In our digital world today, you can often think that a cloud service is enough backup for your things. For many files, this is undoubtedly fine, but for the files that really matter - photographs, audio, video, and family history files - you should do more than hope that the cloud will take care of you. If your cloud service goes offline or has technical problems, the files that you've spent a lifetime accruing can go away in the blink of an eye. Here is the best way you can store the files that matter the most to you.
Have multiple copies on multiple formats
Use different storage methods to store your files on. Because storage is so inexpensive, keep a copy on your computer that acts as your master copy. Keep another copy on a backup hard drive that you attach to your computer. When the backup drive becomes full, get another drive and take the full drive to storage. Keep any backup drives in a climate and humidity controlled environment. On a regular basis, burn these files to DVDs. As formats change, upgrade the media format you use for static storage so that you don't have an obsolete piece of plastic in your storage unit.
Do use a cloud service (or two)
Cloud services are wonderful tools when used properly. Use them as a method to back up your documents. Attach another computer to the cloud service so that you can have the same files on multiple devices.
Use a well-thought-out labeling system
Don't put files on backup discs willy-nilly. Instead, use a system (by date, by name, by type, etc.) that can grow with your files and be simple enough that you can thumb through everything when you need to go to a self storage facility to find out what is missing.
Get a climate controlled storage unit
You may not need a lot of space, but make sure that the space you get is climate controlled. Extreme heat and extreme cold can both cause you to lose valuable data on your backups. By putting them in a climate controlled unit, you don't have to worry about what the temperature might do to your files.
Do spot checks
Don't just assume your backup is working. Verify and test your backups on a regular basis to make sure that you haven't missed a problem that can cause you to lose information forever.
As you do these things, your files will be protected and you will be able to retrieve anything you want if something terrible ever happens to your primary file copy.