How to Store Clothes Long-Term

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There are a multitude of reasons why you might want to store clothes longer-term. Maybe your wardrobe is bursting at the seams with summer clothes, and we’re heading into winter, or perhaps you have some baby clothes you need to put to one side until your second child comes along?


Space is a valuable commodity in any home, so it’s often best to store these items elsewhere. That’s exactly what you can do at 1st Access Self Storage Peterborough; our five-star-rated storage units provide a safe and secure home for your surplus garments for as long as you need.


Before you bring your clothes to us, though, it’s wise to prepare them thoroughly. We’ve put together a guide to help you get your clothes ready for long-term storage: follow these steps and your garments will thank you!


  • Organise and clean your clothes

Assuming you’ve already decided which clothes you want to keep, start by organising them into categories. It’s up to you how you do this – you could even organise them by colour if you want – just group them in a way which makes sense to you.


These ‘categories’ will be particularly useful when you come to retrieve the clothes from storage, so take your time and think it through.


With that out of the way, it’s now time to prep your clothes. This means washing them and drying them according to the instructions on the label and ensuring the pockets are empty.


If you put your clothes into long-term storage smelling a little questionable or with stains on them, these will only worsen. Likewise, if you don’t dry the garments fully before boxing them up, you could return to them after six months and find them covered in mould. Yuck.


Refrain from ironing your clothes before long-term storage though. Leaving them sharply folded for an extended period of time could weaken the fibres and make them prone to tearing, undoing all your hard work. Provided your clothes are spotlessly clean and bone dry, they should be ready for storage.


  • Choose your containers

This part is crucial. Stay away from cardboard or wooden boxes, as they allow moisture inside and often contain chemicals which could harm your clothes. Vacuum bags are an option for bulkier items, but are a no-go for anything even remotely delicate – they’re best for bedding.


Vacuum bags are also totally airtight, which you’d think would be a good thing – but it isn’t always. Some fabrics, including wool, need a little bit of air moving around them to avoid moisture building up and the fibres becoming damaged.


With that in mind, we’d recommend using lidded plastic boxes to store your clothing. They’re not completely airtight, so natural fibres will be happy, but they provide protection from moisture and pests. They’re even easy and convenient to transport and stack up.


If you have delicate items – like a wedding dress, for example – you can purchase acid-free boxes for ultimate protection and longevity.


  • Prep your containers

If you’re storing your clothes longer-term, it’s a good idea to prep your boxes too. Delicate items should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper, but for general clothes storage a layer of cotton or linen placed between each item will suffice. This gives your garments a little extra protection while allowing them to breathe.


You can add mothballs to your containers, too, but cedar blocks or cedar oil are better options. They’re just as effective, but don’t leave behind an unpleasant odour.


  • Pack carefully

Fold your clothing carefully and ensure each garment is flat and level inside the box. Storing clothes creased or crumpled will do damage in the long-term, so it’s important to get this part right.


Package your clothing in designated boxes according to the categories you came up with earlier; for example, you could have one box for summer dresses, another for jeans and so on.


  • Label everything

Write lists of which items are in each box and tape them to the lid: being as precise as you can here will save you time when you come to retrieve items from storage later on. If you’ve categorised and labelled your clothes correctly, you’ll be able to find specific items with ease.


  • Revisit your clothes

Depending on how long you intend to store your clothes for, it’s a good idea to check on them every now and again. Every six to twelve months, pay them a visit and re-fold them in different positions; this will prevent damage to fibres and keep them in good condition. The softer you fold your clothes, the better, as sharp creases can harm fabrics if they’re left for too long.


If you have any self-storage-related queries – clothing-related or not – speak to a member of our team today. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions about storing your items long-term.

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