Converting your video tapes to digital is an essential component to preserving your video tapes for posterity. But what do you do with the old tapes? Sometimes, we have a hard time getting rid of such important pieces of our family history, even if we know they are safely backed up on a hard drive. Hopefully, if you are thinking about storing your video tapes, you have digitized them already and you are just looking for information on how to keep the originals safe as you enjoy your new DVDs or digital files, but if you aren’t, check out our website for information about how to transfer your video tapes to digital in order to keep them safe.
Find a Cool Dark Place
This sounds like obvious advice, but it’s also really important. Tapes that are left in warm or humid environments deteriorate much more rapidly than their cooler, drier counterparts. Even a couple years of storage in a substandard environment can have deleterious effects on the tapes. Storage bins are also a good insurance policy when storing your tapes to make sure they aren’t subject to accidental flooding. Ditch the cardboard boxes and go with a watertight storage tote (like these) . This post goes over some of the problems that can occur when tapes aren’t stored properly.
Use helpful labels to mark your tapes
When you put video tapes into long term storage, it’s easy to think you will remember the contents of the videos. The problem is when you take them out of storage after a number of years, there is a real likelihood that you will have no idea how to differentiate your tapes. This can be particularly frustrating if you are looking for an individual video tape. The solution: label your video tapes before you put them into storage. This will make it much easier to sift through them the next time you or someone else needs to use one.
Pack your tapes tightly together
Tapes are made out of hard plastic that tends to get more brittle as it ages. If tapes are packed too loosely in a box or a bin, they can move around if they aren’t handled delicately. All of this movement can cause the cassette to crack or break and make the tape unplayable. This is particularly important during moves, when there is a much higher risk of the tapes being jostled around.