There are plenty of things that you should do with your family photos. It is a good idea to digitize them and share them with your relatives. What you may be unaware of is that there are some things you should never do with family photos. Don’t make these mistakes!
Don’t Laminate Them
In general, people choose to laminate paper items that are of significant importance. One common example is a Social Security card. That important document is sent to people in a thin, paper, form. It makes sense to laminate your Social Security card to make it more durable and less easy to tear.
Photos of family are precious – but that doesn’t mean you should laminate them. Lamination is an irreversible process that can cause photos to fade. Protect your photos with an archival plastic sleeve instead.
Don’t Use Non-Archival Materials
The shortest explanation about why you shouldn’t use non-archival materials with your family photos is that the non-archival materials will cause your photos to fade, to yellow, or to become less bright over time. Don’t use the photo albums with the sticky pages. The adhesive may be convenient, but could cause harm to your photos.
Archival materials can sometimes be a bit more expensive, but are the best choice for photos. Archival materials are ones that are chemically-stable with a neutral or slightly basic pH, are durable, are permanent, and will protect the photo from environmental factors. Look for scrapbook paper that has been labeled as “acid-free” and “lignin-free”.
Don’t Put Photos In the Sun
Of course, you wouldn’t put your family photos outside in direct sunlight. What some people don’t realize is that photos that are framed and hanging on walls inside their home can experience sun damage.
Before you hang a framed photo on the wall, check to see how much sun that space gets. Intentionally look at that spot several times a day, and check to see if the sun is shining on it. Another option is to make sure that all of your photo frames are made with UV-blocking glass.
Don’t Store Photos in the Basement
You would never decide to store your family photos in you bathroom. That little room can get quite humid, every day, when you or a family member takes a shower. Exposure to humidity can make photos deteriorate.
What many people don’t realize is that your basement, attic, or garage can also get very humid at times. Those same places, that are so often used for storage, can also experience extreme temperatures – both hot and cold – that can damage photos.
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