Living in Louisiana, we’re all aware of the devastation that can come from a natural disaster. Whether you’ve experienced it firsthand or seen it on the news, photos are often the first thing people say they wish they could replace.

So, how can you protect your photos before things become an emergency?

1. Have a digital backup.

The best thing to do is to have a digital copy of your photos.

But the reality is, that takes a whole lot of time (scanning each photo and organizing them on your computer or an external drive). It can also cost a lot of money if you choose to outsource the project.

If that’s not currently where you are, there are still some other things you can do to protect your physical photos.

2. Merge your photos together.

How many physical photos do you actually have?

Maybe you’ve got photo albums or boxes of pictures stored in random areas of the house. Now’s the time to gather every photo you’ve got and evaluate your collection.

If it’s not as big as you thought, maybe you do have time to scan them. If it’s larger than you imagined, can you sort them and condense? Toss duplicates or bad photos (the fuzzy ones or any that have a finger blocking part of it). You can also give duplicates to anyone else in the photos.

3. Choose the right container.

There are a few options when it comes to what to store your photos in: plastic or acid-free boxes.

Acid-free boxes are better for photos long-term (think 10, 20, 30 years down the road), but they won’t protect photos from water.

If water is your main concern, plastic is an option. If you decide to go with plastic containers, look for a “5” or “PP” in the recycling code triangle (usually found on the bottom of the container).

Either of these indicate that the container is made with inert polypropylene resin, which is safer for photos and records long-term.

If you have any photos stored in the frame, remove it. Over time, photos can stick to the glass and can often ruin a picture. This is especially true if there’s humidity in the air.

4. Label your albums or containers.

Now that you’ve made the effort to sort and store your photos, label their containers in a way that’s helpful for you.

Which ones would you grab in an emergency? Probably the ones that don’t have a digital backup, such as grandma’s wedding album. Label it, so you know exactly where it is.

5. Choose a storage location.

A good rule of thumb is to store your photos where you would be comfortable. This means not in the humid garage or the blazing hot attic.

In areas that are too dry, photos will crumble; humidity causes them to stick together or could lead to mold. It should also be noted that silverfish, mice and roaches love paper — that’s another reason why garages and attics are not good choices.

Store photos inside your home, and off the floor. A closet shelf is a good option, but always consider what’s around that closet. Is the hot water heater right above it? Too risky.

Even if it’s a place where you think you could move it if a hurricane or a flood were a possibility, consider household emergencies (think: washing machine hose busts) that you cannot anticipate or plan for.

Now is the time to protect the photos you have — you certainly won’t regret it.

If you need help with photo protection or organization, give us a call at 225. 773. 3548. We would love to help you before it is too late!