Figuring out what to do with all of these thousands of photos is hard!
Some of them can go into albums -- suitably archival albums -- but if I fill up the albums with the second-rate or third-rate photos, no one will want to look at the albums. And at somewhere upwards of 10,000 photos, that's a lot of albums. A lot of shelf space. A lot of money!
So, the plan is to put most of the prints into storage boxes. But not to clip them together with paper clips or wrap rubber bands around the bundles, stuff them into mailing envelopes and cram them into shoe boxes. They should go into sleeves or envelopes that are appropriately acid-free and which won't damage the prints, and which will also support them and keep them flat, and then into solid boxes.
There are various companies out there that will sell sleeves, envelopes, etc. of all different types; side-loading, top-loading, with flaps and without, of polypropylene or polyester, frosted, clear, with stiffening cards or without... a dizzying number of options. I was going through the online catalog for a company called Archival Methods picking out products I'd like to try, but the minimum purchase seemed to be either 50 or a 100 of each sleeve or envelope. I realized I was going to spend over $150 just to try out a variety of items, most of which I would probably not use. So I wrote them a note and requested one each of a variety of sleeves and envelopes to try out.
We'll see what they say! I will write to Light Impressions too and request the same kind of thing (they have similar products, but some that don't overlap). And maybe I'll be able to settle on a storage method and start getting these things packed up!