In today’s age, it’s no surprise that many businesses store the majority of their documents digitally. Many documents are exchanged in file format over email, and in many cases, paper documents are scanned, stored and then the paper copy is destroyed. However, there will always be a number of important documents that you will want to store physically amongst your archives. Depending on the nature of your business, this can mean a lot of paperwork or a more manageable amount.
If your business falls into the first category, you may find that your archive storage is getting a little out of control and it could also be quite disorganised. Here, we offer our 3 top tips for organising your archive storage to ensure you know where everything is and that it can be easily accessed.
If your archive storage is in a state of chaos, it’s likely that a big part of the issue is because you haven’t cleared out a backlog of documents that you no longer are required to keep. Before trying to organise your existing archives, it’s best to start by making sure that the only items you are keeping are those that you actually need.
Begin by going through all of your archives and clear out all the documents that you have neglected to purge over the years. Depending on the type of document, the length of time you are required to keep it will vary. Once you have identified the documents that exceed the legation retention requirements, arrange for proper disposal. This could mean shredding them in-house, or arranging for a company who specialises in document destruction to take them away for you.
Once you’ve cleared out all the unnecessary paperwork, you can be sure that the items left in your archives are those that you absolutely need. This makes it much easier to begin organising.
Once you begin to get your archives in order, make sure you have set aside the most important documents that are likely to need access to from time to time. Ensure that the files are clearly labelled, and that access is not restricted or obstructed so that you can obtain anything as soon as you need it. This might mean storing these important items in the top drawer of a filing cabinet or in a box that you can get to quickly.
Once you have prioritised the items in your archive, you can begin to get everything else in order. It’s important to have an organisation system in place, and depending on your business, you’ll need to decide what type of system will work best for you.
The time-tested organisational scheme is to store your documents by type and age. For example, it’s best to store all financial documents together and then separate them by year. You can do the same with customer or client records and important documents containing your own business’s information, such as rental agreements or employee contracts. Breaking everything down by category and year makes it much easier to find what you are looking for and also offers a greater chance of everything being put back in the correct place.
If you find that the size of your archives is taking up too much space in your office, why not contact us about our secure archive storage options? We offer a number of solutions ideal for archive storage, and our 24-hour facilities are safe, secure and temperature controlled to ensure your documents will be kept in perfect condition.