Best Practices for Storing Old Documents

Digitalization has made it possible to access documents online. However, we still have some old papers that require manual storage, such as birth certificates, passports, and marriage licenses. The challenge is how to store these documents in a safe and organized way to avoid damage or loss. Here are some tips on how to keep your old documents secure.

Choose the Right Storage Materials

The first step in storing old documents is choosing the right materials. Avoid using PVC plastic sleeves or envelopes because they contain acidic compounds that can cause deterioration of paper quality over time.

Instead, opt for acid-free document holders made from polyester (Mylar), polypropylene or polyethylene plastics. You can also use archival-quality paper folders with neutral pH levels and no lignin content. Archival boxes are perfect for storing multiple items together if you have many papers.

Avoid Direct Sunlight Exposure

Exposure to direct sunlight damages paper quality by causing fading or discoloration of ink. As such, always store your important papers away from direct sunlight sources like windowsills or open cabinets facing outside windows.

Consider keeping your files in dark-colored filing cabinets shut tight when not needed or covered with an opaque material like cloth.

Keep Your Documents Dry

Water damage is one of the biggest threats when it comes to storing documents safely long-term . Always ensure that your storage area is dry and free from moisture by placing silica gel packets inside folders/archival boxes(where possible)to help absorb any humidity present .

Avoid storing valuable paperwork close a water heater tank lest there be leaks; basements might come across this problem so check regularly.

Organize Your Documents

Keeping all of your important paperwork properly organized helps you find them easily when necessary.
Use tabs/dividers within each file to separate documents and create categories with a different folder for each document type. This also helps you know the contents of each folder without having to rummage through them.

Consider adding labels or tags on individual folders so that you never mix up your papers.

Backup Your Documents Digitally

It’s always wise to have a digital backup copy of important documents like bank statements, tax returns, etc. You can scan these files and save them in cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive.

A backup copy ensures that even if something happens to hardcopies the information is still accessible remotely.


Proper storage techniques help preserve old documents’ integrity and ensure they remain safe for generations. The tips discussed above provide an easy way to keep precious paperwork safe from damage and deterioration . Start implementing these simple strategies today following good habits far outlive poor ones!

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