Storage units are often used to store books and photographs. This is because of the sentimental value to the owners or their expectations that there will be an increase in value over time.
Antique books can be valuable over the long term. Photos hold sentimental values for people and if they’re lost or damaged, there may not be any way to get new ones.
That’s why it matters when taking care of photos and delicate items like paintings. Storage facilities are often the first place people turn when they need more room.
Because of the high value and in saving for posterity, you’ll want to use a professional storage center rather than a private online storage marketplace.
The main thing is to keep these items stored for future generations to be able to enjoy.
What to do With Photographs and Paintings
That is a question we get asked a lot… “what can I do with my photographs?” Some people hang them on the wall and put into albums to look at them later. There’s only so much room on walls and shelves for albums. What about the other photos in drawers, the garage shelves and in shoe boxes?
One of the main reasons people store their books, photos and paintings is so they can be saved for future generations or for someone special – and they want somewhere safe to put them. Maybe they’re downsizing and don’t have any space left at their house.
We believe that future generations will be very technologically savvy. This means that if you store the pictures on a computer drive and also put them into a good brand name cloud storage — your descendants should have no problem viewing them years into the future. It helps to know that there are ways to deal with the situation.
Organizing Your Photos
Remember the cliche… a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe it’s the day she said “Yes”, or baby’s first footsteps, or the kid’s first track meet, or a family member getting married, or a fun family vacation. Or maybe its an heirloom painting that hung in the living room during the time the kids were growing up.
To get started, organize your photos first. You can sort your collection however you want, but keep in mind that whatever order you choose may not be logical for everyone else.
You might want to organize based on age of the picture, the person in the picture, the event or some other measure that works for you. Organizing your photos using a specific pattern — so that you know where to put them — is helpful when packing for storage.
To keep your photos in good shape, use stiff, flat materials and storage containers.
How to Physically Handle Pictures
Use clean, dry hands when handling photographs and negatives. When holding photos, always keep them by their edges and don’t touch the printed side.
Don’t touch pictures with your bare hands because they may be damaged by oils and other chemical residues left behind from your hands.
Because your fingers may have oils on them, you might want to wear protective gloves when handling.
Don’t buy the cute or cheap photo album or box for your photos. They may contain harmful chemicals or adhesive substances that can damage, age, and discolor photos. Look for archival-grade materials: such as photo safe, acid-, lignin-, and PVC-free.
If you have photos stored in those classic peel and stick photo albums, consider removing them and looking for a different way to preserve them. Chemical adhesives used to bind photo pages together often results in permanent damage to the images.
If you want to save photos for posterity, use archival albums that are safe from light damage.
Use albums with archival quality sleeves, sheets, or photo corners. Many people like those with polyester, polyproplyne, or polyethylene (PE).
Don’t use adhesives. Adhesives may contain acids that could damage prints. Remember to not use tape or glue to affix photos.
Overfilling an album can cause it to warp or distort. If photos aren’t attached, they could fall out and become lost or damaged.
How to Store Your Photos
As mentioned, copy your photos to a computer drive prior to self-storage. You can use an all-in-one copier/scanner to do the job. Or even use your phone’s camera to store the pictures — they take quite good pictures these days.
You should always make copies of your photos, even if not you’re planning to store them away. You may need these backups if the original images get damaged or destroyed by an unexpected event, such as a fire or flood. Digital copies ensure that your photos will last forever.
You can scan your copies into a computer, that’s really good. However, if you want to back up your files, it’s best to store them on a CD, flash drive, or memory stick and put them somewhere where they won’t be damaged by water.
The next step up is to put copies of those photos onto a brand name cloud storage such as Amazon Web Server.
Another idea for the technically minded is to put the pictures onto your own family website and make sure the www.archive.org team has a chance to save your website pages to their database — then you can be 100% guaranteed they won’t disappear from the internet anytime soon and it doesn’t cost you anything.
How to Store a Painting
Painting is another thing entirely. Paintings are fragile and require special care. It’s important to protect your painting from dust, moisture, heat, humidity, and direct sunlight.
The first thing you’ll want to do is remove any frames or glass. Then wrap the painting in plastic wrap and place it inside a sturdy cardboard box. Tape down the sides of the box so that no air gets trapped between the painting and the box.
Next, cover the painting with bubble wrap and secure it tightly with packing peanuts. Place the painting in a large, flat box and fill it with dry rice or sand. This will absorb any moisture that might seep through the wrapping.
Finally, label the box clearly with the artist’s name, title, date, and medium. Make sure to include the dimensions of the painting.
If you don’t know how to properly frame your artwork, ask a professional. They’ll help you choose the right size and style of frame.
Storage is the Safe Place You’re Looking For
If you’re looking at storing your valuables in a self-storage facility, it’s important to make sure that the unit you choose has security features like 24/7 video surveillance and access control. These systems help prevent theft from happening and also allow you to monitor what’s going on inside your unit.
For example, where your photos are stored makes a big difference. Factors that accelerate photo ageing are high temperatures, high humidity, and too much direct sunlight. There’s also the possibility of flooding to worry about along with bugs and rats.
When viewed from the perspective of humidity and temperature; the attic, basement, and garage are not ideal places to store your treasured memories. Sadly, bugs and rodents find these as they like to chew on wiring and paper. And if there’s a chance of flooding, don’t put any pictures on the floor.
To store pictures, you need a reliable storage facility that has good temperature controls. Ask about the temperature and humidity levels to make sure it will work for your pictures or painting. Because these places are usually not equipped with windows, light shouldn’t be an issue.
Plan ahead and store your photos safely so they’re ready when you need them.
Storing Photographs in a Climate Controlled Unit
Your photographs are completely unique to you and no one else. They must be stored properly so they don’t get damaged. Many choose climate-controlled storage to avoid mold, mildew, or fading. Remember that we’re talking about the physical photographs.
If you want to store your photos properly, climate-control storage is your best bet. It’s probably going to be the most expensive option and offer the fewest surprises when you go back to look at the pictures.
As for storing photos; the rule is that the cooler it is, the better. This discourages bugs and slows down the discoloration of the paper and ink.
It would be best not to place these in your hot attic because high temperatures above 74 degrees Fahrenheit can cause damage. Above that temperature, the heat interferes negatively with the chemical processes used in photo printing. Often this results in color fading.
You also need to take care of your photos so they don’t get damaged by wear and tear. Ventilation can be helpful. A well-ventilated room with circulated air helps to minimize mold growth along with other harmful organic substances. It also lowers the humidity level.
Storage Container Tips
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide what kind of storage container you’d like to use. There are many different types available. Some are designed specifically for storing photographs while others are meant for general storage purposes.
When choosing a container, consider how much space you have available. Also think about whether you want to store your prints in frames or simply leave them flat.
Look for photo-friendly plastic storage boxes made from uncoated polyethylenetwo or polypropylentwo or polyester. A good way to store printed pictures would be to use a container that has a sealable, waterproof exterior, such as plastic. It should also contain soft dividers so that the photos don’t stick together. You can use these at room temperature.
There are several ways of packing and storing photos. Your needs and the type of images you want to keep will determine which storage solution works best for you.
Keep your photos safe by storing them in a secure place and don’t fill up your containers too full. Archival-grade photo boxes won’t help keep your pictures safe if they aren’t stored correctly.
Shoe boxes are still a good option because they’re likely to be around, and their rigid, square shapes keep photos flat and protected from damage. Remember that shoe boxes aren’t waterproof. You might consider storing them in waterproof containers or in a location where you’re sure they won’t be exposed to moisture.
A filled up photo box may cause the same issues as filling up an album. Underfilling lets images move around, which causes them to curl or fray at their edges. If your boxes aren’t filled up, use archival quality divider sheets to keep them from moving. You don’t need to store them tightly if you aren’t storing them in a humid or hot place. Storing tightly may cause some pictures to stick.
File Folders and Envelopes
You could use envelops or file folder as dividiers and a plastic tote for containing them. These are things you probably already have at home.
Folders and envelopes are great ways to organize photos or photos you’d like to keep separately. Make sure to store your photos separately from each other by placing acid-free paper or tissues between them. You can store files and envelopes in one of those office type accordion folders or even in a file cabinet.
If you plan on keeping your photos in albums, make sure you buy acid-free pages. Non-acidic dividers are helpful. Have you ever had to separate pictures from another picture?
If you want to preserve your photos for posterity, setting up a system where you place a piece of cardboard or any other material between each photo will help out in the long run. It’s best to use stiff dividers if they’re going to be used to keep items flat and secure.
Picture Frames and Picture Frame Boxes
You don’t need to remove any pictures from a large picture frame. Just set them into storage. You can use a Picture Box to help and then save it as is. Make a large ‘x’ on the glass with masking tape to help prevent shattering when moving the pictures around. Uhaul is a great place to buy picture boxes.
Storing Photos At Home
After reading this article, you probably remembered some photos you’d like to keep at home. Here are some quick tips for storing those at home.
Store photos in your closet, cabinet drawers, or under the bed (in boxes). These locations — which are part of your house — will be as close as possible to a controlled environment.
Don’t store photos anywhere near heat sources like basements, attics, or garages where temperature and humidity fluctuates with the change of seasons.