What Can Cold Weather Do to My Memories?

What Can Cold Weather Do to My Memories?

Do you have precious photo albums and familial VHS tapes stored away in your garage or basement? Well, don't let the winter cold get to them.


A bit of a chill won't harm your sephia-hued photos or gritty 8mm films, but freezing temps and snow — well, that's another story.




It's important to keep in mind that cold is not the sole problem; weather is. Cold temps alone will not harm your photos. It's when temps go from freezing to warm, back to freezing, that problems can arise.


Moisture is the real enemy here — it stirs potential damage. Once humidity or condensation comes into the air, it's possible that photos and tapes can be destroyed.


For example, if your photo collection is just a stack of photos, then moisture can essentially act as glue and transform the pile of pictures into a brick. If this happens, it's pretty much guaranteed that when you go to peel the photos apart, they’ll tear.


If moisture gets into your cassettes or VHS tapes, it's possible that the water can eventually form mold, causing permanent, irreparable damage. 


On the flip side, extremely dry air can cause de-coloration or fading in some film photography. It can also cause the photo paper to crack, interrupting pigment. 


Another thought: Rodents look for warm places to hide out during winter months, so it's possible that little critters will make house in your cozy closet or attic. If this happens, you might find your photos chewed up or defecated on. That’s not the kind of Christmas gift you want this year.




Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure the winter season doesn’t cause the winter blues!


Make sure you store your photos and tapes in a fairly controlled climate, free of humidity or drastic temperature changes. A standard room temperature environment should be safe. Just be sure to frequently check for molds or any damage over time.


Organize! It sounds simply, but by making sure your storage spaced is well-organized, you can address any potential hazards before they actually become hazardous.


And, of course, you can digitize! Here at Southtree, we transform your old photos and videos into a digital format, to make sure the memories last a lifetime — and longer. Read more about what we do and how we do it.

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