Properly Storing Photographs

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picturesOver time, a family can acquire quite a few photographs. They are often passed from one generation to the next. These photographs of people and events from the past hold sentimental value and are treasured dearly, but they can take up a lot room in a family's living space over the years. The best way to keep them in one place and safe for future generations is to rent a self storage unit.

The self storage unit should not just be a standard unit because the photographs are susceptible to damage from temperature extremes as well as from dampness in the air. In order to preserve the condition of the photographs, they should be kept in a storage unit that has a controlled climate. At a storage facility, each climate controlled storage unit may have individual heating and cooling devices, but they are usually all grouped together in a single building that has central heating and air conditioning. Then the warmed or cooled air is brought to the individual storage units through ductwork in the same manner as it would be in a house. This keeps the temperature in the storage units nearly constant throughout the year. To further protect the family photograph collection, the self storage unit should also have some type of dehumidification system to control the dampness in the air if it is located in a region with high levels of humidity. The moisture in the air could cause the photographs to stick together and mold to develop on them.

Once a proper self storage unit has been chosen, the photographs need to be packed up in a way that protects them even further. Aside from temperature and humidity, dust and dirt are a main contributor to the deterioration of photographs. Obviously, the photographs should not be placed in the self storage unit in an open box, but simply piling them all in a box and then closing it is also not the solution. Doing something like that can cause tearing or creasing that will result in future tears. The photographs should either be properly placed in a photo album or they should be secured between two pieces of cardboard in order to keep them from curling. The pages of the photo album and the papers between the other photographs should be non acidic and free of lignin. Storing photographs that are 8x10 inches or smaller on their long edges is fine, but larger photographs should be stored flat.