When the seasons change, so does our wardrobe. The sweaters, hats, thermals, coats, and gloves we used to stave off frostbite for the past 3 months are all tossed into the nearest container and hidden out of sight. However if you don’t want any nasty surprises next winter (or even next week when the sun will inevitably decide it’s had enough of the UK) when you drag your winter clobber back out, you should take the time to store everything properly.
Follow these tips to ensure your clothes come back out from their hibernation in the same condition as they went in. A little effort when storing your clothing will make a big difference when it comes time to unpack it again.
Clean everything thoroughly before packing
Cleaning everything before it goes into storage is a great place to start. Ensuring everything is fresh will reduce the chances of decay or insect problems in your clothing, hopefully keeping them in once piece. Now is also the best time to remove any stains that may be on any items of clothing as they will only darken and become harder to remove during storage. Just wash everything according to the manufacturer’s instructions and you should be fine.
Use the right storage
Ensure that whatever you’re using to store your clothing is clean to help avoid staining and insect problems. Cardboard boxes are possibly the worst thing you could use as they are a breeding ground for bugs and bacteria along with the fact that you’re just asking for damp. Trapped moisture is a major issue depending on the storage conditions, so should be avoided at all costs. If you want to go the whole nine yards you can line containers with acid free tissue to ensure the best storage conditions. One of the best and most recommended storage containers is a new, thoroughly cleaned suitcase.
Don’t hang everything
In some circumstances it is best to hang clothes, for example anything with real fur or suits/dresses. Hanging clothes can often take up a lot of space; however there are some interesting clothes hanging solutions. It’s best to ensure that you do not hang sweaters or any other knitted items. This sort of material often becomes misshaped from hanging resulting in many a good sweater being retired as it has become stretched beyond repair. Instead it is wise to fold these items and place them into a suitable container. Stack your folded items with the heaviest at the bottom and lightest on top. You should also stack items loosely to allow air circulation during a long storage.
Clean, Cool, Dark, and Dry
It’s imperative that your storage area is all of the above in order to protect your clothing. You should clean any area thoroughly before storing, choose a place that isn’t exposed to excessive heat and avoid areas near heating sources. Dark places will help to prevent colour fading and keep things cool. Ensuring the storage area is dry will help to prevent mildew and insects, which thrive on wetness.
Check on your storage
Abandoning your clothing into oblivion is often what happens, but regularly checking on your items to ensure no issues arise is important. When you are ready to pull your clothing out of storage you should firstly clean all items before wearing them and inspect your containers to make sure that they are free from cracks, stains, or damage before using them again.
Don’t use vacuum bags
Those as-seen-on-TV plastic bags that are used to remove all the air from your clothing does save a ton of room, but most experts warn against their use as removing the air and preventing consistent air flow through the garments will dry them out. Clothes need to breathe; so proper containers are much better for non-delicate items, just be sure to pack things loosely to maximize air flow.
Pack delicate items separately
Delicate items made from silk, cashmere or anything that you would like to take extra care with should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and placed in 100% cotton-canvas storage bags for the best possible storage conditions.
Suits should be hung, on a quality hanger, in a space where air can circulate easily. You should make sure your suit is aired-out and professionally cleaned before putting it away in a suit bag to prevent dust, pests or other closet debris from getting to it.
Use the tips in this article to safely store all of your off-season clothing. Storing garments properly will aid in keeping all your clothing useable and fresh for when you next need to use them. Take a look at our website for more storage solutions.