How to Store Clothes for Later Use

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how to store clothes with care

Smart tips on how to store clothes that you don’t regularly use so you can still wear them comfortably when it’s time to put them out again!

Winter coats, vintage clothing, costumes, formal gowns, baby clothes – what do they have in common?

You do not get to use them all year round!

Instead of letting them occupy a permanent space in your closet that will remain untouched for months, why not store them somewhere else and just retrieve them when you need them?

This way, you will have more space for clothes that you do use all the time!

But storing your clothes is not just about placing them in a box. When it comes to storing your clothing, you need to know how to do it properly to make sure that your clothes do not get damaged while they are being kept away.

So here is a list of tricks and tips on how to store clothes!

How should you prepare your clothes for storage?

1. Clean your clothes.

clean your clothes before storing

You must wash and iron (if needed) your clothes before you store them.

An untreated stain on clothing that will be stored for a while can cause bigger problems later on – the stain will just set in and can even discolor the fabric.

Unwashed clothes also have the lingering scent of perfumes, cologne, and body odors. These can attract insects and vermin, which have the potential to destroy your clothes.

Take note also that your clothes must be completely dry before you store them. Airflow is unlikely in storage and storing damp clothes can cause mildew and mold.

2. Do necessary repairs.

repair first before storing clothes

After cleaning your clothes, you should check if some of them need repairs. It could be a broken zipper or a missing button.

Investing a little time to fix them before storage means they can be good to wear when you need them again.

You will be grateful you did this when the time comes that you need to retrieve a clothing at the last minute.

3. Make an inventory.

Make an inventory of your clothes before storing.

I understand that this seems like extra work but you will be thankful later on when you need to retrieve something.

Believe me, it is so easy to forget what clothing you stored.

For instance, if you are saving baby clothes so you can save money with the hand-me-downs when you have another one in the future, you will already know what you have in storage. This will prevent you from buying clothes that you already have.

So it won’t hurt to make a list of the clothing items you stored, and on which container. Also, label the container. This will help you retrieve a certain clothing easily.

What containers should you use to store clothes?

1. Cardboard boxes

cardboard box for storing clothes

Cardboard boxes are great if you are storing your clothes for a short time, like a few weeks to two months. They are very accessible plus they are cheaper than other clothing organizers.

The downside is that cardboard boxes do fall apart in time and they can get damp when in contact with liquid and moisture. They can easily be destroyed by vermin too.

So if you’re using a cardboard box to store clothes, just make sure these boxes are lined with white sheets or a quilt batting to ensure that your clothes will have a layer of protection.

If you can afford it, acid-free boxes are the better choice for long-term storage.

2. Plastic bins

The best containers for storing clothes are clean and large plastic bins or tubs.

They usually have secure lids that can keep dust away from your clothes. The lids are very helpful in keeping your clothes dry so that there are no chances for mold and mildew.

When packing, do not overstuff your container because this may cause wrinkling that may be tough to remove. Leaving a bit of space will allow air to circulate.

Here’s a set of 6 plastic storage bins that you can purchase from Amazon.

You can also try this fabric clothes organizer, if you prefer it than plastic.

Visit this page for more storage bin options.

3. Dry cleaning bags

If you have your clothes dry cleaned before you store them, you have to make sure that they are completely dry.

I know it already is named “dry cleaning” and although water is not being used in the cleaning process, liquid solvents are still there.

Those liquid solvents can trap moisture in the dry cleaning bag. This can cause mildew and yellowish stains.

So if you need to use dry cleaning bags because you need to hang your clothes, get the breathable garment bags instead of the plastic ones from dry cleaning.

Here’s a pack of 10 breathable garment bags from Amazon.

And here’s another with a different material.

See more choices in this page.

4. Vacuum storage bags

Using vacuum storage bags is a good idea because it can give you room for more storage space. However, it’s only good when you use it with the right type of clothing – like those made of cotton, spandex and polyester.

It can cause damage to other clothes – especially those made from natural fibers. Clothes made out of natural fibers need air circulation and vacuum sealing eliminates that.

Clothing items that you should not vacuum seal onclude winter coats and jackets and other bulky clothing items. They may not be able to return to their original form.

Vacuum sealing can also add permanent creases and wrinkles to your clothes. So take extra caution when storing clothes this way – only use this method on the right types of cloth materials.

Here’s a vacuum storage bag from Amazon.

Visit this page for more options.

5. Clothing racks

Some clothes need to be hanged to make sure their shape and form are maintained.

For clothing racks, just make sure you cover the rack in breathable fabric such as linen or cotton covers. Do not use wire or metallic hangers – they may rust through time and place stains on your clothes.

For storage, it is best to use padded, wooden, or plastic hangers.

Here’s a clothes rack from Amazon.

Also, more clothes rack options can be found in this page.

Where should you store your clothes?

Where you store your clothing is also a major factor in storage. So here are some things to consider when deciding where is the best place to store your clothes.

1. Climate control

You should store your clothes in a room that has a controlled and consistent temperature. Cool temperatures are ideal. It should not exceed 23°C.

You should also avoid storing your clothes in the attic because it is more prone to heat and moisture.

2. Dryness matters

When it comes to storage, dryness matters. This is why your damp basement may not be an ideal place for clothes storage.

Dampness encourages the growth of mold and mildew and you definitely do not want them on your clothes.

3. Darkness

It is advisable to store your clothes in a dark room or somewhere that does not get direct sunlight or be exposed to bright lights.

This is to ensure that the colors of your clothing will not fade away.

4. Rent a storage unit.

If you do not have storage space in your home or a room that is fit for storage conditions, you always have the option to rent out a local storage unit.

These facilities know what kind of conditions are needed for storage so you do not have to worry about the place.

How should you store specific clothing materials?

1. Linen

Clothes made out of linen should be rolled to avoid creases. If you need to fold them, you have to make sure that you retrieve them once in a while to refold to avoid permanent creases in the material.

2. Silk

Silk clothing should always be stored flat. Pad them with white tissue and cover with white muslin.

3. Knitted items

Knitted clothes are delicate. When you have to store them, it is better to fold them than to have them hanging for months. Hanging knitted clothes for a long time will stretch them and lose their shape.

4. Rayon

Rayon clothing should be stored flat. If you do not have space, you can hang them. Just like silk, pad it with white tissue and cover it with clean, white muslin.

5. Fur and wool

Fur and wool are most susceptible to moth damage. Make sure they are cleaned thoroughly and that you wrap them in white tissue. The fur is best stored in a dark and cold place.

6. Leather and suede

Clothing made of leather and suede should be stored in a well-ventilated and cool room. You should cover them with clean white muslin too.

Take note that supple leather clothing should be laid out flat so it does not lose form and should be padded with white tissue.

How should you maintain your clothes during storage?

1. Use desiccants.

When you store your clothes, use chemical desiccants like silica gel or calcium chloride. This will help absorb moisture.

Take note, however, that these desiccants should NOT touch the clothes.

2. Check regularly.

No matter where you store your clothes, it is important that you check on them regularly. This way, if there is an issue, you can deal with it right away before the damage becomes too great.

As long as you refold or rewash your clothes at least once a year, with the proper way of storage, your clothes can last a lifetime.

3. Use non-toxic moth repellents.

People have been using mothballs in their storage without knowing that these are filled with chemicals and pesticides that can be toxic for pets and humans. In fact, it is discouraged to touch them with your bare hands. There is also the problem of their smell sticking to your clothes.

So if you’re thinking of using mothballs, I suggest you get the natural non-toxic (non-chemical) kind. These may be more expensive than the usual mothballs but it sure is a healthier option.

One good example is this non-toxic herbal moth repellent from Amazon.

4. Use cedar.

Cedar blocks, chips, or oil are also great moth repellents and a definitely better alternative to mothballs! They can help deter moths and other insects and they will not leave a smell on your clothes.

All you have to do is line the storage area (like a closet) with cedar, or insert a cedar ring in a hanger, or place a few cedar balls in bins where you’re keeping your clothes.

Here is a set of cedar fresh clothes protector from Amazon.

Look for more cedar options in this page.

Store your clothes with care.

Proper storage will extend the lifespan of your clothes and make them ready to wear if you need them again.

Just handle your clothing with care. As you know, one storage mistake can be costly.

With these tips in mind, you will surely be able to preserve your clothes and retrieve them still in good condition!

Storing clothes has a cost.

If you won’t exercise proper care on storing your clothes, a good clothing can be put to waste.

So better store only the clothes that you will really wear, or in case of kids and baby clothes, those that you will really pass on to the next kid in your home.

If clothing storage will take a lot of your time, and you don’t want to exert the effort necessary to keep your clothes safe, then it is best to just sell or donate these clothes. You can then simply stick with the ones that you regularly wear.

Hence, before you jump into storage, declutter your clothes first, and determine which ones truly deserve the space, and the extra time and effort to keep them in good condition.

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