Are You Storing Half-Filled Boxes? How to Conduct a Box Audit

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Evaluating your records room needs, you may realize that many boxes taking up space may be half-filled or even empty. As records get moved around throughout the year, inefficiencies in records management can arise that can consume critical space that can be used by new files and Bankers Boxes. 

A simple box audit is a four step process that helps eliminate wasted records storage space.

Step 1: Separate boxes into two groups: those boxes that need to be retained and those that can be destroyed.

Step 2: Capture details at the file level. What files in the retained boxes are still relevant? The labeled box may need to be retained, but perhaps some of the files inside are no longer needed. Often a box is designated as retained, then at the file level, most of the folders inside end up being shredded, leaving you with an empty box.

Step 3: For files that are retained, consolidate and restructure. You may be able to organize a handful of files from a nearly empty box into a box that has some reserve space. This may require relabeling of retained storage boxes.

Step 4: Destroy all unneeded records.

Using this simple organizing method, one company was able to reduce the volume of records in storage from 7000 cubic feet to only 495 cubic feet!

Not sure how long you should keep records, the IRS has some tips: Records-Keeping for Taxes

Guide for Determining How Bankers Boxes You Need.

How Many Files Fit in a standard Banker’s Box?

Here’s the dimensions and capacity for a standard banker/copy box: 12.5′”W x 15.5′”D x 10.5′”H

Depending on the type of paper and the amount of file folders that you have in each box, you can fit approximately 2000 to 2500 sheets of paper.

 

How Many Bankers Boxes Fit in Storage?

To figure out how many boxes of documents you have, think about this:

If your documents aren’t packed tightly and you have 150 sheets per inch, then you need one standard banker’s box for every 13” to 16” of space on your shelves (round it down to a foot to make it easier).

If you can’t fit one more piece of paper on your shelf, you’re probably closer to 200 sheets per inch.  In that case, you’ll need one standard Banker’s Box for every 10” to 12” of space on your shelves.

Top Four Moving Season Mistakes

Because most of us don’t move that often, we tend to forget the moving mistakes we made. With moving season upon us, here are some reminders of what we typically do wrong and how to correct those mistakes.

Mistake 1#  What is wrong with cheap moving boxes? Getting unstable, cheap moving boxes from the supermarket-The bottom will literally drop out on boxes meant to hold vegetables and dry cereal. These boxes were not meant to hold your stuff!

Solution: Invest in actual moving boxes. Because they are designed for moving, they have greater durability and special construction features that make them stackable. No failed bottoms or bulging sides.

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Mistake# 2  Sealing your boxes too soon. Moving day is chaotic and you will quickly find yourself taping up boxes too soon, only having to tear them open because you forgot to pack an item or you have accidentally packed a item you need to take with you (like the keys to the moving truck).

 

Solution: Select tape-free moving boxes. No need to buy packing tape and no need to worry about opening up a box again once you have sealed it.  Tape Free Moving Boxes make it easy to change your mind about what you have just packed. Plus, it makes unpacking a whole lot easier without when you don’t have to cut through packing tape.

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Mistake #3  Improper lifting equals back problemsWe may remind ourselves to lift with our legs, but in the commotion of moving we will forget the rule with painful consequences.

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Solution: moving boxes with handles. Handles give you a firm grip on every box compared to the smooth sides of standard boxes. Plus you can easily lift every box without having to reach under the bottom and lift, which is usually when back injuries occur.

 

Mistake #4 No labeling-where does this box go?-Forgetting to label your boxes means disorganized unpacking once you reach your destination.  Nobody wants unpacking to turn into a guessing game.

 

Solution: Choose moving boxes with clear labeling areas. You can stay organized by marking each moving box clearly.  It will make unpacking easier and the move smoother.

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QUICK TIP: Use colored dots to mark boxes for different rooms. Create a legend that coordinates with the colored dots. So yellow dot boxes go to living room, red dot boxes go to kitchen, etc. This is especially great when you hire movers who don’t know where everything goes!

How To Throw a Green Outdoor Party

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According to the Clean Air Council, every day 43,000 tons of food are thrown out in the United States, and each year Americans toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. That news can really ruin the party! Here are some great suggestions to keep any event positively green.

Go paperless on invitations

One of the advantages of digital technology is that it really can be a green alternative. Email your friends and family your party invitations and save a tree!

Plan organically

Get all your party food locally, which can really reduce the impact on the environment by reducing the cost of transportation from other states. In addition, you should only consider organic foods and beverages. These products were grown free of fertilizers and pesticides, and by supporting organic farmers with appetizers and drinks made from organic products, you are truly and positively impacting the environment while still having a good time. There is even organic beer and wine!

Go aluminum

As more and more beverages are being packaged in plastic bottles the attitude is generally that plastic can be recycled too. But in reality it takes 95 percent less energy to recycle an aluminum can than to create a new can from raw materials. Serve your cold drinks in aluminum so you can recycle much more easily. Designate one of these specialized recycle containers just for aluminum cans. Besides, aluminum will really help cold drinks stay cold longer.

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Say no to Styrofoam

Styrofoam is a landfill nightmare and one of the most common sights at any get-together. Go with recycled paper plates and party ware so that cheese dip bowl from Labor Day 2015 does not last for 1000 years.

Clean up green

Avoid using plastic garbage bags as much as possible. Plastic is like radioactive material to the environment-it lasts a long time, up to 10-20 years! Use these popular recyclable waste containers to keep waste under control at your event. No need for bags, each container can be easily recycled. Designate different containers for glass, aluminum cans and anything else you can recycle. When the party is done, simply give them to your recycler. The containers are lightweight, easy to assemble and if you really party a lot, they can be reused. That’s right, just empty your recyclables into recycle containers at home and fold these nifty corrugated waste containers back up for the next party you plan!

Five Red Flags To Look for When Moving the Office

 

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Guest Blogger Karen Warner Corporate Moving Specialist

Throughout the office moving process, pay attention to these clear signals of disorganizing danger.

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1. Slipping Off The Moving Timeline

Because you created the moving timeline, you may feel you can give yourself or others a little wiggle room. The value of the timeline however is to prevent deadlines being missed. Allowing for a gap in the timeline can cost time and money. Stay disciplined and keep yourself, other employees and movers on track.  

Download a Free Office Moving Timeline

2 Under-Ordering Supplies

Because of your office moving budget, you may feel that it is okay to not quite have enough moving boxes or supplies. But trying to squeeze past this red flag can lead to panic come moving day. You will probably end up paying too much for emergency boxes anyway. So if you have any cushion in your budget, make sure you have plenty of quality moving boxes and enough supplies. Too much is better than not enough.

3 Address the “I Don’t Knows”

As you coordinate your office move, you will be faced with questions from others and will have questions for others. If at anytime you find yourself answering “I don’t know,” or getting this as an answer from someone else–then this is a red flag. Immediately find answers to all unanswered questions as soon as you can. Don’t dismiss them as problems you can handle later. I don’t knows, at any point in the office moving process, can come back to haunt you later.

4. Boxes Marked Miscellaneous

As moving day approaches you will begin to see moving boxes piling up throughout the office. Take a few minutes to see how they are being labeled ( if you didn’t label them yourself). When other employees are left to manage packing their own office or cube, “miscellaneous” or “office stuff” may end up on the side of the box.  Have employees clearly label every box with details. If you see one mislabeled, get it fixed right away.

Red Flag: “It’s Okay, I’ll Recognize My Boxes. They Are The Ones Marked Miscellaneous”

5. Keep Tabs On Priority Boxes

There will be some boxes that need to be unpacked right away upon arrival. After all, you are a business, and even during an office move, work will need to get done. Make sure these boxes receive priority markings. Prompt the moving company about them so there is no confusion about their importance. Know who needs to unpack them and where at the new destination. Most importantly, know where these boxes are at all times during the moving process.

Making Your Office Move Easier

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Get expert advice on your office move from our Guest Blogger Karen Warner, Corporate Moving Specialist

The office move can be more stressful than any client presentation. So much to think about and plan. To avoid mishaps, delays and most importantly, the continuous stress, use a moving timeline.

Making a Forecast

Knowing how early to begin preparing for a move starts  with understanding how much needs to be moved and when. Use the square footage of your current office space to determine how much time you will need to pack up. Once  you have a clear goal determined, you can begin the planning process and create your timeline.

Get A Free Office Move Timeline Template 

Questions to Ask about Your Office Space

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What will your new office space needs be? Here are some important questions to ask yourself and other decision-makers.

  • Will you need the same amount of space?
  • Will you need more?
  • Will you need less?
  • What is your budget ceiling?
  • What is your location range?

Once you define these parameters you can begin scouting for future sites. Use a combination of resources to find properties. Use commercial realtors but also do your own search using commercial real estate websites. Even your drive to and from work can be an opportunity to identify future office space. Within the first month, you should have at least 10 potential properties that meet your criteria. Begin setting up appointments to tour these properties.

Determine Potential Property Candidates

As you begin touring potential properties, use a star rating to determine their possibility of a future site. One star can be an absolute no, 2-3 stars can be a maybe and four and five can be  your best candidates. Keep notes on why you gave this rating so you have a clear rationale when you report back to decisions-makers.

Use your star rating as a guide to short list your properties. Do not rush to select a location right away. Things can change and you may find yourself with no other alternatives. Keeping several properties on your short list keeps your options open while you begin space planning.

Space Planning

Confer with the new landlords to determine how your workspace needs will fit the space requirements of the new building. Landlords will usually provide at their cost a space planner to assist with the evaluation. This step will also help clarify the best possible future worksite.

 Get a Free Office Space Property Analysis Template

Requests for Proposal

By month four you should be submitting requests for proposal. By now you should have two or three sites in consideration.

The proposal will help the landlord address specific issues for the location. Your Request for Proposal may confirm items such as:

  • the actual square footage you are leasing
  • the lease term
  • the lease commencement date
  • building operating expenses
  • expansion possibilities
  • security
  • parking
  • options to extend the lease

Nail Down a Location

By now you should have enough information and confidence to choose your future site. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the lease terms. Landlords may be willing to make accommodation to fill the space or offer building amenities in exchange for longer lease terms. A signed lease is the launching pad to begin preparing for the office move.

Hiring the Moving Company

Your first impulse when considering movers is to contact the same company that moved your house. Commercial movers are more familiar with moving office equipment and more experienced when it comes to ensuring everything goes where it needs to go in the new office space. Get your quotes from commercial movers and narrow your list down by price, experience, licensing and insurance verification, as well as your overall confidence after a face to face meeting.

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Moving Company Proposal Summary

Use this moving company proposal summary to define the right commercial and estimate your moving inventory.

 

Get Your Own Moving Supplies- Order Moving Supplies in One Easy Step 

Tape Free Moving Boxes Allow for Easy Packing and UnPacking

All movers will want to upsell you moving supplies. But you can get your own at a much more reasonable price (always remember your moving budget!) Plus, there are other factors to consider:

  1. Moving boxes are often leased for a move. The moving company will want them back after the move, rushing your unpacking process.
  2. You may want to keep some things in long term storage and you may want to keep those boxes.

Quick Tip: Order All Your Supplies At Once So You Don’t Forget Anything.

Organizing Other Employees

Make sure employees are staying on schedule while packing. Some may be more efficient than others and you may be the only person to compel action.

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Moving Day

Everything should be ready to go on moving day. Make sure your destination is also ready to ensure an easy and stress-free move.

Choosing Storage Boxes or Storage Drawers

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Drawers Or Boxes?

How do you decide the best records storage for your business? If you have limited storage space and require frequent access to files, Bankers Box® storage drawers would be the best choice. If you have a lot more storage space available and need to access your files less often, storage boxes are the best solution.

When you choose drawer storage…

  • You can stack records higher and save space.
  • You can eliminate the need to stack and restack boxes
  • You cut record retrieval time in half

When you choose box storage…

  • You can move and handle records more frequently with stronger boxes
  • You can store less frequently accessed records safely with safe closures

When you choose a drawer/box combo…

  • You can store active files in easy to access drawers
  • You can store inactive files in safely sealed boxes for long-term storage

Choosing the Right Storage Drawers

If space-saving is your primary concern, than drawers provide the best storage solution. Choosing the right type of drawer determines how high you can stack your drawers to save space, and the right size determines the size of the contents of the drawer.

Drawer Types

Drawer Size

  • Letter/Legal Drawers accommodate both letter and legal size documents – This size drawer has the versatility for storing records of varied sizes.
  • Letter size drawers accommodate letter size files. This is the perfect drawer if letter size documents are all you need to store.
  • Legal size drawers accommodate legal sized files offering an additional three inches in width for larger record size.

Whatever your drawer choice, with the stacking ability of drawers, you can maximize your record storage space, save on retrieval time and eliminate box restacking—all while maintaining easy access to all your important records.

Choosing a Business Storage Solution

Selecting the Right Box

Different boxes have different purposes. Knowing which Bankers Box storage box to select, requires understanding your storage needs from type and strength, to size and assembly.

Box Types

  • String & Button boxes offer maximum security and reliable closure, even when the box is overturned.
  • Lift-off Lid boxes allow easy access to records. Look for locking lids to securely store your files.
  • Attached Flip-Top Lid Boxes prevent lost or damaged lids.
  • Specialty Boxes provide specialized storage solutions for unique document sizes

Box Strength

  • Frequent access, heavy-duty boxes hold up under heavy use and can be stacked higher.
  • Occasional access, medium-duty boxes hold up under moderate use and moderate stacking.
  • Infrequent access, basic-duty boxes are suitable for basic use and lower stacking.

Box Size

  • Letter/legal boxes easily carry and accommodate both letter and legal size paper.
  • Letter size boxes are perfect for high capacity letter size paper storage.
  • Legal size boxes are 3” wider than letter boxes and accommodate legal document storage.

Box Assembly

  • Presto™ instant assembly – sets up to 5 times faster than basic assembly boxes
  • FastFold® quick and easy assembly – sets up to 4 times faster than basic assembly boxes

See how easily you can assemble a Bankers Box: How to Assemble Video

The Basics of Law Firm Records Management

Not every law practice will find one set of rules useful for client records organization. The dynamics of different offices may take some strategic and creative thinking to create the perfect system for increased efficiency and productivity. Here are some starters.

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One centralized location for records is key to a productive law office. When everyone has their own independent filing system-chaos ensues!

If you maintain a large firm, a records storage room with check in and check out procedures for files keeps things organized without too much supervision.

For smaller firms, records storage drawers in a designated area of the office can serve the same purpose, but on a smaller scale.

Court is in Ten Minutes…Where’s My File?

The Most Stressful Words Heard at a Law Firm

Creating Easy File Identification

There are many approaches to file organization ranging from alphabetic to numeric to alpha-numeric. Every system has its advantages and flaws. So every firm needs to determine what works best for their practice.

Regardless of the type of system used, however, there are some basic tips for keeping all these systems efficient.

  1. Add identity references to each client file

For example, if a retained client that has numerous sub files, or several open cases, you should label the file with two names—client name and litigant name and case: Johnson E/ Phillips copyright infringement In this way any sub file created gets organized in the Johnson Electronics Bankers Box because of its client prefix, but also gets organized within that box by its suffix reference to a specific case.

Regardless of your organization system, Johnson Electronics files always go the same Bankers Box.

If sub files exceed one box, then all the Johnson E boxes can be neatly stacked with the Phillips copyright infringement sub file organized alphabetically within those client main files.

Stack boxes as client files grow.

  1. Organizing by areas of law

If a firm practices in various areas of law, organizing cases by area of practice (bankruptcies, liability ,etc. ) with different sets of drawers can keep clients who may in retainer for various cases across category from getting mixed up.

  1. Color coding for optimized organization

Within every client file a system of colors can make identifying the file you are looking for faster and easier.

For example, our client Johnson E with two cases open may have Johnson E/Gordon employee dispute with a red label and Johnson E/ Phillips patent infringement with a green label.

Clients files can be stored together in one box or organized by category of law in separate drawer systems; either way, you will be able to quickly and easily identify and grab that file and get moving on the case.

 

How The Best Accountants Increase Productivity Through Organization

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Back Up Files on Paper

In our digital age, paper documents may seem unnecessary. But digital data can be lost or compromised with the push of a button.

You don’t need to lose office space to giant metal file cabinets. Simple, inexpensive drawer systems can do the job for any small accounting office.

You should keep one complete set of files for your vendors, another for general expenses, and a third for customers. In addition, create a  file for each asset and liability that shows up in your books. And of course, allot some records storage space for tax returns.

Easy Access to All Your Files

Easy access to important documents is essential for any accounting office.  Even if you are just starting out, and do not need the capacity of a drawer system. Easy access lift off lids boxes are an alternative. They can also be easily stacked and are easily accessible if the IRS comes calling.

Let’s say one of your small business clients is selected for audit. The IRS wants to see receipts for travel, meals, and entertainment for the year. Speedy access to backup documents can prevent part of the expense deduction from being disallowed. If this happens that means increases in taxable income, a new tax bill, along with penalties and interest. With the right organization system, those crucial documents are always on hand.

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Drawer Systems Offer Space-Saving File Organization for Small Offices

Preventing Paperwork from Becoming Overwhelming

As your accounting business grows, so will your records storage. The tendency is to try and keep everything. But excess can lead to confusion and disorganization. Maintain a scheduled retention and destruction policy so that only the most essential documents are kept and dated documents destroyed.

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Maintaining Tax Form Organization and Tax Code Handbooks

The regular use of tax forms means having to keep them both organized and accessible when with a client. File Sorters offer desktop convenience for form management. Magazine Files are also helpful offering easy storage and organization of tax code manuals.

Helpful Links

Document Retention Policy Guidelines

Records Storage for the Green Accounting Office