I used to collect stamps when I was a child. My mother gave me her old stamps as a starter, and I organized them in a very nice album which I had gotten as a birthday present. I loved sorting through piles of stamps and dividing them by country and size. I also subscribed to this Junior Philatelic magazine released by USPS (from what I can tell they don’t still have it anymore). I remember I was allowed to get the Celebrate the Century series, and waiting for the next decade’s stamp sheet to arrive. Each decade also came with a comic book where you could stick in the individual stamps (a big no no to a “serious” collector like myself). Did anybody else collect this series?
My stamp collection is long gone now; my mother donated it some time ago since I had fallen out of the habit. Little did I know I would revive my interest in snail mail and stamps, and that using stamps to decorate mail art –or mail art itself!–would be a thing. I don’t plan on collecting again, but I have amassed a modest Korean stamp collection solely for sending my postcards. And after having to dump them out of a little baggy every time and sort through them to mix and match my way to 430 KRW (overseas postcard) or 350 KRW (domestic postcard), I finally found the perfect “album” to organize them.
Muji has a lovely assortment of albums and file folders, and I was going to get a business card folder for organizing my stamps. BUT then I found this old membership card wallet I had gotten for free years ago (back when people carried membership cards!) that was just the right size for my needs. I made two extra pockets from the vinyl sleeves that protect postcards to accommodate my current collection and voila! A thrifty, repurposed, portable and practical stamp album for when you need to send a note on the go. I love it so much I made a gif:
It’s so much easier now to find the right value stamp when I’m about to send a card, and I’ve taken to carrying it around as well. I’ve whipped it out at the post office to reference when I’m checking for any new stamps, and I like to think the post office employees enjoy seeing it too. (Old philatelic habits die hard). But I do need to cool off as I have more than enough to send cards for the time being, and the snail mail/crafts category in my budget has imploded this month.
I’m a bit of a hoarder by nature, but also very organized, so this little album sort of marries those parts of me with my refound love of snail mail. Anyway, I’m glad I repurposed something I had lying around instead of buying a new piece of plastic. It’s easy to justify Muji or Daiso purchases because they’re usually inexpensive (and in Muji’s case, so well designed), but in addition to saving money, I want to try harder to curb unnecessary consumption. My recent creative, crafting and snail mailing phase has brought me much joy, but every so often a little guilty thought of “what about the environment?” does pop into my head. I’ll find the right balance eventually, and in the meantime I’ll try to get creative with my materials as well, continuing to repurpose and upcycle whenever I can.
P.S. I thought all the stamps from my past were long gone, but I found a treasure trove of unsorted stamps in an old letter box the other day. 1000 stamps for me to look through and organize–it’s Christmas in March!!
P.P.S. It’s my One Year WordPress Anniversary! I started this blog to share my love of children’s books and to practice writing more. I had no idea the direction this space would take, but I’m happy I’m blogging and sharing more.