Documents, though small and seemingly insignificant, can be extremely important, containing information that may be irreplaceable. Improper storage of documents, whether on digital or physical media, can result in the loss of such information. This makes the proper storage of documents of paramount importance to help ensure that nothing is lost.
The first thing that you should do before putting any documents into storage is to make backup copies. For paper documents, scan them and have digital copies stored on a CD, USB drive, or hard drive somewhere. Documents that are already digital can simply be copied and stored on a computer or CDs. If you are making digital copies for your backups, consider making the folders or the CDs they are stored in password protected. Keep these backups in a separate storage area from the originals to ensure that you will have a copy even if something goes wrong.
When putting documents into boxes, it's a good idea to wrap certain stacks in plastic, or to place them in sealed bags. This prevents water from damaging the documents to the point where they are unreadable, and also protects them from fading and mold growth. It's a good idea to do this with digital media as well – water can wreak just as much havoc to a CD or hard drive as it can to a piece of paper. You should also consider looking into anti-static packing materials for digital media to help prevent electricity from wiping them clean. Furthermore, you should ensure that the boxes that you pack are completely filled, with no room for documents to shift. Use loose material or bubble wrap to keep your documents from shifting, as movement can cause tears or other forms of physical damage.
When storing your documents, whether in a self-storage unit or in your home, ensure that the boxes are stored off of the ground, even if it's on just a wooden pallet. This ensures that any moisture from the ground will not seep into the bottom of the box. It's also a good idea to cover groups of your boxes with a tarp or similar waterproof covering, to add another layer of defense against any potential water exposure. For sensitive documents, you may want to consider locking the boxes themselves in addition to the room that they are stored in to help prevent the information from being compromised (for self-storage units, look for complexes that have 24 hour security and cameras installed).
For more information, contact companies like Econo Storage.