The Ultimate Guide to Photo Album Storage

March 03, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Photo Album Storage

As much as we have become a very digital world, many of us still love to have photo albums. Filled with memories of family and friends, it is very important to store them in a safe way that will preserve the photographs. Photo album storage can feel quite simple, particularly if you have a loft or a basement, but these types of areas may not have the correct environment for making your photos last for generations to come. 

The ultimate guide to photo album storage. Image shows a stack of photo albums in front of a white brick wall

Within this article, we are going to talk about how proper photo album storage will help to protect your memories for many years to come. 

Understanding the Need for Proper Photo Album Storage

The biggest risks for your photographs come from light, temperature and humidity. Each of these can ruin the quality of your photographs which is why storing these items in a loft or basement is not the best idea. These are areas of a house where the temperature can fluctuate greatly. 

Photographs come with so much sentimental and, sometimes, historical value so it is extremely important to preserve them by using the right type of photo album storage. Within these next sections, we are going to talk about what is the best type of photo album storage. 

Choosing the Right Storage Environment

Control the Climate

Firstly, you need to choose photo album storage that has the right environment, being able to keep the ideal temperature and humidity levels. 

When it comes to temperature, it is best to store your photo albums at room temperature. Any place where the temperature fluctuates is not good and neither is any where the temperature gets too high. High temperatures can lead to faster degradation of paper and ink.

With the humidity, you want somewhere that is between 15% to 65%. Humidity shouldn’t be too high or too low as high humidity may lead to insect infestations whereas low humidity may cause the photo paper to become brittle and cause the photographs to fade or discolour. 

There are many tools on the market that monitor both temperature and humidity so, if you have concerns about the temperature or humidity of a room being too high or too low, it would be a good idea to get one of these. It will allow you to know for certain if the room is a good place for your photo album storage. 

Light Exposure

Along with temperature and humidity, light is the other enemy to photographs and photo albums. All kinds of light exposure are bad for your photographs so you need to ensure your photos are not constantly exposed to light, including UV light which is also a part of the natural light spectrum. If you plan to keep your photo albums on a shelf, you must keep them away from direct sunlight to prevent discolouration and fading.

Other ways to store them which would definitely prevent light exposure would be to use archival boxes or plastic containers but we are going to go into more detail on the best types of storage containers in the next section. 

The Best Storage Containers for Photo Albums

Acid-Free Boxes

If you decide to use archival boxes, you must boxes that are acid-free and make sure they are archival quality. These boxes are specifically designed to preserve things stored inside them for a long period of time. 

You need to make sure that the archival boxes are acid-free as acid could prematurely age the contents and cause permanent and irreparable damage. Photographs on paper might become yellow and/or brown. There are many ways acid can permanently damage various media so it is best to choose acid free and buffered materials for most purposes. 

Photo-Safe Albums

Along with archival boxes, there are also archival photo albums. Archival photo albums provide protection from ageing, fading and damage that could come from light exposure. These types of albums are especially good for older photographs. 

Other styles of photo album you could use include scrapbooks or simple traditional photo albums. Scrapbooks are great if you want something that is unique and personalised. Traditional photo albums will keep your photos safe but it is a good idea to invest in a good-quality one, with acid-free paper if possible. This will make sure that your photographs are protected. 

Innovative Storage Solutions

Digital Backup Options

No matter what type of storage container you choose for your photo album storage, it is a really good idea to also have a digital backup. You can store these using a cloud storage system or within an external hard drive, whichever works best for you. 

Display Options That Protect

If you want to have your photos on display, then it is a good idea to also protect them from damage. As with the photo album storage, try to avoid places that have high levels of humidity or fluctuating temperatures. Avoid putting them in direct sunlight or near a radiator as both of these things could damage your photographs. 

There are clever options out there that will stop you having to worry about these sorts of factors. You can get digital photo frames, which work by displaying photographs from a memory card. You can also get framers that have UV-protective glass which would protect your displayed photos from UV exposure. 

Self Storage Units

If you have a lot of photographs that are in need of good photo album storage, you could consider using a self storage unit. A self storage unit would give you a climate controlled storage space that has zero windows, meaning light exposure need not be a worry. If you choose a professional storage company, the unit will also be extremely safe.

Our storage units are all fitted with intruder alarms and smoke and fire detections systems. Your photo albums will be safe with us. 

Regular Maintenance Tips for Stored Photo Albums

As with anything that you store, you need to make regular checks to make sure that everything is okay. Regular checks will mean that you can solve any problems quickly and easily. 

We recommend that you check your stored photographs once a month, if possible. 

Preparing for the Worst: Disaster Preparedness

None of us want to have to do it, but we do all have to prepare for the worse. Natural disasters such as fires and floods can happen so it is important that you are prepared. 

A good idea is to keep your photographs in water-resistant containers. If you are using archival boxes, you could place the archival boxes into a water tight container. And, as we have already mentioned, it is a good idea to have a digital backup of all your photographs. 

How To Store Your Photo Albums

Photo album storage comes down to some very simple factors – choosing the right type of storage containers, such as archival boxes, and choosing a storage area that has the right type of environment – room temperature, right level of humidity and no light exposure. 

It is important that you take action to preserve your photographs and memories now, rather than regretting it later. We hope our tips have been helpful.

If you would like to know more about our self storage, please click here to find your local store.   

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