Store or Shred?

As tax time has come and gone for most of us, there are some issues to settle. First, you save your forms, receipts, bills, and other supporting documents. Well maybe so or maybe not! My CPA says to store stuff for seven years just like the IRS would prefer, but if it is your personal taxes, you really do not need to save all the utility bills and such in storage. But I am a cautious hoarder, I keep mostly all for at least a couple years; particularly if it has anything to do with the business and I certainly keep all my business records for seven at least. Now I read that several experts are saying keep them for at least ten years; I agree there are valid reasons to do this in some cases especially if you file complicated returns.

Then you need to see if you do need to get rid of some of it out of your storage or files. I and some of my colleagues recently found our long term storage space would no longer be available. This led to the Storage or Shred question. The answer was as usual both. Certain documents need to be available for a longer time and had to find a new home. Those important documents and files that are not needed should almost certainly be destroyed. These days I am against burning so Shredding is the obvious answer whether personal or commercial.

Luckily, Access Records Management, is located in South Kansas City, Missouri, has an answer to all these problems. Access Records Management has a secure facility for large or small volumes of documents. We also do shredding on a one time or contract basis, both sealed bin pickup and client drop-off. You can drop off a bag or boxes of your personal stuff, and we will shred and recycle it all at competitive rates.

Remember Access Records Management, 126 E. Hargis St. Belton, MO. 816-331-7200 for an appointment or more information.

Get Into The Cloud

Considering Storing your Data In the Cloud?

The “Cloud” is a hot topic these days. It is leading edge for data storage and data access which is attractive because of the potential for cost savings by tapping into leading edge applications offered, managed and maintained by someone else. But is driving to the cloud is the same as driving into the fog for many of us. There are many concerns including security and control.  It is most of all not magic.  It takes planning and investigation just like all business processes.

First what are your goals?  Is it to clear out your file room?  Get better easier access to those 20 year records wherever they are or to restrict access to your data (not an obvious goal for some)?  Secure the environment for your files & archived documents?  Increase your data security? Who are your intended users?  These are some of the questions you need to ask.

If you are in the fog and are unsure about making the step into the cloud, perhaps some small steps would help. If you need to clear out the file room and still retain access to your files, Access Records Management offers that service. We can store and access your records down to the file level, and we can deliver the data by the file drawer, file folder, or document in paper form in a day (standard) or less (3 hour express service).  We can also rapidly deliver files and documents digitally; we can then return the data back to the banker’s box or shred the original as you desire.  Again I recommend a conservative approach to start until you have a strategic plan.  If you simply need to get rid of obsolete files or just daily transactions, Access Records Management offers paper shredding on a one-time or periodic basis. Access Records Management will help you scan, digitize, and optionally index your data in preparation into the cloud.

Christina Richmond, Program Director, Security Services at IDC, says, “To migrate to the cloud in a conscious and thoughtful manner, a holistic strategy needs to be employed. This is a seismic shift, and point solutions do not fit the problem.”  Access Records Management in South Kansas City, MO will be glad to help you with all your data storage needs.

Please call Stacie Smith at (816)331-7200 for more information.

5 BIG reasons to use Access Records Management vs Self-Storage

Access Records Management VS Self-Storage

Call us today at (816)331-7200

1. Cost – Who doesn’t like to save $$$?


You only pay for the space you need. No driving back and forth (gas) to retrieve files in need. You will save 25% or more when storing with ARM.


You pay for the unit size you think you need. Too big, you’re wasting space. Too small, you need a second unit.

2. Security – Who has access to your records?


Smoke detectors, fire suppression system, and disaster relief plan in place. Sophisticated motion sensor cameras, password protection on the doors, and a state of the art alarm system keep    your information & data safe and secure.


Anything can be stored in the unit next to your confidential information. Flammable, explosives, who knows? Security systems are minimal and potentially 500+ people have access to the same facility.

3. Service – How do you get your records?


With just one phone call or a quick email you can have the file you need on your desk or sent to your computer (encrypted) anytime 24/7. Our sophisticated operating system ensures we can find any file/record quickly and accurately.


Some storage facilities don’t offer 24/7 access or charge extra for it. You or an employee has to drive there and retrieve the needed file on your own no matter if it’s hot, cold, raining, or snowing.

4. Safety – How are the boxes handled?


All of the staff at Access Records Management has passed background checks and random drug testing. We take the responsibility off your hands. Our storage box racking is tested to withstand the weight of your boxes.


Unexperienced staff lifting heavy boxes from a cramped storage unit could end up as a worker’s compensation claim. Boxes could fall if stacked too high or incorrectly.

5. Time – How long does it take to retrieve your files?


We know that your time is precious. Access Records Management has a software barcoding system that can accurately and quickly find the file or files you need quickly and accurately without even leaving your desk.


Your employee has to leave the office, drive across town, and search through a cramped and often unorganized storage unit and quite possibly not find the file for which you are searching.

How to Succeed in Household Data Storage

Personal Data information at home has become more complex in the last few years.  It tends to be some paper and some digital; the ratio depends on the people in the household.  It is further complicated by the use of the “cloud.”  Let’s explore the issues.

Traditionally, personal records (not LPs and 45s, which is a whole different subject) were, and may still be all paper.  Some of us keep more than others. (I did not say it; that was my spouse yelling HOARDER at me.) Personal records include birth certificates, auto/driver’s licenses and other IDs, financial transactions, bills, banks statements, receipts, greeting cards, love letters, and tax records.  Birth and baptism records should be kept forever. A good option is possibly in a safe deposit box. Even with duplicates at home for easy reference with requirements for Voter IDs, marriage licenses, etc.  Other official documents including payments and deposits should be kept at least for a minimum time. Usually three to seven years depending on the city, state and federal rules where you live.  Stock and other equity and loan transactions should be kept from the buy (or start) to three or preferably seven years after the sell (or end) at minimum.  The reason for keeping these, and other tax and tax supporting documents is that sometimes the IRS and other agencies may move slowly for audits and questions.  Also there may be issues related to inheritance and trust disputes and taxes.  I also strongly suggest keeping equity related documents separately (filed by named equity) from other tax supporting documents since you may want to keep them for longer than the other tax material.

The place to store long term paper documents needs some consideration.  Many times tax documents MAY have sufficient backup with your CPA or other tax preparer if you use one.  Other documents might be stored in a safe deposit box or bonded warehouse* depending on the cost, volume, and need for accessibility.  Another method of paper storage these days is to back-up the paper record to a digital format; this can be done at home or by a document/records management company*

Receipts can be another difficult category, because retention of these is a personal choice. If you are depending on receipts, or warranty documentation for possible refunds, you should do some or all of the following.  Thermal receipts (the most common cash register slips) tend to fade and become unreadable in 3 to 9 months; so a long term solution would be to make a photocopy of the receipt and store the copy.  Have a system to identify the documentation to the warranted item (i.e. how many lifetime guaranteed hoses of different brands are in your garage or shed.) File these in a method which allow you to find them, and review them from time to time for their continued relevance.

Personal communications, such as, cards and letters are a matter of individual feelings and emotions. I suggest that if you tend to keep a lot of them, review these from time to time to ensure their current relevance.

When you decide that it’s time to dispose of paper documents, including receipts and even possibly current and past junk mail, there are more judgments to be made.  The three main methods of disposal are trash, recycling, and shredding.  In these days of rampant identity theft, casually disposing of anything with personal identifying information (PII) is not wise.  Shredding is certainly the most secure (if you are a spy, burn and bury also).  Shredding can be done at home or by an insured shredding company*.  Too much home shredding may only add to landfills. Many community recyclers do not accept shred.  Also community recyclers may or may not shred their recycled paper but merely bale it before sending it to China or someplace else for reclamation.  An alternative is again a local insured shred company that will pick-up at your home or allow drop-off*.  Trash pickup to landfill (city or community) is reasonably safe but can be unpredictable in any individual case.

Digital data has become a larger part of household record keeping lately.  My big suggestion here is to file in easy to reference computer folders.  Backing up your data is important. Even doing malware scans of your backup can be important.  DO NOT keep your backup on-line on your home network when not using it.  Keeping a long term (year+) backup in a safe deposit box or other off-site location may be a good idea but not always necessary.  Cloud backup is becoming more popular and safer but not the choice (at least not the sole choice) of many conservative professionals.  My suggestion for cloud storage is to use a cloud backup with an established reputation that is HIPAA compliant to insure at least minimum safety and privacy.

While this discussion may also be applicable and helpful to small and home businesses, I hope you find some useful guidelines for your household data.

*Access Records Management of Belton, MO (816-331-7200) offers these services.

When Size Matters

When you are looking for a company to store your business records for you, which do you look towards? Are you the type of company that likes to support other locally owned businesses, or do you look towards the big corporations with locations all over the United States or even all over the world? If you are a nationwide company and you have locations all over the map; it will probably benefit you to store your records with a large franchise company with several sites as well. However, being one of a million customers may mean being treated like a number.

If you are a small to medium business owner, such as a doctor, chiropractor, CPA, or attorney, then you should store your documents with another local business.

Local businesses are under assault every day from huge corporations that have scaled well to make giant sized profits, but have lost the thing that made them successful in the first place.

Here at Access Records Management, we are excited to work with local businesses for three reasons:

  1. We want to grow our business and become more successful, but we want to do it in a way that benefits our clients, partners and friends.
  2. We know local businesses are the heart of our economy. We want to help stoke the engine of our local economy, and need your help to accomplish that.
  3. We want to meet and get to know every business in town. When you are successful, we want to be invited to the party, when you’re in trouble, we want to help.

At Access Records Management we treat you like family. We are a family owned and operated business located in South Kansas City area. More specifically we are in Belton, Missouri. We are happy to hold your hand and walk you through the entire process and answer all the questions you have when it comes to storing your business records.

I would love to know your opinions as well. Feel free to leave comments or better yet, send me an email at and let me know how you feel.

Storage: Onsite or Offsite Should you entrust your data to Access Records Management (ARM)?

Every business needs to store items and data.  That is certainly true of business records and supporting materials, such as, evidence or exhibits.  The big question is where do you keep it?   Your desk is definitely not the right answer. The file cabinet next to your desk is probably not a good long term solution either.  Let’s look at some of the issues and factors.  The goal is the best practical access available.  If you need something immediately for an emergency or current project, close at hand is the answer.  But most things can have planned availability. You may work on different things, morning and afternoon.  Even current projects get interrupted; so you need other things right now.  Do you stack projects (a bad practice)?  You need to use  your filing and indexing plan for practical, timely scheduled access and CONTROL of your stored items.  With proper planning and scheduling you can optimize your use of data storage space.

Of course the form factor of these items is very important: a sheet of paper, a file folder, an accordion file, or box(es).  (ARM has controlled storage options for all these.)  The size may limit the movement and easy storage options.  Large amounts of anything can mean you may not be able to store it in your office, at least for very long.  Don’t use other utility spaces which are not well controlled or organized. Would you want to keep everything in that row(s) of cabinets surrounding your office walls? Is that practical and does it make your office look unprofessional? Would the fire marshal have an issue with this? A controlled file storage room has been a good alternative to a lot of files in an office.  It tends to be close, easy to get to, and out of sight.  My experience says that as the amount of data and other items increases, a nearby store room is quickly out grown. Then a space outside of your offices may be more practical; in the same building can be convenient, but then cost becomes a factor and control more complicated. Securing that space can then become tricky and somewhat expensive.

The cost for commercial floor space varies greatly, but estimates of $10 to $20 (more in denser urban areas) per square foot are common.  This calculates $5 to $7 per cubic foot of storage. These are conservative estimates for cabinet space only. Contrast this to storage fees of 25 to 50 cents a cubic foot for offsite storage, such as, Access Records Management, with possibly better data control.  You could realize a savings for data planned to not be needed for 3+ months. (Delivery fees and data quantity determine the break-even point.) Some data can even be delivered safely, very quickly, and more inexpensively by digital electronic means. (Scan-On-Demand) Also automatic destruction is available for “dead” files.

Therefore an offsite facility may be a good alternative for a lot of your archived storage needs. Call Access Records Management for more information at 816-331-7200.