Photos can be one of those items that you don’t need access to everyday but do want to preserve for the future. Many homes have dozens if not hundreds of old photos from the pre digital age that have been put into attics and forgotten about. These photos may be unique and irreplaceable, if something happens to them the picture is gone forever. So this guide has some tips on how to preserve photos that you want to store in the attic.
Get a box
Photos left for a long time are going to be at the mercy of the elements. Light, heat, moisture and critters can all damage a photo. Unfortunately using the wrong storage container can also damage photos as acids and other chemicals used in the manufacturing process could react badly with the photos. Generally containers made specifically to avoid these problems can be expensive, but there is an Irish company supplying archival boxes that are Lignin free and have a neutral PH. These kind of containers are ideal for the storage of not only photographs but any important paper document as they won’t react with the contents and slow the decay process.
The company is www.archivalbox.ie and their prices for these kinds of boxes is quite reasonable compared to other sources. These boxes won’t protect the photos from the elements, you will still need a container with a good seal to protect the contents from air and moisture. A container that could work well for this could be a cooler box as this will also provide some protection from temperature variations in the attic.
Place the box in the darkest part of the attic away from any windows, sunlight will bleach the colours out of photos and just about anything else given enough time (even photos hanging on your wall). So avoid transparent boxes as they do nothing to stop the light getting at the photos. Even if the photos are in a good opaque container the heat generated by the sun hitting the box could damage the photos within causing curling or inks to become tacky.
NB: Many professionals will tell you that the attic isn’t the ideal place to store photos due to temperature variations and the fact that many attics are outside of the insulation bubble of the house. Many of those people live in America where they get hot summers and cold winters. This article isn’t about the right or wrong of storing photos in your attic. This article is for people who have already decided to store photos in the attic and how to protect those photos from the environment of the attic space.