Moving can stir up an avalanche of paper in the form of files and records. If you are moving your household, or moving your company, you will most likely need a place to store all of these documents. Archive facilities have sprung up in great numbers all around the country and provide an excellent option for storing records. These facilities offer easy access to records so they can be easily received and delivered.

Many storage companies have also jumped into this lucrative business but many facilities may not be able to meet your needs for archiving. You may be better off using a specialized archive storage firm. These are very common in urban areas where there are large amounts of offices and businesses. Many doctors, dentists, lawyers and corporations, both large and small, take advantage of this option. Office space can be very expensive and using offsite archiving can be an excellent low cost option.

If you choose to use an archiving facility, you will need to organize your records before placing them into storage. This will ensure that retrieval is not an issue. Archive boxes should be clearly labeled with the contents and you must understand your filing system. Conducting this work up front will make it much easier in the future when you are looking to find records in a hurry.

What to look for in an archiving facility:

Climate Control
Moisture is the enemy of paper. When there is too much moisture in the air paper gets wet and eventually disintegrates. Paper products rot when humidity levels are above 55% RH. High humidity can cause damage to the spine of books, eventually causing the spine to collapse and come apart. Mildew can also cause damage to paper products. RH levels of 55% or below will control mildew. Paper products are best stored at 50-80 degrees F. Choose a facility that offers climate control.

Easy Access
Many companies offer access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Depending on your needs, you may want a facility that offers this. Look for a firm that has archive specialists hired to access your records upon your request in order to fax or send them to you at a moment’s notice (you will pay extra for this).

Many storage companies also offer specialists that come to your office, file your records correctly and transport these records to the storage facility. These people are experts in handling records so you can rest assured your documents will arrive at the storage facility in the same condition they left your office.

First impressions say a lot. Ask yourself if the facility appears well organized. Make sure the storage areas are laid out in a way that provides easy access for retrieval. The aisles should be wide enough and the shelving should be laid out so it is easy to see the labels on the archive boxes. The shelves should also be sturdy enough to hold all your records safely and securely.

Electronic Media
You should also understand whether a large range of paper sizes can be accommodated and whether any electronic media can be stored. Most companies in the business of storing records understand that in order to be competitive they must offer electronic media storage facilities. This sounds like a basic requirement, however many facilities do not meet this basic need. Always examine the space yourself and ask questions.

Extra services can include sales of office supplies, including archive boxes and labels. Many facilities also offer office services such as phone, fax and computer access. You will most likely pay a premium rate to gain access to any of these services, however the convenience may outweigh the high cost for use.

The better companies will insist you have adequate insurance in the unfortunate and unlikely event some or all of your records get damaged. Many companies will suggest you take out supplemental insurance above and beyond what is offered by the facility. This is recommended. You cannot replace records once destroyed, unless you have them backed up electronically in another location.

Organizing your documents and records may seem daunting but putting in the time now will save you time later. When you move to your new location you will be pleased to see that your home or office looks a lot bigger when you don’t have to wade through piles and piles of paper.