Jumpers on a shelf

Storage Tips to Help Protect Your Clothes

Putting clothes you’re not wearing into storage is a great way of extending their life, especially if you pack them properly so they stay in good condition until you next want them.

Storing Clothing

Use caution when hanging items. Long term hanging can cause clothing items to lose their shape due to their own weight pulling against the hanger. Use all the hanging loops sewn into clothes to give them support while they’re hanging. Also, avoid wire hangers as these tend to distort clothes. Choose good quality wooden ones instead.

Dry clean winter coats, then hang them inside garment bags to keep them clean and protected.

Avoid hanging knitted or jersey items in the long term. Fold them carefully and store these items flat.

Keep items in storage smelling fresh with cedar blocks or lavender bags.

Storing Boots, Shoes and Handbags

Use clip hangers for boots to keep them off the floor. Keeping the legs of boots open is important to allow for air circulation, and hanging them is as good as standing them on the floor with boot trees, plus hanging saves floor space and looks neater.

If you’re storing boots and shoes for a longer period, clean them thoroughly then polish, and fill the toes with bubble wrap to help them hold their shape. Ideally, keep them in their original boxes, but if you don’t have these you can buy shoe storage boxes to. If you use opaque boxes, identifying what’s inside is easier if you print out a photo of the contents then stick it to the box.

Try not to leave handbags hanging from hooks in the long term. The hooks will eventually damage the straps, and neither are the bags protected from dust. Fill them with bubble wrap to help them hold their shape (leather is prone to creasing that can ruin the look of expensive handbags). Avoid newspaper or tissue to stuff them as tissue can attract moths, and newspaper contains acid (which is why it goes yellow over time). Finally, store bags away from bright light so the sun doesn’t causing fading.

Seasonal Storage for More Space at Home

For most of us, summer and winter clothes tend to stay jumbled up together all year round. A better idea is seasonally rotating clothes. This not only provides more space, it also helps clothes last longer and makes them feel new and fresh again when you unpack them.

Self storage rooms are a great option if you fancy trying clothes rotation. Here’s how to store things safely:

  • Launder or dry clean everything, and iron where necessary, before putting it into storage.
  • Leave room for fabrics to breathe by not packing boxes too tightly.
  • Fold delicate items between layers of acid free tissue.
  • Use wardrobe boxes so you can hang items on good quality hangers and help them retain their original shape.
  • If you’re storing clothing for a long time, avoid vacuum bags as they can compress the fibres and ruin the appearance of clothes. They’re okay for short term use – say for a few weeks.
  • Plastic tubs with lids are great for folded items, but it’s a good idea to line them with folded cotton sheets to keep clothes padded and protected.
  • Treat boots and shoes or bags as you would with storage at home, protecting them from losing shape and cleaning them first. As self storage rooms are naturally dark, you don’t have to worry about sunlight damaging them.
  • Pack similar items together. It makes finding things much easier if all the sweaters in one box, for instance.
  • If you’re storing bed linen, fold matching sets neatly then pop everything into a pillowcase from the set.

With a bit of care and attention there’s no reason why favourite clothes can’t last for several seasons. And for the more expensive pieces, there’s every reason to extend their life as far as possible.

Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage. For more storage tips see their blog