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Rapid City, SD 57701

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How To Safely Pack Photos for Storage

How to safely pack photos for storage

Whether it’s a snapshot of a special moment, a family gathering, or a breathtaking landscape, your photos hold immense sentimental value. You may have pictures of your grandparents that you dream of passing down to your grandchildren, or scrapbooks full of photos that capture the milestones of your children. Whatever the case, one thing remains true – photographs are fragile, and you’ll want to store them properly if you want to safeguard those cherished memories. Ensure the safety and longevity of your photographs with these tips on proper photo storage.

Avoid Peel and Stick Covers

You’ve seen them – the photo albums where you peel back the film, press your picture onto the page, and then smooth the film on top, securing your photos with a sticky residue. This method of storing photos is actually a big no-no; not only will it be next to impossible to remove your photographs from the album without damaging them, but the chemicals in the adhesive can slowly ruin your pictures over time.

Clean Them Up

If you have been using peel and stick covers, tape, staples, or glue to store your photos, you’ll want to go through and do your best to remove them to prevent your pictures from becoming further scratched or damaged. This might be a fairly tedious project, especially when you’re talking about photos that have been stuck in albums for years, but you’ll be glad you did when you can better enjoy your keepsakes in 10 years.

Add Labels

Sure, you may think it’s silly now to label photos of people you know and occasions that just happened yesterday, but future generations (and your future self) will be thankful that you did. Some items to include are dates, the names and ages of the people in the photograph, and captions on the significance of the shot. Use an acid-free marker with a soft tip to add your notes on the back of each photograph and stay away from ballpoint pens or other writing devices that will leave an imprint on your photo.

Protect Your Photos

So, how exactly should you store your photos? Ideally, you should store each photo individually in a PVC-free plastic sleeve, which can be found at a big box store or your local craft or hobby store. Make sure albums and anything else you use to pack up your photos – wood, markers, mats, etc. – are all acid-free to prevent damaging your pictures.

Create Digital Backups

By backing up your photos, you can avoid the unnecessary damage that may come from dragging out your physical collection of photographs to reminisce or share with others. In today’s day and age, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of online storage solutions where you can affordably and safely keep your images backed up for years to come. While you’re backing up your photos, remember to name each file similarly to how you would label the back of a paper photograph.

Be Aware of Humidity, Temperature, and Light

Overall, humidity is the biggest enemy in the fight to preserve photos for long term storage. If the air is too moist, mold and mildew can wreak havoc; however, you also don’t want the air to be too dry, as it can cause your pictures to become brittle and crack.

Lower temperatures are recommended when storing photos to preserve the ink, color, and paper of your pictures. Anything above 75 degrees is too hot and may cause damage in the long term.

You’ll also want to keep your photos in a dark location, as bright light can cause photos to fade. Keeping your photos in light-proof boxes to block outside light is the best way to make sure they stay safe in storage.


At Storage City, we offer climate-controlled storage that allows you to safely store your photos long-term.  We are a locally owned and operated facility offering clean, secure self-storage units in Rapid City, Box Elder, and Belle Fourche. We offer storage units that are fenced in and secured by a gate with code-entry access. Call us at (605) 394-9442 today to rent your unit!