Even in this digital age, there are certain paper documents that hold the keys to your life. They consist of personal, family, and financial information. Letting it get into the wrong hands not only causes you considerable hassle, it potentially leaves you open to identity theft. But there’s more to take into account than simply buying a safe to shove them inside. The humidity, temperature, and surroundings all play a part in the deterioration of paper documents. So what do you do? Here is how to properly store important paper documents at home.
1. Start Simple
The biggest threat to your documents is thieves. Now, the majority of housebreakers aren’t interested in what you might want to leave your loved ones after you die. The sight of a safe place attracts them, though. If they think a safe or lockbox has something important inside they’ll attempt to steal it.
Start by purchasing a secure box in which to keep your paper possessions. But remember to supplement this security through your purchasing choices and strategic placing:
• Purchase a safe with all the added extras. In the security industry, you generally get exactly what you pay for. A cheap safe is easy to break into with a hammer or crowbar.
• Hide the safe and keys. Housebreakers only have a few minutes before they have to depart. If they can’t see the safe instantaneously, they’re unlikely to attempt to break into it if they stumble across it later on.
• Bolt it to the wall or floor. Even the strongest safe is no match for a burglar who has the time and an array of heavy-duty tools at his disposal. If they can’t wrench it away after a few tugs you’re safe.
2. Natural Disaster Proof
A fire or a flood can ruin anything made of card or paper. Buy a safe or lockbox that has the special features required to withstand a house fire or a flood. Paper is the first thing a disaster destroys, so an extra few minutes can mean the difference between losing and retrieving any records from a disaster zone. The UK Conservation Register specialises in helping people in this situation.
3. Worst Case Scenario
Sometimes you might not feel comfortable even with the latest in security to keep documents safe. There’s nothing wrong with feeling like this. There are a number of options you have to further bolster your security arrangements.
Take photocopies of any records and keep them separate from the originals; wills and deeds are particularly vulnerable. Lock these copies (or the originals) far away from your safe. Leave them in another building with someone you trust – a bank safety deposit box, or with the family solicitor are good options.
Paper records with historical value need specialised care to properly preserve them. Banks are the place to go for this. They use special temperature controlled dark rooms which regulate the temperature, light, and humidity. It’s also the safest place for protecting against thieves.
4. Simplicity Itself
These security methods don’t take a lot of time or effort to implement. Purchasing a document safe or fireproof box to protect your documents from a quality home security provider is adequate enough to avert most scenarios. Take your most prized records to a bank where they can give them the care and attention they deserve. Implement proper home security methods and no thief will have the tools, energy, or patience needed to steal from you.