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, photo separators, plastic storage containers, waterproof labels, and a marker.


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, and year.


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.


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.


Step 4: Pack Photos Into Albums & 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.


Step 5: Find a Secure Self 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


Step 6: Rent a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Climate-controlled storage 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.


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.