Family archives are pieces of meaningful documents that households are obligated to keep. Sometimes, they are a mix of preserved memories from when members were younger. Some people believe that years of archives can become too much of a burden for households. And it won’t be surprising if poorly kept family archives may have contributed to the clutter 56% of Brits face. If you are experiencing this in your home, here are some proven ways to safely preserve those cherished family archives.
- Store archives in a stable, climate-controlled environment
Many households keep their family archives in the loft or basement, depending on the structural design of the house. Unfortunately, these two areas are known to contain excessive heat, can be extremely cold, or have too much humidity. If you keep your family’s archives in any of these two areas, you may have noticed signs of deterioration in the materials. Sometimes, these stored items develop a musty smell due to the high humidity in the environment.
Paper documents, printed photographs, and family artwork portrayed on canvas can quickly deteriorate in these parts of the house. Additionally, bound volumes may develop mould or powdery substances in the inner sections. You may also notice rust on stapled documents, moving across entire pages. Before you know it, valuable family information is lost through a poor storage process. This is why a stable environment is crucial. Ideally, archival materials must be kept in a climate-controlled environment. If your home lacks that, you may need to look at other viable options, like a professional storage facility. Admittedly, the self-storage facility in the UK is not as popular as in the US. However, there are 2,050 facilities available, and you can use them to keep your family archives from deteriorating.
- Create digital copies of essential family archives
In this day of digitisation, it has become crucial for households to preserve archives by converting documents and photos into digital formats. Apart from the initial conversion, the mode of digital storage is also important. The options are endless, including Cloud storage, Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.
So how can these conversions be done? You can easily and quickly convert physical documents into digital formats by scanning. Additionally, by taking photographs of documents with digital cameras like the Olympus EM10, you can be sure of the longevity of these archives. In the absence of that, your smartphone can suffice. In no time, your family’s archived documents can be digitised without hassle.
- Properly label all archived materials
The main problem with retrieving archived materials stems from poor labelling. People usually pack everything into storage containers without much recourse to how they can be identified later. Proper labelling helps you describe archives, in short, easy-to-remember names. Using a soft lead pencil for labelling is recommended instead of markers and pens, which may bleed when humidity levels rise.
If it helps, print out your labels and have them laminated to protect against fading. Labelling must include dates and a brief content description. When dealing with printed photographs, it would help to indicate the names of the persons and the location (if you know). When you do this right, your family’s archives can last longer for other generations to access.