All businesses and organizations that have been in existence for more than a decade or so have had to contend with the creation, storage, handling, and disposal of documents. Many commercial enterprises have employees whose sole function is to create company policies regarding the transmission and protection of company and employee data, and the preservation and destruction of specific types of documents.

Of course, not all documents are created equal when it comes to protection, handling, and destruction. Printed flyers for the company picnic can get recycled with no concerns. However personnel files, corporate documents, financial statements, and the like must be treated very differently. 

Companies that deal with medical, legal, financial, historical, and environmental records have to take extra measures to protect certain records. Confidential patient files, estate documents, or archival papers from a 100-year-old company’s earliest days are particularly susceptible to harm if they are not properly maintained in secure, climate-controlled storage facilities like those offered by Armstrong Archives. 

If you have business or personal records that you must safeguard against damage, you will want to review the following: our comprehensive guide to the preservation of documents.

Understanding Document Preservation

Before we discuss storage solutions, let’s review basics on the proper preservation of documents. Maintaining the original condition of documents like contracts, financial records, and medical charts requires certain environmental conditions that may not be possible in the typical home or office space.

Paper is an abundant and affordable medium, but it becomes vulnerable with age. When paper is exposed to sunlight or heat it can deteriorate over time. Excessive moisture in the air can cause mold or mildew to develop. Paper is also attractive to a range of pests that may shred or chew it for nesting.

Preserving documents requires a secure storage facility that is climate controlled to eliminate the potential for damage and degradation. Those in industries like finance, healthcare, and legal services that may be required to maintain original documents for years can’t afford to take risks with faulty document storage.

Proper storage conditions are also essential for protecting and preserving historical documents or archives that might otherwise be lost for all time. Document scanning is a wise backup plan, but there’s no substitute for preserving original documents.

Caring for Old and Historical Paper Documents 

When it comes to preserving historical documents, three things are needed: cool temperatures, dry air, and darkness. The importance of climate-controlled storage cannot be overstated when it comes to preserving old paper documents and preventing further deterioration. 

For optimal preservation of documents, store them in archival containers made from acid-free materials, free of fasteners like staples or glue, and lacking dyes that could bleed. This level of storage is recommended for preserving historical documents, photographs, and vital records that need to be stored indefinitely.

Best Practices for Preserving Common Paper Documents

Common paper documents may not require the level of archival storage solutions necessary for historic records. However, you should still know how to store paper documents like legal or financial records that need to be maintained for several years or longer.

Handling Best Practices

You should always store documents flat and unfolded, whether they’re stacked horizontally or separated into file folders and stored upright. Larger documents may be rolled and stored in tubes. Ideally, you should place documents in closed storage containers. Following these steps will help prevent common issues like creasing, tearing, and fading.

Common documents don’t necessarily need to be handled with archivists’ gloves, but it’s always best to make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling any paper you want to preserve.

Optimal Storage Solutions for Paper Documents

When determining how to store paper documents to prevent potential degradation, you need enclosed storage containers like file boxes or cabinets. Unless you live in an area where flooding is common, watertight containers probably aren’t necessary. 

However, high humidity levels damage paper and when mixed with heat, encourage mold. This is why storage in a temperature-controlled and humidity-controlled environment is crucial to preservation. You will also want to ensure the location is secure. 

The value of a document is less about the medium than the information it contains. For example, if you’re preserving medical, legal, or financial records, you want to make sure they’re in a secure location where thieves can’t access them. You’ll enjoy all these benefits and more when you partner with a reliable storage company like Armstrong Archives.

Why Professional Storage Services Are Essential

Off-site storage is more than just a way to save space in your office. Document storage experts know how to store paper documents and have already taken steps to prevent threats like physical damage or theft.

Specialized storage conditions like those you find at Armstrong Archives minimize risks of damage and loss, and can be an integral part of your disaster recovery plans. Extra services like record scanning and secure media destruction save you time and protect your data from falling into the wrong hands.

You’ll enjoy exceptional customer care and support from Armstrong Archives. Are you interested in professional document preservation? Contact us now to request a quote or to learn more about our reliable storage solutions.

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