Who doesn’t like an old photograph? Most of us have hundreds of them captured on our phones and flooding our social media universe, but what about those old photographs of Great Uncle Fred next to his 1956 Bel Air or sweet Grandma Boogie with 122 grandchildren sitting on her lap? You know, the photos that are in that album at the top of the closet in the hall. The closet you need to clean out and take to your storage unit to make room for your turtleneck sweater collection.
Do you know how to safely store those photos so nothing happens to them?
First let’s talk about deterioration. As things get older they tend to deteriorate, much like Uncle Fred’s Bel Air and Grandma Boogies lap. The same thing goes for photographs. Varying temperatures, light exposure and humidity will cause photos to peel, crack, stick together and grow mold. Here a few steps you can use to help keep your photos in great condition.
Make sure you have climate-controlled storage. Extreme temperatures, humidity, and prolonged exposure to light can cause photos to crack, fade or peel. Climate controlled storage will help create a uniform environment for your photos so that they can last much longer and help prevent deterioration.
Ensure that photos are not touching one another. If the photos are not secure in a photo album, place acid-free paper as a barrier between the surfaces. Photos can emit chemicals that can bond them together causing them to stick and tear. The same rule applies to any negatives you may have.
Speaking of acid free. When storing photographs, make sure you are using only acid-free materials. Storage boxes of archival quality can be purchased at photography and craft stores and will protect your photos from light, dust, dirt and pests. Also never use glues or tape to mend photos or hold them in albums. The acids and sulfur in these adhesives will contribute to the deterioration of your photos.
If you have properly stored your photos in your home or a self-storage unit, you will be able to share them with friends and family for years to come!