Are you struggling with more clothes than wardrobe space? Are unneeded winter coats or summer swimsuits taking up essential space? Using some long-term clothing storage is a great solution. If you’re going to go down this route, it’s important to do it properly. It can be tempting to just shove clothes in the back of your wardrobe – but this isn’t exactly conducive to keeping your clothes in good condition. Over time, they’ll only get damaged, and you’ll be left kicking yourself.
Follow the steps set out in this comprehensive guide from ANVSJ. We cover how to get the most out of storage, how to keep your clothes fresh, and more.
What clothes should I put in storage?
Storing clothes long term is perfect for any excess wardrobe that you want to keep but don’t have space for. Whether it’s off-season clothes such as winter coats or skiwear, items that you’re selling second-hand online, or sentimental items, such as children’s clothes, taking them out of your day-to-day wardrobe will help you free up space and stay organised.
10 steps to storing clothing long term
1. Sort through your wardrobe
Take this opportunity to sort through your entire wardrobe. And let’s face it – this is probably overdue. It may be time-consuming, but combing through your clothing collection, and picking out items you don’t need any more, is the best place to start.
It’s worth spending this time doing this at the start of the process, to avoid finishing putting things into storage, and realising that you missed something out after putting your boxes away.
There may be some things that you want to get rid of completely. Items that are in good condition can be donated to charity, or to a friend. Or, if you’re not sure if you’re ready to part with something, but you’re also not wearing it regularly – it can go into the storage pile.
2. Take an inventory of what you’re putting into storage
Taking inventory is important, especially when using external storage facilities. You want to make sure that you have a record of what’s going in your storage containers for a few reasons. Firstly, so that you can get a reminder of what’s in there. Especially when your belongings are in there for the long haul – it can be hard to remember the specifics of what’s in there and what isn’t.
Additionally, an inventory is used to account for everything you’ve put in the storage unit so that you can prove it was stored there in the case of an insurance claim. Of course, accidents warranting an insurance claim are the worst-case scenario – but it’s still important to insure against them.
3. Wash and dry clothing properly before storing
Since they’ll be in an enclosed space for long periods of time, it’s the best way to protect your clothes against any unpleasant developments such as mould, mildew and bad smells. Additionally, clothing stains become harder to remove over time, so it’s better to get any spots or specks out before they get boxed up. Additionally, dirt and debris on clothes can attract bugs such as moths. Washing will help keep everything pest free.
Make sure to dry clothes properly after you wash them to keep them smelling fresh, and prevent any damp build-up.
Although you might think that ironing is a good option prior to storage, it’s actually unnecessary. And, if you’re storing clothes in boxes, you may actually end up creating some long-lasting creases by ironing before storing them. Instead, we recommend ironing after you take clothes, like shirts, out of storage again.
4. Clean and Polish boots and shoes
Just like the rest of your clothes, cleaning your shoes before storage is another essential. Dust and dirt left on shoes may cause discolouration and stains during storage.
So – taking the time to clean and polish them before packing them away, will prevent permanent damage. And, they’ll also be ready to wear straight away, the next time you get them out of storage.
5. Collect your accessories together
If you have lots of accessories you’re not going to use for the time being, resist the temptation to chuck them in any old box. Things like jewellery may have their own boxes for safekeeping, but if you have stray necklaces, rings, hair clips, etc, we recommend using a small bag or box to keep them in. This will stop you from losing, or breaking, anything precious.
Equally, you may want to collect other items together like belts and hats so that it’s easier to find them at the end of your storage rental.
6. Choose the right storage containers
The containers that you use for storing your clothes are also important. There’s no point in carefully preparing your clothes if the box or bag you put them in won’t protect them well. There are different receptacles that you can use for storage, aside from the standard box.
The best option for clothes that can go on a hanger, is a ‘wardrobe box’. Yes – you can get a wardrobe in a box! Cardboard boxes with an inbuilt clothes rail are the perfect way to keep shirts and dresses in perfect condition. No folding is required – and they double up as a place to store the hangers as well.
Or, you might prefer plain old boxes. In terms of plastic vs cardboard – it’s best to store clothing in cardboard boxes wherever possible because they’re breathable. Plastic on the other hand can trap moisture, and lead to mould and mildew growth.
Reused cardboard is also an eco-friendly choice. Especially if you have some lying around already – it’s good to reuse and recycle them wherever possible. And you can fit a lot of neatly folded clothes in a well-organised box.
Vacuum-packed bags can also be a good option if you’re trying to store a high volume of clothes in a smaller space. Items like padded jackets won’t necessarily experience any detriment in vacuum-packed bags. However, you may find that more delicate materials such as satin, or linen will come out of storage with lots of creases. Generally, this is rectifiable – but it’s something to take into consideration.
Regardless of what storage receptacle you choose – make sure you have enough to comfortably fit all your items inside. Over packing boxes or over filling bags will only lead to breakages that damage your stuff further down the line.
7. Take care when packing
All your careful preparation goes to waste if you don’t pack properly. Make sure any smaller bags or boxes for accessories are safely secured so that nothing spills out in transit. It’s also important to make sure that nothing accidentally gets put in storage by mistake, so that you save yourself the stress of having to unpack clothes from storage just to find it.
Laying your prepared clothes out into piles, and packing them into designated, labelled boxes – is the best way to keep organised when packing. You might think that you’ll remember what’s in each box without proper labels – but it’s likely that you won’t. Label now, to make your life easier, later.
If you want to take extra care, you can spray your clothing with an insect repellant, or throw in some moth balls to keep those insects at bay,
Make sure you seal all your boxes properly so that you know that you’re the only person that’s opened them. Taping things up securely also keeps dust and any potential pests out. It’s the final step in keeping your clothes safe throughout storage, so don’t give up at the final hurdle!
8. Picking a storage location that’s convenient for you
Take some time to consider your options in terms of where you store your clothing. First things first – if you do have a loft or other extra storage space, you can store your clothes at home and save yourself the journey. But, if you’re tight on space, then a self-storage facility is the best route forward.
Choose a reliable facility that’s close to home – so that it’s easy to access whenever you need to. It’s also a good idea to check in on your belongings from time to time during long storage contracts.
Long-term clothing storage from ANVSJ
If you’re based in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire or Derbyshire – ANVSJ is a great affordable storage solution in your area. We proudly offer high-quality, secure sites for prices that undercut the big names in self-storage. So, you can store clothes for longer, for lower prices when you store with us.
All of our sites provide:
- 24/7 access to accommodate all schedules
- Lowest prices in the country for storage located on a major A road or motorway.
- Secure perimeters with state-of-the-art CCTV and alarm systems.
Enquire today, to get a quote for your storage needs.
Storing clothing long-term doesn’t have to be a hassle. By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your clothes looking and smelling fresh for years to come. Remember to clean everything before storing, use the proper storage containers, keep clothing in a cool, dry place, use natural repellents to deter insects, and check on your clothing regularly. Do your research to find a local storage facility that’s secure, and offers reasonable prices, so that you get peace of mind without breaking the bank.
With these simple steps, you can ensure that your clothes are well-protected and ready to wear whenever you’re ready to bring them home. And, you’ll free up valuable storage space in the meantime. Enjoy your streamlined home!