How long are you supposed to keep your business files on hand before you can get rid of them? The rule changes from state-to-state and from industry-to-industry.
For example, here in Jacksonville, a good rule of thumb for tax documents is seven years. Contracts and their related paperwork should be kept at least until the statute of limitations for potential lawsuits related to those contracts has passed.
Unfortunately, not all offices are equipped with the space required to keep all of these different types of files. So what do you do when you find yourself running out of space? Obviously you’re going to want to rent some self storage in Jacksonville, but how do you decide what to store and what to keep on hand?
1. Always keep at least twelve months’ worth of files immediately on hand in your office filing cabinets.
2. Keep files one-three years old in storage boxes on site. You’re less likely to need to get into these files but at least they’ll be close if you need them.
3. Anything more than three years old should get taken out to storage.
Make sure you have your storage space organized well so that, should you need to go out there and find something, doing so will be a quick and easy trip.
Moving files can be a hectic process. It’s not something that you want to do every day. It’s best to move the files once or twice a year. A regular rotation keeps the office functioning smoothly during the transition. If you try to do everything all at once, you risk turning everything upside down for days while you sort through what goes where.
Unfortunately, the same is not true when you want to bring in new office furniture. If you’re planning on redecorating, it’s best to bring the new furniture in over a weekend and get it all done at once.
Supply your employees with storage boxes that they can use to keep their files and office supplies in while the furniture is being moved. Have them pack up on a Friday so that on Monday they can unpack into the new furniture.
It might even be worth it to pay some overtime to incentivize them to stay late to pack up on the Friday and to come in early to unpack on Monday to keep the office functions running smoothly.
Pro Tip: Do not get rid of your old office furniture right away. Instead, store it out with your older legacy files. This way, if something breaks or you decide to bring on new employees, you won’t need to buy new furniture.
Unfortunately, the moving of files and furniture is always going to be disruptive. If you use these tips, though, you can hopefully keep the disruptions to a minimum.