A photograph can capture a sentimental moment or memory forever. Some of these moments are so beautiful that it's difficult to toss your photo albums out when you're running out of space in your home. Renting a self-storage unit to store the photographs may be a great solution. However, that's not the end of it since photographs are surprisingly quite fragile and delicate. Although a storage facility will offer you the space you need, you should still take necessary precautions to protect your photographs from getting ruined.
Store Photographs in Separate Plastic Compartments or in an Album
Although tossing all of the photographs in a box and calling it a day may seem harmless, it could do irreparable damage in the long run. The surfaces of the photographs are coated with gelatin, among many other chemicals. With time, the gelatin can melt and stick together. If you toss all of the photographs together in a cardboard box or container for storage, don't be surprised when they become a huge wad in the future. Separating photographs glued together without causing any damage is challenging and difficult. Other chemicals can also diffuse into the photographs.
Instead, store all photographs separately if possible. If you have little plastic compartment bags, place the photographs separately in their own bag. If not, consider purchasing a photo album or a picture frame. Make sure these albums or picture frames are acid-free. Any type of adhesive present contains acids that can damage photographs overtime.
Choose a Climate-Controlled Facility to prevent Further Decay
Photographs are a lot more fragile than what you may think. If there is too much or too little humidity and if the temperature isn't ideal, the gelatin in the photographs will shrink and dry out. This causes the photographs to curl up and even crack and tear. The storage facilities should be capable of maintaining a constant temperature that falls between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the relative humidity should be at about 50%.
Some storage facilities offer dew point calculators for you to make a better and more informed decision. The dew point calculators can determine whether it is likely for water droplets to form based on the local temperature and the relative humidity.
Keep Photographs with Silica Gel
Too much humidity and moisture in the air can have detrimental effects on your photographs. Once the photographs are damaged, it may be impossible to repair or recover them. As a result, it doesn't hurt to take extra precautions to ensure the storage facility is ideal for storing photographs.
To prevent high humidity or excess moisture from damaging the photographs, consider storing the photographs with packets of silica gel. Silica gel is very effective in trapping and retaining moisture in the air to prevent your photographs from getting damaged.
Make sure to get an indicating gel with the silica gel to determine when the silica should be replaced. The indicating gel will change colors once the silica gel is past its prime. The length of use you will get depends on the local temperature and relative humidity. Some packets of silica gel come with indicating cards that will tell you when the silica gel is past its prime.
Don't toss away beautiful photographs that capture an important moment or memory in your life. Take the time to properly store them in storage units, and they'll last forever. You'll be happy you did when you take the photographs out of storage in the future to cherish those moments and memories. Don't forget to make negatives and several copies of the photographs just in case. Some people recommend even making a digital copy for good measure.