Planning a successful move requires a tremendous amount of planning and coordination. You can't start the planning process too early. Whether you are planning a move for five people or several hundred, the sooner you can start, the better.

Here is a sample of the activities you need to include

As soon as you know about the move:

  • Assign a lead person to coordinate meetings and assign responsibilities.
  • Start planning meetings with affected staff.
  • Meet with space planners (probably someone in your Facilities office) about move dates, space allocations and what's happening with existing equipment.
  • Discuss any special records management requirements such as reinforced floors for certain types of filing equipment, electrical outlets for PCs, etc.
  • Develop a timeline - Who does What and When.

Other activities to include

  • Ordering new equipment, furniture and supplies.
  • Identifying and inventorying existing records.
  • Coordinating records clean-ups.
  • Retiring eligible records to the FRC or other offsite storage.
  • Planning placement of equipment and records in the new space.
  • Labeling and packing.

After the move

  • Unpacking and organizing.

Timing Issues

When developing your timeline for the move, remember that there can be lots of variables, and you may need to revise your timeline frequently. Here are some of the issues to consider:

  • Some activities can be done concurrently. For instance, your inventories and clean-ups may be done at the same time.
  • The time required to obtain new equipment and furniture may vary by location. If ordered too early, it may need to be stored. If ordered too late, you may have to store your records until it arrives.
  • The time needed to complete your inventory, records retirements, and packing will depend on who is available to do it and how much time they can devote to it.
  • Individuals will probably be responsible for packing their own materials. Who will be responsible for packing centralized file stations or records centers?
  • If your office is reorganizing at the same time, you may need to schedule additional time to reorganize the records too.

As you can see, there are lots of issues to be considered as you make your plans. The move planning guidelines on the next few pages are adapted from a document developed by the headquarters Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER). This will give you an idea of the steps they took. Remember, this is only a sample - You will need to develop your own plan.

We've also included a sample timeline form you can adapt for your use.

Other items included in this tool kit will help you through the various steps in the process.


Move Planning

(Adapted from an OSWER document)

  1. Meet with management to discuss move preparation needs.
  2. Meet with the groups or representatives of the groups who are moving to look at what will need to be considered and why.

    General issues to consider:

    • Reducing the volume of their records prior to the move 1) so that there is less to move and 2) so that the new space will be used effectively. Reduction can be accomplished by practicing records disposition; i.e., disposing of records past their life and retiring records to the FRC.
    • Planning what records will be housed in central filing areas and what will be held in the work stations. Plans will need to include the allocation of central filing space, so as records are moved, the boxes can be assigned to and placed in the appropriate shelving areas.

      The program offices may want to take this as an opportunity to look at starting on the development of new or improving existing filing systems or file plans. If they do not feel they need to develop a file plan, then they will minimally need to develop some method for shelf identification and for monitoring the use of the central files for retrieving files and refiling.

    • Identifying what information and assistance they would like for the records support staff to provide in terms of guidance, training, etc.
  3. Find out more specifics about the move and the new facilities.
    • The exact dates of the moves and which groups will be moved to what floors.
    • The number of work spaces assigned each group.
    • The type of filing equipment that will be in the designated "filing" rooms.
    • The number and location of any other non-workstation filing equipment.
    • The numbering scheme that is being used for the movement of boxes and equipment from the old location to the new location.
  4. Go into office areas and get a general picture of what does exist in comparison to the information collected by Facilities staff on existing number of file cabinets.

    For example, according to information the following offices have the following amount of file material. This needs to be verified:

    • Policy Management: 615 ft
    • Emergency Response: 3150 ft
    • Investigation: 1125 ft
    • Education: 630 ft
  5. Find out the name and volume for each group.
    • What records do they have? Name them according to existing schedules and record the volume of each record group.
    • What records are kept in the work spaces?
    • What records are kept in central files?
    • What records are kept in binders or any other odd-sized folders?
    • What records are due for destruction (past their useful life in the office)?
    • What records can be retired or closed out and are eligible for FRC storage?
    • What records will be moved (active, non-closed out records)?
  6. Implement actions for records that can be destroyed.
    • Organize a "Clean-Up Campaign."
    • Designate a person to oversee the clean-up operation.
    • Set a date(s).
    • Coordinate this date with "Operation Clean-up" so your office will be included in clean-up stats.
    • Contact Recycling Support Supervisor for recycling barrels to be placed and moved as filled.
    • Prepare a list of records identified as eligible for destruction to pass out to programs prior to clean-up date(s).

      [This may take some education to staff as to what makes something eligible for destruction.]

    • Have records contact person available on day of clean-ups to answer questions concerning what records are eligible for destruction.
  7. Implement actions for records that can be retired.
    • Designate a person to oversee disposition operation.
    • Order boxes for records retirement to the FRC. To estimate the number of cubic foot boxes (cft) needed, multiply the number of linear feet (lft) times 10% and divide by 1.25.

      1.25 linear feet equals 1 cubic foot box.

      The formula is:

      lft of current files X 10%
      1.25

      The 10% represents an estimated amount of records that can be destroyed prior to retirement (according to the disposition instructions of approved records schedules). Any percentage can be substituted for the 10% based on how much material is eligible for destruction.

    • Set a "last date" for having records moved to FRC. (Should be 2 weeks prior to move date, at the latest.)
    • Prepare records for retiring.
      • Review records for file closures (file cut-offs or breaks).
      • Prepare records for boxing by separating by record groups and closure date.
      • Estimate the number of boxes required for each group and closure date.
    • Obtain supplies.
      • FRC Boxes
      • 2 inch strapping (filament) tape
      • SF 135 Records Transmittal and Receipt forms
      • Black felt-tip markers
    • Contact your Program Office, Region, or Center Records Officer to obtain accession numbers for filling out the SF 135 Records Transmittal Form. You will need to communicate:
    • The name of the records to be retired.
    • The number of boxes for each group and each closure period for the records to be retired.
    • Place files into boxes and write a box inventory for the contents of each box.
    • Fill out the SF 135 form and submit to the RO. This must be done at least 4 weeks (and no later than 3 weeks) prior to move. It takes two weeks or 10 working days for FRC approval.

      [Some FRCs have restrictions on the number of boxes which may be retired at one time, so be sure to factor this into your plan.]

    • Once approval is given, write the accession number in the upper left hand corner of each box in the accession and the box number in the upper right hand corner. This should be written in block letters with a black felt-tip marker. Close top of boxes by interlocking flaps; do not tape the top of the box.
    • Once the records have been shipped to the FRC, keep an office record copy of each SF 135 and Box Inventory. These records will be vital for future records retrieval from the FRC.
  8. Implement actions for the records to be moved to the new facility.
    • Designate a person to be in charge of moving records to new facility.
    • Determine the number of linear feet (lft) of active records to be moved. To estimate the amount of records to be moved, subtract the number of feet of destroyed records (cubic feet, linear feet, or other) and the number of cubic feet of records retired to the FRC.
    • Determine if library carts can be used for the move instead of boxes. Using carts will make it easier to find records if they are requested and less likely to "lose" boxes during the move. Carts can be shrink wrapped to keep the folders in place during the move.
    • If FRC boxes are to be used, estimate the number of boxes needed for moving by dividing the number of linear feet of active records by 1.25.

      1.25 linear feet equals 1 cubic foot box.

      The formula is:

      lft of current files
      1.25

    • Prepare files for packing.
      • Identify and separate files according to record groups.
      • Place files in correct order that they should be arranged on the shelves. When assigning files to shelves, estimate that approximately 2 boxes or 2-1/2 linear feet of files will go into the 3-foot shelves.
      • Most shelves are 3 feet; some are less. This needs to be figured into file placement.
    • Pack files in order in the boxes or on the carts. Do not overstuff the boxes since they will not close properly and may come open during the move. Leave boxes open for active file use during the packing process.

      If using boxes, consider renting carts to place the boxes on so they can be accessed during the packing process.

    • Fill out the Box/Cart Identification Form (see sample) and place inside each box or tape to each cart.

      This form will identify:

      • Name of the record group being packed.
      • Box or cart number of records in this group. If there are 10 boxes in this group, the first box would be 1/10, then 2/10, and so forth to 10/10.
      • Office and work space number from where the files are being moved and if applicable, employee name.
      • Office number, location number, and placement number for where the files are being moved.

        [Discuss this numbering system with the move committee to see what they have devised and what, if any, additional identification would be necessary.]

    • Write new location number and placement order number in the upper right hand corner of each box or cart in black felt-tip marker.

      For records going from one individual workstation to another, what will be written on each box or cart will be:

      • Employee name,
      • new office number, and
      • placement order number

      For records going into central files what will be written on each box or cart will be:

      • Central File Location Number,
      • Central File Section Number,
      • Central File Shelf Number, and
      • Box Number (i.e., 1/10, 2/10, etc.)
    • Fill out a Records Moving Inventory Sheet (see see sample) for each office moving. This sheet identifies:
      • Name of the Office;
      • Name of each group of records and number of boxes or carts in each group;
      • Location number from where the boxes or carts are being moved from;
      • Location number to where the boxes or carts are being moved.
    • On the day before the move, seal the tops of all boxes with one pull of tape (2 inch strapping tape) across the top seam. Place shrink wrap on the carts.
    • Prominently place the location numbers of central file stations in each file station area designating the station number, section number, and shelf numbers in the new facility.
    • Designate individuals to be present in each area of the new facility (especially at each central file station) to oversee and coordinate the placement of the boxes or carts into the correct area.
    • As files are removed from the boxes or carts and placed on the shelves, the Box/Cart Identification Forms should be used to check off the boxes or carts from the inventory sheet. If this is done then the office will be secure in the knowledge that all records have arrived.

Fill out the Box/Cart Identification Form and place inside each box or tape on each cart.

This form will identify:

  • Name of the records being packed;
  • Box or cart number (If there are 10 boxes in this group, the first box would be 1/10, then 2/10, and so forth to 10/10.);
  • Office and work space number from where the files are being moved and if applicable, employee name;
  • Office number, location number, and placement number for where the files are being moved.

Fill out a Records Moving Inventory Sheet for each office that is moving.

This sheet will identify:

  • Name of the office;
  • Name of the records and number of boxes or carts in each set;
  • Location number from where the boxes are being moved;
  • Location number to where the boxes or carts are being moved.