Storing Media - Photos and Documents
What do I do with all of these old pictures and files?
The fast pace of technological change has us all on our toes. One of the areas of our lives where technology has had the greatest impact is with media - the printed word and pictures. We all have “paper” at home that we care about, and that paper, whether documents or photos, is taking up space and subject to damage and loss.
Do I really need to keep this stuff?
The first question to ask yourself is whether you even need this stuff anymore. This is especially true when it comes to paper - and by paper, we mean all of those documents and files you’ve got stashed in cabinets, banker’s boxes, top shelves of closets, the desk drawer, etc. Many people find it more convenient to keep only digital copies of their important documents. You can scan everything yourself, or there are companies that will scan your documents for you, allowing you to toss all of your originals in the recycling bin or paper shredder.
Store boxes on shelves
Many of us have old, cherished photographs. The same as with paper, these items can be scanned at home or by professionals who specialize in this kind of thing. However, many of us find it emotionally difficult to part with photo prints and will want to keep them.
Once you’ve scanned your photos or documents, the next question is what to do with the digital files. In the short term, they can be stored on your computer’s hard drive or an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card. All of these products have a finite lifespan, and their eventual failure is difficult to predict, so they should only be considered as short-term solutions.
For longer term storage, you have two basic options - the “Cloud,” or discs. A CD or DVD can store about 350 or 2,100 digital pictures respectively, for up to 100 years without physical degradation. Of course, you still have to store the discs somewhere, and finding the technology to read those discs may prove difficult in the future.
“The Cloud” is online storage - in essence, a hard drive with regular backups in a secure, protected location. The cloud as a storage option is available from several providers, such as Google, Amazon, or Apple. For a minimal fee, your photos and documents will be safely stashed away on backed-up file servers, always available to you, anywhere you have access to the internet.
Save your photos and documents on your computer
If you’re more of the nostalgic type and want to hold on to that paper or those photos with sentimental value, it’s important that you store everything correctly.
Proper containers are key
For anything subject to damage from the elements, and especially paper and photo prints, it is extremely important to choose the correct storage container. Especially if you are storing at home in a shed, garage, or attic, mice and rats love to nest in shredded paper. The last thing you want is to find that your son’s or daughter’s 3rd grade art project has been reduced to rodent bedding.
Different sized containers for storage
Anything that can be potentially damaged by weather or rodents should be stored in sturdy, plastic containers - not just cardboard boxes. The cardboard Banker’s Box will suffice at a bare minimum for scanned paper documents in a protected area, but it is hard to beat a sturdy, plastic tote with a tight-fitting lid for anything whose loss would be disastrous to you - like Mom and Dad’s wedding pics, or all of those tax receipts you didn’t get scanned.
Rent with us
Now that you’ve got your plan in place for dealing with your paper and photos, click on the “Storage Locations” link at the top of the page to find one of our convenient storage facilities where you can safely store your belongings, and free up that valuable space in your home.
Check back next month to learn how to preserve and store your music and video collections.