Whether you’re a regular gamer or hard-core collector, it’s important to know how to pack and store video games. Proper video game storage is essential for keeping your games in good working condition, which helps to prolong their lifespan and maintain their value.
To help you manage your collection, we’ve pulled together this handy four-step guide on how to pack and store video games.
Whether they’ve gathered dust from sitting on the living room table, or been handled by young children with sticky fingers, the first thing you’ll need to do is clean your games. This is essential for limiting the growth of bacteria while in storage.
To clean your games—whether they’re CDs or cartridges—gently wipe them with a soft, dry, clean cloth, taking care to avoid creating scratch marks. For particularly dirty or dusty game cartridges, you can clean the contact points by applying a very small amount of rubbing alcohol to a cotton bud and gently rubbing it over the contact points.
Once the games are clean, wipe down the outside of the video game cases to remove any sticky or oily marks. Provided the cases are plastic, it’s ok to use a damp cloth to do this—just make sure you allow the cases to dry fully before storing them.
Once your games are clean, it’s time to choose an appropriate storage method. The best storage solution will typically depend on three things:
- What type of games you’re storing;
- How large your collection is; and
- How often you want to be able to access the games. That is, are you storing them as collector’s items, or do you want to play them regularly?
Below we list some of the most popular packing options, according to video game type.
The best way to pack and store CDs depends on whether you still have their original plastic cases. If you do have the cases, you can store your CDs one of two main ways:
- On a bookshelf or CD rack—this is a good option if you want to keep your games in mint condition, but want regular access to them.
- In an airtight plastic storage box—this is a good option if you want to preserve your games, are low on space, and don’t plan on playing them regularly.
If you don’t have the original plastic CD cases, you can pack your games into a CD/DVD wallet. These are available in various sizes, and can often store several hundred CDs. They offer a good level of dust protection and water resistance, but won’t be 100% waterproof.
There are two good packing options for your video game cartridges:
- Place each cartridge inside a clear plastic game case. These are available in a range of sizes, and are a great way to protect your games if you don’t have the original cardboard packaging.
- Pack your games into an airtight plastic tub. For an extra level of protection you can place your games into game cases first before putting them into the tub.
Choosing a filing system for your games is often overlooked, but is guaranteed to prevent headaches when searching for a specific game. If you have a particularly large collection of games, consider sorting them by name, video game maker or release date. Something as simple as splitting your collection into games you’ll play regularly, and games you want to keep as collectibles can also help.
Once you’ve chosen an ordering system, label your boxes or the blank plastic game cases, to make it easy to find games quickly. Try not to attach labels directly to the games, because this can reduce their resale value.
Store your games in a cool, moisture-free space, away from direct sunlight. If you have a particularly large collection, a self-storage unit can be a great place to keep them.
Cover image by By Raffi Asdourian from New York, United States – Video Games, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71947286