So you’ve purchased some boxes and/or a filing cabinet... Now you have to invest in the next big thing to sweep the nation: file folders.
You might be wondering, what type of folder should I buy? Lucky for you, we have suggestions. And because we feel like it, here are your folder options ranked from best to worst.
Best: Acid-Free/Lignin-Free Folders
Over time, acid will discolor and eat up your paper. Imagine an old newspaper: it yellows and becomes fragile, since the paper is highly acidic. Lignin, a naturally-occurring bonding element in plants, can also cause paper to degrade: while not an acid, as it degrades, it does emit acid. To avoid these two paper-killers, these file folders are your best option. But as you might have guessed, they’re also the most expensive.
While not archival quality, these will also work. Yes, you should buy the best, but your documents will not disintegrate after sitting in manila folders for 20 years.
Unless you feel like testing them for color bleeding*, avoid them. If the dye is not properly set, it could change the color of your papers.
Skip: Hanging file folders
Hanging file folders are made of paper and metal. We will reiterate this many times in this blog: metal is not your friend. It rusts.
Knowing this, you might be wondering why we recommended buying a metal filing cabinet. Well, if you purchased an ANSI/BIFMA-approved cabinet, then you shouldn’t worry about rust, unless you plan on throwing it into the ocean. (If so, then...uh...we can’t help you.) The metal of your file cabinet is treated, whereas the metal in the hanging files is not. (Also, hanging file folders will only work in a file cabinet, not boxes.)
At the end of the day, if you really want to save your materials, we recommend using the best possible supplies. Plus, if you have the money to invest in acid/lignin-free folders, you’ll feel like Danny Hutton when Three Dog Night headlined (with Stevie Wonder and Bloodrock opening) at Madison Square Garden in 1971. If you buy the hanging folders, you’ll feel like Danny Hutton in 1988 when he signed an awkward 11 year old girl’s mint colored jean jacket after playing the 10th Annual Arts Festival Oklahoma.
Don’t be Hutton circa 1988. Strive for Hutton circa 1971.