Clothing is one of the most common items put into storage units by households. Clothing can take up a lot of space in a house, but the majority of people don’t need thick coats in the summer, or floral shirts in the winter. Putting clothing into storage can be an easy way to free up some space at home. However, if you want your clothes to come out looking as good as they went in, it pays to take some precautions.
Consider what needs to be stored
When you’re choosing what to put into the self-storage unit, don’t just throw everything in. It’s far too easy to put items you haven’t worn in years into storage rather than getting rid of them. If it’s been in your wardrobe for years without seeing any use, what are the chances that an item will be worn once it goes into storage?
Consider whether you’re likely to bring an item out of storage again to wear when you’re putting it in. Of course, some items have sentimental value. For other items, though, if you aren’t going to wear it then consider selling or donating. The fewer ‘surplus’ items you put into storage, the more space you have for the things that matter.
An often-missed step is to make a list of everything that you’re putting into storage. It may take some time, but cataloguing everything at the start will make your life easy later on when you want to check if you put an item into storage or not.
How you prepare the clothes for storage is just as important as how you eventually pack them. The slightest mark can end up in a stain when left for months in a storage unit, so give everything a wash before it goes into storage. Even clothes that are clean - unworn, in the dresser or wardrobe - should be given a wash as they can still pick up dust and organic material. Washing also removes any odours on clothes which may otherwise affect the other clothes in storage.
Second, make sure everything is completely dry. Moisture can lead to mould or mildew which will ruin clothes in storage.
Clothes should be packed according to their material and nature, so there isn’t a blanket rule here. In general, suits, dresses, blouses, shirts, and other easily wrinkled items should be hung. Most others, including t-shirts, trousers, and anything stretchy, should be folded. Jumpers in particular should be folded, as their weight on the hanger can cause the shoulders to deform.
For long term storage, rolling up items rather than folding them in the traditional way is usually the better option. Not only do they take up less space, but the lack of sharp folds should mean they don’t come out as creased. Plastic storage containers are the best choice to put these items in, protecting them from the elements and pests without being completely airtight. Vacuum-packing cotton items is an option if space is limited, but this can cause items to degrade over the long-term as they do not have circulating air.
Along with the clothes, put some pest repellent in each box. Traditional mothballs can leave clothes with an odour and easily stain items, so natural repellents are a better option. Cedar chips or lavender pouches will keep moths away just as well while leaving your clothes smelling pleasant. The only thing to note is that these may need to be replaced if you’re storing clothes for a long time.
Choosing a unit
Do you need a climate-controlled unit for clothes? Clothing is not as delicate as artwork, so a climate-controlled unit is not always necessary. If you’re just putting ordinary clothes away for a season, then you’ll probably be fine without temperature control.
However, certain clothes do require climate control. Fur, leather, and wool all require a stable temperature that is best achieved with a controlled unit. If the clothing is exceptionally valuable or is being stored for a long time, then a climate-controlled unit is also a good idea.
Following these tips can result in your clothes staying in top condition for future use.