People store clothes for many reasons – maybe they are out of season, you don’t wear them anymore, or you want to use them later. Nothing is more frustrating than pulling out clothes that you want to wear only to find them wrinkled, stained, or that pests ate them. Who wants holes in their clothes? There are ways to prevent clothes damage and ensure they are usable for years to come.
If you use the following rules as a guideline, you will be less frustrated storing clothes, whether it is your clothes or clothes your kids outgrew that you’re saving for the next child- and enjoy the clothes for years to come.
1. Always Wash the Clothes Before Storing. Clothes should be either dry cleaned or washed before storing them. While they may look clean, they may have dirt, sweat or stains that can appear over time- especially in a storage box. These dirty areas are the cause of yellow stains that you see when pulling clothes out of storage.
Dirty clothes are more likely to attract pests. Pest like leftover foods or even smells found in clothing. They will eat holes or tear your clothes in a short duration of time.
If you’ve dry cleaned your clothes, remove them from the plastic bag before storage. Not removing the bags traps moisture causing clothes to smell musty over prolonged periods.
Make sure your clothes are completely dry before putting them in storage. Not even a hint of dampness should be on the clothes. Moisture will trap themselves onto the clothes resulting in mould and mildew once they are stored.
To remove mildew, brush off as much of it as you can outside. You do not want to spread the spores around the house as it can cause health issues.
Decide if chlorine bleach is okay to use on your fabric. If it is, this is the best scenario since the bleach will kill all the spores. Use the hottest water you can to wash clothes.
If chlorine bleach is not okay, use laundry detergent and bleach on the hottest setting permissible for the fabric to kill off the bacteria. Let it sit for 30 minutes for tough stains.
Ensure the spot is gone before putting it in the dryer as it may set in the stain.
2. Choose the Best Storage Location. There are several areas in the home that are ideal for clothes storage. Choose a place that is dry, cool, and properly ventilated to prevent mould and mildew. Additionally, heat can melt embellishments, damage fibres, and cause stains to set in.
Avoid areas receiving direct sunlight as clothes could fade. Attics are also not ideal for storage due to extreme heat. Avoid basements, too, because they have the potential for flooding.
Any area in your home that is climate-controlled works best. If you don’t have much space, under the bed usually suffices.
3. Use Good, Study Hangers to Hang Clothes for Storage. For clothes meant to be hung, use wide sturdy hangers as opposed to wire. Clothes will retain their shape much easier and will not stretch out.
Clothes should be covered to prevent dust from encountering them. They also act as a deterrent for pests. The best thing to use is zippered fabric garment bags.
4. Find Good Containers for Boxes for Folded Clothes. If your clothes are folded and stored, select the proper container to keep them safe. Avoid cardboard boxes as rodents can chew through them. Also, cardboard contains an acidic substance that can cause discolouration and cannot be properly sealed.
Plastic bins or containers are ideal for packing away folded clothes. They should be breathable and sturdy with a tight lid. They come in many shapes and sizes perfect for your items. Be sure to label your boxes, so you will always know what is inside.
You can also use a clothing inventory form so you know what is in each box and where it is located. This labelling is perfect for children’s clothes. It also allows you to provide detail as to the contents.
For clothing under the bed, select long and shallow containers with good fitting tops. You can also choose older suitcases for storage. It should be something that you don’t need for travel.
5. Deter Any Pets Coming into Contact with the Clothes While Preparing for Storage. The worst invading animals are moths and carpet beetles. They leave holes in the fabric and make them unwearable.
Therefore, laundering them is the most effective way of deterring them. Also, purchasing plastic containers with tight-fitting lids offers extra protection from pests.
For months, you can use cedar blocks or balls in the container with the clothes. Cedar oil works too, but you need to smell the cedar for it to work.
The blocks may require periodic sanding to release the scent, and they have can cause stains. Loosely wrap the cedar blocks in old sheets or rags to prevent staining.
Best Storage Ideas
There are several things you can use to store items. Which one you use will depend on the location you store them in and what you are storing.
Best for Storing Inside (Clothes)
Lifewit Large Capacity Clothes Storage bag is stackable and comes equipped with handles for easy lifting. It has a large window which enables you to see directly inside. They can be placed one on top of each other or lain consecutively side by side. It promotes good ventilation and has a sturdy zipper.
GoMaihe Underbed Storage is a large capacity organizer made from high quality, breathable, dust-proof, moisture-proof, and water-resistant non-woven fabric. Clothes will be odourless for extended periods. It has a transparent PVC cover on the top and durable handles.
Sometimes, it’s hard to find room for all your shoes! Omygarden makes a sturdy under the bed organizer, especially for shoes. The box has adjustable dividers with a clear window. It comes with a zipper and handles for portability.
This box fits twelve parts of shoes comfortably.
The sides contain a built-in plastic board that is thicker than most. It allows the box to retain its shape. There is a movable bottom place to keep clothes flat and provide good support for heavier items.
The material is Cationic (mix of flax and polymer of oxford), making it durable, strong, and breathable. It ensures shoes will not become scratched as well.
There are two ways you can store purses indoors. The LXTaoler Hanging Handbag organizer has extra room for all your purses, big or small. It houses up to six purses comfortably, has a see-through window, and hangs neatly in your closet. It prevents bags from getting squashed and dirty.
The downside is that the ends are open, which may allow dust to enter.
The other method is the Gcroet Handbag Storage system made of an anti-dust bag that fits directly over the purse with a handle. The material is PVC plastic which is good quality and durable.
It comes in a five-piece set, is breathable and moisture-proof.
While it is easy to find your favorite purse, they don’t save much space. They are also not designed for climate-controlled garages as they will probably melt.
If you want to store your clothes on a shelf, Strata makes a great product that has a large capacity, is waterproof, and has a relatively flat lid making it stackable.
It has wheels on the bottom for portability, and the latches create an air-tight seal preventing unwanted animals from entering the box.
Likewise, Really Useful makes a 64-litre storage box out of durable plastic. It is made from recycled materials with a clock lock handle keeping contents secure. They stack easily to save space.
Niviy makes a garment cover that extends 39 inches long. While it is not suitable for dresses, it will cover most jackets and tops. It is mothproof and comes in six easy to view pieces.
Made from PEVA material, it is durable and lightweight. It breathes easily and is odourless. It prevents dust from entering in, insects, pet hair, and mildew. Clothes will retain their shape, the colour will not fade, and they will be kept clean.
Bags can be easily hand washed or wiped clean. They do not lose their shape after being cleaned. When not in use, they easily fold up into a small size.
There are many options available for storing clothes. Make sure that whatever you select works for your area. It needs to be workable for space
Additionally, lids should be tight and need to click into place when closed to prevent animals from entering or the lid accidentally falling off. Containers must be breathable, dust-proof, and not a breeding ground for mould and mildew that can wreck clothing.
There are many options available to select from. The decision resides with you.