How To Set Up Shipping Containers for Records – A Nine Step Action Plan


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Room full of old important records or physical archives

Whether you’re working at an accounting firm, police, law firm or hospital, maintaining and protecting records is a main priority. Safe record storage is also reinforced by various regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) in the case of healthcare and medical organizations.

While data security has largely moved online, record storage is important for many businesses, and problems that arise such as dampness, pests and other damage don’t make this task any easier.

Portable shipping containers are an ideal solution for storing physical records due to the range of features they offer.

Why are shipping containers ideal for record storage?

  • Secure – Made from Corten steel, these containers are highly secured against theft and vandalism, and come with additional heavy-duty locking systems. In addition, pest-proof seals and climate control systems aid in long-term record preservation by protecting them environmental factors.
  • Convenient – They can be placed just next to your office building and save you a trip to a separate rental storage unit.
  • Portable – These containers can be easily moved to different locations based on your requirements.
  • Better Organization – By storing records, these containers free up your office space and create room for expansion and other plans you may have had.
  • Readily Available – Record storage containers can be available in one business day from Mobile Modular Portable Storage and can be set up quickly.

Since physical archives and records can get damaged without proper care, you want to have an action plan in place to ensure long-term storage in a shipping container.

Employees in a Portable Storage container full of organized records

9-Step action plan for record storage in a portable shipping container

A few precautions can go a long way in securing your precious records -

  1. Select the Site – An ideal site should be reasonably flat and safe from flooding, and in an area with an up to date drainage system. It’s important to avoid locations near exposed stormwater drains and next to rivers or creeks.
  2. Secure the Site – Install a chain wire fence about 6 to 7 feet high with a set of double gates for vehicle access. This will help ensure additional security around the container to add an extra layer of protection from things such as animals, vandalism, etc.
  3. Prepare the Site – Keep the site free from vegetation and tree stumps.  It is also a good idea to inspect and treat the site for insects and pests. Paved or concreted areas are ideal to have a clean surface that is more likely to be flattened. You also might want to provide elevation with piers and blocks made of bricks and concrete to offer greater air circulation. This will also keep rodents, snakes and other pests from nesting underneath the container. Chicken wire is also a good investment to use to fence the space between the ground and the container.
  4. Select the Container – Select the size and type of container based on your storage needs. Inspect the container thoroughly to ensure that it is in good condition and free from rust, cracks and leaks. It is also important to check if the door is moving freely and forming a reasonably tight seal when closed. At Mobile Modular Portable Storage, our team will help install your container as well as inspect it one last time before their departure.
  5. Have the Container Delivered and Placed in Position – A gap of about 2.5 feet should be maintained between the roof structure and the container to allow air flow. Make sure to seal any holes or cracks in the container that may let in dust and water. In case of a general-purpose storage container, it’s important that the roof and exterior walls are coated with a highly insulating material.
  6. Additional Protection – Additions like a canopy, a reasonably sized bullnose verandah with an external floor, and a quality mat can keep dirt and dust from being tracked into the container. If there is no lighting inside the container, you can either install several light fittings.
  7. Introduce Records – Before you start to store your records inside the container, inspect and ensure the container doesn’t have any mold or pest infestations and is not damp.
  8. Control Pests – Place blunder traps and baits for pests and insects. It’s important to check and replace these items regularly.
  9. Control and Monitor Environmental Conditions – Placing boxes of moisture absorbing crystals (Closet Camel or Damp Rid) inside the storage container can keep excess moisture under control. Installing HVAC systems can help lower the temperature and reduce humidity. Alternatively, portable dehumidifiers can be used. Use portable electronic data loggers and thermo-hygrographs to monitor environmental conditions inside the containers regularly.

This is by no means an exhaustive action plan, but these basic precautions are key to preserving your invaluable records over the years in portable shipping containers.

Mobile Modular Portable Storage (MMPS) is one of America’s leading portable storage providers. With our dedicated fleet of trucks and trailers and a team of seasoned drivers and representatives, we offer hassle-free container delivery in typically one business day.

We also provide high-security containers with lock boxes for both rent and sale. Learn how we can help your business storage need today - call us at 866-459-7600 or request a quote.

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