My VHS collection sat for months, inconveniently blocking an aisleway, intentionally being an intentional eyesore. Incidentally, with months of packing, donating, and keeping context, and a renewed interest in watching occasional movies, I’ve purged anything that I can watch in a higher definition or anything that isn’t rare/resellable. VHS represents a particular aesthetic for me, so if I’m going to enjoy it, it needs to be manageable, otherwise, I won’t want to deal with it.
I kept anything that was contemporary to my VHS viewing experiences.
I kept anything that I owned or recorded as a kid. If the primary utility of VHS tapes is evoking nostalgia, then why keep anything except the tapes that evoke the most nostalgia? If evoking nostalgia is the primary responsibility of each tape in my collection, I got rid of anything that failed to live up to that responsibility of representing some particular quirk unique to VHS. I made certain exceptions, such as for my favorite movies, since I do like having my favorites on multiple formats.
I didn’t keep the common movies I hadn’t watched.
Back when I was frequently buying things from thrift stores, my idea was to get any movie for cheap that I might want to eventually watch. That way, I could watch it whenever I wanted. The main problem with that logic is that if you want to watch 100 things, you’ll end up watching none of them, especially if it’s a pain to browse through the collection. Now, I’ll encourage myself to watch one movie each month, rather than four a year, because otherwise if I push myself too hard, I’ll wear out.
I got rid of anything I wasn’t curious about watching.
There’s a VHS tape revival of sorts going on now. Not to the degree of new records being sold in big box supermarkets, or even the uptick of niche music like noise or black metal being pressed to tape, but a similar pique of curiosity in the medium that led to both having a revival. I don’t think tapes will have the same sort of revival as records, though, because there isn’t a sane argument to be made that VHS tapes look better than HD-remastered movies and they wear out faster than records or cassettes.
It’s more of a quaint revival; watching your old tapes.
After I move, and get my VHS stuff out of storage, I’ll start selling off tapes (along with other things) for the practice, experience, and stories of selling. Everything I’ve donated so far has little to no marketable value. I kept a few bags worth of Disney and anime tapes because they are the most likely to have a resale value because they would most likely be part of that VHS tape revival idea. I’ll get rid of the ones I’m not attached to at all, first, then watch my favorites again and anything else that strikes my fancy.
I might even set up a nice area for watching VHS tapes.
|Sources: My hoarding tendencies.|
|Inspirations: I donated 50 tapes today. It felt like half my collection. When I brought them in to sort through, they took up a terrible mess, so when I dedicated the time to address them today, I went to town. It feels great having them all roughly organized now.|
|Related: Sequel to “Keeping VHS Collection.” Other Moving Zeal essays.|
|Picture: As such, I just took that essay’s image and doodled red to imply a section of that box that was cut.|
|Written On: February 23rd [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|