Even in the digital age, there are many who may still want to save newspapers and store them as keepsakes. If you want to store a newspaper, it’s usually because it has some sentimental value to you. Even with proper care, your paper could last up to 50 years, even if you're lucky. But whether it’s an interesting story or a notification about something important to you, there is a certain way for how to store newspapers in order to preserve them and keep them for future generations.
Storing newspapers at home might not be a feasible option, because there are certain conditions that need to be met and newspaper is such a sensitive material. Acidity in newspapers causes them to break down more than other materials, which is why they require special attention.
The best way to store newspapers is in a climate-controlled storage space that can maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level. Garages, basements or attics that can’t be temperature controlled are not a good idea. A storage unit from a nearby self storage facility may be your best bet.
The ideal temperature is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of 45-55%. If it’s not possible to store the newspaper in a climate-controlled environment, an environment that is consistent with temperature is the best. When the temperature fluctuates a lot, it can damage the paper. If you are storing your newspaper at a storage unit, it shouldn’t face direct sunlight and the room should be accessed from inside instead of outside. The heat and light from the outside door can mess with the temperature, leading to an uncontrolled environment.
In order to prevent damage, don’t store your boxes with newspapers on the floor in order to keep them away from potential flooding or any rodents that could get inside the room. Either add shelving to the room or find a temperature-controlled room with shelving.
Even when storing your newspaper in a controlled environment, it’s necessary to prepare the paper so that it can still be protected in storage. Newspapers should be unfolded and unrolled. Use an acid-free box to store the papers in. Inside the box, you can use acid-free folders to prevent the pages from touching each other. Polyester sleeves are great for this. If you don’t have access to folders, you can use acid-free, alkaline buffer, paper in between the pages of the newspaper. If the pages are already in a scrapbook, use the acid-free paper in between the scrapbook pages to protect them. There are also protective sleeves for newspapers available.
When handling newspapers, wash your hands before touching them to remove any residue from your hands. Make sure your hands are dry before touching them, and make sure your workspace is clean while also removing any food or drinks from the area.
Don’t store your newspaper in just any box. Finding an archival box to store your newspapers will help protect them even further, which you can find at a craft store. If you use a wooden or cardboard box, make sure it’s acid-free. A box that is used to store film can also be a good alternative.
You want to use caution when taking your newspaper out of storage. When you are ready to look at the papers, make sure they have acclimated to the room and remember to handle gently, because the paper can become brittle as the years pass. Keep in mind, every time you take your newspaper out of storage, the handling and exposure contributes to lessening the life of your newspaper. If you really want to preserve the past years down the line, consider not being tempted in removing them.