We all have boxes of photo prints stored away somewhere in the house. In our 15 years in business, we’ve seen photos stored in a wide variety of ways. Proper storage of your photos protects them from getting damaged and allows you to easily find a specific photo whenever you need it. With the current trend of minimizing and organizing our possessions, taking the time to condense your collection, and dedicating a specific place for them to live, provides some relief that your priceless moments are safe.
Here is our Memento Guide to start your own photo project, so you can get the most out of your family photos.
Gather ALL your photo prints
Ok, maybe “all” means “all that you can find easily.” Some organizing is better than no organizing. They may be in their original drug store order envelope, buried under magnets on your fridge or neglected in a junk drawer. Spend some time making sure you have gathered most or all the photo prints in the house.
Group and Label Your Photos
Group your photos in categories that make sense to you. Common categories: By person, location, month, decade, event. If the photos within groups are similar in size, place them together in paper envelopes. Label the envelopes with any information about the photos BEFORE you put the photos in the envelope. This prevents any damage to the top print while you’re writing, and gives you a flatter writing surface. Try to label your envelopes consistently. Above, you see the envelopes we use to store our customer’s photos after we scan them, for our Family Archive Service. But you can use simple white envelopes. The special archiving envelopes we use don’t have glue on them, which can decay and seep over time.
Keep Envelopes in a Labeled Box
We have a preference for these Archival Methods boxes, but any shoebox would also work. Typical drug store prints in envelopes fit perfectly in your average shoebox. Be sure to label the box, on a side you can see from the shelf.
Now your labeled boxes are ready to stack and reference for your next creative project.
Extra Credit: Digitize them
Having a digital record of all your photos is more valuable than one would assume. For one, you will have record of all your photos in their current state: any future print decay won’t affect your scans. Proper digitization allows for photo enlargements, sharing, restoration and other creative projects. Most importantly, you have them all backed up in a case something were to happen to the physical copies.
Things to Keep in Mind
It is important to not get caught up in being too particular about this process, or else it will never get done. Get the family to help, it is the perfect opportunity to laugh, teach and reminisce.