents and records yet, now’s the time to figure out where and how you’ll store them. After all, you probably have your fair share of paperwork, from your medical insurance information to possible estate planning paperwork.
But how should you store important documents? And where should you keep them?
Allow us to give you a hand!
We’re the experts when it comes to all things storage. So that’s why we’ve created a handy guide to help you with important document storage. We’ve provided information regarding what kind of records you should store, best storage practices, and suggestions for physical and electronic solutions. Check out our recommendations to help get all your critical paperwork sorted.
What Types of Documents Need Storing?
You’ve probably racked up a lot of documents in your life. Right after you were born, you received a birth certificate, and it seems like you’ve been acquiring records left and right ever since.
You may be thinking about that stack of paper and wondering what kinds of docs you should be storing in the first place. To help, we’ve outlined a handful of suggestions.
This category of important documents includes your vital records. It covers everything from your marriage certificate and adoption papers to your passport and Social Security card. Other household information includes custody records, divorce papers, military service identification, a copy of your driver’s license, and even pet ownership documentation.
Financial and Legal Records
Next up, you’ll want to gather all your financial and legal records. This includes information on your insurance policies, deeds, loan or lease agreements, and tax documents. Estate planning, such as wills, trusts, and power of attorney, fall under this category, along with business records.
Your medical information is another area to file and document. This covers paperwork on your health and dental insurance, living will, a list of your prescriptions and immunizations, and disabilities information, among other medical-related documents.
Best Practices for Storing Important Documents
From temperature levels to encrypted files, check out some of these best practices when it comes to storing your documents.
Assess Storage Temperature and Humidity Levels
Of course, you already know paper is flammable. But did you know extreme heat can cause damage to paper, too? When exposed to high temperatures, paper can lose its color, and when combined with high humidity levels, it can create a breeding ground for mold. In addition, high levels of humidity can cause paper to curl, warp, and wrinkle.
If temperature and humidity are of concern to you, look into climate-controlled storage units. These rentals maintain a preset temperature range and humidity level, so that your paperwork isn’t exposed to extreme temperatures or conditions.
Consider Passwords and Locks
Think about the kinds of information you’re storing. Is there anything that’s particularly sensitive? If so, you may want to incorporate a password or lock into your storage option. Depending on what kind of storage method you go with, you can find both digital and physical password and locking systems. Just be sure to write down the password and keep them in a safe place.
Always Create Copies
Accidents happen—you don’t want your documents to pay the price. That’s why it’s essential to create digital copies of your documents. If something should happen to your original copy, your backup files are there with all the information you need.
How to Physically Store Documents
While we always recommend creating digital copies of your documents as backup, for now, we’ll focus on how to store important documents in a physical location.
The trusty ol’ filing cabinet is a tried-and-true file storage option. And for good reason! Filing cabinets provide you with a convenient way of storing and organizing your documents. You can create your own filing system (complete with labels) to keep track of all your paperwork. What’s more, filing cabinets are compact, stackable, and easily transportable. As an added bonus, many come with locks and keys, too.
Fire- and Water-Resistant Storage
Sometimes there are incidents that are out of your control like fires and floods. To keep your paperwork out of harm’s way, consider investing in fire- and/or water-resistant storage or filing cabinets. These containers can withstand exposure to water and extreme temperatures without affecting the contents inside.
Safe Deposit Box
A safe deposit box is another prime paperwork storage solution, especially if you’re interested in security features. You can find all kinds of safe deposit boxes. Some come with an old-fashioned lock and key, while others provide digital password options.
Binder With Plastic Sleeves
You don’t have to get all fancy when it comes to paperwork storage. If you want an easy and affordable option, pick up a binder, plastic sleeves, and some tabs. Gently place each document into a sleeve and add tabs to organize each section. Once you’ve filled your binder, you can always place it in a safe deposit or fire/water-resistant storage, too.
Storage units, particularly climate-controlled storage units, are a prime place for storing your docs. And the best part is that you can use any of the above-mentioned containers in your unit. Whether you decide to go the filing cabinet route or prefer a safe deposit box, you can easily transport these compartments to your storage unit.
Yes, it’s important to properly store the physical copies of your vital documents, but electronic storage is equally crucial. When you create electronic backups of your documents, you always have access to them, no matter what happens to the original copies. Begin by scanning your documents onto your computer, and then take advantage of one—or several—of the following options.
The internet is a magical place. And thanks to cloud storage options like Google Drive, Apple Storage, DropBox, and Microsoft OneDrive, it’s simple to digitally store your documents. These options make it easy to digitally share files with others—for example, your partner or children. You also have the option to incorporate electronic encryptions and passwords. And if you’re only storing a small amount of data, many of these cloud solutions are free.
External Hard Drive
This storage option is part electronic, part physical. Hook your computer up to an external hard drive or thumb drive and copy over all your documents. Once you’ve moved your files over to an external hard drive, you can keep it in your storage unit.
If you want to keep it simple, your computer can act as another electronic document storage solution. After you’ve scanned and uploaded your important documents on your computer, create a filing system on your desktop. You can even encrypt your files and folders with passwords for extra peace of mind.
Reserve a Storage Unit Near You
If you’re looking into physical storage solutions, a storage unit is an ideal choice. Here at Stor-It, we feature more than 15 convenient storage facility locations around Treasure Valley.
Our storage units come in a wide range of sizes, from small, compact rooms to commercial-sized spaces. We also offer both short- and long-term storage solutions, so you’re certain to find a unit that accommodates all your preferences. Contact us to reserve a unit for all your important documents today!