Do you consider the details when it comes to the storage of your sports cards and memorabilia?
We probably all have a closet or a card room we frequent often, but there may be nooks and crannies we don’t check often — sometimes for months in a row. That’s Buzz, and Buzz got a surprise this weekend with the discovery of some discolored carpet in the bottom of a closet — it was from moisture and that’s bad for a collector because those white storage boxes are thirsty. They love dry and dark environments — but they love to drink up every drop of water they can find.
Thankfully, there was absolutely no damage done here — except damage to one stressed-out collector — because the details about storage were thought about long ago. Some strategies when it comes to storage saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars in this case.
Location, location, location. Where do you store your cards or memorabilia? Are they away from rooms with plumbing? Are they away from exterior walls? Ideally, they should be. Why? Moisture is your enemy. Moisture is also where pests (bugs) can be if you end up having a problem — they’re just as thirsty as your white cardboard boxes are and they might love the taste of cardboard or other materials. And, remember, water can come from above … or below. Windows? Happy collectibles that can make you happiest are away from direct sunlight.
What’s Buzz’s secret weapon in all this? Sterilite storage tubs. They’re not thirsty at all. When the baseboard and carpet of Buzz’s closet was found to have evidence of past dampness — water from outside or below somehow got into the area — these tubs (above) were a life-saver. While a handful of cardboard boxes with bubble-wrapped framed items inside slowly soaked up moisture over time and had the look and smell to prove it, these tubs kept everything foreign at bay.
Far from every card or item in Buzz’s collection ends up in a storage tub. Just the better items. Why? Buzz had something similar happen a long time ago in a college apartment that had a slow leak between walls that never presented itself at all until a week-long rain barrage resulted in wet carpet. That’s when an unfortunate discovery was made. Back then, just some stacks of potentially collectible sports and music magazines were lost — but a lesson was learned.
Enter the storage tub.
What goes inside them? Memorabilia. (Buzz isn’t big on displaying pieces.) White storage boxes filled with key cards and collections. Even albums sometimes. (When they get too unruly or inconvenient to store — or too annoying to empty out — they can easily be stacked flat inside a tub.) Jerseys and other fabric items should be stored this way, too. It only takes one or two hungry bugs to destroy an item — and it may not take them long if they’re around with nobody to notice them.
Are the tubs (with lids, of course) too much when it comes to storage? Some might think so, but consider that water from above — a leaky roof or pipe — will have no problem quenching the thirst of your box lids. And, if there’s too much moisture, remember that all those top-loaders and magnetics you might keep inside all have openings that moisture could get into unless you bagged every single one. (Buzz doesn’t have the time or funds for that.) Tubs, with their snap-on lids, just aren’t thirsty. (They aren’t waterproof but you’d have to have some serious precipitation to end up with problems inside them.)
For white storage boxes that don’t make it to tub life, they get stacked — but never directly on the floor. They’re always on a shelf or wood left over from shelving (thanks past movers who like to break stuff) just to be safe. They’re not 100-percent safe, but they’re also not cards that would result in catastrophic losses if damaged.
A few other nuggets … If you collect game-used bats but can’t afford to tube every single one, consider more of the boxes or tubes that they were mailed in. They won’t stop moisture, but their shapes allow for easier storage than the bats alone while also preventing damage from them clanging around one another. If you like things orderly, you can even tape the triangle boxes together to create rows or clusters — like a cardboard version of a dugout rack. … Collect signed mini-helmets? This may be obvious, but the plastic packages they come in make for perfect display cases — don’t discard them. Older helmets came in boxes and both styles are easily stacked. Buzz keeps his in tubs but storing them without the packages would be impossible. … For framed items that don’t conveniently fit in tubs or boxes, just stack them standing — but make sure they’re atop something and not on the carpet (you know, the whole moisture from below issue). … For albums, do not store them vertically unless you can ensure the pages won’t lean. While warping isn’t damage per se, laying albums flat will prevent this and any potential mangled cards close to the rings of the binder. … Still feel the need to display an autographed item on the wall? If it’s a flat, get a high-res color printout of the item instead. This way you can see it but don’t run the risk of fading or other damage.
Follow Buzz on Twitter @BlowoutBuzz or send email to BlowoutBuzz@blowoutcards.com.