These days, most of us take our photos with our phones or a digital camera. Our memories are stored on disks or hard drives or in the cloud, wherever that is. But if you’re of a certain age, chance are you still have a collection of photo prints somewhere in your home. Or perhaps you’ve simply inherited a ton of photos from your parents or grandparents. In any case, whether they’re protected in albums, lying loose in boxes or stuffed into a drawer somewhere, we’ll pass along some tips for how to care for and preserve your photo prints and give you advice on the best way to store them.
The old family pics that mean most to you should be displayed somewhere. It never hurts to protect them with frames and then either hang them on the wall or display them on a bookcase or a table. But chances are you have too many photos to display. You really want to save that option for the ones that are the most meaningful. So what about all the others that are currently piled up in shoe boxes or drawers?
That may sound like sacrilege to some, but if you’re drowning in old photos, you might consider going through them and saving only your favorites and throwing away others. There are probably plenty of candidates for tossing — duplicates, the shots where your finger is in front of the lens or photos taken from so far away you can’t even tell who’s in them.
Once you’ve decided which photos you want to keep, you’ll want to store them in an area that has the right conditions. Ideally, you want someplace that’s well ventilated and has circulating air to prevent mold growth. Storing photos in a cooler room is better than keeping them in a hot one. Also, beware of damp, moist areas. Finally, storing your pics in a dark place is better than letting them fade due to sunlight exposure.
If you choose to store you photos at home, consider keeping them in a closet or a cabinet. Don’t use a basement, attic or garage, where temperatures and humidity can fluctuate throughout the year.
Try to keep your photos off the ground when possible. Even if you’re keeping them in a plastic bin or other type of storage compartment, keeping them off the floor will help avoid possible flood damage. Also, don’t store photos near a heating or cooling vent. The temperatures will fluctuate too wildly and cause damage.
Next time, we’ll follow up with another post about the specific dos and don’ts of storing photos in a storage unit.