Archive boxes are generally multi-purpose containers that are used for the safekeeping of documents and files such as newspapers, educational materials, drawings, photographs, CDs and more. An ideal archive box will ensure the long-term preservation of your items and keep them in the same condition as they were when first enclosed.

More often than not, archive or document boxes are purchased flat and need to be assembled manually. If your box doesn’t come with instructions, it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly how to do this. No matter what type of archive box you purchase, they are usually constructed in a similar way, with built-in handles, a lid and a base. Follow the steps below to learn how to assemble your flat archive box easily and efficiently:

Step 1: Open up your box on an even, flat surface such as a table. Each section should be distinguishable by either a crease or marking.


Step 2: Facing the bottom of the box, fold both sides up at the crease until they are vertical. Then, fold up what will be the front wall of the box. On this front panel, you may notice two slits. The sides should slide into these grooves, holding the whole thing together. Do the same with the sides and what will be the back of the box. Then, fold up the front wall while slotting the sides into place.


Step 3: Next, you need to make the lid. Place it flat on a surface and fold the sides up until they reach the middle of the lid. Then, fold the top section of the box, the lid itself, so that it meets the sides and slides into place. Your archive box should be fully assembled.

How to archive documents in boxes

Whether you’re using a box to store your own personal documents or shifting through archives is a daily occurrence in your line of work, having a manageable filing system for your box is essential. Organising your documents accordingly will make life easier any time you need to refer to the contents. Below are a series of tips for archiving documents in boxes.

  •  Make sure archives are stored in an ideal environment

Paper will rot and decay if exposed to moisture, humidity and hot temperatures, so your boxes should be stored in a controlled environment if possible, such as an office. Basements and lofts can attract pests, which can also damage your documents, so always place your boxes securely above the surface of the ground.

  • Catalogue your documents

Create an index to track the contents of your box. Not only will this allow you to locate a particular document quickly, it will also save you from tediously opening multiple boxes to find what you’re searching for. As well at cataloguing, be sure to label each box outlining the contents.

  • Don’t try and pack too much in

Although it might be tempting to pack as much into your box as possible to save space and money on a second one, you could end up damaging the contents. If stacked too tight, they could crease and rip when inserting and removing individual documents.

  • Choose high-quality boxes

If you opt for a flimsy archive box over one which is sturdy, it’s likely that you will experience sagging and collapsing when they are stored or stacked on top of one another. They may even tear or burst when being transported to a new location, especially if they are holding heavy material. 

  •    Ensure that your documents are protected

To avoid any chance of theft, make sure that the security of the building your documents are stored in is up-to-date and robust. Test your alarm system and physical locks and try and pinpoint any areas that may be targeted for unauthorised entry, such as windows. Control who has access and monitor every time somebody retrieves the documents.

  • Design a convenient storage space

As well as labelling, make sure that you categorise your boxes into different locations so that they are easily accessible. Stacking box upon box with no real order can get confusing and make it harder to identify individual boxes. Colour coding with an index system is a great way to counter this, as well as using racking and shelving to create a searchable and ordered storage space.

How much does a full archive box weigh?

How much a full archive box weighs really depends on the contents. A box filled to the rim with paper documents can be extremely heavy. For instance, an individual archive box full of documents can weigh as much as 20kg. If you have several archive boxes or any other storage containers that need to be stacked, it’s important to use an efficient racking system to guarantee the preservation of your items, as well as being able to support the weight and capacity.