Learn the best way to store clothes and how to get them ready for long term storage to increase their longevity.
If you want to avoid mistakes that will cost you time, money and unnecessary stress, follow these simple steps on the best way to store clothes. By properly cleaning, packing and storing your clothes you will increase their longevity and you’ll be able to find them in the same condition you stored them.
If you can’t follow all these steps when storing your clothes, try to follow as many of them as you can. The better your clothes are stored, the longer they will last. These clothing storage tips will work for wherever you decide to store your clothes, whether you’re storing them in a storage unit, in the loft, under the bed or in a garage. Naturally, some options are better than others!
Storing out of season clothes
Even though in the UK we can experience all four seasons in a single day, most of us could divide our wardrobes into spring/summer and autumn/winter clothes. When you’re wearing the summer clothes your winter wardrobe can become buried deep at the back of the wardrobe, horribly creased, maybe damaged and even totally forgotten! And of course, vice versa when wearing your winter clothes, your summer ones can suffer the same fate.
The answer to the issue of an overcrowded and ill-used wardrobe is, of course, to store the items you are not using.
Here are some top tips for storing clothes when you don’t need them:
1. Take an inventory of your wardrobe
Knowing what clothing you are storing to will make the storage process easier. If you ever need to find an item, you’ll know where to look and how it has been stored. Your clothing inventory should include:
- The name of the article of clothing
- Where the item is stored
2. Discard or donate clothes
If you haven’t worn something for a year, you probably won’t wear it again!
There’s not much point in storing clothes that are in poor condition or that you’re probably never going to wear again. Go through all your clothes and decide which ones you want to store and which ones you want to donate or give away.
Remember – the less stuff you store, the cheaper the storage will be as you will need less space. Be strong! Be ruthless! Only keep what you need and do some good at the same time by making donations.
Once this is done, it’s time for the next step!
3. Wash and dry your clothes properly
It’s really important to wash and dry all the clothes you’re planning on storing thoroughly before you put them into storage, even if they look clean. Whether that is washing them at home, or taking them to by dry cleaned, it’s vital that they are stored once they are clean and completely dry. This will help stop stains and moths!
The good news is there is no need to iron your clothes before you store them as you will only have to do it again when you take them out of storage – and nobody wants to do the ironing more than they have to!
4. Repair any damaged items
Now your clothes have all been washed and dried, if you notice any missing buttons or holes, now is a good time to carry out any repairs – remember ‘a stitch in time saves nine’!
Doing these fixes now will mean all your items in storage will be good to go and ready to wear when you take them out again.
5. Polish your shoes
Storing shoes and boots can be difficult as they can lose their shape easily when put in a bag or box. The key is giving them a good polish before putting them into storage to protect them and so they are ready to use when you take them out again. Try to keep them completely separate from any clothes and to put some old newspaper inside them (or shoe trees if you have them) so they keep their shape.
6. Give your clothes some space
Acid-free clear boxes like the ones pictured above are the best storage option if you can afford them. This is because they are stackable and you can easily see what’s in them. It’s also better to store clothes in plastic rather than wood, paper or cardboard boxes. This is because cardboard and wood contain chemicals that can transfer on to clothes and damage them. The boxes may also become a home for pests attracted to proteins in the glue that holds them together. If you don’t have access to those boxes, you could line cardboard boxes using quilt wadding and white sheets to add a layer of protection between the clothing. If you use plastic boxes make sure they’re not completely airtight, as some clothes (such as wool, silk and other natural fibres) need to breathe.
If you do hang your clothes, here are some other clothing storage tips to remember:
- Choose padded, plastic or wooden hangers for hanging clothes in storage as wire hangers can damage clothing over time.
- Cover clothing racks in breathable fabric like cotton or linen covers. This will help keep out dust and pests but also allow the air to circulate.
- Place cedar blocks or line a storage area with cedar to deter moths. Cedar won’t leave your clothes with the undesirable smell of mothballs.
We don’t really recommend vacuum packing your clothes for long periods, but if you do decide to use vacuum packing, make sure you don’t use it to store items with natural fibres as materials like wool and silk need to breathe.
7. Label your boxes clearly
This may seem obvious but, if you use cardboard boxes or bags make sure you label them clearly with the contents, so you can find what you are looking for easily when you come back to the storage room to retrieve your things. You will thank yourself for doing this, we promise you!
8. Pack and store your clothes properly
As we have already said, there is no point in ironing your clothes before putting them into storage but you should still pack your clothes with care.
Another top tip is to roll your clothes instead of laying them flat. This has the dual benefit of keeping creases out of them and getting more into a bag or box.
Remember to put the heavier items at the bottom of the bag or box and lighter, more delicate items at the top.
Don’t over-fill your boxes or bags – remember to give your things some space to keep them in good condition.
9. Pick a cool, dry place to store clothing
Where you store your clothes is arguably more important than how you store your clothes. No matter how clean your clothes are, if you store them in a musty basement, your clothes could very likely become musty. Temperature is also important. The temperature in attics can fluctuate in heat throughout the year and excess heat can break down clothing fibres.
When picking a place to store clothes for an extended period, find a place that is dry, dark and maintains a cool temperature. It’s also important to have good air circulation and no direct sunlight.
Air quality in the storage area is important. If the area smells or is damp, this will be absorbed by the clothes as they should not be stored in airtight boxes, since fabrics require circulating air for longevity. Airtight containers would work for clothing that will only be in storage for a short time.
Finally, make sure your clothes are stored somewhere you can access them easily. There is nothing worse than needing an item of clothing and having to travel miles to go and get it!
At 3D Space we are here to help with how to store clothes – give us a call or contact us – we are here to help!
Some FAQs on storing clothes
How do you store your clothes without them smelling?
It’s important to make sure all the clothes are properly washed and dried before they get stored away.
Is it OK to store clothes in plastic containers?
Yes, it’s actually preferable to cardboard or wood, but if your clothes are made of natural fibres (like wool or silk), make sure the containers are not airtight as natural fibres need air.
How do you store clothes so they don’t get mouldy?
It’s important to make sure all the clothes are properly dry as well as clean before they get stored away, and don’t store them in a damp location. The storage area should be dry, dark and cool.
Does vacuum sealing clothes ruin them?
It won’t ruin them for the short term, but if you need to store something for long we don’t recommend vacuum sealing.
Should I fold or hang clothes?
Folding or rolling puts less stress on the materials. If you hang them, make sure not to use wire hangers.