Family Archivist Survival Kit

Like a time capsule,

but without all the digging and burying.

You're here because you really, really love the family photos entrusted to your care:

First of all -- let me reassure you that you are not alone. I've met family archivists who are so confused about this step that they get stuck here and end up doing nothing. Heck, even *I* get overwhelmed, and I read archival supply catalogs for fun. (Yep, it's true.)


The Practical Archivist (and Photo Rescue Kit) at work.

Profile from this Madison Magazine article.


Hiya! I'm Sally J.  

I'm here to take the hassle out of how to safely store your most beloved and treasured family photographs.

You can't purchase a Family Archivist Survival Kit (FASK) from any stores, and it's not available in any archival supply catalogs.

This kit is the biggest one I've ever assembled. Not only does it include all the tools you need to safely examine, label and organize your photos, it also includes the most commonly needed envelope, folder and box sizes -- made only from the highest quality PAT-passed materials. Made right here in the U.S.

Basically, my Family Archivist Survival Kit includes everything you need to start creating a proper family archive - using the exact same tools I use for my own family collection. (Er, except I picked the wrong size big envelopes for my own stuff. In other words, I made the mistakes so you don't have to and your kit is actually BETTER than mine.)

Awesome free bonus with every kit!

Every Family Archivist Survival Kit (FASK) comes with a CD packed with over 10 hours of instructional content at no extra charge. That means, along with archival boxes in 3 different sizes, along with the folders and envelopes in the exact right size, along with the microspatula, the two kinds of pencils and the white will also get over 10 hours of recorded classes and Q&A sessions that will teach you how to organize, arrange, preserve and scan your treasured family photographs.

All of that content will be yours as soon as you pop the CD in your computer. Details about what you'll learn from my Joy class are available at (Yours free with purchase)


$146  (plus $29.42 S&H)




Note: All sales are pre-order.

Your kit will not ship out to you until November, 2015.


These kits are available for a short time only each year. There's a simple reason for that: Picking, packing and then shipping out bulky boxes asks a lot of my family. It's an invasive hassle. We earn money doing it, but there are easier ways to make money.  So why do I bother? Well, it's actually pretty fun to do this kind of work with my kids. Not every day, but once a year? Delightful!

But my main motivation for going through all the hassle is because I know in my heart of hearts that it doesn't matter how many classes I teach or how many hours I consult with clients...having the right tools is where the rubber meets the road. Finding the right tools is difficult and confusing enough to bring even the best projects to a grinding halt. Heck, it's confusing for me sometimes and I read archival supply catalogs for fun. Yes, I really do.


Family Archivist
Survival Kit



 This kit will make barriers disappear.

Barriers that have prevented you from storing your most treasured family photos the way you should -- the way that will help them survive as long as possible for many generations to come.


Not only do you get the archival boxes, envelopes, folders and hand tools you need...

You also get the information you need to do it properly.

That's right! You get over 10 hours of instruction via my recorded workshop, created for family archivists just like you. It has very little jargon and lots of practical real-world advice. All that instruction is included on a FREE CD that ships with your Family Archivist Survival Kit (FASK)



  1. All Sales are Pre-Order. You order a kit from me via PayPal using any major credit card and the "Buy Now" button below. Orders will close on Thursday, October 15th or as soon as the last available kit is sold.

  2. Your kit will be packed and ready to ship from Practical Archivist World Headquarters by November 19th. If you are one of the earliest purchasers, your kit will ship closer to November 1st. I will be ordering them in lots of 12 to keep the chaos at my house to a minimum.

  3. ONLINE BONUS MATERIAL: The good news is won't have to wait until the boxes and your CD arrive to get started. Access to the online bonus material -- including recordings my entire Joy of Organizing Photos workshop --is via an automated email process. As soon as you confirm your subscription to the FASK list, you will receive the login and passwords you need to get started by exploring the online instructional content. If you're uncomfortable downloading large files, don't fret! All that instructional how-to content will arrive at your doorstep with your boxes in the form of a FASK CD.




All Boxes, Envelopes & Folders Have Passed the PAT (Photographic Activity Test)

Definition: "A standard procedure (ISO 14523) to check for potential chemical reactions between materials used to make enclosures and photographs stored in those enclosures."   --Society of American Archivists Glossary of Archival Terms.

The PAT is the only Independent 3rd Party Test that shows enclosures will not react with your photographs and cause damage over time. Some manufacturers do their own testing (I know of one large retail chain and one direct marketing company that do this) but I find that less than reliable. Independent testing is your best bet.


Your Family Archivist Survival Kit (FASK) Includes: 


Loose Photo Kit ($38)

Perfect for loose photos you've been storing in a shoebox, random drawer or bag.

It's also a great place for all those single photos sent to you in letters that you have no idea what to do with.

The envelopes include plenty of space to write notes, which is a great idea because seeing photos from the past always sparks memories.

"The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory."

This kit includes an attractive tan box (PAT passed) that can hold prints up to 5x7" upright. You also get 25 paper envelopes that can store multiple prints AND 25 paper sleeves that hold a single photograph each. Storage for up to 1,000 photos 5x7" and smaller. Prints must be 4x6" or smaller to fit in envelopes, sleeves hold up to 5x7"

Dimensions: Box is 5.5 x 7.5 x 12" Envelopes are 4.81 x 7.25" and sleeves are 5.5 x 7.38" Colors: Box is tan, metal edges are black, envelopes are eggshell and white. Qty: 1 box + 50 envelopes.



Documents & Ephemera Kit ($38)

This upright storage kit (PAT passed) fits neatly on a shelf.

It's perfect for items sized around 8.5 x 11" such as 8 x 10 photographs, magazines, unfolded letters, office records, handbills, greeting cards, magazine clippings, menus and small posters. It comes with 25 folders to help support the upright materials plus keep them protected and organized. Folders have a full tab to allow maximum description (the more description on the folder, the less you need to handle the original items).

Dimensions: Box is 10.25 x 12.25 x 5". Folders fit documents 8 x 10" and smaller.  Colors: Box is tan, metal edges are black, folders are eggshell.  Qty: 1 box, 25 folders.



Oversize Kit ($45)

Flat storage is the best solution for large size materials.

I created this kit through trial and error with my own collection. Spacious enough to hold 11x15 prints, or an 8x10 print mounted on an 11 x 14" mat board. One of the long sides of the box is left unattached, making it easy to remove the bottom envelope without having to take out all the envelopes on top of it. We call it a drop front box in the biz. Tall enough to house a pile of items 3" high.

Comes with 25 PAT passed envelopes, also sized 11.5x15. I chose envelopes instead of folders to reduce the risk of loose items falling out. These envelopes have a foldable flap, but no glue -- which could seep through at some future point. These envelopes include lots of space for notes.

Dimensions: Box is 15 x 11.5 x 3". Envelopes are 15 x 11.5" Colors: Box is tan, metal edges are black, envelopes are eggshell.  Qty: 1 box, 25 oversize envelopes, no glue.


Photo Rescue Kit ($25) 

This is the first kit I ever designed, and I'm as proud as I've ever been to show it off.

Your Easy Peasy Photo Rescue Kit s where you'll find all the hand-held tools you need to properly archive family photographs.

A pair of white gloves, two hard-to-find marking pencils and the wonder tool known as a microspatula. That tool comes in real handy if you ever need to rescue photographs from those horrible sticky magnetic albums, also known as The Chemical Sandwich of Dooooom.

All the details you could possibly want to know about my Photo Rescue Kit can be read by clicking here



Yes! I want all the tools and information I need to start a proper family archive.

Family Archivist Survival Kit


$146  (plus $29.42 S&H)



Fabulous!  Bonus!  Items!

Why not throw in some juicy free bonuses to sweeten the deal? Why not, indeed. Especially when those bonuses give you the knowledge you need to do this project once and do it right.

  • FREE JOY CD!  Learn how to transform random boxes of "photo chaos" into an organized family archive that is sheltered from the ravages of time.  Plus: How to digitize heirloom photos without making rookie mistakes, and tips to help you  avoiding the dreaded curse of the Half Finished Project.

  • All the recordings and archived web chats from my month-long workshop will be yours in digital form on a CD that ships with your kit. You'll want to click the image over there on the right if you'd like to see exactly what's included in this bonus.

    Believe me: IT'S. BIG.

    Plus you also get:

    • The Practical Archivist's Family Archivist Survival Tips.  Practical tips to help you use your sparkling new kit to its full advantage. Tips like the best part of your house to store your treasures, how to prevent spills from destroying photos, and what to do when you're stuck with a bad storage environment like a humid basement.
    • The Practical Archivist's 8 Blunders People Make When They Scan Photos... And How To Avoid Them. Super duper practical and compact paper booklet that covers safe handling, digital preservation, storage media and file types. The solution for the most common scanning blunders...including some you might be making without knowing it. 
  • Gaylord Guide to Collections Care. 64 page illustrated booklet that covers all the basics of storing collections long term. Written by conservators. Includes case studies on the specific storage needs of different types of heirlooms including documents, pamphlets, ephemera, photo albums and costumes. Drawings and photographs included. Super helpful!


Hard copies of all of the goodies listed above will ship with your kit, electronic PDF versions will be on your CD. 




Got Questions?

Call my mobile office, also known as voicemail: 608-616-0058. *Please leave me an email address for replying, if possible..

Or skip the phone altogether and click here to send me an email.


Who is The Practical Archivist...and how do I know she's qualified to give advice?


 Welcome to the bottom of the page.

Thanks for reading the whole thing!