Document storage can be a tricky issue. Every business and every state in the US has different laws about what needs to be saved and for how long. It’s something that every business owner faces. And in general, the larger the business the more storage is needed and the more complex this issue can become. Keeping good records is just part of it all, because over time, the sheer volume of paperwork can begin to turn an otherwise organized workspace into a cluttered and unpleasant world in which productivity and order have become a thing of the past.
But in an effort to help our clients stay happy in their office space, we are proud to offer superior storage options. This includes climate controlled storage which is by far one of the most effective ways to protect those extremely valuable pieces of paper. Keeping them away from the elements and in top condition for the many years they must be held onto is of vital importance. And while there are many area specific rules governing just exactly how long this period of time is, the following are some general rules based on the type of document storage being done.
Storing Financial Documents
Most people know that financial documents should be stored for 7 years. Keeping this in the back of your mind, there are several exceptions to this rule. Some things can be kept for less time such as time cards and other earning records which are required to be stored for only 3 years. Also, paperwork such as trial balances and expense reports must be kept for 6 years. But some financial records are legally required to be made available by a company 8 years after the date of issue such as canceled checks. It is also good to keep things such as end of the year financial statements on hand for the indefinable amount of time which is the entire life of the business itself. Also an important thing to remember about all financial forms that are stored electronically is that they are required to be submitted in a physical form. This builds a pretty strong case for taking the printed materials you already have and deciding its time to get some document storage space.
Human Resources Paperwork
While individual applications for employment should be kept on file for 3 years from the date of original application, the general rule of thumb for most types of personnel files is 7 years. While many consider 6 years to be a safe time frame to store documents such as personnel files, expired contracts and disability reports, they can be requested and admissible in court up to 7 years after their original date of issue.
Insurance Document Storage
Insurance forms inhabit the full spectrum of possibility with regard to how long they need to be kept. The range can vary based on the type of document from 4 to 10 years. Already settled insurance claims must be stored for 10 years, while documents such as fire inspection reports must legally be held onto for 6 years. But when in doubt, if your business is in possession of any non company related financial or insurance related form, it is a good idea to store these documents for 5 years to avoid legal hang ups and to make sure that its being held onto for a long enough duration.
When deciding to rent additional storage there are many things to consider. How much stuff do you have? How often do you need it? But perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is, “What kinds of things do I need to store?”
All storage is not created equal. Storage facilities differ greatly when it comes to their capacity for storing sensitive items. And while any company can sell you some space to put your things, many cannot sell you the peace of mind that they will remain as you left them. While security is certainly a factor, one of the things often forgotten in considering storage selection is the elements. How does temperature and humidity affect things over time? To properly address this question we suggest climate controlled storage.
Do an Inventory. Consider the items you may have that could be affected by changing temperature and humidity. Most people know that expensive art and antique furniture are sensitive to the elements, but the list goes on. Various types of electronics including computer equipment, cameras, photographs, important documents, furs and clothing, leather goods and instruments can also be ruined by improper storage.
Think Weather. By very definition, climate controlled storage is a managed facility that prevents its internal temperature from going below freezing in the winter and above 90?F in the summer. Generally these spaces maintain a consistent 55-80?F through the use of heating and air-conditioning. If the weather in your geographic location varies greatly between seasons, and you plan to be storing your items for more than just a couple of months, you may want to consider renting a climate controlled space.
Damage Potential. Potential damage to your belongings can take on many forms. Mold and mildew as well as rust can easily occur in storage locations where humidity is not monitored by atmospheric regulation. Warping and cracking are also common in the presence of additional moisture. When it comes to material including leather and textiles of all kinds, temperature changes can greatly compromise color and texture. Climate controlled facilities are constructed above flood lines to prevent water damage and are generally insulted with reinforced materials to avoid insect invasions such as termites and other pests that may wish to devour your precious things.
It’s that time of year again, the one right after costume time. Time to put away the gigantic plastic spiders and cotton webbing. It’s time to re-store the life size garden ghouls and find a place for the glow in the dark skulls to rest until they are needed again next year. It’s that time of the year right after Halloween when you find that more than ever, you need storage!
Halloween can be an eventful part of the season. All the dressing up and party decorating can give a real boost to the creative kid within you. But after the party is over and you are properly recovered from your sugar high, you realize that every year you seem to acquire more stuff. Of course we recommend having separate storage for Holiday decorations but here are some tips on how best to keep the scariness to a minimum:
- The Comb Over. A common mistake in wig storage and costumes that are primarily fur based is forgetting to brush them out before storing them. After the party they are often knotted, dirty or wet. It is important to try to get them back to their original state before putting them away. Airing and combing them out will insure that your long black Elvira wig and Ware Wolf costume will live to see another party day.
- Keep it Cool. Remember that humidity and temperature can have a great effect on fabric. If these factors do not remain constant, fibers expand and contract over time causing the deterioration of color. For your more expensive costumes and long term material storage in general, we suggest considering climate controlled storage.
- Color Wonder. Nothing says organization like color coding. If you are storing your Halloween stuff in boxes, use a large orange marker to label its contents. If you are able to purchase plastic bins, select appropriate colors like orange or purple. This will allow you to easily find what you are looking for when it comes time to drag it all out again next October.
- In Packaging We Trust. Whenever possible, it is great to save original packaging for all costumes and decorations. Often manufacturers take into consideration the long gevity of these items when designing their packaging.
More and more people are finding the need to have extra storage space, more than their homes or garage space can provide. There are different kinds of storage units that are offered but climate controlled storage units have many perks and advantages that make it well worth any extra costs. When you do become interested in receiving information on climate controlled storage units, make sure you are aware of what is considered the moving companies regulations of climate control and exactly what that means for your belongings. One of the advantages of climate controlled storage units is its resistance to harsh weather. Rain and snow cannot penetrate the roof and they are built above sea level.
Here at Exodus, we load weatherproof containers at your location and then they are kept in our secured and monitored storage lot, located directly behind our warehouse. We store them with us until you are ready for delivery. Even though our beautiful state of Colorado experiences extreme weather conditions, don’t be too surprised to know that there is a lack of climate controlled storage options from most movers in Northern Colorado. However, here as Exodus, we offer three options for clean, safe and secure storage: Climate Controlled Vaults; 20’ Ocean Containers; and 48’ Trailers. Any combination of these three types of storage containers can be used to meet your needs. So whether you are located in Loveland, Windsor, Greeley, Boulder, Wellington or Fort Collins, and no matter what your situation, can find an appropriate storage solution for you.