Spring Cleaning is Coming - Here's how to Properly Care For and Preserve your old Tapes, Photographs, Slides, and More

Spring Cleaning is Coming - Here's how to Properly Care For and Preserve your old Tapes, Photographs, Slides, and More

Spring cleaning is just around the corner, and undoubtably, you may come across that old shoebox or storage bin filled with all your old family memories. these memories should not be neglected, here is what you can do to protect and preserve them until you decide to get them digitized.

Protecting & Preserving old Photographs and Slides

Old photographs and slides can do pretty well in the passage of time, but certain storage conditions can cause these to fade fast.

  • Make sure any loose photographs are kept in an area away from direct sunlight.
  • If photographs are inside albums, check to see that you can easily remove the photographs from the albums. If the photos are starting to stick to the album and begin to peel, you need to remove them from the album immediately.
  • Check loose photographs and especially slides for excess dust. if there is excessive dust and debris on photos or slides, consider wiping them down with a photo or emulsion cloth.
  • Always use gloves when handling old photos or slides. The oils on your skin can smudge and degrade old photos quickly. Emulsion or photo handling gloves are best, but cotton or latex gloves can work as well.

If photos and slides fall into a state of poor storage, it can quicken its degradation and lead to a loss of quality. The biggest loss of quality comes from fading. Fortunately, this can all be prevented through proper storage and eventually, digitization of your photos and slides


Protecting and Preserving old Video Tapes

Video tapes, such as VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, Digital 8, and Regular 8 tapes are a little easier to preserve than photographs. The most important way to keep these tapes protected besides from digitizing is by keeping them stored properly. When it comes to storage, the most important thing is to keep the tapes away from moisture. When tapes get exposed to moisture in the air over a long period of time, the moisture can damage the tape inside and make it unusable. In addition, mold can begin to form on the tape itself and destroy the contents on it.

  • To keep your video tapes protected, store in a cool dry place away from moisture, smoke, and potential mold.
  • If living in a hot and humid environment, keep your tapes stored in a room that has air conditioning.
  • If possible, keep individual tapes in the cardboard or plastic containers they originally came in. This provides added protection.
  • Keep tapes off the ground and away from a source of potential flooding. Water exposure can instantly destroy your tapes.


Protecting and Preserving Film Reels

Film reels are quickly approaching the time when they absolutely need to be digitized. These film reels have a shelf-life, and will degrade over time unless digitized or stored in ideal conditions.

  • Keep film wound in its reel and ideally in a metal case. A plastic case is the second best option, and paper is the third best.
  • Keep any film reels away from dusty conditions and away from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will fade your reels quickly. it is best to keep your film reels in a dark place.
  • Check the film for any fading or odors. If you start to smell a vinegar-like smell, then you need to get your film digitized immediately. This is especially important for 16mm film reels. if you notice any fading on your film, then you should also get your film digitized as soon as possible.

The Best Option - Digitize your Family Memories

The above storage options can all be skipped if you decide on digitizing your legacy items. Digitizing is the process of converting those items, such as video tapes, film reels, and photos, into a digital format that does not degrade and is safe from physical damage. Once an item is digitized, you no longer need to meticulously care for its storage as its digital form is protected indefinitely. You can get your items digitized onto a thumb drive, DVD disc set, or uploaded to the cloud for safe keeping and easy access.

Fortunately, The Digitize Center makes it easy to digitize with our 3-step process


Happy Spring Cleaning!.

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