Whether you are storing clothing that’s out of season or setting up long term clothing storage, there are some tips to follow.
- Clean and prepare the clothing for storage. Whether you wash and tumble dry or dry clean its essential to remove any food, tiny flakes of skin, or perspiration (or other liquid stains) from the potential stored clothing. These “food” items will attract hungry insects and ruin your clothes. Remove jewelry and empty all pockets of clothing to be stored to prevent any staining or stretching etc. Once the clothing is set, make sure it is completely dry before storing. Moisture equals mold and mildew.
- Decide where and how you will store your clothes. Any areas with dramatic temperature fluctuations probably aren’t the best places since that can case condensation and moisture (which again, is the enemy of stored clothing). Cotton clothing can be folded (or rolled) and placed in plastic bins or bags, silk and wool clothing need to breathe so they should not be stored in anything air tight for a long term. To be protected from moths these items should be stored in a cedar closet, cedar chest, or other “breathable” receptacle with cedar chips. The cedar naturally repels the adult moths so they don’t invade, lays eggs and infest your stored clothes. If you think there may be moths in an area you are using for storage use moth balls to remove them. If you place the moth balls up high away from the clothes the vapors will drift down and remove the moths. Hanging clothes should be stored on plastic or cedar hangers (no metal), and stored in breathable garment bags. These garments can be stored in a cedar closet or in wardrobe boxes with cedar chips in the bottom if no closet rod is available. Try and keep stored clothing up off the floor for air circulation (unless sealed) and mark containers and bags with as much description as possible. This will make retrieving stored clothing easier.
If you are storing clothing for an extended period of time (like over 2 years) you may want to ask yourself if you really still need the stored clothes. There are many charities that will happily accept your donation, and resale shops that will pay for gently used items. Both of these options will give you a less cluttered home. If you choose to keep the stored clothing follow these tips, and your stored clothing should be fine.