Staying Fashionable! Packing Clothes for Long Term Storage

packing clothes for long term storage

Preparing and storing your clothing for long-term storage is relatively straightforward. Nonetheless, it is important that you follow the correct steps to help keep your clothing looking its best for as long as possible. Below we outline the most important steps to take:

1. Create an Inventory of Your Clothing

If you do not create an inventory of all your clothing, it’s more likely that you’ll forget some of the items you put in storage. Moreover, you may be tempted to repurchase more items you don’t need. Accordingly, creating an inventory is a good way to save money and reuse clothing and avoid unnecessary purchases. With any inventory, make sure you include the following:

  • The name of the specific article and a description of the item that includes its size.
  • The location of where the item is stored.

2. Clean and Prepare Your Clothing

It’s critically important that you wash and carefully dry your clothing before placing it in long-term storage. This will reduce the chances of mold and mildew developing. Follow the guidelines on the label of the clothing. A clothing steamer can be useful for freshening up any garments that have a musty smell. For clothing that cannot be washed, vacuum it on a low suction setting, placing a screen in between the vacuum and the clothing to remove any loose dust. If you are donating or selling items, make sure to clean these garments beforehand.

3. Store Your Clothing in a Cool and Dry Space

Where you store your clothing is equally, if not more important, than the methods you use for storage. It is key that the place you store your clothing is cool, dry, and dark. In addition, it should maintain a decent airflow and avoid direct sunlight. Keep the following in mind when choosing a location to store your garments:

  • Avoid Light. The area should not have ultraviolet light. Don’t store the boxes on the ground and choose opaque storage containers as opposed to transparent storage holders.
  • Avoid Airtight Containers. Clothing needs circulating air in order to last longer, which is why airtight containers are to be avoided, particularly for long-term storage. Proper air circulation will also reduce the chances of clothing absorbing smells and dampness.
  • Avoid Hot Spaces Like Attics. High temperatures can break down the fibers of clothing. Storing clothing in attics may sound like a good idea but temperatures change throughout the year. Heat travels upwards so some of that can transfer to your attic.

4. Use Acid-Free Boxes to Pack Your Clothing

Acid-free archival boxes provide a good solution for preserving your clothing for longer. If these are not an option for you, another option is to use cardboard or wooden boxes, lined with quilt batting and white sheets, which will provide a buffer and some protection for the clothing.

Additional Clothes Storage Tips

  • Shun Wire Hangers. Wire hangers can cause damage to clothing over long periods. Instead opt for plastic, wooden, or padded hangers for hanging items in storage.
  • Use a Breathable Fabric to Cover Clothing Racks. If you want to reduce dust and insects while also maintaining proper air flow, it is good to use cotton or linen covers.
  • Use Cedar and Cedar Oil to Deter Moths. Instead of using mothballs, consider using cedar blocks to keep away moths. Cedar has the advantage of not producing a lingering unpleasant smell, which mothballs can do.
  • Do Not Crease Your Clothing. It’s important to minimize the amount of hard folds and creases with your clothing. Place your items in a storage box in a way to reduce these types of lines.
  • Protect Clothing by Separating It with Acid-Free Tissue Paper. Use acid-free tissue paper to separate articles of clothing, which will still allow these items to breath and more easily than they would with plastic storage containers.
  • Fold Your Clothing Differently Once a Year. This will reduce the chances of creases setting and degradations to the fabric.