Storing clothes: what do I need to do first?
As one season comes to an end many of us take the clothes we have been wearing, out of our wardrobe and replace them with clothing better suited for the future weather. After all, there’s no point filling the space with large cosy knit jumpers and fur-lined coats you wore in winter when you are going to be wearing shorts and t-shirts once summer rolls around, right?
You might decide to move these items into a box at the bottom of your wardrobe, a suitcase in the loft or a chest of drawers in the spare room. But, when it comes to getting your seasonal clothes back out again, you might notice they are smelling a little bit stale – nothing a little airing can’t get rid of but what if you are planning on storing your clothing for more than a couple of months?
If you are heading off travelling or decluttering your home and plan to move some of your clothing into a storage unit for a long period of time, then there are a few things you should do first. This will ensure that whether you need the storage unit for six month or two years, your clothes will be in the same condition they were in the day you packed them away.
Read on for our guide on how to store clothes long-term:
Throw, donate and sell
There is no point storing clothing that you no longer need or want, so before you pack it away for the foreseeable future consider whether you could save the space and perhaps even pass it on to someone who would wear it.
The t-shirt that is starting to smell and the jacket that still has the red wine stain you have been unable to get out, should go straight in the bin. The clothing you haven’t worn for well over a year can be donated to charity and those items that are perfectly good but a couple of sizes too big or small for you, can be sold.
The first thing you should do with the clothing that you are going to store is wash it. They may have had a wash since you last wore them, but if they have already sat in the wardrobe for a few weeks or even months since, then it is best to freshen them up. Plus, if you leave stains or faint smells, these will only get worse over time.
This could mean putting them through the washing machine or taking them down to the dry cleaner, depending on the type of clothing.
You could iron them, but after being stored they will probably need ironing again – so you could probably save yourself the time and effort and do this as and when you retrieve them.
If you are storing shoes and boots, then don’t forget that these need cleaning up too. Wash away any dirt and give them a polish. You might also want to fill them with tissue paper or plastic bags to help them keep their shape.
Check your clothing for any damage, because it is better to fix it up now as you are packing it away – so you don’t have to worry when you get it back. This could simply mean sewing on a missing button or stitching up holes – of course, if the item is damaged beyond repair this should have already gone in the bin!
How are you going to store it?
You might pack some of your other belongings into cardboard boxes, but you don’t want to do this with your clothing. Although the storage containers are of course safe and secure, you just want to make sure that you don’t risk creatures finding their way in and nibbling their way through your favourite top and likewise you want to ensure that your clothes remain dry and free from mould and mildew.
Vacuum bags are great, particularly for bulky items of clothing – however, keeping items such as wool and silk in plastic bags can damage them over time. Alternatively, you might want to use plastic boxes – you can even get plastic coverings for clothes rail if you have items that need to be hung up.
Pack with care
Pack your items carefully and you will avoid damaging them – start by putting heavier items at the bottom, with lighter clothing piled on top. Don’t overfill your boxes, if you stuff as many clothes in as you can then these might end up losing their shape and may be harder to iron when you retrieve them.
Find a storage unit close to home and you will be able to access your clothing almost as easily as if it were in your loft or spare room! We have a range of sizes available to suit all needs.