How to Store Negatives, Slides, Newspaper Articles, and 8mm Video

Tips to store these family heirlooms

photo organizing

How to Store Negatives, Slides and Video

As you are sorting through your photos, you may come across 35mm film negatives, slides, old 8mm reels and VHS tapes, and newspaper articles.  Here we will cover a few ideas on how to store Negatives and Slides and 8mm. Keep in mind that all should be stored in a cool dry location out of direct sunlight.

For photo tips look at:

How To Organize Your Printed Photos

How to Store Printed Photographs.

storing negatives
negative refill pages

How to Store Negatives 


As you are sorting through your older printed photos, you have two options when you come across negatives. Deal with them as you deal with the photos, or set them aside and deal with the negatives later.

Then you have two additional choices to make. Create an effective storage system for these negatives to make them easy to find if you want to reprint them, or decide that you don’t want to deal with them and will scan any printed photos that you want copies of.


If you decide to organize your negatives, the most effective system for storing negatives is to place them in PVC-free plastic negative sleeves and store them chronologically in a 3 ring binder. This protects them from dirt, scratches, and the oil on your fingers. Most sleeves also have an area at the top to label the subject and the date. If your photo provider gave you an index print of the negatives, you can attach this to the top of the negative sleeve to make it easy to locate a photo.

Take care when handling the negatives to only hold the edges. Don’t put your fingers directly on the negatives as this will transfer the oil of your hands to the negatives and you might end up with fingerprints on the negatives which could show up when they are printed.  Even better, wear cotton, lintless gloves.

Since your negatives are a backup system for your printed photographs, it is also best to store your negatives in a separate location from your photos – not together. For example, store your photos at your house, and your negatives at a friend or family member’s house. Hopefully, if a catastrophe happens in one location, the other location will still be safe and you will be left with either photos or negatives, but won’t lose both. The other option is a safe deposit box. The fire safes for homes will often not protect your negatives.

If you decide not to deal with negatives, you may want to consider digitizing your photo collection so that you have a backup should something happen to your printed photographs. You also have the option of scanning and digitizing your negatives. This makes it easy to share copies with other relatives. Scanning and digitizing services for your negatives are available at Photo Expressions.

digitize slides

How to Store Slides

Depending on how old you are, you may remember sitting down for a home slide show to watch the images displayed on your living room wall. There was always lots of laughing at the outfits and hair styles and of course that infamous orange flowered couch!

As technology continues to change and evolve, it is important to not lose these precious bits of history because the technology is no longer around to view them. You can make prints from the slides and or have them scanned and digitized to make a slide show.

The Gather Box Slide Version at Photo Expressions is a great way to have your slides scanned and put onto a DVD or USB.  Purchase the Gather Box in the size to fit your needs, fill it with your slides and we will scan your slides and digitize them for you.  This makes it very easy to share with friends and family.  You can also order prints from slides at the same time.

You can store your slides in plastic PVC free pages made for slides and place them in a 3 ring binder. Any marking you do, should be done with a photo pen. Another option for slides is to make photos of them so everyone can enjoy them.

Reel to Reel video transfer
Video Transfer Services

How to store 8mm movie film and video

8mm Reel-Reel Movie Film

If you are lucky enough to come across some old 8mm movie reel to reel films, now is definitely the time to do something with them. These old 8mm reel video films are becoming very brittle and can easily break when viewed, that is if you can even find a projector anymore that will play them. If you can find a projector, the next issue is usually trying to find a bulb for it.

Now is the time to have these films transferred to DVD or USB. If you know what is on them, you can number them in the order you want them in. If you have no idea, just have them all done and watch the random bits of your history unfold before you.

These treasures will bring back laughter and tears, happiness and some sadness, and are part of your history and your story. Some of them will be silent movies and some will have sound.  These are a treasure trove of history too precious to let stay in a box and be lost forever because there is no longer the technology to view them.

VHS Tapes and 8mm Video Tapes

Maybe you have a whole stack of old VHS home movies or your own video camera tapes that you haven’t watched in forever since you don’t have that video camera anymore.  Have these VHS tapes transferred to DVD or DVD and have a special movie night, complete with popcorn.  You won’t regret it. Watch your life unfold or that of your children unfold. 

It is getting harder and harder to play a VHS tape, so make sure you do something with these tapes before it becomes very hard to find somewhere that can offer these services. Video Transfer Services.  

how to store newspapers

How to Store Newspaper and Other Paper Articles

Newspaper has a very high lignin content in it, which is why it becomes yellow so fast, and gets brittle. If you want to save newspaper articles, copy them on a machine that uses acid free paper and archival toner (as at Photo Expressions). You can also “wash” older newspaper articles. Place the article in a pan with distilled water, and wash, and then dry. This will strengthen the article.

Documents such as birth certificates, programs, and report cards may or may not be printed on acid free paper. There is a spray called Archival Mist, which can be sprayed on the front and back of the paper article. This will de-acidify it so that it is safe to put in your album. Or you can make copies of them on a machine that uses acid free paper and archival toner (as at Photo Expressions).

One Day

There is no “One Day” on your calendar. You most likely won’t “find” the time to take on some of these projects so it is important to “make” the time.  Avoid the pitfall of not starting due to overwhelm.  Just pick one small thing you want to do, and schedule it in to your week or month and then MAKE IT HAPPEN.  You will be glad you did, and so will your family and friends. Reach out to us for guidance and help if you need it.