Whether it’s storing seasonal clothes, saving baby outfits for future siblings or just keeping the ‘one day it’ll fit’ wardrobe, your clothing will last longer if you prepare it for storage carefully.
It’s always a good idea to launder your clothes before you store them. Over time dirt and stains will dry and mark clothing, making it harder to remove them later, and food markings may still smell tasty enough to attract rodents and insects.
Leather – on shoes, belts or coats – always appreciates a good polish. Removing mud will help the pores to breath, and some conditioner will keep the leather from drying out and cracking. You can get leather care from shoe shops – or even tack shops – but make sure you consider the colour of the leather and get the appropriate treatment, as you don’t want it to stain or darken with age.
Make sure your shoes are dry before you store them – remove insoles or place them on a radiator before packing away, as the insoles can absorb a lot of moisture.
If possible, it’s best not to stack them too deeply, as they will squash and become misshapen over time. Stuffing shoes with paper can help them to retain their shape.
Once everything is clean and dry, you’ll want to start packing it away. But, what’s the best way to store your clothes?
Generally, fabrics need to breath. There are plenty of vacuum bags on the market, and these certainly work as space saving devices. But they don’t help care for your clothes long term, as they squash them into the smallest possible space and suck out every last bit of air.
Hanging clothes would certainly give them plenty of air. But over time your clothes will become misshapen and stretched. It’s best to fold everything carefully and place into boxes, but without squashing so much in the lid won’t close.
A strong plastic box with a lid is perfect for storing clothes. It’s safe from rodents and dust, unlike cardboard boxes. Plus, plastic boxes are sturdy enough to stack high, without fear of them collapsing and squashing the ones underneath.
Clothes placed into a damp shed will not last well. When you unpack them you’ll no doubt find mildew and the fabric will have a musty odour. However, attics and basements can also damage fibre with changes in temperatures from hot to cold.
The ideal place for storing clothes is somewhere out of direct sunlight, and with a controlled temperature, such as a self-storage unit. Not only can you manage the space to avoid ramming clothes in too tight, you can be sure your storage unit is insect, rodent and damp free.
You no doubt have a lot of accessories to store as well. Hats, belts, scarves, winter coats or summer shorts – the point of storage is so you can find them when you need them. So, make sure you clearly label every box with a description of what’s inside. There’s nothing worse than having to hunt through every carefully packed box for one item.
If you are placing items in storage long term, it’s still a good idea to check on them periodically – particularly if you have chosen to place them in a shed or basement. That way if there are any problems you can pick up on them immediately.