Tips for Preserving and Displaying Old Documents and Photos

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Important documents and precious photos often end up stuffed in a drawer somewhere or placed in a file cabinet only to be forgotten until they are needed. Unfortunately, a failure to protect these items can lead to them being damaged or destroyed. Don’t make this mistake, as there are numerous options available to store and preserve these items for current and future generations. Following are some tips that may be of help during this process along with tips for how to display certain papers and photos to share with all. Print finishing supplies in NZ may be of help in protecting these items.

Make sure documents and photos are stored at a low temperature in an area with low relative humidity. Most experts recommend the items be kept at a temperature that is below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, as this helps to reduce any insect activity around the documents and photos and slows the chemical activity rate. Furthermore, try to keep the relative humidity above 15 percent, but below 65 percent. When the humidity level climbs above 65 percent, mold growth may occur.

In addition, papers and photos may become brittle if the humidity level falls below 15 percent. The area where these items are stored needs to be easily accessible in the event of an emergency, yet don’t make use of the attic, garage, or crawl space for this purpose. These areas are prone to temperature fluctuations and water damage and the items may be destroyed as a result.

Document safes are a great way to store the items, keeping the above information about temperature and humidity in mind. These safes tend to be fairly inexpensive, and most have a minimum fire rating of 30 minutes. They have been designed to protect the contents from direct sunlight and moisture, both of which can do damage. In the majority of document safes, the items are now acid-free as well.

Certain items should not be used when storing photos and documents. For example, a glue of low quality may leave stains on the front of a photo or document when it seeps through the back. Any synthetic, hot glue, or other glues with unknown ingredients shouldn’t be used for this purpose either. Pressure-sensitive tape, rubber cement, rubber bands, magnetic albums, staples that are not made of stainless steel, and unknown plastics should be avoided as they can damage documents and photos.

Many individuals make use of a paper lamination machine NZ to protect these items. Thanks to the low cost of a quality lamination machines in NZ this is one solution everyone looking to preserve documents or photos should consider. The machine ensures the document is protected from further damage that may occur with handling. Only laminate one paper in each sleeve, taking care to ensure all parts of the image or text are clearly visible. Make certain the entire document is contained within the laminating sleeve to prevent damage also.

Consider binding the items in a book to keep them protected and easily accessible. Thanks to the wide selection of binding supplies in NZ now offered, doing so is a simple task, yet care must be taken here also. Acid-free paper needs to be used to prevent fading, and the paper should not contain lignin. Choose from spiral, ring, clamp, and post binding options or go with the traditional sewn binding. It’s a matter of what you want the finished product to look like. When creating the album, don’t stuff the album. Keep items on a page properly spaced and don’t put too many pages in the album. If you do so, you’ll find the pages or items sustain damage or cannot be viewed as desired.

If prints, slides, colour negatives or acetate negatives are to be stored, certain steps need to be taken to prevent deterioration or fading, a problem commonly seen when these items are stored at room temperature. Cold storage is best in this situation, yet the items must be prepared properly, such as storing the documents and papers in vapor-proof double bags. Furthermore, it must be determined which type of cold storage will be used and how the items will be monitored and accessed. These things must be figured out before this option is used.

When time is short, and items need to be stored quickly for whatever reason, plastic storage boxes may be used to protect the items for a limited period of time. The boxes must have a lid and be lined using acid-free card stock and acid-free tape. Once the items are in place, take silica gel packs and place them in the container, using acid-free card stock to keep them separate from the documents and photos. This method can be used for long-term storage as well, yet the silica gel packs must be replaced every six months to ensure the items remain safe.

Print finishing supplies in NZ can be of great help in preserving treasured photos and documents. With many options currently available, every individual should be able to find the right solution for their unique needs. If help is needed in determining which items should be obtained, Paperquip can be of help, as they work with clients daily to figure out which products are best suited for the items to be stored. All you need to do is provide information on what you are storing and preserving and their friendly staff can help you get what you need. Just visit the Paperquip website at www.paperquip.co.nz to find out more.

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