In most homes, you'll find a collection of photo albums filled with snapshots of family vacations, birthday parties, weddings, and trips to the beach. What you might not know is that the self-stick pages in many photo albums will actually harm your precious photos. Over time, the power of the low-tack adhesive strengthens, often making it difficult to remove the pictures from the pages. And the pages themselves, which are not acid-free, can impart permanent stains to your photos. The best solution: Carefully transfer the photos to an archival book.

Once you've selected a suitable book, start assembling photos on a page. There are no rules when it comes to your album's layout -- mix black-and-white and color photos, highlight a single picture, or cram every inch with images. Secure the pictures with acid-free photo corners (available at photo, crafts, or framing stores in a variety of colors). Using archival artists' paper, create your own labels with captions recording basic facts or describing the people, places, and events in the pictures; mount the labels with acid-free glue. Your photos -- and memories -- will be preserved for years to come.


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