Storage space and expats from cold climes?

We're from New England and are considering a move to HK. We have a lot of winter gear that will get no use in HK. But what about a winter trip to Switzerland or even S. Korea for skiing? Or just back to the US to visit family (two different US cities that will be cold). It seems strange to store our boots, gloves etc for 50+ weeks but what's the alternative? What do most of you do with those uncommonly needed but still needed things?

thanks to all for a great site and board -

Winter gear

Two bits of advice.

First, take along at least some warm clothes to HK! I'm typing right at this moment with vaguely numb fingertips, because I'm freezing. It's not that cold here -- today's high-low temperatures in HK's urban areas are from about 11 to 16 C, i.e. 52-61 F -- but it's been cool-to-cold for quite a few days running, and building interiors are getting really chilly and clammy. I'm wearing a wool sweater, and I'm still cold. You won't need an arctic-weight overcoat in Hong Kong, and obviously not snowboots, but warm jackets and even a decent trenchcoat/raincoat are not out of the question. Which reminds me of something I saw yesterday on my way to church: waiting at the same pedestrian crosswalk were a local couple wearing The North Face quilted down jackets, and two western tourists wearing shorts, T-shirts, and sandals. I found both a bit off the mark, but if someone had forced me to choose one of those get-ups, I'd've taken a down jacket!

Anyway, second, I wouldn't recommend trying to store too much expensive winter clothing or sports equipment here. You may have room to do this in your flat/housing, but if you don't, renting storage space is pricey. And the bigger problem is that your stuff will be vulnerable to getting moldy and deteriorating rapidly while it sits around through the very, very long, hot and wet summers here.

Here's a case in point: I had a pair of nice hiking boots that I wore for several years. They still had lots of good wear left in them. One autumn I took them out of storage and put them on to go out for my first hike of the season. I got as far as my building's lift lobby, when I realized that my feet felt funny -- all squishy and slippery. So I took off my boots to discover that the removable insoles that came with them had essentially melted over the previous summer. My feet looked like they were being devoured by The Thing. I had to toss the whole mess -- socks included -- into the trash and just start over.

If you are planning to make trips like the ones you mention, you might be better off renting the technical stuff you need at your destinations. And as for trips back to the states: we leave some coats/boots at my parents' home in the USA. They stay just fine there in storage, and you don't even need to pack them!


Thanks - its good to know the need for some sweaters, though as a New Englander I'll be the one in shorts for some time. So what's the solution on the hiking boots? I'll certainly be bringing a pair of those with me.

Boots, humidity

There's not much you can do but keep them in the closet and hope for the best! My melting boots were several years old, so they did see lots of good wear.

I noticed you put up another message about humidity and its effects on things. I find books deteriorate very quickly here; if you have valuable or particularly treasured ones, I'm not sure I'd bring them along, frankly. But then we Talls live in a part of HK that's noted for being particularly humid even by local standards, and we don't air condition very extensively, so we get the full effects. 

Start with a dehumidifier

Start with a dehumidifier and a raised bed with underbed storage.

HK apartments tend to have moisture problems year round.

In the summer you'll probably be running either AC or a dehumidifier around the clock. And in the winter, you'll feel right at home. The humidity can be overpowering here and everything feels colder when you and your apartment are coated in it. Bring that winter gear, because you probably won't have central heating either.

Decent HK apartments often have high ceilings and little closet space. So we have a tall bed that hides our suitcases & several boxes, few more boxes tastefully hidden under the sofa, you get the picture.

Hong Kong definitely helps spatial perception - just try to envision how the money tree will fit next to that 500" LCD screen!


Funny, this topic. When we went for a visit to HK during Thanksgiving I could not believe the people wearing winter coats and shawls. It was so warm, we even went swimming in the ocean a couple of times! Then we came after Christmas. Still warm enough to wet our feet and wear short sleeves, but the nights were cooler, and I got a cold refusing to put on more than just a thin sweater. The humidity plays tricks with you. However, it must be something with being used to the climate and feeling cold when the temperature dips below 20 deg. C...

I can't imagine living with all that humidity. I have seen pictures destroyed as the paper gets eaten up, furniture and appliances deteriorate, even door handles. I guess that is why homeowners always renovate their apartments.