Photos are one of our most precious ways to connect with the people we love and remember the most special moments of our lives, so how we store photographs is very important.
In my house, growing up, a lot of our photos were stored on the undeveloped film, thrown in a drawer until someone remembered to go and have them developed. Then, you’d take the envelope full of new prints, look through them once or twice, and toss them back in the same drawer with a promise to put them in photo albums or scrapbooks sometime down the line.
That usually meant throwing them in a box when you moved. Finally going through them years or even decades later, you would try to remember who the heck that fourth person on the right was.
Or maybe that’s just me.
How should I organize my photographs to store them?
Simply Spaced has a great series of checklists for how to approach your piles of photographs and organize them in a manner that makes sense for you.
For some people, that means putting them into those organized photo albums. Properly labelled and cared for, a photo album or two can be a great way to hand on memories and family information to the next generation. It can also be a great mental boost when you need a quick pick me up to remember the people you love.
But for some people, a photo album means out of sight and out of mind. Stored photographs are only brought out on special occasions. So maybe taking the photos and creating a photo collage is best for you. Or adding frames photos of your memories around your home.
Whatever you do with them, if they are not already digital, scan them to your computer and save them to an external hard drive or other digital media. Backing them up to the cloud is nice, but lost passwords or data corruption will break your heart.
How should I store my photographs at home?
Home Storage Solutions 101 did the homework for you so you can get an easy answer. Their advice, garnered from the National Archives, covers four points.
- Check the humidity. Paper becomes brittle if dries out too much, but too much moisture can lead to mildew or mold.
- Check the temperature. Low temperatures are best, preferably low consistently. The higher temperature, the faster the paper degrades. Worse yet, old style photos used chemical emulsion that will melt in extreme heat. Causing your photos to stick together or run.
- Prevent light from shining on your photos. Sunlight, especially through windows and frame glass, can fade your photos rapidly. Store your photos away from the light.
- Find a pest free environment. Rodents and insects are also potential threats to your memories as both love to chew on paper.
Among the best options are acid-free photo boxes and adhesive free photo albums that are designed not to damage your photographs.
How should I store my photos when I move?
All the same rules to store photographs at home apply when storing during a move. You do not want a storage unit where temperatures can fluctuate or where humidity is likely to skyrocket.
Sadly that means you should not keep your valuable photographs in an outside storage unit.
You should also make certain that your storage unit is free of rodents and other pests. Most good facilities will have rodent prevention, but it’s harder to prevent spiders and other insects, no matter how clean you keep your facility.
To avoid stinking up your items and to still keep insects away, consider using lavender or cedar chips. There’s a reason our forefathers made cedar chests to store their linens and important items. It works.
And, choose a climate-controlled storage unit. While almost no storage units are humidity controlled, if the facility keeps the heat and air conditioning within a reasonable range, your photos will be safe inside a storage unit.
Spacemall Storage can help keep your to store your photographs and memories safely.
Spacemall Storage in Oaks and Phoenixville offers climate-controlled storage to keep your memories and your photos safe. Our facility at 119 Montgomery Avenue is kept between 55 and 75 degrees to keep your photos and everything else nice and cozy.
Ready to start planning your move? Call us today!