Preserving Precious Memories - Top Tips for Storing Old Photos

Top Tips for Storing Old Precious Photos

Preserving Precious Memories - Top Tips for Storing Old Photos

Behind every photo, there is a story. For most of us, it's a moment in time we would gladly relive over and over again. It's the day she said "Yes", your baby's first steps, her first ballet recital, to your most recent family getaway. Are you one of those who keep those pictures safe and secured in a mini storage in your room?

Family photos are the kind of possession you would like to protect and give your utmost care. They represent decades of memories and it would be devastating to lose them. So you find yourself tucking them in albums under your coffee table or displaying them on the wall of frames - and it could work! But what about the piles of pictures in your drawers and shoe boxes? Preserving them and the memories they hold does present some challenges, but there are several steps that you can take to ensure they are organized and protected in your home; or if you'd like, consider renting a storage unit to store your photographs and other collections.

Things to Remember

Temperature – When it comes to photo storage, the cooler it is, the better since it discourages insects and slows down the degradation of the paper and ink. You might want to avoid placing them in your hot attic because temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit can damage your photos.

Ventilation – Protect photographs from wear and tear with proper ventilation. Look for a well-ventilated area with circulating air as it combats mold growth and other damaging substances.

Lighting – Store your printed pictures in a dark space if it's not possible for you to enclose them completely as light can cause photographs to fade.

Moisture – Humidity can damage photo papers and in extremely dry environments, it can become brittle. When considering a storage unit, make sure you don't keep the photos in an area with high humidity. A damp basement is not ideal since it encourages mold growth. It causes the pictures to stick to each other which can destroy your photos.

Rule of Thumb
When storing old photos in your home, observe the following:

DO NOT store photos in an attic, garage, basement or where temperatures and humidity are factors.

DO NOT place your photos anywhere near a heating or cooling vent.

DO place your photographs, as much as possible, off the ground.

DO place your photos in cabinets, closets, or under your bed since these areas are most likely climate-controlled being part of your living quarters.

Storing Pictures in a Self-Storage Unit

If you do not have that extra space in your house to store vintage photos, keeping them tucked away in a secure storage unit is a good option. There's nothing better than being able to reclaim the space under your bed and knowing your precious photos are well protected!

Rule of Thumb

DO NOT put the boxes where your old photos are directly on the ground in a storage unit. Use a wire rack or wooden pallets to keep them off the ground in case of flooding.

DO enclose all pictures completely. You can place them in boxes, frames, or containers, but make sure to enclose them well.

DO pick a storage unit with a safe, secure, and climate-controlled environment.

Additional Tips on How to Store Your Pictures

Make sure your hands are clean, dry, and non-lotioned when handling photos and negatives. Do not put your fingers directly onto them as it carries substances that can be damaging to your files.

Avoid using adhesives - tape or glue on your photos - since these products contain acids that can ruin their quality. Should you need to mount or affix your pictures on scrapbooks or albums, make sure to choose containers that are archival quality - acid, lignin and PVC free. Your best option is to go for materials like polypropylene, polyethylene, or polyester.

When choosing containers, the pictures should fit their size and make sure to position them in such a way that they will stay flat. Should you choose to place them in an album, do not overstuff them as this can damage the spine or cause the pages to fall out. These albums can then be stored in larger containers but make sure they are safe and chemical-free as well. A good trick for an added level of protection is to wrap the albums in tissue paper just before placing them in boxes.

We take pride in what we do here at ARCO's Storage. Book an appointment with us today and see if our San Bruno Storage facility is the best solution to your storage needs.