Photo Storage Options

Photo Storage Options

This blog is a follow-on to the one I wrote in May, in which I discussed the relative merits of tossing or storing photos and slides once they’ve been scanned (

So, you’ve decided to scan your photos and slides, and also decided to store them.  What is the best way to save these memories so the originals will be available to future generations?

The most important factor in media storage, whether slides or photographs, is the environment.  It has to be a Goldilocks environment – not too hot, not too cold, not too humid.  Garages, attics, and basements are not good storage locations.  A closet inside the house or a temperature-controlled storage unit are good places to store slides and photographs.

The next thing to keep in mind is to NOT touch the slides or photos with your fingers.  Your fingers have oils and acids on them which will degrade the media over time.  The best way to handle slides and photos is to hold them by their edges, or better yet, wear cotton gloves.


Slides could be stored in the carousels in which they currently reside.  The carousels keep the slides from touching one another.  But carousels take up a lot of space.

Another option is a sleeve that typically holds 20 slides. These sleeves are acid-free and a good way to keep the slides accessible and visible, should you want to view them periodically.

My favorite method is placing the slides, in order, in slide boxes by Archival Methods.  The boxes are acid-free, and take up very little space.


Photographs are best stored in acid-free boxes.  If your photos are in the old “sticky” albums, they should be removed.  The old “sticky” albums are not acid-free, and the pictures will get ruined over time.

Once out of the “sticky” albums, the photos could be placed in acid-free plastic containers.  Some of my photos are stored in these types of containers and they seem to be keeping very well.

The photos could be placed in acid-free archival boxes.  One example is the Archival Methods photo box. Archival boxes come in many sizes and the photos should be kept in the boxes that fit the best.  Large photos should never be placed in small boxes. It’s also a great idea to either place each picture in a protective sleeve or to place acid-free tissue paper sheets between the photos.

A third option for photographs is to place them in acid-free photo sleeves that go into notebooks or albums. This allows for easy access to view the pictures.

I hope this article provided the guidance you were looking for on how to preserve your original slides and photographs.  If you need additional guidance or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

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