# How much does it cost to store a VHS tape in a New York City apartment?

Renting Four square inches in the most expensive market in the US

By Rob Cockerham |

I was listening to Todd Barry's podcast and he scoffed at a friend's VHS movie collection. In a New York City apartment, he implied, space is far too valuable to store an old fashioned plastic brick containing a single movie.

That got me wondering, how much does it cost to store a VHS tape in a New York City apartment?

The Tape

The first step was to figure out how much space is taken up by a VHS tape. No problem. I'm hanging onto this copy of Seven Samurai for just this purpose. The box is 4" wide, 7" tall and 1" thick. Actually, this box is a double-tape movie, so it's two inches wide, but that's not typical, so let's assume Todd Barry was talking about a regular, one-inch thick VHS tape.

So, the footprint of a tape is 1"x4", or 4 inches square. A square foot is equal to 144"², so the tape takes up 1/36th of a square foot.

The Apartment

Rather than depend on the prices on Craigslist, I got the lowdown from New York supercitizen Charlie Todd. He pointed me to the Elliman Report, a monthly survey of Manhattan & Brooklyn Residential Rentals. The Elliman Report reports the average apartment in Manhattan rented for $3,902 per month, and that the average square foot sold for $54.78 per year.

**The Cost of a Tape**

That's all I needed to know. If a square foot of apartment space is $54.78, then a 36th of that is $1.52.
That's the answer. Each 4" x 1" spot in a New York City apartment is worth $1.52 per year.
But what if the tapes were on a shelf, or stacked on top of one another? Good point. That $1.52 buys a 4x1" column from the floor to the ceiling. That's probably around 8 feet, or 96 inches. If you can balance one tape on top of another, or use stacking with thin shelves, you could stack 13 tapes in that height. It's not very realistic, but it is a possibility. This is the critical variable.

**Rent per tape-space**

One tape standing on its edge | $1.52 per year |

Stacked double in a tv stand | 71¢ per year each |

Stacked five-high in a bookshelf | 30¢ per year each |

Floor-to-ceiling tapes | 12¢ each per year |

At $1.52 per year storage fee, the cost to own a library of videotapes in New York City is silly, but not insane. These days, if a movie isn't on Netflix, you can probably get it on Amazon instant watch for $3.

Perhaps the more important lesson is that buying furniture, in this case a floor-to-ceiling shelf, can drastically lower the price of storing your property in an expensive apartment.

While we are at it:

The average cost of the space required for a bed in NYC. And by space required, I mean the actual size of the bed:

Bed Name |
area (in²) |
area (ft²) |
annual cost |

Twin | 2925 in² | 20 ft² | $1,112.72 |

Full | 4050in² | 28 ft² | $1,540.69 |

Queen | 4800in² | 33 ft² | $1,826.00 |

King | 6080in² | 42 ft² | $2,312.93 |