Basement storage presents many potential water-based hazards: leaky pipes, leaky water heaters, overflowing washing machines and laundry sinks, backed up pipes, and flooding.
Ice dams and roof leaks can cause water damage to old photos, heirlooms, wedding dresses, toys, books, and other collections stored in your attic.
Insects, rodents, and unwanted animals can take up residency and go unnoticed in attics and basements because they are often spaces we don’t spend much time in. These creatures can do a lot of damage to collections of all kinds.
Temperature and humidity extremes and fluctuations are another threat to artifacts stored in basements and attics. A consistent temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) is preferred. The lower the temperature the longer your items will last, because cooler temperatures slow the rate of chemical decay and reduce insect activity.
Best Practices for Archival Storage
Relocate your archival materials out of basements and attics as soon as possible. Store them in archival boxes and enclosures out of direct sunlight. Keep them on a shelf or in a closet in your living space where the risks of water damage and wide temperature and humidity swings are significantly reduced.
For family photo albums, consider placing them in Polyethylene Bags and then into Drop Front Boxes or Flat Storage Boxes, which come in an assortment of sizes and depths. Our Metal Edge Boxes come in tan, gray, and black to match your tastes and the decor of your living space.
Options for preserving individual old photos include placing them in acid-free 3-Ring Binder Pages and Archival Binders, or in acid-free File Folders and then into archival Document Boxes or Record Storage Boxes.
For wedding dresses, old textiles, quilts, military uniforms, and baby clothes—which, unfortunately, are frequently stored in attics and basements—consider moving them to your living space in an all-in-one Textile Storage Kit, and whatever assortment of additional Archival Boxes and Archival Tissues will best fit your needs.
Old magazines, newspapers, and books occupy an important niche in many family archives or collections. To protect these heirlooms consider all-in-one Newspaper & Magazine Storage Kits and Book Storage Kits, which are available in a number of formats. Or order a la carte from the various sizes and styles of Polyethylene Bags, Enclosures, and Metal Edge Boxes to match the size and shape of your materials.
In closing, the broad categories above illustrate just a few of the different types of old photos and family heirlooms that are often found in attics and basements. Combining the perfect archival product ensembles for your particular needs, and then storing these items in your living space, will offer the peace-of-mind of knowing that your heirlooms are safe and sound for generations to come.
If you would like more information on the archival storage and presentation products that are right for you, please contact us. We’re always there to help with any archiving, storage, or presentation questions you may have.