What do you do with clothes that you don’t wear year-round? If you’re like a lot of people, you don’t have enough storage space to keep everything in your apartment or house. You need clothing storage solutions that fit your lifestyle.
At Storage West, our clients often ask us if their clothes will be safe in a storage unit. The short answer is yes. If you want to keep them in good condition, it takes careful preparation, but generally, clothing storage in a unit is safer than in many areas of the home. Here’s what you need to know.
Five Steps to Successful Clothing Storage Solutions
- Choose Your Storage Area Carefully
- Clean Your Clothes Before Storing Them
- Use the Right Storage Containers
- Add Protection as Needed
- Check on Your Clothing Monthly or Quarterly
Choose Your Storage Area Carefully
Most of us do not have a Hollywood-style closet where we can store all of our clothes. We’ve got to find a way to put up what we don’t need until we need it again. This requires thinking carefully about the spaces in your house where clothing could be stored.
It is inadvisable to store clothing in the attic, basement, or garage of a home. These areas are subject to temperature fluctuations that can harm clothing. This leaves finding a closet within the home where all off-season can be stored. This is a tall order for apartment dwellers and even homeowners. It’s almost impossible for families where parents need to store their own clothing as well as that of their children.
Another option is a self-storage unit. This has many advantages. The off-season clothing is stored in such a way that no one will disturb it until it’s time to switch for the next season. This ensures that nothing is disturbed by other family members or roommates who perhaps don’t respect boundaries or simply don’t know the value of the boxes piled high in a closet. A sizing guide helps you get just the amount of space you need without too much extra.
When your clothes are consolidated in a storage unit, it is actually easier to check on them regularly. You won’t disturb the household by hauling out boxes. Every month you can simply go box to box and check on the clothing most special to you. Since you will probably use your storage unit for more than clothes, it won’t even require a special trip.
Clean Your Clothes Before Storing Them
It’s definitely best to clean your clothes before storing them. Storing clothes that aren’t clean can cause issues because:
- Dirt, sweat, bacteria, and other organic substances on your clothing may attract pests.
- Natural fibers such as cotton and silk are already attractive to pests, so it’s important to clean them thoroughly.
- Left unwashed, sweat and bacteria can damage fabric and render your clothing unwearable.
When you clean your clothing, do not apply starch or anything else that might be attractive to pests. (Spray starch often uses rice as a base.) Simply clean them and move on to the next step.
Use the Appropriate Storage Containers
You have lots of options when deciding on which containers to use to store your clothing. You could get some free boxes from a store, but those may be a bad deal, even if they don’t cost you anything. Here are some pointers to help you out.
- Cotton, wool, and other natural fibers should be stored in pest-proof boxes to protect them.
- If you live in a humid climate, make sure that your clothes are ventilated to prevent moisture from accumulating and allowing mildew to grow.
- Avoid using vacuum-sealed bags – they can trap moisture and allow mold and mildew to thrive.
- Avoid free boxes for storing clothes. Rodents and insects can get into them. Plus, they may not be as clean as they appear.
Picking the right containers will protect your clothing and keep it in good condition while it’s in storage.
Add Protection as Needed
Choosing the right containers is only a good clothing storage solution if you take a few extra precautions.
First, consider placing silica packets in with your clothing if you live in a humid climate. They’ll absorb moisture and keep your clothes dry and free of mildew.
Second, consider storing natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, and wool with cedar blocks. Cedar is a natural alternative to mothballs. Keep in mind that cedar’s effectiveness will reduce over time, so you should be prepared to replace the blocks if you intend to store your clothing for an extended period.
Third, put scented dryer sheets in amongst your clothing. Over time, they will release their scent and reduce the chances that your clothing will get musty.
Tips to Keep Your Clothing Safe in Storage
Once you’ve secured the right storage containers, here are some tips to help you keep your clothing safe.
- The ideal storage unit for clothing is cool and dry. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to bring a dehumidifier in to keep your clothing free of moisture.
- Label all storage containers clearly. We recommend including the number of items in each container along with the date that you put them in storage. You should also include descriptors (summer shorts, winter sweaters, etc.) to help you find your clothing when you need it.
- If you plan to store your clothes for a long time, it’s a good idea to check them regularly to make sure that everything is dry and in good condition. Checking is also a good opportunity to refresh your silica packets and cedar blocks if necessary.
Storing clothing in a storage space is a good way to protect it and free up closet space in your home. The key is to properly prepare your clothing before you store it.
Need a safe place to store your clothes? Click here to learn how Storage West can help!