How to Properly Store Photographs in a Self Storage Unit

Photograph storage

In this age of digital cameras and people having the ability to print as many pictures as they want whenever they want, people sometimes forget how important it is to store old photos correctly if they want them to last. Photos capture priceless, fleeting moments in time and once they are gone, they often cannot be replaced. Follow these three steps to make sure your photos will stay in excellent condition for years to come.

1. Look for Things that Will Damage Photos Over Time
Before putting photos into storage, look them over for anything that can compromise their quality over time. Remove rubber bands, staples and paper clips as they can cause dents in stored photographs over the years. Remove any tape and refrain from using glue, both of which can cause discoloration. Look for photos with writing on the back. Ink that is not acid-free can leak through pictures and cause discoloration over time. Since there is no good way to remove ink, you may want to have professional copies made of your photographs before the inevitable discoloration occurs. Lastly, remove photos from the older style of sticky-page albums and store them in newer, acid-free albums that are not as likely to cause discoloration.

2. Store Photos in an Airtight Container

Once photos have been inspected to make sure that they do not contain anything that will ruin them over time, place the photos carefully in a darkly colored airtight container. The right container will keep pests such as ants, spiders and mice out of your pictures. It will also protect photos from water damage that can occur from floods or building leaks. It is important to use a darkly colored container to keep light off of the photos as well since sunlight can cause fading and discoloration over time. Using resealable bags in plastic totes that close tightly will provide photos with two layers of protection.

3. Store Photos in a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

After photos are properly packed and ready to be stored, be sure to find the right location to store them. Selecting a climate-controlled self storage unit is a crucial step in storing photos so they will last. Hot temperatures can cause photos to melt. Humid conditions can cause photos to become stuck together, ruining them all. Any water leakage on the photographs can cause water spots, ink to run or smear, or photos to become soggy and fall apart.

Going to the trouble of properly preparing your photographs for storage will not do you any good if your photos are later lost or sold. Secure your storage unit with a padlock. Check on your unit regularly. Be sure to make all of your payments on time so your unit does not get repossessed and sold at auction. If you need to relocate, be sure to swing by and collect your belongings before you go. While many items people acquire throughout their lives can be easily replaced, photographs are one item that people want to hold onto forever.