How to Properly Store Your Documents

Storing a document correctly is something you may think is very dull, but it is something that needs to be done as an adult. But, like most adult things, you don’t get taught them at school! Storing and keeping documents is an important part of life. Making sure your birth certificates, wedding certificates, driving and car documents are safe and organised is a really important part of life and here are some tips for the best way to store your documents. 

pile of folders and documents

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Where to store my documents?

Where you store a document is just as important as storing them in the right ways. You have to make sure the conditions are right. There are several different options of where to store your documents. 

In your house storage is the best option for families and small businesses who don’t have a huge number of documents. If you chose this option, you have to ensure that your documents are stored safely and securely. Some people like the security of storing their documents in a safe, which means that in any disasters your documents will be safe. If you just want to store your documents in a filing cabinet make sure you organise your documents for easy access in a safe space. 

If you choose storage facilities you have security and unlimited space for your documents. More and more people are choosing archive storage services for their document storage needs. These services ensure optimum conditions to allow all documentation to be safe and free from damage. Many even offer twenty-four-hour document retrieval. However, there are many different payment options for different types of document storage. 

document indexing system

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How do I keep my documents to hand?

By choosing to store your documents at home they are extremely accessible to you, however certain archive storage allows this too. A way to ensure you have accessibility make sure your documents are stored with other relative documents, so teaming similar documents together will help with accessing and finding the right documents. Some people find using pockets within filing cabinets that are labelled a helpful way to find what you need. 

How long should I keep my documents before destroying them?

Depending on the types of documents depends on how long you should retain documents. There are general rules for different types of documents. Banking documents are suggested that you keep them for between 3-5 years. This is just in case you have any financial discrepancies. However, if you have a longer-term finance agreement such as; a loan or mortgage, it is best to keep these documents until the 3-5 year period after the term ends is over. 

A useful way to know when to destroy paperwork is by dating the destroy date within your storage system. This is an easy way to remember when to destroy to make sure you aren’t unnecessarily keeping documents and files. 

filing drawers

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How do I keep my documents free from damage?

Where and how you store your documents is a huge factor in keeping them damage-free. Storing them in different places around your house comes with different pros and cons. If you store your documents directly in the sun, it is likely they will fade over time due to sunlight 

exposure. However, storing them in a dark damp cellar is also going to cause damage. Storing your documents upstairs prevents any potential damage from flooding. In addition, storing them on a shelf allows airflow around the storage which prevents damp damage. Who’d have thought there are so many factors to think of?

Make sure the conditions are right for your documents so they aren’t going to warp or cause the ink to run. Therefore, you want to keep your documents in a cool dry place. Potentially if you live in a humid area invest in an AC unit or dehumidifier to control the environment. If you are looking at storing your documents elsewhere, make sure you assess the environment there to ensure your documents are going to be kept safe. 

What about storing documents at the bank?

You can choose to store documents at the bank, but access to these documents isn’t twenty-four hours. You have to understand that your documents are only accessible to you during opening hours. However, if you have important documents that you know you aren’t going to need immediately, then safe deposit boxes can be a great option. Banks often provide discounts for safety deposit boxes if you are already a customer. It’s something you have to weigh up when planning where to store your documents. 

books organised on a bookshelf

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What type of box should I store my documents in?

This is something that common sense should play a part in. Storing documents in a fabric box that is easily crushed is not a good idea. Using a metal filing cabinet or a smaller Filofax is perfect for your document storage. You want something that isn’t going to damage your documents and allows them to stay safe at the same time. If you have lots of documents you may want to choose stackable storage boxes with each one containing certain documents. This not only allows easy access but keeps your documents organised.


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