Officially my first post on BGG!
1. I love sleeving most of my standard board game cards, but sometimes they take up soooo much extra space. Now, having Talisman, 4 of its expansions and no universal storage inserts for the box, I'm wondering if it's worth sleeving any/all of Talisman's cards? I'm trying to think of it from aspects such as storage space and general deck height & stability.
My Talisman (a complete FFG 4E set) is completely sleeved, including the character cards. i generally prefer thick sleeves, but i wouldn't really want them for this game because of the space and stacking problems. With thin (a.k.a. "penny") sleeves, Talisman still stores easily, as we'll demonstrate in answering your next question...
2. On the topic of box inserts, are there any recommended inserts or separate storage unitels for Talisman and any number of its expansions? I've only ever bought Broken Token inserts and they're wonderful, but sadly they have no products for Talisman. I hate resorting to rubberbanding just for the sake of keeping the cards from scattering around the box.
Don't use rubber bands - those will likely bend the edges of your cards at some point. Here's a card trivial card storage solution using stuff you already have:
That is one of the big-box expansions (i think it's the Highlands) with the included inlay flipped over and couple "swim lanes" added using spare cardboard. The separators are also spare cardboard. That's all of the small-sized cards for all of the expansions, sleeved using thin sleeves. My characters cards are stored in a separate (much smaller) box.
You can use that approach for a partial set, just fill in any empty space with crunched-up paper or (nicer) kitchen sponges (my local 1-Euro shop carries them in packs of 12 or 16 per Euro, and they're great for taking up slack space in card storage boxes).
My own personal sleeving recommendation (what i use) is docsmagic.de-brand sleeves:
They also make thick sleeves, which cost exactly twice as much but still cost only a fraction of FFG-brand sleeves:
They have a fantastic price and are of high quality (i've used literally tens of thousands of that brand of sleeve over the past 3 years, starting (incidentally) with Talisman). The shipping costs are not bad if you're in Europe, but it would surprise me greatly if there's not an equivalent "FFG clone" brand in the States (it's not clear which region you're in).
FWIW, i don't recommend Mayday brand sleeves unless you've got no other alternative - i've had no end of grief with those, primarily due to inconsistent sleeve sizes.
The company smiling-monster.com has Talisman character card sleeves (they also work perfectly for Eldritch Horror characters), but their site is currently down for maintenance, so i can't provide a link. (When they're back online, a search for "talisman" should find the sleeves.)
"The stack height problem" is quite real with Talisman, whether using sleeves or not. To work around that i made, using cardboard/cardstock i had laying around the house, holders like these:
PS: i "really would", just for the sake of pedanticness, like to re-sleeve my Talisman with thick sleeves, but (A) it would require expanding the storage solution to include two boxes and (B) the idea of re-sleeving 1400+ cards isn't all that appealing. Also, the Adventure Card deck would likely be a meter tall.