A Practical Guide to Storing Photos
HOW TO STORE PHOTOS
Even though we live in a digital age, many of us still have a vast collection of old printed photos and family collections packed away. If not stored properly, those treasured memories are at risk of being damaged by moisture, pests, and long-term exposure to adhesives and chemicals found in photo albums.
If you’re interested in knowing how to safeguard your cherished images of family, friends, weddings, birthdays, and countless other happy memories, follow these tips.
PROTECT WITH CARE
The most vital step to keeping your photos safe is protecting them from oils and salts from human hands. Wearing white cotton gloves while handling the photos will create a barrier between those damaging oils and salts, and help prevent harm while preparing your photos for storage.
Some additional protect and care tips:
- Refrain from eating or drinking around the photos.
- Avoid exposure to bright lights for long periods.
- Don’t leave the photos unattended.
- Keep out of hot and/or humid environments.
ORGANIZE TO PROTECT
An important step is to remove your photos from albums that are not “archival quality.” Albums not of that quality may actually be damaging your photos because they are made with unsafe materials. Some “magnetic” photo albums are known to leave adhesive residue on images, and white vinyl pages can stick to ink and even emit harmful fumes that increase fading and discoloration. A general rule is to store photos in materials that are acid-free and specifically designed for archival photo storage.
It is up to you how to organize your photos – chronological order, type, events and occasions, whatever makes sense to you. If you have photos you will view on a regular basis, place them in an archival album or binder to make it easy to flip through whenever you are feeling nostalgic. For photos you rarely look at or would like to keep in long-term storage, quality archival file boxes will do the trick. These boxes will protect from UV light, dust, and other risks. Insert silica gel packets into the box to remove excess moisture, and place photos in clear plastic Mylar sleeves to protect from fingerprints and dust.
Labelling is an important component to keeping your photos organized. Most archival boxes and albums that are specific for photo storage will often come with index cards that slip into place on the box or album to make it easy to label what is inside. However, never write directly on the front or back of the photos – it can cause immediate and long-term damage.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT STORAGE
Photos should be stored in a cool, dry place, so storing them in an attic or basement is typically not recommended due to humidity and the possibility of mildew. A climate controlled area is the best place for photos as it helps keep the humidity and temperature at a stable level. Jack Rabbit Storage offers several locations with climate control units that are perfect for storing your photos. Stop by a location nearby to choose the space that’s perfect for you!