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.
At Storage West, our clients often ask us if their clothes will be safe in a storage unit. The short answer is yes – but keeping them in good condition requires careful preparation. Here’s what you need to know.
Clean Your Clothes Before Storing Them
The first step is 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.
Choose the Right Storage Containers
You have lots of options when deciding on which containers to use to store your clothing. 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.
- We don’t recommend cardboard boxes for storing clothes. Instead, stick to plastic containers that are made especially for storing clothing.
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 isn’t the only thing you can do to protect your clothes. There are two more precautions you may want to consider.
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..
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 & tanks, 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.
We know this might sound like a lot but checking your clothing may take only a few minutes and it’s the best way to ensure that it stays in good condition.
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!