Boxing Paper Records for Storage and Disposition


These instructions will assist you in organizing paper records when boxing them for storage, secure disposal, or transfer.

Records identified under DalCLASS, require processing according to records management procedures prior to final disposition (secure disposal or transfer). For more details see Submission of Records Disposition Documentation.


Note: If you know the records are no longer needed in your unit (aka: closed records) go to: Boxing Records.

Identify Records (Active, Inactive, Closed)

A helpful way to do this is to create a cheat sheet for DalCLASS numbers frequently used in your unit. Contact Records Management staff if you need further assistance with this.

  • Active Records are used/referred to frequently (e.g., daily/weekly/monthly) in your office. They should be retained in the office for easy access.
  • Inactive Records are referenced infrequently and/or are required to be maintained by the unit due to operational, legal, or regulatory reasons. These can be boxed and listed for storage. Use template: Records Inventory List – Boxes, or create your own inventory list See: Organize and Inventory Records section below.
  • Closed Records are ready for secure disposal or transfer (as deemed by DalCLASS) and must be boxed separately from inactive records.

Identify Non-records (Transitory and Duplicate)

Transitory Records and duplicates can be securely shredded when no longer required without going through the authorized disposition process (i.e., acquiring authorized signatures).

Boxing Records

  • It is important to follow safe work practices when moving, and Storing boxes. By keeping records easily accessible and by accurately identifying box contents it will reduce staff time and effort spent retrieving records.
  • When boxing records follow these Dos and Don’ts:
Use standard bankers boxes (e.g., Fellowes Bankers Box® R-Kive® Storage Box, Item: FEL00725SK); if records are too large for bankers boxes contact Records Management Use printer paper boxes or old boxes whose structure is compromised

Use boxes with separate lids

Use hinged boxes (with connected lids)

Leave documents in their original file folders

Pack loose or unidentified documents

Remove documents from binders and put them in clearly labelled folders

Pack binders

Fill boxes completely, with just enough room to slip an open hand down one side

Stuff boxes so that files are difficult to retrieve, or so loosely that files bend or curl

Include detailed inventory (box contents) lists on top of the files inside each box

Attach inventory lists to the outside of boxes

Clearly label all boxes with a content summary and the department, unit, or faculty’s identifier (acronym or short name is fine)

Put full inventory lists, personal, or confidential information on the outside of any box

Have a corresponding unique number identifier on the outside of each box that matches the paper and electronic listing of the box (e.g., YY-###: 21-001 or LL&### combo: HR PAY-001, etc.)

Forget to add a unique number identifier on each box

Have two boxes with the same number

Use safe work practices when moving boxes

Attempt to move boxes in an unsafe manner

Store boxes in a controlled access and temperature regulated location

Leave boxes in an unattended hallway or in a damp location

Organize and Inventory Records

  • Write on each folder its DalCLASS number, close date, and disposition type and date (e.g., DalCLASS number = HR53, Closed date = Dec. 31, 2019, Disposition type = Destruction = Dec 31, 2021)

NOTE: If you have difficulty identifying the classification of any records, please contact Records Management staff.

  • Sort folders:

  • Create an inventory list for each box of inactive or closed records.
  • Use template: Records Inventory List –BoxesTree code 4b], or create your own inventory list 
  • Inventory lists should include:
  1. the box number associated with each folder or group of folders, 
  2. DalCLASS number, 
  3. exact title on folder (if not clear add a brief description in brackets), 
  4. date range of records in the folder, 
  5. note if any non-paper in folder (CDs, discs, etc.) 
  6. disposition is (secure destruction or transfer to the University Archives) and 
  7. disposition date.

Note: Box inventory lists should not identify personnel information: e.g., HR53 – Personnel Files – Student: student names & B00 numbers might be recorded on the folders, but the inventory should read: Student Personnel Files A-Z 2010-2015 (date employed range). If the records span more than one box, list accordingly: e.g., Student Personnel Files A-L 2010-2015, Student Personnel Files M 2010-2015, and Student Personnel Files N-Z 2010-2015.Create an inventory lists for inactive or closed records

Inactive Records

Once boxes are listed they can be moved into storage.

When storing boxes, ensure they are:

  • approximately 10-12 cm off the ground
  • not stacked more than 5 boxes high
  • stored in a controlled access and temperature-regulated location

Once boxes are in storage, note their location on the inventory list and communicate to unit staff:

  • that the records have been moved
  • where they are located
  • how they can be accessed

Closed Records

Once boxes are listed, they can be processed for secure disposal or transfer to the University Archives. In addition to the completed inventory, you must complete a Signing Authority Form, (if not already submitted) and a Records Disposition Authorization form. Send all competed documentation to the Records Management Office by email or interdepartmental mail.

Records Management staff will process the documentation and inform you when the boxes are approved for secure disposal or transfer to the University Archives. See the Records Management Policy for more details.

Onsite Destruction and Shipping of Boxes

Once records are approved for secure disposal or transfer to the University Archives, it is the unit’s responsibility to organize onsite secure shredding and/or shipping.

Onsite destruction

For a list of shredding services at Dalhousie go to Shredding Services.

Once secure shredding is complete, send the Certificate of Completion to the Records Management Office by email or interdepartmental mail.

Shipping boxes

The Records Management Office advises the advance booking of Dalhousie’s Facilities Management Transportation and Moving Services (Trucking), When there is a situation requiring the use of an external shipping company, contact a vendor as outlined by Procurement under Supply Agreements – External.

See table below for best practices in both situations.

Using Dalhousie Trucking Using an external company

Ensure all boxes are clearly labeled with box numbers

Ensure all boxes are clearly labeled with box numbers

Secure box lids with packing tape

Secure box lids with packing tape


Secure address labels on the top of each box, indicating

  • Receiver’s name
  • Receiver’s address
  • Return address 
  • Box 1 of #

Inform the Records Management Office with date of shipment

Inform the Records Management Office with date of shipment



Contact the Records Management Office at