When you moved into your home at Lake Ashton, an outstanding retirement community in FL, you probably brought along a box of old VHS tapes. Even if you haven’t had a VCR for years, it’s hard to get rid of those tapes, especially the home videos. Whether it’s just an old movie you love or a few decades of home videos, it’s important to start thinking about converting them to a digital format.

The reality is that all of those old VHS tapes are on their last legs, no matter how carefully you’ve stored them. Magnetic tape — which is what VHS tapes are made of — loses its magnetism over the years, causing the video to lose color, clarity, sound, and more. In fact, most tapes only last 10-30 years. While it may seem like just yesterday, that means those videos you made in the 1980s — birthday parties, high school graduations, family vacations — may soon be lost forever. They’re at even more risk if they’ve been stored up in an attic or garage. Humidity and mold are among the worst enemies of VHS tapes, plus, with age, the tapes just become more brittle and likely to break.

Fortunately, all hope isn’t lost. If you only have a couple of tapes to convert, you can take them to stores such as Walgreens, Costco, Best Buy, and Walmart and get them converted to a DVD, Blu-Ray, or digital file for roughly $20-35 each. There are also local businesses in Lake Wales and surrounding areas that can convert VHS tapes, cassettes, film and more, often with bulk deals, such as five conversions for around $75.

If you have a lot of old VHS tapes to convert and don’t mind tinkering with technology, you could do the conversion yourself. There are VHS-DVD combo players available that can convert the files, or you can purchase an analog-to-digital video converter for your computer. Whether you have a PC or MAC, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a converter. These various options are available in electronics stores and online, at various price points.

If you’re going to be converting a lot of tapes, purchasing your own converter could save you money in the long term. Plus, you could always convert the tapes for your neighbors at your retirement community in FL. If you charge a fee, you could soon find yourself with enough for a night on the town or even an upgrade on your next vacation!

So if you’re one of the many people with a box full of old tapes, start converting them. You filmed all of these memories for a reason, so now is the perfect time to go back and relive them in a format that the next generation can also enjoy.