Monday, June 10, 2013
Longtime readers of this blog will know how much I love gorgeous, cute and unusual storage containers. But when it comes to precious family photos, I'm all about keeping them well-preserved.
I've sent a similar email about products for organizing photos to three people lately, so I thought it was time to turn the emails into a blog post. So here's my advice about photo organizing products.
1. Here's an easy rule of thumb: When you're looking for things to store (and preserve) photos, you want things that say they've passed the Photographic Activity Test. "Archival" can mean almost anything, and not everything labeled acid-free really is. There are some companies that may have fine products that they just haven't submitted for PAT testing, since that costs money — but I don't feel safe recommending them. (Note: I'm very thankful to Sally Jacobs, the Practical Archivist, for educating me on this subject.)
Online stores that people in the know recommend include Gaylord, Hollinger Metal Edge, Talas, and University Products.
2. For 4x6 photos or smaller, I really like this box from Gaylord, shown above. You can store a lot, safely, in a small space, for not a huge amount of money — especially if you go with the blue-grey version, which looks just fine. University Products has a very similar-looking box.
Be sure to get enough envelopes to subdivide things within the box. Gaylord sells box/envelope combinations, and you can always add more envelopes, too, if need be.
3. For larger photos, there are plenty of choices available from the companies I already mentioned, including Gaylord and Hollinger Metal Edge. These boxes from University Products, shown above, come in a range of colors.
4. If you want albums, Hollinger Metal Edge has its SafeCare Albums and its SafeCare Economical Storage Albums, along with its SafeGuard Photo/Print Album Pages. University Products has a wide range of polypropylene photo album pages that have all passed the PAT.
5. And there are boxes specifically sized for negatives; for example, Gaylord has this one and this one.
6. Need to get photos out of one of those old magnetic albums? The Practical Archivist sells a Photo Rescue Kit - which also includes her recommended pencils for labeling old photos.
And there are numerous other products at the four sites I listed. Some show they passed the PAT, and some don't.
Archival Storage: Acid-Free and More