LinkConnector Validation

A Genealogist In The Archives: Storing 3-Ring Binders to Protect Your Records

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Storing 3-Ring Binders to Protect Your Records

Recently I was asked about storing 3-ring binders. So, this is a re-post from January 2017 about how to store your 3-ring binders so that your documents are not damaged.

One aspect of organizing that I would like to address is how to store 3-ring binders. Now, this may seem like a very simple idea and you might be thinking "Everyone knows how to store 3-ring binders", but do you?

Family Genealogy Binders, Houston County, TN. Archives

If you use 3-ring binders to organize your genealogical records, do you store them upright on the shelf or do you lay them down on their side? Most of you will say that you store them upright because it takes up less room and that is the conventional way to store 3-ring binders.

However, the best way to store them so that the records that are contained in them do not get damaged is to store them laying on their side.

When you store 3-ring binders upright or on their end, it puts pressure on the binding and weakens the strength of that binding. Over time, those binders will become weak and will start to sag and eventually will start to break down. Also, when 3-ring binders are stored upright, the pages that are stored inside will sag. This means that if you have put your genealogy documents into these 3-ring binders, they will also sag and could get damaged by being put in this position for a prolonged period of time.

The best way to store 3-ring binders is on their side, making sure all the pages are laying flat and not folded or bent in anyway.

Storing 3-ring binders in this manner will take up more room but in the long run it will keep your family genealogical records safe.



Need help organizing and preserving all those old family letters?

Get My Legacy Family Tree Webinar:


  1. Should this manner of storing on the side (flat) be used for flip-top style archival document/photo storage boxes?

    1. Dianne, if you are talking about boxes that are also called Hollinger boxes, no, they need to be stored standing up. Thanks for reading my blog!

    2. I worry about the documents or large photos bending, even though they are in poly sleeves. Oh, well, I'll probably go with a regular archival box and lay them flat. You have been such a help, Melissa, on my archiving journey. Thanks.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.