An unusual study published in 2011 analyzed the effects of cold storage on different media such as CDs, DVDs, and VHS. The premise behind this study is that cool/cold or below freezing storage are effective tools for preserving unstable media such as acetate and color films. Researchers concluded that storing VHS tapes (dated 1990 to 2008) at a freezing temperature didn’t cause any cosmetic or viewing issues. In this blog, we offer practical storage solutions for dealing with stacks of the video format that once ruled the world – from temperature control and how to save old VHS tapes – to things to do if you don’t have warm, fuzzy feelings about the physical tapes.
VHS Storage Ideas & Other Handy Tips
Storing videotapes in a substandard environment can cause irreparable damage. Although storing them in a freezer is a little extreme, the best way to store VHS tape is in a cool, dark place because deterioration occurs faster in warm, humid environments. Here are a few other storage tips for this once-everpresent video format:
- Store tapes in airtight plastic cases and then place them upright in watertight storage totes, rather than cardboard boxes
- Keep tapes away from direct sunlight and any kind of heat
- Don’t store tapes flat because after months or years, gravity can cause the tape to sag on the reel, resulting in a poor viewing experience
- Rewind tapes after watching or before storing them because this keeps the tape tight and responsive, and also helps prevent sagging
- Avoid putting VHS tapes near magnetic devices and speakers – since videotape itself is made of tiny magnets, doing so can damage it – or worst-case scenario, erase the content
- Pack them together tightly because when tapes are packed too loosely in a box or a bin, this can cause the cassette to crack or break and make it unplayable
- Label tapes before you put them into storage, so when you look for a specific movie one day in the future, it will be easy to locate
- If your favorite tape doesn’t play well or has loose tape, don’t discard it before trying to repair it since, in many instances, it’s an easy fix
Digitize Video Tapes
Converting videotapes is the best way to preserve them for posterity. You can digitize old VHS tapes yourself if you have the right equipment and patience, or entrust this to professionals. After converting and uploading them to cloud storage, you’ll have to decide what to do with the old tapes. If you want to keep them, that’s a personal choice and you’re certainly not alone. Just store them properly if you ever wish to pop one in and view it in that antiquated piece of machinery known as a VCR!
When you choose ScanCafe to digitize your nostalgic VHS tapes, you’ll be delighted to see that the final output is often better than the original. We offer award-winning quality and guaranteed safety at industry-beating prices with all services performed at our state-of-the-lab in the USA.
After you get videotapes digitized, you can either donate originals to your favorite thrift shop, keep or sell any that are collector’s items, recycle them, or create any number of cool craft projects using the guts and/or cases.
VHS tape storage FAQs
The best way to store VHS tapes is in a cool, dark place to prevent deterioration. Store tapes in airtight plastic cases and place them upright in watertight storage totes. Avoid storing them flat to prevent the tape from sagging. Rewind tapes after watching or before storing to keep the tape tight. Don’t store tapes near magnetic devices or speakers. Pack them tightly together to avoid cracking or breaking.
Storing VHS tapes outside is not recommended. They should be stored in a cool, dark place to prevent damage and deterioration.
The lifespan of VHS tapes in storage can vary, but with proper storage conditions, they can last for many years. Storing them in a cool, dark place can help prolong their lifespan.
Yes, VHS tapes can be stored in airtight plastic cases to protect them. However, it is also recommended to place them upright in watertight storage totes to provide additional protection.