FAQ #7: How do you store your cards?

Welcome to June in Hong Kong, so humid that walls paint themselves green with mould and cereal stays crispy for about five seconds in an opened box. So it seems like the right time to chat about how we help postcards survive all this.

If you’re so inclined, see also FAQ #4 about making money. There’s a backhanded reference to storage. It’s useful to do the math: we have more or less turned one spare bedroom into a storage room, and half of that is taken up with cards in plastic bins, organised by reference number so we can find any one item quickly even if it means moving all the bins into the hallway. Now for the math: if we were hypothetically to rent out this room to a lodger (without the cards, of course), we could probably do that for about US$1000+ per month. Yes, it’s true: space (and affordable rent) in Hong Kong are at a premium. Do we sell $1000 worth of cards in a month? No. So the idea is to keep the cards in as good condition as possible, protecting them from humidity and insects, but not to spend a fortune doing it.

The most destructive insect is the silverfish. They love to eat paper: books, files, artwork, postcards … The only commercially available insecticide here that works against silverfish comes in liquid form, so that’s a no-go. Some people recommend boric acid powder. We went to a Home Depot on our last USA trip and found a powder that works well, but alas is also lethal to pets, so we can’t just sprinkle it around the flat, or in the bins. Instead, we have packed the powder in plastic and put it into the bins so that it will affect the insects but not touch the cards. So, you’re safe.

Humidifiers here are useless unless they (A) run 24 hours a day, and (B) the door to the room is never open. That’s not practical. We find that keeping the storage room dark and quiet helps, and the sealed bins resist humidity too.

Finally, we use individual cellophane sleeves for the great majority of cards that will fit in them. This only excludes jumbo ones, but we now always verify the condition of any card you buy before we let you pay.

So that’s how we store the cards, and with that we wish you a happy and trouble-free summer. Until next time …