When it comes to things that people hold onto for years to come, photographs are usually at the top of the list. Photographs have the uncanny ability to transport us back to a specific time in our lives and recreate a memory that has long since passed. Not only are photographs a visual reminder of the things that we’ve done and the people we’ve met, they are also snapshots of past times that we’ve never even experienced. This view into the past opens up our perspective into a whole new, or should we say old, world.
Whether it be pictures of ourselves growing up, photos from beloved family vacations, or old photographs that have been passed down through the generations, because of their sentimental value, photos are very precious. In order to keep them viewable and shareable for years to come, it is imperative that you take good care of your photos and store them correctly. Take a look below at how to practice proper photo storage so that you can continue to share photos!
Don’t get too touchy with your photos! When going through them be sure to have washed your hands, and thoroughly dried them, before handling your pictures. The oil from your hands and fingerprints can stain the images. Do not eat, drink or smoke around them either. No matter how careful you are, mistakes happen.
Temperature is important to keep in mind. Humidity and extreme fluctuations in temperature can tamper with your photographs so you should never store them in places like a garage, attic or basement. Cooler temperatures slow down the rate of chemical decomposition and tend to keep insects at bay. A low humidity atmosphere is also ideal because it will help prevent mold growth.
Keep your photos flat and do not overstuff them into one place. Never store them directly on the floor, they should be lifted off of the floor where they will be safer from water damage, insects, rodents and pets. Lighting is another factor to consider. Light can fade images so it’s better to keep your photos in a dark spot.
Some chemicals don’t mix and can be harmful to your delicate photographs. Always use acid-free, lignin-free and PVC-free paper, boxes, albums and sleeves when storing your photos and never use glue or tape on your photographs.
For those who have a large photo collection that’s taking up too much space at home, you may want to consider storing your collection at a trusted storage facility. A climate, controlled warehouse is the perfect place to store your treasured photos together and free up space. By using a storage facility you get the best of both worlds, a safe place to store your photographs and more storage space at home.
For even more tips on how to preserve your photos check out the National Archives.