For many of us, photographs are amongst the most precious of all possessions. Storage & moving can be tough on them but taking a little extra time and effort and packing them carefully can make all the difference.
So what’s the best way to pack and move photos when moving?
Let’s start with photos in frames. The glass actually makes them more vulnerable, not less, and if the frame is really delicate and the glass thin and fragile it could be better to take the much-loved picture out of the frame and pack the two separately. The frame can always be replaced.
To keep photos flat and safe while moving, place them between the pages of a big hardback book like an atlas or an encyclopaedia. If you don’t have anything like that, cut up a couple of moving boxes into flat cardboard sheets just bigger than the photos. Make a photo sandwich with the cardboard as the bread and give it as many layers as you like.
If you do want to keep your big photos inside their frames and hand them over to professional movers, don’t just wrap the whole frame. Get an old magazine or a children’s book and place it over the glass to protect against shocks and sharp corners. Then wrap the whole package. Once the photos are packed up, label the box as fragile.
Moving on to photo albums, these are usually pretty sturdy. The problem here isn’t breakage but loss. If you can, keep the albums in your personal care. Even with the best insurance in the world, the loss of a photo album is something that can’t be compensated for. And while most movers are perfectly reliable, there is always the chance that something will go wrong and your most precious memories won’t make it to your new home.
If you have a lot of loose photos or photos in the paper folders handed out by professional printers and developers, putting them in an album is a good way of protecting them from mishaps. Not only does the album itself provide protection, it also tells packers, movers, and anyone else handling it that it’s a precious thing that needs to be looked after.
Photo albums with an acid-free paper are best. These will do a better job when it comes to preserving the photos over a very long period. With care, there is no real reason why your precious photos shouldn’t last perfectly well for decades.
There is one sure-fire way to make sure your photos are safe at all times. That’s moving to storage on a digital device. Most photos start off digital these days, because few people still use film cameras, but that just means that the older, rarer, more precious photos are the ones without a digital copy. You can remedy this quite simply with a home scanner. It may take some work, but eventually you’ll have a complete digital backup for all your old photos. They can then be shared, stored in multiple locations, and transported from place to place extremely easily. If you don’t have a scanner, commercial photo digitization services are available.