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How to Store Your Old Photos

By Katy Sommerfeld

So you’ve decided to get your favorite print photographs digitized with Southtree. Great choice! There’s nothing that preserves print photos better than digitization because when your photos are saved to your computer and online, you never have to worry about them being lost, destroyed, or damaged by the elements. Congratulations on bringing your most precious memories into the digital age!

Although you have all your photos backed up onto your computer now, you might be having trouble letting go of the print versions so soon. We totally get it. Those print photos have been in the family for years and their tangibility is special. You remember seeing them in picture frames at your grandmother’s house all those years ago, or maybe they were in a photo album or scrapbook that your mother made when you were born. Those prints don’t lose their importance when they get digitized! 

So, what can you do to store those photographs so that they are as safe as can be from heat, light, water, and fire damage? How can you store them in a safe place so that you never lose them? Read on to see some of our best tips for photo storage so that you never have to stress about the safety of your prints ever again.


Store your photos in a non-humid environment.

One of the worst culprits for damage to print photographs is humidity. Photos stored in humid environments are much more likely to suffer from mold and mildew growth as well as warping. Avoid humid areas, like basements, for storing your photographs.


Keep prints in a waterproof container.

The best place for photos is a waterproof container. You never know when a natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane can strike, or when freezing temperatures will cause a pipe to burst. Waterproof containers can keep prints safe from water damage.


No basements, no attics.

Basements and attics are two of the worst places to store media of any kind, including photographs. Basements can be dank, humid environments that encourage mold growth. Attics are usually not temperature regulated, and photos stored in attics can be exposed to extreme heat and cold. Keep your photos out of these environments!


Keep it dark.

Photographs like it dark. Wherever you store your photos, keep them out of the sunlight and harsh artificial light. This will prevent the photos from becoming distorted in color. 


Acid-free is the way to be.

If you’re looking to store your photos in sleeves, make sure those sleeves are acid-free, photo-safe sleeves. If you want to store photos in stacks, separate each photo with acid-free paper. If you’re framing some of your old photos, use an acid-free mat and backboard to keep the photo from coming into direct contact with the glass of the frame. These acid-free materials can be purchased online and often in craft stores as well. 

These are some of our best tips for photo storage that will keep your photos looking crisp for as long as possible. If you can do all these things, you can rest assured that your photos will last a lot longer than if you were storing them in a shoebox in the basement. Now that you’ve got your digital copies and your prints stored in the best way possible, you’ll never need to worry about the safety of your photos ever again. 

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