Do you want to keep your photos and paintings safe like a pro? It’s important to store your precious memories in a secure place.

When you’re planning to travel abroad, leaving your valuable paintings in a closed-up house with musty air might not be the best idea. This is especially true if you’re an artist, painter, or collector and will be away for a while. But don’t worry, we’ve got a solution for you.

Luckily, nowadays you can rent a self-storage unit to protect your valuable artwork and pictures professionally.

Here are some easy tips for preserving your cherished paintings and photos.

Considerations to Reduce Risks

The main risk when storing paintings is accidental damage from yourself or others who might have access to them. This could include breakage, tearing, smudging, fingerprints, stains, or marks from skin, eating, smoking, or cosmetics. These materials can also attract pests that could damage your art. Other risks include dampness, intense light, and using the wrong storage materials.

Woman artist, painter and hanging canvas on wall for exhibition to display in studio, art gallery o.

Here are some things to consider to lower the chances of damage:

  • Carry only one painting at a time to prevent them from scratching each other.
  • Hold the painting with one hand on each side of the frame to prevent it from falling.
  • Avoid wearing jewellery that could snag or damage the painting.
  • Keep Your Hands Clean: Before handling photos, ensure your hands are clean and free from lotions. Hold them by the corners or edges to prevent fingerprints and damage from skin oils.
  • Choose the Right Container: Start by selecting a container or folder that is photo-friendly and free from PVC and acid. This helps keep your photos in pristine condition.
  • Be Cautious When Organizing: Avoid overfilling containers or photo albums, as this can lead to fraying and bending. Avoid using paper clips or rubber bands to group photos, as they can cause discolouration, marks, and dents.
  • Protecting Your Photos from Damage: Photos are susceptible to damage from humidity, extreme temperatures, and prolonged light exposure. To keep them safe, it’s crucial to store them in a climate-controlled personal storage space.

How to Store Your Painting in Storage?

Cleaning Your Painting

Now that you know the essential precautions, it’s important to clean your painting before storing it. Simply and gently dust its surface to remove any lingering dirt and dust that could cause permanent damage if left sealed with the painting for a long time. Use a new, clean, soft hair paintbrush to lightly dust the surface without applying pressure. Place the painting on a soft surface, like a cushion, and brush in one direction, then the opposite direction.

For more valuable or delicate paintings, consider hiring a professional painting conservator.

Preparing Your Painting For Storage: Now that your painting is dust-free and ready for packing, it’s time to protect it from common risks. To preserve canvas paintings, wrap them lightly in plastic wrap to avoid skin contact. Leave a gap between the canvas and the plastic wrap, ensuring it doesn’t touch the canvas.

Next, wrap polystyrene foam around the painting using custom cut-outs to fit it precisely. Place the wrapped painting inside a high-quality double-corrugated moving box. Fill any remaining space with bubble wrap to prevent movement during transit.

Seal the box securely and label it as “Fragile” for extra care during handling.

Two intercultural male workers of gallery hanging abstract painting on wall among other artworks of modern artist

How to Store Unframed Paintings

To store unframed paintings, cover the front with silicone release paper, then wrap the entire painting as you would a framed one.

How to Store Large Artwork

For larger artworks, follow the same preparation steps as for smaller paintings. If the painting doesn’t fit in a cardboard box, wrap it, pad it, and store it vertically without putting pressure on it.

Best Storage Method for Acrylic Paintings

Store paintings in a climate-controlled unit, like those offered by reputable facilities such as Loxon Storage. This protects against heat, cold, humidity, pests, and security risks. If not using individual boxes, store paintings on their side with padding between them. Never leave them directly on the ground to avoid dampness absorption.

Considerations for Storing Multiple Paintings

If storing many paintings, consider investing in a painting rack for efficient organization.

How to Organize and Store Old Photos

Family photos hold priceless memories, so it’s crucial to protect them from wear and tear by storing them carefully. While some may be proudly displayed or kept in albums at home, it’s essential to know how to preserve spare photographs.

To organize your photos for storage, start by making digital copies of all your images to safeguard against loss. These digital backups ensure important memories are preserved even if the originals are damaged.

For storage, invest in sealable, water-resistant containers like plastic bins. Use soft but sturdy dividers, such as file folders or archival presentation photo sleeves, to organize your photos. Label dividers for easy access and keep photos clean and fingerprint-free.

Young white woman painter in an art studio, using laptop computer for ideas

Choose the Right Storage Types

When it’s time to organize and store old photos, deciding between a temperature-controlled storage unit or a traditional one is a personal choice, but there are important differences to consider.

Stuffy or stale air can promote mould growth, while extreme temperatures can damage photo chemicals, causing discolouration and fading. Standard storage units, like your attic or garage, may not provide adequate protection for photos, as they can experience significant temperature fluctuations throughout the year.

A temperature-controlled storage unit or a climate-controlled room in your home offers a more stable environment, with temperatures kept between 55 and 80 degrees year-round. This consistent climate helps prevent damage from temperature swings and excessive humidity.

Consider the length of storage needed: for short durations or during mild seasons, a standard unit may suffice. However, for longer periods or during hot summer months, opt for a temperature-controlled unit or a suitable indoor space to ensure optimal preservation.

Other Things to Consider to Maintain Photo Quality

  • Keep photos flat to prevent the canvas from wrinkling under its weight. If stacking is necessary, use padding between each painting to safeguard them from damage.
  • Cover with cloth after placing your paintings in storage, cover them with a clean cloth or moving blanket to shield them from dust and debris. Avoid using plastic or bubble wrap, which can trap moisture and lead to mould growth.
  • Ensure photos fit comfortably in their containers without cramming.
  • Fill extra space in containers with non-acidic tissue paper.
  • Consider using non-acidic dividers to prevent photos from sticking together.

When storing photos long-term, choose a well-ventilated, temperature-controlled storage unit free from moisture and harsh lighting to prevent fading.

Final thought

Photographs capture moments that words alone cannot express. Preserving these memories is crucial for passing down family stories to future generations. Whether it’s snapshots from family gatherings, baby’s first steps, or milestone events like weddings and birthdays, these photos hold immense value to families.

To ensure proper preservation, it’s essential to use acid and chemical-free materials. When storing photos, place sheets of paper between them to prevent sticking. Consider factors like humidity, temperature, and light intensity, as they can affect the longevity of your precious memories.

Protecting your photos and artwork in storage is straightforward with these simple steps. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your memories endure for a lifetime! If you need further assistance or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local self storage provider. They can help you get started on preserving your cherished memories.