It's best to avoid putting meaningful photos into a storage unit, but there may be times when you really have no other choice. In order to ensure the photos are still beautiful and in good condition when you pull them out of storage, follow these tips.
Wear gloves while handling them.
The oils and any dirt on your hands can easily transfer to photos. Over time, this can cause them to stick to other pictures and objects. The oil and dirt may also become fixed to the photo as it undergoes temperature changes in storage or on its way to the storage unit in a moving truck. So wear soft, cotton gloves while you're preparing and packing your photos. Try to only touch the sides and backs of the pictures, too.
Sort and pack the photos in a dark room.
The more light the photos are exposed to, the more they will fade. When you're preparing and packing your photos, do so in a dimly lit room to minimize light damage. Also, make sure they are enclosed in an opaque tote rather than a clear one to minimize light exposure during storage.
Separate the photos into boxes and label them.
There may come a time when you want to see certain photos but don't feel like sorting through them all. To make this easier, separate the photos into a few different boxes based on timeline or occasion. Then, clearly label each box to save yourself time later on.
Choose no-acid photo albums or tissue paper.
You can store your photos in plastic totes if you wrap each one individually in no-acid tissue paper. However, many people prefer to put them in photo albums and then store the albums in totes. If you do use photo albums, make sure the paper and backing are acid-free. Otherwise, your photos may discolor over time.
Don't put anything else in the boxes.
Reserve the boxes you use for your photos for photos alone. Fill in empty spaces with plain, crumpled tissue paper to keep the photos from moving around. Other items may be too heavy and cause the photos to stick to the tissue paper between them. They may leak or contain chemicals that diminish the photos' appearance over time.
In addition to the tips above, make sure you choose a climate-controlled storage unit. This should limit your photos' exposure to heat and humidity, both of which can cause the ink to run over time.
For more information about storage units, consider contacting companies like Stevens Creek Storage.
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