These days, it’s more common to store photos on your phone than in an actual photo album. But sometimes it’s nice to have actual, physical photographs. Maybe you have prints from a professional photographer that you admire, sleeves of family photos from before the days of smartphones or a really special photo album from a wedding or other memorable event.
Whatever the case may be; if you have photos that you’re still hanging onto in 2018, they’re probably pretty important. That’s why storing them is equally important.
Photos are one of the most common items stored in a storage unit. Guess what? They’re also one of the most common items stored incorrectly in a storage unit.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to store—and how not to store—photos in a storage unit.
This is number one for a reason. If you’re going to store photos in a storage unit, you need climate control. This is especially important in a region such as Texas, where humidity is a major factor.
Climate control eliminates the risk of moisture entering a storage unit. If you forgo it, you’ll end up with a soggy mess of wilted, unsalvageable photos. Seriously, get a climate controlled storage unit.
Don’t Stack Them
When storing photos, it’s tempting to grab a shoebox, pop a few stacks of photos inside and call it a day. Don’t do this. It may seem like a spacesaver, but you should never store photos in stacks. Even in a climate controlled storage unit, there’s still the risk of these photos sticking together. This risk becomes even greater if you store photos in stacks for a long period of time.
This may not seem like a big deal, but when you go to peel the photos apart, you’ll find that the glossy side of many photos will peel off. Instead, store photos in albums with mylar, photo-safe sleeves.
Keep Them Elevated
After you’ve organized photos into albums, you can go ahead and place these albums in labelled boxes. Once you’re at your storage unit, place them on top of another item. You want to avoid placing photos directly on the ground—yep, even if they’re in albums and those albums are in boxes.
In the rare event that groundwater enters your storage unit as the result of a flood, a neighboring storage unit with an improperly defrosted refrigerator or some other event, having your photos elevated will prevent them from suffering water damage. Self-storage insurance does protect the value of the items in your storage unit, but if you’re storing items that can’t be replaced—like photos that have been passed down from your grandparents—this won’t do you any good.
Have a Digital Backup
That brings us to our last point. Before you store your photos in your storage unit, be sure to have a digital backup of the ones that matter the most to you. In some cases, you may already have digital copies of your photos saved to your phone, your cloud-based storage or on your computer.
For photos that you only have physical copies of, you can create a digital backup the old fashioned way with a scanner, or you can use a photo scanner app like Google’s PhotoScan. Once you’ve created a digital copy of a physical photo, be sure to save it in a place where it won’t be deleted. Cloud based storage solutions, like iCloud, are your best bet for this.
Now start making some memories. You’ll know exactly how to store them in a storage unit when the time comes to print out the photos.