A storage unit gives you extra space so you can enjoy an uncluttered home, but you want to make sure your family's memories are safe. Properly storing scrapbooks, photographs, and sentimental paper items prevents both the items and the memories they hold from fading. The following tips can help you store the items so they are in good condition for the next generation.

Tip #1: Choose Your Albums Wisely

Not all photo albums or scrapbooks are created equally. Some inexpensive or handmade types may contain glues, dyes, or other chemicals that are harmful to photographs and papers. Photograph boxes can suffer the same issue. These materials can cause your photographs to discolor or fade, effectively ruining them during storage. You want to skip the shoebox, then, and instead use an actual photograph storage box. The same goes for selecting scrapbooks – avoid regular blank books and make sure you have an actual photo-safe album.

Tip #2: Opt for Acid-Free

You can spot archival quality boxes and albums by one of two designations on the label – acid-free or PAT certified. PAT testing (Photographic Activity Test) is carried out by the Image Permanence Institute to ensure that materials won't damage photographs and papers.

Don't just look for these designations on albums and storage boxes. If you scrapbook, you need archival quality materials for every aspect the process. This means your papers, stickers, glues, and other embellishments must all be labeled as acid-free or PAT certified.

Tip #3: Protect Against Moisture

Moisture is the next major concern after storage materials. While there is the immediate threat posed by flooding or a water leak, moisture in the air is actually more likely to affect your photos in a storage unit. You can protect against the unlikely event of a flood by storing your items off the ground. Place them on either shelves or pallets.

Plastic storage bins are your best option to protect against both a leak in the unit and moisture in the area. Wrap albums and photos in PAT-certified papers and then place them in the bin. You may want to include a packet of silica gel to absorb any moisture that may find its way into the bin. Also, make sure the lid is completely sealed before storing the bin.

Tip #4: Choose the Right Facility

You can further minimize moisture damage by opting for a temperature and humidity controlled unit. Since extreme temperatures can also sometimes affect scrapbooks and photo albums, these climate-controlled units are a necessity in areas with extreme summer or winter temperatures. You will still want to pack the items to protect against humidity, even if your unit is climate controlled. This just adds an extra safeguard during storage.

For more information, contact a company like New Westminster Queensborough Mini Storage.