Long-Term Clothing Storage

There are rules when it comes to storing your clothing, whether it is for the seasons’ change, or if you’re keeping hand-me-downs for your children to grow into. Keeping your clothing safe is your main objective no matter the reason for storage. Mold, mildew, pests and heat can all damage your clothing. Mold is musty, mildew can permanently give your clothes a black area or a grey appearance, pests can chew holes and invade your storage areas, and heat can change the colors of dye and accelerate deterioration of elastics. Use these rules of storage to help you make sure that your clothing is as safe as possible.

1) Coats are a special case. Make sure that you look at the directions on the label of each coat before you store it. You want to make sure that the coat is clean. Wool may only need to be brushed, while leathers will need to be conditioned. If you have coats, or any clothing dry cleaned, make sure that you remove it from the plastic bag that you got at the cleaners before you store your clothes. This bag can keep dry cleaning chemicals from escaping and it can damage your clothes.

2) Have you always thought that clothes were supposed to smell musty when you took them out of storage? Well, they’re not! That smell is mold and mildew growing in the fibers of your clothes. Any tiny amount of moisture in the container can cause mold and mildew to flourish. Humidity is the main cause of mustiness in stored clothes. We create humidity in our homes when the temperature changes, when we shower, and even when we breathe. It’s important to store your clothing with something made of red cedar. Cedar absorbs moisture and deodorizes to boot. Don’t try storing clothes with dryer sheets, because the waxes in the sheet can actually damage clothes and it only covers up odors, it doesn’t eliminate them or absorb moisture.

3) Clothes often come out of storage crumpled and misshapen. For some fabrics, this is just too much stress and the garment will never go back to looking nice. You can invest a little in a rolling garment rack. Use cedar wooden hangers to keep suits and coats nice while they’re being stored. Your clothes hangers can make a big difference in how your clothes turn out. The hanger width should match the shoulder width. Curved hangers are great for coats and suits, but casual clothes can be hung on flat, space saving hangers. Carefully store your clothing and your clothes will be ready to wear when you’re ready to wear them.