So you’ve been reading our blogs about preserving your memories and yet you haven’t begun the process of removing your photos from old albums. Start with one…the oldest one you have.
Gather your tools:
- a pair of cotton gloves – to protect your pictures from the oils on your hands
- a putty knife – that you’ve never used for putty or painting 😉
- a sticker lifter tool from your favorite scrapbook supply source
Pull an old album off your shelf and sit down at a table with good light and a comfortable seat.
Peel back the clear cover and look for a corner that’s already begun to lift on a photo. Start with your sticker lifter tool and gently separate the picture from the adhesive on the album page.
If the picture is stubbornly adhered, use the putty knife to carefully slide under the picture. You may feel the knife cutting into the album page. This is okay. Better the album page suffer than the picture!
Dust and stack your photos flat. If trace album adhesive remains on the back of your photo, use the sticker lifter tool to continue removing as much as possible. Deterioration of your photo may continue as long as the non-photo safe adhesive remains in contact. For any photo with adhesive still remaining, it is best to place a piece of photo safe paper between it and the face of any other photo before placing the photos in archival quality storage.
It will likely take you 15-45 minutes to remove the photos from a typical magnetic album. I caution you, however, if your albums have been exposed to higher temperatures or humidity (as found in attics or basements) you will need to dedicate more time to each album. In these albums, your photos may have become nearly permanently adhered.
Take your time. Breathe. Enjoy your photos. Know with each rescued picture, you’re closer to truly preserving the history of your family and bringing the stories of your family to life.
Stacy Cochrane is the founder of Managing Memory Lane, LLC and a member of APPO, the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. She specializes in establishing and maintaining photo storage and sharing systems that give her clients the freedom of sharing their photos as they choose while providing secure backup and privacy protection. You can contact Stacy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Pinterest, and Facebook.