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Personal Preservation Tips: Letters and Documents

An overview of basic storage best practices to help with preserving personal photographs, papers and digital files.

How to store paper documents

Storing things like letters, papers, books and other paper documents is pretty straight forward and easy

Letters, loose paper documents, etc.

  • Keep items stored in clearly labeled acid free folders
    • The acid free folder will keep the paper from yellowing and keep it from getting too brittle
    • remove any paperclips, staples, or rubber bands that will rust or get stuck to the sheets of paper
  • Store the papers upright in an acid free box
    • if you do not have a lot of letters, keep them stored flat, which will stop the folders from flopping over in the box and bending the letter
  • Like photographs, keep the box stored in a closet
    • While it's best to store photographs and paper materials in separate boxes, keeping them in the same box to save on space is ok too.
  • Scanning letters to save as copies to send to others and to keep for worst case scenarios is also recommended 

Books and things with bindings

  • Store them upright or laying flat on a shelf (they probably already are!)
  • Again it's best if they are stored in a box to keep the dust off, but a regular bookshelf usually does the job just fine.


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