How to properly prepare clothes for Storage
How many of us still separate our summer and winter wardrobes? This is something which used to be common place but perhaps has fallen out of favour in more modern times where our houses and work places are more effectively temperature controlled and clothes are often worn year round. There are always items however which will be languishing at the back of the wardrobe or at the bottom of a drawer in their off season. We don’t have much use for a heavy winter coat in July or lightweight linen in December. To solve the problem of overcrowding, storing clothes off season can be a good plan. This also applies to other textile items like winter weight duvets or bedcovers.
If you are considering storing textile items, it is important to make sure that you prepare properly so that your items are in good shape when you want to get them out again.
Many of us lack the storage space in our homes to pack things away and as such self storage is often the answer – in some cases this may actually be a better choice as it is likely to be more efficiently temperature and humidity controlled than many of the usual storage areas available at home - lofts and garages in particular often suffer from extremes of temperature.
First things first…
Have a bit of a clear out – it is too easy to hang on to clothes that you haven’t worn in a while, whether because it has had very little wear or it was expensive or you hope to fit back in it one day! Whatever the reason – if you haven’t worn everyday clothes for more than a year, it is pretty unlikely that you will again. Donate good items to charity, if you have items which are stained, broken or just worn out – recycle them.
If you are going to be storing stuff away, you need to give it all a wash or get it dry cleaned and make sure it is bone dry. Replace any missing buttons and make any small repairs that need to be done before you pack things away. If you are tempted to skip this step, just remember a human is host to billions of bacteria on its skin and sheds about 500 million skin cells, and a litre of sweat, every day… I know, that is pretty gross but you don’t want to be storing your clothes away long term covered in all that bacteria – Ew!
Use appropriate storage boxes
Packing your items away in rigid plastic boxes with well fitting lids is probably the best way to store them. This will mean that items inside are not exposed to dampness or humidity whilst stored and they are well protected. It will also keep them safe from mice and insects. They tend to stack well, useful to make efficient use of storage space - and you can see what’s inside!
Don’t overstuff your boxes – allowing a bit of room and airflow will help to keep your items in good shape whilst they are stored and minimise the potential of damage to delicate fabrics. You can get storage boxes which are designed for clothes which need to be hung and these are worth investing in, albeit they tend to be made from cardboard so you may want to consider additional protection in the form of garment covers.
Choose a suitable storage site
Do make sure that the storage you choose is suitable for the purpose – for textiles we would recommend internal storage in a temperature controlled environment. Have a look at our storage guide for more information on storage types and what would be considered most appropriate.
If you follow our tips above, your winter wardrobe will be ready to wear again when the autumn rolls around. Do make sure that you have adequate insurance value to cover the full replacement value of your items – items like winter coats are often used year after year and a new one can be quite an investment so it is worth looking into how much it would actually cost to replace them to make sure you are insuring your things at an appropriate level. Our standard policies all now come with Zero excess so, should you need to make a claim, you will receive the full amount.
To get an idea of the cost of storage insurance – have a look at our free quote system online.