Five Tips for Protecting Photos in a Storage Unit

Preserving your family's memories and history in photographs is important. You want to ensure the materials are safe from issues like moisture, pests, and temperature fluctuations. The following strategies can help.

1. Use Archival-Quality Materials

When mounting photographs in albums or placing them in photo boxes, verify that your choice of display is of archival quality. This includes any adhesives or pens used in the albums as well as the paper and cardboard used to hold the photographs. Archival quality materials may also be labeled as acid-free. These items won't cause yellowing or other discoloration on your precious memories.

2. Remove Damaging Materials

As you pack up the photographs for storage, check for any items that could pose problems in storage. For example, all rubber bands and tape should be removed, as should metal items that can rust, like paperclips and staples. If you have memorabilia items in the albums, such as labels or receipts, place these in vellum envelopes. This type of envelope ensures any problematic ink or materials in the memorabilia won't damage your photographs.

3. Select the Right Containers

You shouldn't use any old cardboard box for packaging up photographs for storage. Much like the albums, boxes need to be acid-free. File boxes, available at office stores, work well for photo storage and there are acid-free options. You can also wrap your photographs and albums in acid-free tissue to protect them before placing them into standard cardboard boxes. Plastic storage tubs are another safe option.

4. Guard Against Moisture

Moisture is a threat in some storage units. Even though the unit may be snug and dry, high humidity can still lead to damages. For this reason, consider renting a unit with humidity control, especially if you live in a damp or humid area. Storing your items in plastic tubs will also help protect your items from moisture damage. You can include a few silicon desiccant packets in each tub to further minimize the chances of moisture wreaking havoc on your stored photographs.

5. Protect From Temperature Fluctuations

Some photographs can suffer if they are exposed to heat. Colors may fade or the image may wash out completely. In mild climates with moderate year-round temperatures, this may not be a concern, but it can be a problem in areas with hot summers. A climate-controlled unit will maintain steady temperatures year-round, thus protecting your important photographs.

Contact a storage facility to learn more about storing your memorabilia in storage units.