Storage units are incredibly convenient ways to protect items that you can no longer keep in your house. Whether you are temporarily downsizing or decluttering ahead of a move, you can place everything from furniture to winter clothes in storage. However, some items need to stay out of these units. 

Never place old photos in a storage unit if you want them to maintain their quality. Depending on the storage conditions, they could get damaged or fade over time. You also risk losing them if something happens to the storage container. 

Here are a few reasons that, when it comes to how to store old photos, you should avoid placing them in a storage unit. To discover what the best ways are to store old photographs, use our alternative options to preserve your memories instead.

Storing Photos Incorrectly Will Damage Them

Print photos are incredibly delicate. Despite advances in film technology over the years, they still get damaged easily. A few of the top culprits that can negatively impact your photos include heat, humidity, sunlight, and water. Unfortunately, a few of these elements are commonly found when you place photos in a storage unit. 

  • Heat: If you place your old photos in a storage unit without climate control, you will end up storing prints in a hot box. Storage units have different levels of heat resistance and your unit could get hot in the summer, causing photos to fade. 
  • Humidity: Once again, this is why climate control is so important. Moisture can blur your prints, cause them to stick together, and leave them wilting at the edges. You could lose important memories because your prints melt into each other due to humidity. 
  • Flooding: Many storage companies recommend storing photos and important memories in high areas of the unit – never on the ground. If there is significant flooding in your area, water could seep into your unit and ruin your print photos forever. 

Sunlight tends to be less of an issue for people who place old photos in a storage unit. However, this element can be just as damaging to the memories you have framed on a wall. You may notice that print photos fade over time if they are placed in areas that get direct sunlight during the day.

What Are Your Options for Storing Old Photos?

Some families have thousands of print photos tucked into the attic or stored in the back of closets. If you need to place photos in a storage unit, you have a few options to reduce the risk of damage. 

  • Find a climate-controlled storage unit. You may be able to pay extra for storage space in a heated or air-conditioned environment. These units are typically indoors with humidity and sunlight controls in place. They are also usually above the first floor, reducing the risk of flood damage.
  • Carefully pack up your photos. Use rubber storage containers – not cardboard boxes – to store your photos. Group prints into categories and place them in smaller boxes. This way if one box gets damaged, you don’t lose all of your photos. 
  • Look into alternatives for storage. If you only need a storage unit for a few months during a move or transition period, consider asking a friend or family member to hold onto the boxes of photos for you. There is a greater chance they will stay safe than if you work with a storage company. 

Before you place old photos in a storage unit, check to make sure they are already in good condition. You don’t want to store prints that are already fading, because the damage will only get worse over time.

You Never Have to Place Photos in a Storage Unit   

It’s possible to retain decades of old memories without placing the photos in a storage unit. With today’s technology, there’s no need to hold on to old prints at all if you don’t have the ability to store them properly. Instead, you can digitize these photos and store them in the cloud or keep thousands of photos on a thumb drive that fits on a keychain. 

At Memory Fortress, we receive hundreds of boxes of old photos, videotapes, scrapbooks, and film rolls each year. Our job is to scan them (forever protecting the memories from damage) and then return both the digital files and analog prints to you. Once you have the digital files, you can choose what to do with your print memories. You can hold on to them or dispose of them, depending on what your storage options allow. 

The services offered at our digital photo scanning company are particularly useful for people who are moving and don’t want to pack up several boxes of print photos. We also frequently help older adults who are preparing to enter assisted living. Instead of moving with boxes of photos, you can access your memories online. You can even set up a digital picture frame on your bedside table that toggles through your favorite photos throughout the day. 

Photos Digitization is a One-Time Cost

While memory preservation is the main reason why you should never place photos in a storage unit, you should also look at the costs that come with storage. Storage units charge a monthly fee for their services and expect you to pay extra for features like air conditioning and humidity control. You could end up paying thousands of dollars over a few years if you keep your print memories in storage. 

When you digitize your photos, you accrue a one-time cost instead. You don’t have to worry about budgeting for storage in the future if you can digitize these memories and find other ways to downsize your belongings. 

Plus, you will never have to drive out to the storage unit to look at the photos. All it takes is a few clicks of the mouse to pull up images from weddings, graduations, and birthdays. 

Preserve Your Photos With Memory Fortress Today

No one wants to think about losing their belongings. The prospect of losing decades of pictures due to flooding or an unexpected fire is too much for most people to handle. However, if you place photos in a storage unit, you could lose your memories over time due to fading and humidity. 

Take the first steps to preserve your memories while freeing up storage space at the same time. Start your order with Memory Fortress and let us know to expect your prints and video recordings. Once we receive your photos, we will do our best to scan them and send them out for shipping within five business days. Order now.

We digitize everything right here at our facility in metro Atlanta, processed by US citizens.

2180 Satellite Blvd Suite 400 Duluth, GA 30097
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday, Sundayclosed

Local Atlanta walk-in customers MUST have an appointment for prompt service. This applies to both dropping off materials, and picking up materials as well.