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Chances are, you have an old shoebox or bin lying around your home or studio, chock-full of photographs, sketches, or other keepsakes. A shoebox is a fine storage solution, but not one that will preserve its contents for many lifetimes. If you’d like your artworks and collectibles to have the greatest chance of lasting for generations, it’s vital that you keep them in an archival container. These boxes are made in a variety of materials, but they should absolutely be acid-free to keep your papers from becoming brittle. Upgrade your storage methods with our top archival-quality picks below.
1. Lineco Clamshell Archival Storage Box
These boxes by the leading manufacturer of archival materials land at the top of our list because they present a winning combination of protection, affordability, and looks. Designed with a classic clamshell structure, they offer enough space to store a generous amount of flat documents, from photographs to art prints, yet are slim enough to maintain a low profile. They are also completely acid-free for long-term storage, and the lid fits snugly to protect against light and dust. The faux-leather box is sturdy, with some flex, and its corners are metal-reinforced.
2. Archival Methods Short Top Box
If you need a storage solution for more sizable objects, like memorabilia and other collectibles, we like this short top box. Shaped like a shoebox, it offers both depth and volume, so you can store, say, small sculptures or an abundance of postcards. Made from acid- and lignin-free boxboard, it effectively resists degradation, and its top is close-fitted to keep out unwanted pollutants. Like our top pick, Archival Methods’ box features corners finished with metal-edge clamps to offer extra strength.
3. Pioneer Photo Albums Photo Storage Box
If you’re organizing on a budget, consider Pioneer Photo’s storage boxes. They come in many fun colors and are an ideal size for storing hundreds of photographic prints. These are acid-free boxes, but they are less sturdy than the competition—they don’t have reinforced corners, for one thing. But if you aren’t planning on moving them around frequently, these boxes will hold up well over time.
4. Gaylord Archival Newspaper Preservation Box
If you want a storage box to preserve newspapers old and new, we recommend Gaylord’s preservation box. These good-looking blue-gray containers are made from buffered barrier board, a sturdy, acid-free material that helps extend the life of papers. Their deep-set lids help to keep out dirt and light but are still quick to slip on and off. Like other top storage boxes, these have metal-edged corners for extra support. Importantly, the box comes in several generous sizes that allow you to fit in papers without having to fold or bend them.
5. HG Concepts Eternity Archival Clamshell Box
Luxurious and professional looking, this is a storage box you won’t feel obligated to keep in a closet. It’s made of a sturdy board bound in black book cloth and lined with matte black, acid-free paper to deliver an elegant but functional finish. Unlike some of our other picks, this box has zero flex to it. so you can feel comfortable transporting it even if it’s loaded with heavier works. We also like the swing lid, which provides quick but secure access—and you never have to worry about misplacing it.