How to Properly Store Photos

How to Store Photos at Home or in a Storage UnitTimes have changed dramatically for how we take and store photographs. Today, the majority of photos are taken from a digital camera or mobile phone. But we still want to print digital photos to display in a frame or preserve family photos. Every family has boxes of old black and white photos which are beginning to fade due to improper photo storage techniques. Photos have been improperly stored in shoe boxes, taped in scrapbooks, and stored in hot and humid basements or attics. How can you protect these precious family photos and keepsakes for future generations?

How to Keep Photos Protected for Storage

There are many photo storage solutions available to protect photos from damage including specially-designed photo storage boxes, photo albums or frames. Wherever you decide to store your photos, you need to make sure that they are stored properly to prevent damage to the photos. Below are a few of the best photo storage options:

  • Photo Boxes-Store photos in “photograph safe” storage boxes which are specially designed to protect your photos while in storage. Do not store photographs in old shoe boxes or envelopes. These boxes may contain chemicals which over time will damage your photos. If you are placing loose photos in a box, always stick a piece of archival paper between the photos to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Photo Albums- Photographs should be stored in acid free photo albums made with materials that pass an ANSI IT 9.16 Photographic Activity Test (PAT). Do not store photos in photo albums with sticky or magnetic pages. The chemicals in these albums may potentially yellow and fade the photographs over time. The sticky photo albums also can make the photographs tear when you are trying to remove them from the scrapbook. Also, do not put tape on the back of photos to put in photo album as this could also tear the photograph.
  • Film Negatives-If you have a collection of old film negatives or slides, make sure that you properly clean these items before storage in an archival safe storage box.

Digital Photo Storage Ideas

Most people load the photos from their digital cameras or phones directly onto their computers. There are many online photo storage sites including Flickr, Shutterfly, Google Photos or PhotoBucket that are easy ways to store your digital photos “in the cloud.” If you store your photos on your computer, it is a good idea to back up these photos on a DVD or a CDR, just in case something happens to the computer. Even digital photos that are stored on a DVD or CDR need to be protected from extreme weather conditions. Do not store these disks in places with extreme temperature swings as it can crack or warp the disks over time. Also, make sure that you label the photo CDs, so you can easily access the family vacation photos from Disney World, Ocean City or the National Mall.

Where to Store Photos

Depending on the amount of home storage available, framed photos, photos albums and photo storage boxes can be displayed on shelves in the home. If there is not enough room, or you need to remove photos due to a home staging project, photos can be stored in a storage unit. Climate controlled storage units may be a suitable option for storing photos. Photo albums should be stacked flat in a box with filler material added to the top. Properly seal the boxes with packaging tape and label the boxes with the contents.

If you properly store your photos either at your home or in a self-storage unit, you will be able to enjoy and share them with your family and friends for years to come. Taking these extra steps will help prevent damage, warping and fading of the photographs. ezStorage offers the best household storage solutions in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas. Stop in to one of our 46 self-storage locations to see how our storage professionals can help with your storage needs.