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How to Store Your Slides

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By Mollee Shannon

Congratulations! You just had your photo slides digitized!

You can now see your slides at any time with the convenience of modern technology.

Like many people, you may still not be able to do away with those original photo slides, but you might be unsure of how to best store and preserve the slides. People often wonder how to store photo slides, as those old slide carousels can be hard to come by. No worries! We’ve got some great tips and tricks on storing your photo slides in convenient and easy ways. 

 

The Dangers of Dust and Fears of Fingerprints

When considering storage of your photo slides, you’ll want to consider how to protect your slides from dust, fingerprints, light, and scratches. Unfortunately, photo slides were not made from super long lasting materials, so it doesn’t take much to compromise the quality of the original slide. To avoid finger printing your photo slides, be sure to always handle the slides by the mount. Organizing and storing photo slides is a bit of a delicate process, so you’ll want to be sure you handle your slides with care. 


Purchasing a pair of anti-static gloves can prevent fingerprints, while also combating static that might attract dust to your slides as you work with them. You’ll feel like a real archivist at the National Museum! It’s smart not to set your photo slides down on any surface where the slides can be easily scratched. Also, be sure that your photo slides aren’t exposed to light any longer than necessary. Leaving slides out on a light box, or even where the sun can bear down on the photo slides can cause fading in the quality of the photo on the slide. The best advice for handling your slides as you organize them for storage is to proceed with caution! 


Storage Options: Shop Around 

To determine what type of storage method is best for your photo slides, you’ll want to consider how often you’ll be handling your slides. If you have a large number of photo slides that are handled very seldomly, a slide file storage box will be perfect for you. Slide file storage boxes can be purchased in a variety of sizes, depending on how many photo slides you need to store! You can even purchase tabs that work like file markers to organize your slides according to subject, date, person, or event. It’s incredibly important that when storing your photo slides in a slide file box,  you store your slides vertically. Stacking unprotected slides on top of one another increases the chance they may get stuck together, and no one wants a sticky slide! 


For photo slides in smaller quantities that are handled more regularly, the best method of slide storage is to use slide sheets. These slide sheets will protect your slides from dust, scratches, and fingerprints. The clear plastic will allow you to view your photo slides without removing them from their slide sheets, decreasing potential for fingerprints, static, and dust! Slide sheets are most often stored in a slide album book, but the plastic protective cover will prevent any sticking you might experience with stacking slides in a slide file box. No stickiness here! 


When you’ve chosen the right slide storage method for you, remember that your slide storage space should always be cool and dry. Photo slides, even in protective storage boxes or sheets, should never be stored anywhere in your house where extreme temperature fluctuation occurs. While the most popular storage spots for Americans are basements, attics, and even storage units, these are actually the worst place to store your slides, as they can often become humid. Exposing photo slides to the elements is not the best way to preserve the quality of your slides, so choose your storage spot wisely!  


Materials for Pros 

When choosing materials for storing your photo slides, just remember that all materials should pass the Photo Activity Test (PAT). The PAT involves expert testing of archival storage materials, including ink, plastics, papers, and adhesives. Materials that have passed the PAT will work best for storing your photo slides. And if (gasp!) you do end up with a fingerprint or some dust on your slides, never fear. There are professional photo slide cleaning materials out there to help you restore the cleanliness of your slide! Just be sure to visit a local photography store, or a photography website to be sure you’re getting the best quality product to clean your slides!

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