You may never have a reason to put a stamp collection or a boat into storage, but there’s a good chance you’ll store clothing at some point in your life. While clothing storage may seem straightforward if you’ve ever packed for a trip, there’s probably room for you to improve your technique. Find out what the experts suggest for keeping your threads in excellent shape.
Be Selective Before You Store
One of the biggest mistakes people make is putting too many clothes in storage, said Dorothy Breininger, professional organizer, speaker and author of Stuff Your Face or Face Your Stuff.
Start by considering why you need storage. Maybe you’re packing up a child’s clothes for hand-me-downs later or you’re putting away your coats and sweaters during the warm months. But storage becomes problematic when you use it to avoid choosing which clothes to get rid of and which clothes to keep.
“A delayed decision creates more difficulty down the road,” Breininger pointed out. So sort and purge any unwanted clothes before you turn to storage.
Pressed for time? It can be tempting to do a quick sniff test, stuff your clothes into into a bin and call it a day. But if you want your clothes to remain undamaged, you need to thoroughly launder it all before packing it away.
“Any stains left in storage will darken and be more difficult to remove,” said Susan Simon, US brand manager of the international children’s clothing brand Neck & Neck.
Not only that, but the smells from your unlaundered clothes can attract bugs, added Breininger.
Keep Track of Your Storage Locations
The whole point of storing things and being organized is being able to find what you need when you need it,” said Breininger.
So if you have more than one storage location, create a master document listing what clothing items are in which room, area or storage unit. Then label each bin or clothing rack with a list of all the items inside. With a system like this in place, you’ll be able to easily locate your favorite scarf without unpacking a dozen containers.
Keep Moisture and Bugs Out
Protect your clothes by packing them into plastic bins for long-term storage or cardboard boxes for short-term storage, advised Simon. For clothes that need to be stored hanging up, use a clothing rack with garment bags if space allows.
Place a cedar block inside each container to keep bugs away and give your clothes a fresh scent. Just don’t let the block directly touch your garments.
“You can place it in a sock or new cheese cloth if space is tight,” Simon suggested.
Check on Your Clothes
Even if you follow all these best practices, it’s still necessary to regularly visit your storage area and look for any damage.
When you check on your clothes, Breininger suggested dusting any hanging items with a whisk broom and checking for holes from moths. Spotting damage early on allows you to fix the issue before all your clothing is affected.
“When you don’t check on your clothes, that’s when you find surprises,” Breininger added.