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Storage Tips: How to Store Photos

If you’ve run out of space at home for storing photos and mementos, self storage can be a convenient solution. When storing photos and other sentimental items at Extra Space Storage, consider the following storage tips.

Things You’ll Need

  • Plastic bags
  • Tissue or archival paper
  • Archival-quality photo albums
  • Cardboard, wood, or plastic photo separators
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Waterproof labels
  • Marker
Drawer of photos

Step 1: Organize Photos

Separating your photos will make it easier to both store and find when you need them again. The method you use to organize your photos is up to you, but some ideas include categorizing them by:

  • Size
  • Event
  • People in the photos
  • Year
Phone photos

Step 2: Create Digital Copies of Each Photo

Even though you’re taking steps to preserve your precious memories in storage, it’s a good idea to create digital backup copies of your photos in case the originals are lost or damaged. The process is just as simple as snapping a picture of your photos with a digital camera or smartphone.

However, making digital copies of photos with a high-quality photo scanner or photo scanning service is a better idea if you think you’ll want to have a professional reproduce the picture in the future.

Once you’re done, store your digital photocopies on a memory card, external USB drive, or in the cloud.

Hand holding photo

Step 3: Seal Loose Photos

It’s best to keep photos in archival-quality photo albums, but you can still protect loose photos by placing a piece of cardboard, plastic, or wood between each photo. It’s also a good idea to add a piece of tissue or archival paper between each photo to keep them from sticking together. Don’t use newspaper between photos because the print can transfer.

Finally, place your loose photos into airtight plastic bags to prevent exposure to moisture and other elements.

photo album

Step 4: Pack Photos Into Albums and Storage Containers

Sturdy plastic storage containers with a water-resistant exterior are ideal for storing both albums and loose photos—store photo albums with alternating spines to maximize space. Place airtight bags of loose photos in file folders or envelopes to contain them.

Mark the outside of each storage container using a marker and waterproof label. How you label these containers are up to you, but you should make it easy to identify what’s inside.

Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Step 5: Find a Secure Storage Facility

Your memories are important, so be sure to select a self storage facility that not only offers affordable storage units but state-of-the-art security. Your best option is to look for an Extra Space Storage facility that offers:

  • Fencing around the property perimeter
  • Video surveillance throughout the facility and property
  • Electronic gate access with private keypad entry codes
  • Indoor storage units with controlled access
  • Secure access to your floor only (if it’s a multi-level storage facility)
  • A facility manager living on-site
  • Individually alarmed storage units
Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Step 6: Rent a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Climate control is essential for preserving delicate, temperature-sensitive items like photos.

Extreme heat and cold can do severe damage to photos and photo negatives if proper storage precautions are not taken, which is why we recommend renting a climate-controlled unit at Extra Space Storage. By maintaining an environment between 55 and 80 degrees throughout the year, these units protect your belongings from temperature-related damage.

Photo box

Step 7: Carefully Store Your Photos

Once you’ve rented a climate-controlled storage unit, it’s time to store your photos.

Even though your photos are protected in plastic containers, it’s best to raise them off the ground with pallets or shelving. Place heavier boxes of photos above lighter ones with labels facing out so you can quickly find what you need at a later date.

Have questions? Remember that your facility manager is an excellent resource for additional tips and assistance in protecting your photos in self storage!


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Extra Space Storage Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, owns and/or operates over 2,000 self-storage properties in 43 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The Company's properties comprise approximately 1,010,000 units and over 585M square feet of rentable storage space, offering customers a wide selection of affordable and conveniently located and secure storage solutions across the country, including personal storage, boat storage, RV storage and business storage. We are committed to being the most convenient, secure and professional storage solution in your neighborhood. And it is this commitment which has allowed Extra Space Storage to become the second largest storage units operator in the U.S. with over 2,000 properties across the country.