Storage Safety Tips

Whether it’s sacramental records or chemical solvents, proper storage is important to ensure the integrity of stored items and the safety of others.


When utilizing shelving for storage, take care not to store items too high, making the items difficult to retrieve. If you must utilize high shelving, put the items you do not frequently need on the highest shelves. In addition, put heavier items on the lower shelves; it will be easier for you to lift these items when they are low to the ground. Light-weight, loose items should be stored in bins on shelves and not left loose -these items can easily fall and can cause injury.

Mechanical Rooms

Try to avoid storing items in mechanical rooms. Storing flammable items or equipment near heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems can cause a fire. If you must store an item in a mechanical room, maintain a 36” clearance around air handlers, furnaces and electrical panels, and do not store anything that is flammable, such as propane or solvents; store outdoors in a locked shed.

Basic Storage Tips

  • When possible, try to box items, such as computer equipment, in the original packaging.
  • Use bubble wrap for glass items, monitors and screens. Be sure to mark “fragile” on the item and avoid leaning heavy objects on them.
  • When storing garments or textiles, have them properly cleaned beforehand; soil on the garments can attract insects.
  • For photos and paper products, store in acid-free containers. Do not wrap in newsprint or cardboard as these can cause items to yellow.
  • Store items 18 inches or more from sprinkler heads and 24 inches below ceiling height.
  • Store chemicals according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not store boxes directly on floor -use shelving or pallets -and be sure items do not obstruct exits or doors.
  • For power tools and maintenance equipment, review the manufacturers’ instructions regarding storage.
  • In most cases, it is best not to store in boxes; use tarp and secure with rope or tape. Before storing, remove all fuel and lubricant to prevent leaks and spills.

Sacramental Records

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005, many church sacramental records were either lost in the floods or badly contaminated from mold and other environmental factors. To prevent this type of loss from happening again, be sure sacramental registers and other vital documents, such as architectural drawings, are routinely scanned and sent to the diocesan archive office for safe storage.
Permanent, inactive records should be stored in water-tight plastic bins on high shelves. Do not store files in the basement. Please note that filing cabinets and safes are generally not waterproof.
To ensure the safety and preservation of sacramental registers, school and cemetery records on a daily basis, begin by using bindings and paper that are permanent, durable and acid-free. Use only ink that is of archival quality. If these documents are subjected to water, mold or humidity, archivists may be able to restore them if the proper ink and paper were used to create these documents.
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