The worst place to store your personal files is in an easily-accessible place in your home. While a locked filing cabinet is better, someone may be able to pick up and carry away your filing cabinet. Also, if here is a fire or natural disaster, you will lose your important files. Instead, you should store them both at a secure offline site and you should digitize your files and store them at a secure online storage website.

Digitize Your Files

Scan your paper files to digitize them. Consider scanning everything because, unlike with paper files, digital files do not take up physical space. The files should then be uploaded to an online cloud computing service that has multiple layers of security.

Store Paper Files Securely

As for papers files, while there could never be a complete list of what should be stored or shredded, the documents that must always be secured include:

  • Passports

  • Wills

  • Tax returns

  • Personal information: social security cards and birth certificates

Any information that you will need at a moment's notice you should take a photocopy of. Then, you should place the original documents in a safe deposit box. If you already own an account with a bank, you will often receive a discount. Another, though more expensive, option is to hand your documents over to a records protection company. These companies will take possession of your documents to make sure they are secure.

Consider Self-Storage

For documents that are not sensitive, but which you may still need, consider placing them in self-storage. This will be an affordable solution that will provide you with security. You can also use the self-storage to store other items taking up space. Choose a business that provides climate control because you will want the documents to be protected from humidity and heat. Use pallets or plastic bins to keep the documents off the floor so that they will not become wet if the storage unit floods. No matter what, do not store your will in the facility because there are often legalities that will prevent the will from being released to someone else if you pass away.

Shred Unnecessary Files

For documents that have personal information, but which you do not intend to need again, make sure to shred rather than simply toss the document. Shredders are designed to cut up documents in a manner that makes them almost impossible to piece back together. Shredding every document will ensure that you do not accidentally throw away papers with personal information.

For local storage options, contact a company such as Grand Central Storage.