Store photos neatly and safely to preserve precious memories and save space. Whether you have a large collection of family photos that go back decades or you just started printing photos, these photo storage ideas offer creative ways to save memories.
Before you decide on a storage method and purchase the right containers, go through your photos. Gather your whole collection to assess its size, then decide how you want to group photos. This will likely be determined by the types of photos that you see most of—for example, vacation pictures, holiday photos, or prints from special occasions.
Regardless of the categories you decide on, make sure each photo is in good shape, straighten out any creases, and peruse these 22 clever photo storage ideas to see what's the best fit to keep your precious memories safe for years to come.
Use Hang File Containers
Hanging file containers provide a safe storage solution for photos of various sizes. They keep photos secure without the risk of them getting creased or bent and protect them from direct sunlight that can cause fading and discoloration. File containers also serve as a way to organize your photo collection. Add tabs to the files to label each so you know where to find the photos you are looking for.
Store in Photo Boxes
Photo boxes are specifically designed to store photographs and they come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. A beautiful fabric-covered box with leather handles and stylish labels doubles as a nice decorative accent for open shelves, while keeping photos on hand whenever you want to look at them. Many have built-in dividers so you can sort photos into groups and prevent them from shifting around the box.
Upload Digital Files
For a more minimalist storage approach that doesn't take up any shelf space, store photos as digital files on your computer. You may already do this with current photos, but if you have old pictures that are not digital, scan, and upload them onto your computer. Make sure to back up all the files on an external hard drive so that you don't lose them.
Create a Gallery Wall
Instead of storing photos in a box, enjoy them by hanging them up. A gallery wall is a beautiful way to display memories and give your home a personal touch. Use identical frames to create a uniform look, or go more eclectic with a collection of frames of different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials.
Label Plastic Containers
Clear plastic containers are a safe storage option for larger photo collections. Lidded containers protect photos from moisture damage and keep dust out. Divide photos by events—such as birthdays, weddings, or vacations—or by family member, date, or school year. Make sure you store the plastic containers in a cool, dry, and dark place, and add labels so you can easily find the photo you're looking for.
Opt for Wicker Baskets
Wicker baskets are sturdy and offer easy access thanks to their open tops. Either place photos directly in the baskets or stack them vertically. To keep them more organized, divide them into small clear plastic bags or envelopes first.
Fill a Filing Cabinet
Filing cabinets are for more than just important documents; they provide a secure storage spot for a large photo collection. Use filing containers to divide photos into groups and to prevent edges from curling.
A filing cabinet provides a cool and dry environment for photos, which is especially important for old, heirloom pictures that you want to keep safe. It also has a built-in lock for added safety.
Go for Decorative Boxes
Store small groupings of photos in decorative boxes that play double-duty as shelf styling props. Stacking boxes made from brass or woven seagrass add a touch of texture and keep photos safely stowed away, yet readily accessible whenever you want to reminisce.
Use one or multiple binders to hold a large photo collection. Color-coded binders are an excellent way to divide photos into groups and the spine presents the perfect spot to add a label for quick and easy identification. Use plastic sleeves or paper files to hold the photos and insert as many as you need into each binder.
Create a Photo Book
Turn your favorite memories into a fun accessory for your coffee table by creating a personalized photo book. In addition to being a beautiful gift for friends and family, it's a great way to store memories—it doesn't take up much space and can be placed on a bookshelf or stacked on a coffee table with other books.
Designate a Drawer
Designate a drawer in your family room or home office for photos. Instead of haphazardly shoving the whole collection in the drawer and running the risk of damaging your precious memories, either place the photos in an album or scrapbook or use an organizational system within the drawer.
This can be extendable dividers that partition the drawer horizontally or vertically to create separate compartments for each group of photos, or open-top clear storage containers that help maintain order.
Go for a Paper File
A paper file takes advantage of vertical space and can be placed on a shelf, inside a cabinet, on top of a cabinet, or on the floor. It's a sturdy, self-contained storage solution for photos and you can either use multiple files to hold different groups of pictures or divide each file using plastic sleeves or large envelopes.
Organize a Photo Album
For a neat way to store your photo collection, you can't go wrong with a traditional photo album. It keeps each image securely in place without any overlap or creases.
Store in Lidded Bins
If you've been collecting photos for decades and have thousands of prints, consider using large lidded storage bins and stacking them on shelves in a cool, dry place such as a basement (if it doesn't flood) or under the bed.
Depending on the size of the bins, use smaller storage containers within them to divide the collection. Add labels to the front of each bin for quick identification, especially if they are stored with other storage containers.
Install Pull-Out Drawers
Freestanding pull-out drawers provide extra storage for a space such as a storage closet, home office, or craft room. They automatically offer a way to divide photos into groups. They often provide flat-laying storage space, have a spot to insert a label, and keep photos contained to prevent damage.
Label Lidded Boxes
You can purchase lidded boxes made from thick and sturdy cardboard in any store dedicated to organizational supplies. These boxes are typically wide and shallow to prevent stacks of photos from toppling over and getting damaged. The boxes allow for easy stacking, can be labeled on the front, and look nice enough to display on open shelves.
Create a Wall Display
Create a unique wall display using macrame string and your favorite photo prints. Easily switch them out anytime you want and create a cool design with the string to add a sculptural element to your walls.
Roll in a Cart
A rolling cart is an inexpensive storage tool that can be used in many ways. If you're creating a photo scrapbook, use one of the tiers to store photos and the others to hold various crafting supplies. This way, everything is grouped together and you can move the cart around easily from room to room as needed.
Make Your Own Scrapbook
Speaking of scrapbooks, store memories safely in this creative and sentimental way. More than a photo album, a scrapbook is the perfect place to hold prints, postcards, and other treasures that remind you of a fun vacation or a special day. Like books, you can store them on a bookshelf or under the coffee table and pull them out to relive happy memories.
A keepsake box, sometimes also called a memory box, stores precious photo memories. Start one for each of your children when they are born and add photos to the box as the years go on, or begin one with your first travel adventure, and add photos of every adventure you on on after.
Curate an Inspiration Board
Hang an inspiration board on the wall in your home office or craft room to create a space that's personal and inspiring. Hang photos on the board and switch them out throughout the year. It's a great alternative to storing photos in picture frames since you can easily make photo swaps and hang any sized print without the worry of it not fitting.
Bring in Open-Top Storage Containers
Use an open-top storage container to file photos like you would paperwork. Get dividers with tabs that can be labeled so that you can sort photos into groups and then organize them in a chronological order or way that makes sense to you. This way, there isn't a lid pressing down on the tabs or photos and they're not messily piled on top of the other.