4 Essential Steps to Store Your Photos

4 Essential Steps to Store Your Photos

If I asked you how you store your photos nowadays – the answer is simple. On your phone or in the cloud.

But what about physical photos? School portraits, photos of past family members, wedding albums, summer memories? Some can be put on display. The rest? Most likely crammed into old shoe boxes!

These treasured moments need to be stored correctly and preserved so they can be shared for generations to come. Here’s what you need to know:

Step 1. Keep them flat

Neatly stack loose photos in a cardboard box – don’t use elastic bands or paper clips which will damage the paper.

For a photo album, securely fasten the photos down with archival corners. Avoid glue or tape as this can permanently stick to the photo.

Also, remember to touch the photo as little as possible. You don’t want to transfer dirt or oils from your hands.

Step 2. Use acid-free paper

Place acid-free paper between the prints to preserve their condition.

Similarly, for an album, make sure you choose one which is of archival quality. Low quality paper can contain acids which cause the photos to degrade overtime.

Step 3. Pack up correctly

Cramming too many photos in a box, or overfilling an album, is likely to cause the photos to fold, rip or crumple.

Similarly, an underfilled box will cause the photos to move around and bend. Fill up a box sensibly – using acid-free cardboard to plug any gaps.

Step 4. Choose the right place

Photo paper, ink and pigments are delicate – so you need the right conditions for storage:

  • Good ventilation: Air circulation will prevent against mould.
  • Avoid heat: Keep them cool, ideally somewhere below 24⁰C. The cooler the better to stop degradation of the paper and ink.
  • Avoid light: Light (specifically UV or fluorescent light) will breakdown and fade the pigment.
  • Keep dry: Obvious really, but moisture or liquids will damage the photos!

Lofts and garages suffer from fluctuating temperatures and moisture so are not perfect for storage. A better option would be around the house – under beds, or in cupboards. If you have space, of course.

If you can’t compromise on the space at home, then a small storage unit or locker is a smart choice. Ticking all the boxes for the ideal storage conditions for photos, your treasured memories will remain protected and secure.

Need storage? Find a Shurgard location near you.

Where do you keep your photo collection? Let us know in the comments below.

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