It’s that time of year when summer will quickly be a distant memory, the leaves will soon turn brown and fall from the trees and winter is just around the corner.
It’s also the time we need to organise our wardrobes and store away our summer clothes and dig out the warm sweaters, coats and scarves for the winter months ahead. Although this can seem like a daunting task, especially if we have too many clothes, taking the time to store your clothes safely will pay dividends in the long run as you will prevent moth holes, discoloration and even mold. Before you begin thinking about storage it really is a good time for a general prune where anything you haven’t worn for a long time, 6/12 months is a good rule of thumb, or which is damaged, stained or the wrong size is found a new home. Then you can really see the wood from the trees and spend the time putting your most prized pieces safely away until the next season.
If you have a large amount of clothes to put away, you may want to consider a labeling system- to keep an inventory of what you have, including the condition and size. Then it’s time to start packing bearing in mind some items will need to be hung, some folded: sadly, there is no cure all solution.
To guide you, we thought offering some top tips on how to store clothing might come in handy:
- Wash or dry clean the items before storing - one of the fundamental mistakes you can make is to store clothes away without washing them first. Moths and bacteria thrive on food crumbs and even the smell of perfume, so it is vital that everything is washed prior to storing
- Ensure they are dry - an obvious one we know but even the slightest amount of moisture can become trapped and can stain your clothes yellow
- Don’t iron clothes before you store them - ironing causes the fibres to become brittle and liable to tearing
- Don’t store clothes in paper or cardboard boxes - they are not waterproof and, in some cases, can attract pests such as moths which like to feed on the glue
- Use acid free tissue paper for special items - lay clothing as flat as possible to avoid wrinkle damage and layer with acid free tissue paper for maximum protection
Other key points to consider are:
- Plastic boxes offer good protection, however they do not need to be airtight for some items such as natural fibers, including wool, cashmeres and silks, as they need to breathe
- Vacuum bags are brilliant as not only are they waterproof, they reduce the size of bulky items allowing more items to be stored and they ensure the items are pest and dirt proof too. However, not all fabrics can be stored this way, natural fibres such as wool need to breathe
- Choose a storage place wisely. It should be off the floor, cool, damp free and away from direct sunlight
- If using hanging storage avoid wire hangers which can leave marks indented on your clothes and make sure there is enough room to allow necessary air flow. Padded, plastic or wooden hangers are an ideal choice
- You could also consider specialist storage services for very fine and precious items