How to Store Framed Pictures in a Storage Unit

Are you looking for a way to store your framed pictures and artwork in a storage unit? You’re not alone. Many people in the same situation are faced with finding ways to transition their beloved memories, framed art, or prized possessions into an organized and safe space without damaging them.

How to Store Framed Pictures in a Storage Unit

In this blog post, you’ll find all of the knowledge and tips you need on how to store framed pictures in a storage unit in order to protect them while they are stored in a storage facility. Whether it’s short-term or long-term storage that you require for your framed photos.

We have just what you need! Keep reading for more information about selecting the right materials, mastering packing techniques, plus other advice from experienced professionals who deal with this every day.

Is It Ok to Store Photos in a Storage Unit?

It’s important to take the proper steps when storing framed pictures in a storage unit. Although it is possible, it isn’t always the best option for preserving photos over time. Long term exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity can cause damage to photos and frames, so if you plan on storing them for an extended period of time, you should consider other options.

If you do decide to store framed pictures in a storage unit, there are certain precautions you should take to ensure the photos remain in good condition. Make sure to wrap each photo and frame separately in paper or bubble wrap for extra protection. You can also get special boxes designed specifically to hold frames with an acid-free backing board that will protect them from dust and moisture.

 Make Sure to Wrap Each Photo and Frame

It’s also important to be aware of the temperature and humidity levels inside your storage unit before placing any items inside. Some units may have climate-controlled settings which you should make use of if possible, as this will help keep the temperature and humidity constant over time. If this isn’t available, consider using silica gel packets or dehumidifiers to keep humidity levels low.

Should Framed Pictures Be Stored Flat or Upright?

When storing framed pictures in a storage unit, it is important to consider whether you should store them flat or upright. The type of frame and the content of the picture are two major factors to consider when making this decision.

If the frame has glass, then it should be stored flat. This helps prevent the glass from breaking due to pressure that could occur if it’s stored upright in a stack with other frames. Despite its weight, glass can easily crack under certain circumstances so you want to avoid any potential accidents by storing your frames flat.

On the other hand, frames without glass can be stored either horizontally or vertically and both ways have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re trying to maximize space in your storage unit,

10 Methods How to Store Framed Pictures in a Storage Unit

Method 1: Choose an Appropriate Storage Unit

Select a storage unit that is climate-controlled to maintain a stable temperature and humidity level. Extreme temperature fluctuations and high humidity can cause damage to framed pictures, leading to warping, mold growth, or fading.

Additionally, ensure that the storage unit is clean, dry, and well-ventilated to minimize the risk of moisture-related issues. Although pricier, a climate-controlled storage unit is the best option for storing framed pictures. Make sure to check the size of the unit to make sure it’s large enough for your framed pictures.

Ensure That the Storage Unit is Clean

Method 2: Clean and Inspect the Frames

Before storing framed pictures, clean the frames using a soft, lint-free cloth or a gentle brush to remove dust and debris. Inspect the frames for any signs of damage, such as loose corners, cracked glass, or flaking paint.

Repair or replace damaged frames before storing the pictures to prevent further deterioration. Make sure the frame is secure since any loose pieces may become lost in storage. Additionally, use bubble wrap or foam sheets to cushion fragile glass when packing.

Method 3: Remove Dust and Dirt from the Artwork

Gently dust the front and back of each framed picture using a clean, soft brush or a microfiber cloth. This step helps remove any loose particles that could potentially scratch or damage the artwork during storage.

If the framed pictures are particularly dirty, use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to suck out dirt and debris. Once the cleaning is complete, make sure the frames are completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Method 4: Wrap Individual Pictures

Individually wrap each framed picture with acid-free tissue paper or glassine paper to provide a protective barrier. This prevents the frames from directly touching each other, minimizing the risk of scratches, abrasions, or transfer of colors between artworks.

Secure the wrappings with packing tape and place the wrapped pictures in sturdy cardboard boxes. If you are using a wooden or plastic storage unit, then line the walls with acid-free tissue paper or glassine paper before storing your wrapped pictures to provide an additional layer of protection. Place the boxes containing the

Secure the Wrappings With Packing Tape

Method 5: Use Bubble Wrap or Foam Sheets

After wrapping each framed picture, place it between layers of bubble wrap or foam sheets. These materials provide additional cushioning and protection against impacts during transportation and storage. Secure the bubble wrap or foam sheets with tape to keep them in place.

Make sure no sharp edges are exposed and that the bubble wrap or foam sheets fully cover all sides of each frame. Place the wrapped frames in a sturdy box for extra protection during storage. Place the filled boxes inside your storage unit, away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat or moisture.

Method 6: Arrange Pictures Vertically

When placing framed pictures inside the storage unit, store them vertically instead of stacking them horizontally. Stacking pictures horizontally increases the risk of damage due to pressure, weight, or potential shifting.

Storing them vertically reduces the strain on the frames and minimizes the chance of warping or breakage. Use a shelf system to keep the frames upright and organized. If you don’t have shelves, use pieces of cardboard or foam between the frames. This will provide additional support and cushioning to help protect the frames from any potential damage.

Use Pieces of Cardboard

Method 7: Create a Picture Inventory

Maintain an inventory of the framed pictures stored in the unit. This inventory should include a detailed description of each picture, including its dimensions, frame type, and any notable characteristics. Additionally, consider taking photographs of the pictures and attaching them to the inventory for easy reference.

This inventory will not only help prevent theft of the pictures but also allow you to quickly locate any framed pictures that may have been misplaced. Additionally, keeping a detailed inventory can help expedite the process of reclaiming stored items in the event that you need to move them out of the storage unit.

Method 8: Use Climate Control Features

If available, utilize the climate control features of the storage unit to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level. This helps prevent fluctuations that can lead to damage, such as mold growth, warping, or deterioration of the artwork.

Make sure not to set the temperature too high or too low, as this can still cause damage. Additionally, setting the humidity level lower than 40% can also cause damage, as the picture frame may become too brittle due to lack of moisture.

Method 9: Avoid Exposure to Light

To prevent fading and discoloration, store framed pictures away from direct sunlight or strong artificial light sources. Light-sensitive artwork should be stored in light-blocking containers or wrapped with UV-resistant film to further protect them from light damage.

Try to position framed pictures behind other items or in dark corners of the unit. If possible, use LED bulbs that emit a lower color temperature and less UV radiation for any lighting in the storage unit. Additionally, consider using blackout curtains to protect framed pictures from light at all times.

 Use Led Bulbs That Emit a Lower Color

Method 10: Regularly Inspect and Rotate

Visit the storage unit periodically to inspect the framed pictures for any signs of damage, mold, or pests. Consider rotating the pictures during each visit to expose them to fresh air and minimize the risk of long-term damage caused by prolonged storage.

Additionally, avoid storing framed pictures in rooms without climate control systems, as extreme temperatures can cause the frames to warp and discolor. It’s also important to use sturdy boxes and packing materials that will protect the frames from wear and tear. Finally, be sure to label each box for easy identification when you need to find something in particular.


Storing framed pictures in a storage unit does not have to be intimidating. With the right supplies and precautions, you can keep your framed memories safe and secure. Once your framed pictures are efficiently stored, you can rest assured that they will remain safe until you decide to bring them back into your home.

Whether you plan on using a temporary or long-term storage unit, keeping these tips and guidelines in mind will help ensure that your framed artwork is stored safely. Thanks for reading, and we hope this has given you some inspiration on how to store framed pictures in a storage unit!

Photo of author

Jennifer Branett

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