So you’ve read my how-to blog and taken you pictures out of those old, unsafe, magnetic albums. Now what?
Archival storage is extremely important. The shoe box you’ve been using is not archival quality. Just because a box is the right size to hold your pictures, doesn’t mean its got the right stuff! So be careful. Choose wisely…or your memories will fade over time…in more than just your mind.
Seriously, you want a box that is physically manageable. Meaning, can you lift it when it’s full? If not, you’re not going to feel comfortable carrying it from the shelf to the table. So 2400 pictures is about all you want a box to hold.
Is the lid secure? If the lid slips up and down easily and you’re thinking, ‘no problem, works just like the shoe box’, you’ll be crying should you ever accidentally drop that box. You want that lid to be snug. You want to know that lid is secure and not going to slip off at the slightest tilt and pull of gravity.
What materials make up your box? What exactly is archival quality? Acid-free, lignin-free. So the box itself and any compartments, dividers, and envelopes that come (or go) inside the box need to be acid-free and lignin-free. That adorable baby announcement in the cute little folder is just that…cute. But, unless it says “acid-free / lignin-free” on it, you’re going to toss the cute little folder and save the sweet baby’s picture. You can, of course, put all your non-photo-safe memorabilia inside a photo-safe envelope inside the box. Just keep the photos separate. If plastic is your preference for your box, go with uncoated pure polyethylene, polypropylene or polyester. These may also be labeled “Mellinex 516 or Mylar D”.
Finally…labeling. This is important so you don’t have to open the boxes every time, just to figure out what’s inside. So you want to be sure you’re box has a place for a label and that you’ve neatly and accurately marked it. Easy, right? Right!
Now go put that box on the shelf! Not the shelf in the basement, garage, or attic, but on a shelf in your climate controlled home. From the shelf in your home, you’ll be able to pull out a pouch of photos, sit with your family and friends, and enjoy the memories as you re-tell the stories of your family again and again.
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.