Making Recycling Work For Your Family

« Back to Home

Preserving Memories: How To Store Paper Documents So They Don't Deteriorate

Posted on

Paper is fragile but it is also one item that we use the most. Preserving priceless documents isn't an easy task because paper is so susceptible to light, moisture, acid, and heat. These things are what make the paper brittle, cause the ink to fade, and make the paper turn yellow. Eliminate these problems and you'll have paper that last forever. Here's how:

Make a Copy on Acid-Free Paper

Always make a stronger copy of your original document. Whether your document is printed paper, newspaper, or photos, scan them onto a computer. Then print the scanned image on acid-free paper. This paper has a PH of 7, making it neutral and safer from deterioration.

Wrap the Documents in Polyester Film

Place each individual paper inside polyester film, both the original and the copies. Keep each page separate. Polyester film comes in sheets and rolls. Use the thicker sheets or envelopes. Only use plastic sheets made of polyester. It is acid-free. Other plastic sheets, like those you find for school projects, aren't acid-free. They release acidic chemicals onto your documents over time.

Place Documents in Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated board boxes are acid-free, making the safe for your documents. They also help to keep the humidity and temperature regulated inside the box. You don't want your precious paper constantly shifting in temperature and humidity because that will cause damage quickly. Use boxes that close tight with only one side that opens and closes.

Seal the Boxes with Tape

Packaging tape and filament tape are both made of polyester film. As you learned above, polyester film is acid-free. Seal up the box with tape to make sure nothing gets inside. Any tape will work because it's not touching the documents, but because packaging tape and filament tape are made of polyester you get bonus protection.

Store The Boxes

Keep the boxes in a room that has controlled temperature. Do not place the box in a basement or attic where the dangers are too high. You want a room where the temperature remains around 68 degrees and the humidity remains below 60 percent. Use a hygrometer to measure humidity in the room. Luckily, the corrugated boxes will help to regulate fluctuations in temperature and humidity by creating a stable "micro-environment" inside the box.

Your documents will now sit in safety for a very long time as long as they are left untouched and away from hazardous elements. Consider contacting document storage professionals, such as Vital Records Control.