Cleaning Up for Records & Information Management Month

By: In: Records Management and Storage On: Apr 25, 2012
Cleaning Up for Records & Information Management Month

As the weather gets warmer, if you’re like me, you think about spring cleaning.  In my personal life this typically means washing windows, cleaning gutters, doing the “winter/spring changeover” with my clothes, and basically getting organized.  Out with the old, in with the new, right?!  So, why wouldn’t we do this in our professional lives too?

At Iron Mountain, we do!  Every April, in honor of ARMA’s Records & Information Management month, we do a “Cleanup Day” in our offices.  This is a day when employees can devote a few hours to purging their filing cabinets of inactive files (you know the ones – you haven’t referred to them in over a year!), and boxing them up for offsite storage.  Filling the shred bins with files that have met their retention requirements, and finally getting rid of those old floppy disks & CD’s in the “plastics only” shred containers.  It’s also a time to clean out mailboxes too – deleting all of those old lunch invitations, jokes, invitations to seminars, webinars and the like, and basically old stuff that has no relevance anymore and was never considered a record in the first place!  Often the most difficult part is deciding what can be thrown out or deleted, what needs to be kept, and what hard copy records should be scheduled for secure destruction.

Included with the Cleanup Day communication are guidelines and helpful hints on how to purge records with a no-nonsense approach.  Here’s an example of some helpful hints:

  1. Keep all essential and active records material on-site
  2. Package appropriate inactive records material and send to off-site storage (at Iron Mountain, of course!)
  3. Eliminate duplicate record copies and purge all non-records materials

In reality, we should be using this approach each and every day.  But we all get busy, and some things slide.  As the Corporate Records Manager at Iron Mountain, it is my job to provide the tools and guidance so people know how to manage the records they create on a daily basis.  That means providing Records Management training to all new employees, and a refresher course for all those veteran Mountaineers.  And at least once a year, devote a day for them to focus on putting their house in order.  It helps me to do my job better, protects my company from potential risk, and keeps us in compliance with the many laws and regulations out there regarding records retention.

It feels so good when it’s all done.  You have more space, everything is neat and organized, you stop getting that pesky “Your Mailbox is Over Its Size Limit” message, and you’re ready to conquer your next project with confidence!!  That’s how we welcome spring at the Mountain – What will you do to get organized this spring?  Please share your Spring-Cleaning plans in the comment field below.


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About the author

Melissa Strawhecker

Melissa Strawhecker has been in the records and information management business since 1990, and is currently the Corporate Records Manager for Iron Mountain. Melissa attained the Certified Records Manager (CRM) designation in 2007, serves on the Board of Directors for the ARMA Boston chapter, and is an active member of ARMA International. Follow Melissa on Twitter here.