Storing Old Clothes?
Here's How to Protect Them from Damage
Seasonal clothing likely takes up a great deal of your closet space-and more often than not, these items go unused for months at a time. To preserve space for more important things, you might want to put these items into a storage unit, along with your other gear that you rarely use. However, storing clothing long-term requires more than tossing it into a box and dropping it off at a facility. To ensure your clothing comes out looking as good as it came in, use the following guide.
Tips to Prepare Your Clothing
Even if you haven't worn your winter sweater or string bikini for a while, launder these items before you pack them. Any dirt and stains on the clothing will eventually set into the fabric, and you'll have a much more difficult time removing the stains later. Additionally, the odors and oils in dirty clothing may attract insects and other pests. If left unchecked, these vermin may try to nibble through your boxes and eat your clothing. As you wash these items, be careful not to use starch, fabric softener or other strong-smelling agents on your clothing. The chemicals in these substances can also attract pests.
How to Pack Your Clothing
Clothing clean and free from strong smells? Good. You're now ready to pack your clothing.
If you plan to hang some of your items, opt for plastic or wooden hangers that will adequately hold their weight. Wire or metal hangers can warp the shape of your shirts and coats over time. And, depending on the humidity of your storage unit, they may also rust and stain your clothing. Place these items in a wardrobe box, complete with a hanging rod.
If you plan to fold your items, roll them up tightly instead to minimize creases. Do not store your clothing in vacuum-sealed plastic bags, as these bags limit air circulation and trap humidity in with your fabrics. Over time, mould and mildew will start to grow.
And do not store your clothing in cardboard boxes either. Most mice, insects and other pests can nibble their way through the material until they can access your clothes. So instead, place your clothing in a large plastic container lined with acid-free tissue paper and silica packets to absorb moisture.
To keep your clothing smelling fresh, do not pack your wardrobe or your containers with mothballs. Cedar blocks and lavender bags both do a better job at repelling pests without leaving chemical residues behind. And don't forget to label your boxes and containers when you've finished packing. A label allows you to quickly find specific items without having to unpack and repack every box. You may also wish to include the date you placed the box in storage, as well as any other useful facts about the contents of the container.
Where to Store Your Clothing
Now that you've prepped and packed your clothes, you're ready to place them into storage. If you've followed the guide so far, your clothes should stay relatively safe. For best results, you'll want to store your clothing in a dark, cool and dry environment. Temperature fluctuations and sunlight
exposure can damage fur, leather and other fabrics. Ideally, you'll want a unit that will stay between 10 and 26 degrees Celsius year round.
If you plan to store your clothes for over a year or more, take the time to periodically check in on your clothes' condition. With careful monitoring, you should be able to spot any cracks in the containers, insect infestations or mould growth before they severely damage your clothes.
Now that you've learned the proper way to store your clothes, keep checking our blog for more useful tips and techniques.