• December 25, 2014

Do-it-yourself project: Organizing your photographs into albums

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Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2014 4:30 am

Summer lures us outdoors, but it’s also a good time to take on projects that can be done indoors during the heat of the day and in the long, light-filled evenings.

One worthwhile project: Getting all those photos of proms, graduations, weddings, beach days and vacations printed out and stored in albums to display and enjoy.

And if you haven’t done so yet, going through old albums and transferring pictures into newer ones that will better preserve them.

Photo albums and storage materials range widely in price and quality.

Albums typically come with either plastic pocket page or paper pages (with or without a plastic covering) with self-stick pages.

Which kind should you get to protect your photos?

And what to do with that tattered heirloom album passed down through generations and filled with wonderful family photos?

The National Archives website (www.archives.gov) offers detailed advice, including these tips.

Materials to choose. Look for paper enclosures that use high-quality, non-acidic, lignin-free paper made from cotton or highly purified wood pulps. Plastic sleeves should be made of uncoated pure polyethylene, polypropylene or polyester.

Plastic and paper materials used for housing and storing valuable photographs should pass the photographic activity test, or PAT (it will be indicated). Use paper or plastic photo corners to secure photos onto album pages.

Materials to avoid. Stay away from PVC plastics, which have a strong odor. Also avoid self-stick albums and tape, household white or yellow glues, and rubber cement.

Grandma’s photo album. Removing photos from albums with black, gray or colored paper can harm photos and may not be necessary; the damage may already be done.

Instead, slip high-quality paper or plastic sheets between the pages to isolate them from one another.

Where to store them. Keep your photos and negatives in the coolest and driest spot in the house. A finished basement may be too damp. And if you digitize your collections, don’t throw away the originals.

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