Storage Information

Carton Storage

Carton storage is our most common method for storing archival documents and, for most records, provides the perfect balance between cost effective storage of documents and their efficient, timely access.

Open Shelf

In some cases, storing files in Cartons might not be practical and you may prefer to have your files stored in an open shelf configuration. Iron Mountain provides an Open Shelf storage service upon request.

Carton Storage

Ensuring Timely and Accurate Access

When designing your records management program, a key initial decision to make is whether to index your records at the Carton level or at the File level. Each method has benefits. For records that require very exact searching and retrieval, File level indexing - called Individual Listing - may be appropriate. But in other cases, in particular when you typically will be retrieving entire Cartons versus individual Files, describing your records at the Carton level may be more appropriate.

In either case, Iron Mountain can accommodate your needs through Iron Mountain Connect™ - our online customer portal. Through Iron Mountain Connect, you can specify information about each Carton or File and be confident that you will be able to easily locate your required information when you need it.

We can also accommodate those cases where you would prefer that Iron Mountain perform data entry of Cartons or Files. Please note that the data entry of Files is a separate charge that will appear on your invoice as “Individual Listing-IM.”

Data Compliance

Many customers realize that a core component of a good records management program is the quality of their inventory descriptions. As such, Iron Mountain provides tools and services that can help manage the quality of your inventory data. The following are available:

Iron Mountain Connect™. In those cases where users key descriptive information for records into Iron Mountain Connect, you can establish data entry rules to require the data entry of specific fields. For example, perhaps you would like to make sure that when users are describing records they always include a description or Department Code or Record Code. By establishing these rules, Iron Mountain Connect will enforce compliance to your policy.

Data Entry Compliance Services. In cases where Iron Mountain is doing data entry on your behalf, you can request that Iron Mountain perform validation services for record descriptions. In this model, Iron Mountain data entry personnel can validate that forms are received with required information such as Department Code, Record Code, descriptions, or date ranges. Should we receive a form that is not in compliance with your program, we will contact you to resolve the situation. For more on this process, see Data Entry Compliance Procedures.

Customized Data Compliance Programs. Have a custom data compliance need? We may be able to help. Iron Mountain may be able to provide a custom data validation program that meets your specific needs.

For more information on setting up data compliance capabilities or to find out if a custom data entry compliance program is the right fit for your organization, please contact your Account Manager or contact Iron Mountain's Customer Response center.

Data Entry Compliance Procedures

In cases where you have elected to utilize Data Entry Compliance Services, Iron Mountain will use the following procedure in cases where items are received that lack required information:

  • Iron Mountain data entry personnel will contact you within 72 hours after box receipt if no data has been supplied, or 24 hours after the data has been entered to alert you of the data compliance issue. If we are able to reach you at this time, we will work with you over the phone to correct the issue. Otherwise, we will leave you a message asking you to contact us so we can resolve the data exception. Note that record updates performed by Iron Mountain will appear as Computer Record Changetooltip on your invoice. It is Iron Mountain's policy that record updates performed due to an Iron Mountain error will not be charged to the customer.
  • Should the issue not be resolved over the next 5 days, we will contact you again.
  • Should the issue not be resolved by 15 days after receipt of the item, Iron Mountain will close the issue.

In some cases, the closure of an exception may have billing implications. For example, if you are allocating inventory charges to your departments, Iron Mountain requires the presence of a valid Department Code in order to properly bill you for services rendered. Should we manually close an exception for items in this category, fees associated for the item will be allocated to the Department specified on the Pickup order.

In cases where the exception is related to a Record Code and the exception is manually closed by Iron Mountain, these items will be assigned to a “NORECCD” Record Code (“No Record Code Provided by Customer”) with destruction disposition of Permanent (which will prevent the premature destruction of this item until the issue is resolved). To help you review these items, you can request the regular delivery of a report that identifies items assigned to the “NORECCD” category.

Iron Mountain stores records in Cartons of all sizes and types. However, for efficient storage and optimum protection of customer records we encourage the use of a Standard Archive Carton  (click here to see table ).

The most popular Carton type we store is the Standard Archive Carton. Designed to be used for a half drawer of letter or legal files, this carton provides superior protection of customer records in transit and resists crushing during long term storage. Other types of Cartons are less efficient to store and often are too heavy when loaded to protect your records in long term storage. Additionally they can present a risk for employees who handle them.

Iron Mountain will rebox any Carton that it deems to be damaged such that it is no longer capable of protecting your records or presents a risk of injury to employees. (See Carton Integrity Standardstooltip ).

All net new incoming boxes must have an RFID label applied to the box. You can ensure your boxes are prepared through one of the following ways:

  • Buy an RFID-ready box from Iron Mountain that comes pre-applied with an RFID label
  • Buy any Iron Mountain box – it will come with an RFID label to apply to the box (while all boxes transition to RFID-ready)*
  • Buy RFID labels and apply them to another box type

RFID labels provide you with a more digital way of working and an easy path to information governance. You can quickly and repeatedly audit your inventory through the use of RFID, automating your process. All box types come with a built in zip tie hole, giving you additional protection of your information. See our box quick reference guide for information on all boxes. Also learn more about these new boxes here and view our How-to: Prepare Boxes for Pickup guide.

*X-ray box not included, an RFID label must be purchased for this box.

Iron Mountain's records storage facilities are configured for the efficient storage of the Standard Archive Carton. Our operating processes, costs, and pricing have been modeled around the Standard Archive Carton. (Click here document for the most common Carton types.) Each Carton type, including the Standard Archive Carton, varies in dimensions based upon manufacturer, style of design, weight of loading, and normal wear-and-tear from storage and retrieval.

Iron Mountain determines the Cubic Footage of a Carton for billing purposes based on several factors: the displaced volume of facility and shelf space used in relation to the Standard Archive Carton, loaded weight, legacy conventions agreed upon with our customers, and past practices used by predecessor storage providers that we have acquired.

Click here for the table document that summarizes the characteristics of the three most common Carton types stored at Iron Mountain. Most Cartons received for storage are assigned to one of these three categories based on functional equivalence and approximate dimensions; Cubic Footage for billing purposes is then determined respectively. All other Carton types and Deposits received for storage are assigned a specific Cubic Footage for billing purposes at time of receipt based upon their size, weight, loading efficiency and other factors affecting space utilization and handling difficulty.

Safeguarding Your Records

What are Iron Mountain’s inventory integrity operational procedures?

Iron Mountain requires customers to use cartons that are of sound condition and that are capable of supporting the weight of other cartons placed above them. One of Iron Mountain’s Inventory Integrity Operational Procedures is to identify and isolate any cartons that are found to be materially damaged, including during the inbound and outbound processes.

A carton is considered to be materially damaged if it has torn seams, a damaged top that no longer secures the contents, a bottom that is falling out, or a side that has collapsed or is at risk of collapse, is crushed, is held together by tape, has water damage or is so full that the top can not be secured. Please see the illustration of a carton that would require reboxing.

Why does Iron Mountain have inventory integrity operational procedures?

Providing secure storage for your information is a top concern at Iron Mountain. Records kept within a deteriorated carton are at risk, both in our facility and while in transit. In cases where records are in transit, these cartons raise the risk of compromising or losing your information. And even when records are located within our records center, an excessively deteriorated or damaged carton represents an unacceptable risk. If a carton falls apart or collapses from the weight of other cartons in the rack, this could result in damage to your records as well as to those of other customers.

What causes cartons to fail?

Poor Construction. Several different types of cartons are commercially available on the market, many of which are not designed for long-term archival storage. One way to gauge the quality of a carton is through stacking weight, which refers to the amount of weight that can be stacked on top of a carton. In addition to stacking weight, other factors affect construction quality, such as the grade of paper material utilized, the type of adhesive used, and certain design elements, like the flute direction. The depth of its top can also be a factor. The deeper the top, the more structural integrity it lends to the carton and to its handles. A deeper top will also help a carton to retain its shape and lessen the stress applied to the handles.

Age. No matter how well constructed a carton, it will eventually begin to deteriorate. Depending on the construction of the carton and the environmental conditions (moisture and humidity), carton life can range from six months to 10 years.

Overpacking. Overpacking a carton can lead to increased stress on the container itself and can ultimately shorten its lifespan.

Underpacking. Just like overpacking, under-packing, too, can shorten the life of a carton. When a carton is full, the contents help to support the overall structural integrity, preventing the sides from buckling under the weight of cartons stacked on top of it.

Handling. The more a carton is handled, the faster it will deteriorate. The better a carton is constructed, the longer it will last.

What can I do to minimize reboxing in the future?

  • Use cartons designed for records management, frequent handling and long term storage.
  • Replace damaged cartons before sending them to Iron Mountain.
  • Don’t overstuff cartons.

- Tops that cannot be properly secured are more easily damaged.

- A top that is not properly secured will come off, exposing your records and creating risk.

What should I look for in a carton?

  • Double-walled Construction
  • Deep Tops (3 inches)
  • High Stacking Strength

Tip: Don’t use inappropriate cartons such as copy paper cartons, shipping cartons, fruit boxes, crates and cartons with no lids.

What are my options regarding reboxing?

Choose from the following four options for reboxing damaged cartons. Customers can switch between options at any time by contacting customer service.

Always Rebox. Iron Mountain will automatically rebox damaged cartons as they are encountered.

Always Rebox with Notification. Iron Mountain will automatically rebox damaged cartons as they are encountered. You will also receive an email* that lists the cartons which were reboxed.

Customer Decision. Prior to reboxing, Iron Mountain will send you an email* that lists boxes in need of reboxing. You then have 14 days to decide the appropriate disposition for each carton:

  • Have Iron Mountain rebox the carton.
  • Have Iron Mountain return the carton to you for reboxing.
  • Have Iron Mountain destroy the carton by tagging it as “Do not Rebox” and then initiating the normal destruction request process.

Always Retrieve. All damaged cartons will automatically be returned to you in an over-carton so that you can rebox the item yourself.

What are the procedures for reboxing cartons?

Always Rebox Process.

  • The carton is removed from the shelf by an Iron Mountain Records Center specialist.
  • The contents of the original carton are placed by the specialist into a new carton in the exact same order.
  • A new carton label, with the same carton identifier as the original label, is then prin ted and affixed to the new carton.
  • Any unique identifiers or written information present on the original carton are transferred to the replacement. Written information is rewritten onto the new carton, and other unique identifiers, including the face of the old carton, are cut off the old carton and placed within the new one.
  • The carton is then stored or prepared for shipping.

Always Rebox Process with Notification.

  • The carton is removed from the shelf by an Iron Mountain Records Center specialist.
  • The contents of the original carton are placed by the specialist into a new carton in the exact same order.
  • A new carton label, with the same carton identifier as the original label, is then prin ted and affixed to the new carton.
  • Any unique identifiers or written information present on the original carton are transferred to the replacement. Written information is rewritten onto the new carton, and other unique identifiers, including the face of the old carton, are cut off the old carton and placed within the new one.
  • The carton is then stored or prepared for shipping.
  • The notification communication will automatically occur once a week, prior to reboxing, summarizing the work to be completed.
  • If a carton requested for retrieval is identified as requiring reboxing and no notification has already been sent to the customer, it will be placed in an over-carton for shipment to ensure there is no delay in delivery.

Customer Decision Process.

  • As damaged cartons are encountered, an Iron Mountain specialist will tag the item in our inventory tracking system as a rebox candidate.
  • Iron Mountain will send the customer a weekly email that lists each rebox candidate identified for remediation.
  • The customer has 14 days to inform Iron Mountain, via email or in writing, of the preferred action for each individual carton. At the end of this period, Iron Mountain will remediate the cartons per the customer’s request.
  • Should the customer not respond within 14 days, Iron Mountain will rebox the cartons.
  • If a carton requested for retrieval is identified as requiring reboxing, it will automatically be placed in an over-carton for shipment to ensure there is no delay in delivery.

Always Retrieve Process.

  • The carton is removed from the shelf by an Iron Mountain Records Center specialist.
  • The original carton is placed into an over-carton by the specialist. The purpose of the over-carton is to protect the contents of the damaged carton during shipping.
  • The specialist places return instructions and a replacement label for the customer’s new box into the over-carton.
  • The carton is then placed on a truck for delivery to you for disposition.
  • Notification communication will automatically occur once a week prior to retrieving and shipping the rebox candidates to you, summarizing the work to be completed.
  • If a carton requested for retrieval is identified as requiring reboxing, it will automatically be placed in an over-carton for shipment to ensure there is no delay in delivery.

How will I be billed for reboxing activities?

Iron Mountain Reboxes. Charges for Iron Mountain reboxing cartons will appear on your next monthly invoice. The reboxing charges include the price of the replacement carton and labor, at a rate per carton, to carry out the reboxing service. The rebox charge will appear on the invoice as a “Repack Charge,” along with the supply charge for the new carton.

Iron Mountain Retrieves. Charges for Iron Mountain returning damaged cartons to you via an over-carton will appear on your next monthly invoice. This will include a standard retrieval charge, and a standard transportation charge.

By placing an Order through Iron Mountain Connect or by calling Customer Response, you can request the Retrieval of your Cartons at any time. See the Transportation section of this website for detailed information on your Order scheduling options.

Please note that the Retrieval of Cartons from storage on a temporary basis does not reduce the storage volume for billing purposes as space for that Carton is reserved for its return. A Carton must be processed as an Archival Destruction or as a Permanent Withdrawal to result in a reduction of storage volume.

Cartons in Iron Mountain's custody for any day within a month are charged a full month's storage for that month. Storage charges are not prorated for a partial month. Since storage is billed monthly in advance, on the first invoice following the month in which a Carton is received for storage, the invoice will show a charge for the month received (in arrears) (shown as “Storage, Newtooltip” on your invoice) and for the next month (in advance) (shown as “Storage, Regular” on your invoice). After the first month, only one month's storage charge will apply for that Carton.

Conversely, on the invoice for the month in which the Carton is processed as an Archival Destructiontooltip or Permanent Withdrawal, the storage volume will be reduced by the volume of the Cartons processed through the Archival Destruction or Permanent Withdrawal order and no storage charge shall apply for that Carton on that month's invoice.

Monthly Carton storage will appear on your invoice as “Storage, Regular.” 

Program Services are outlined in your Pricing Schedule. For definitions of terms used in the Pricing Schedule, see Glossary.

For additional services not included on your Pricing Schedule, see Additional Services.

These boxes come RFID-ready at no additional charge, setting you up for an easier path to Inventory Governance for any immediate or future auditing needs! As a bonus, all box types will come with a built in zip tie hole, giving you additional protection of your information. You’ll ensure your sensitive information is securely stored with enhanced features to extend the life of the box and protect your information.

 
Carton Type

Intended Use
Internal
External
Displaced Storage Volume*** cf Multiple of Standard Archive Carton Billable Cubic Feet
Dimensions* cf

Dimensions**cf

cf
standard archive Standard Archive (letter/legal) Half drawer of letter or legal files 15 x 12 x 10 1.0 16.25 x 12.75 x 10.25 1.2

1.2

1

1.2

Letter Transfer Letter Transfile Full Drawer of letter files 24 x 12 x 10 1.7 25.5 x 13 x 10.25 2.0

2.7

2

2.4


Carton dimensions are in inches.

*Internal dimensions are nominal for new Cartons, empty.

**External dimensions are approximate based upon average dimensions of several manufacturers' Cartons, loaded with Files.

***Displaced storage volume is the cubic footage that is required for non standard Cartons stored in a standard shelf configuration to equal the billable Cubic Footage for Standard Archive Cartons, stored in the same shelf configuration. It is determined by dividing the aggregate physical cubic footage of Standard Archive Cartons stored in our standard shelf configuration (stored 3 x 9 x 3) by the number of non standard Cartons normally stored in the same configuration

In addition to the two most common box types, as reflected in the table above, Iron Mountain can store over two hundred other carton sizes and configurations. Each of these carton types is assigned a specific volume for billing purposes (i.e., billable cubic footage) based on its displaced storage volume calculated using the same methodology as the three carton types in the table above, taking into account its size, shape, weight and compatibility with other cartons already in storage. 

Learn more about these boxes here. And see our box quick reference guide for information on all boxes.

Open Shelf Storage

In some cases, storing files in Cartons might not be practical and you may prefer to have your files stored in an open shelf configuration. Iron Mountain provides this service upon request. Open Shelf Storage provides flexibility and is more suitable for storage of Files that have a high retrieval activity and/or when destruction processing needs to be done on a File by File basis rather than as an entire Carton of Files. Open Shelf Storage programs can be particularly useful for medical patient records, legal case Files, mortgage and loan Files, and other case based records.

Charges for Open Shelf File Storage

Open Shelf Storage charges are based upon the Linear Footage of shelf space allocated to a customer program or File series and not to the Linear Footage of actual Files in storage. Because storage charges are based on allocated versus utilized storage, the Retrieval, Permanent Withdrawal, or Archival Destruction of Files will not automatically alter your allocated storage. Should your Open Shelf Storage needs exceed your allocated space, we will automatically increase your allocation to accommodate the growth. When your program needs change, you can request a Consolidation Project to consolidate your allocated Linear Feet of shelf space and to reduce your storage charges.

Storage charges for Open Shelf Storage are shown on your invoice as “Storage - LF”

Program Services are outlined in your Pricing Schedule. For definitions of terms used in the Pricing Schedule, see Glossary.

For additional services not included on your Pricing Schedule, see Additional Services.