Moving Essentials: Storing Your Clothes
If you’re facing the prospect of having to put some (or all) of your possessions in storage, it’s important to know that storing clothes isn’t necessarily as simple as it sounds. There are things to consider with storing clothes that don’t affect items like furniture and books, for example. It might sound silly, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to store clothes.
Clothing Storage Problems
There are a number of questions you need to ask yourself when you’re preparing to store your clothes and shoes:
- How long are your clothes and shoes going to be in storage?
- Where are your clothes and shoes going to be stored?
- What type of clothes and shoes are you going to be storing?
Let’s look at each of those questions in more detail.
(a) How Long Will Your Clothes Be in Storage?
If you’re just going to be storing your clothes and shoes for a few weeks while your move is completed, then you have less to worry about than if, for example, you’re storing your stuff for six months or more while you’re abroad.
The longer your clothes and shoes are going to be stored, the more careful you have to be. Long-term clothing storage will need specific preparation to prevent things like mould damage and other damage (such as damage by pests including moths and silverfish).
(b) Where Are you Clothes Going to Be Stored?
There are a variety of places you could possibly store clothes – for example, in a storage facility, in a friend or family member’s attic or basement, or in a garage. The truth is that none of these places is really suitable for storing clothes, except in the short-term, so you’ll need to consider ways to protect them.
(c) What Type of Clothes Are You Going to Be Storing?
Some types of clothes are more hardy to damp, cold and pests than others. The precautions that you take, then, depends on what clothes you’re going to be storing. Wool, for example, should never be stored on hangers, because if you leave wool items on hangers, they’ll quickly stretch out of shape. Instead, they need to be folded and put into airtight bags.
How to Minimise Damage
There’s no way to 100% guarantee your clothes won’t be damaged by damp or pests, but you can take precautions to minimise the risks.
- Wash and air dry your clothes before you store them
- Use mothballs (if you don’t mind the smell)
- Pack tumble dryer sheets in with your clothes to minimise the smells associated with long-term clothes storage
- Use airtight bags (such as vacuum packing bags)
- Ensure that if you’re storing clothes in boxes, the boxes aren’t in direct contact with the ground
- Use plastic rather than cardboard boxes
- Don’t store your clothes in ordinary plastic bags or bin bags – this will quickly lead to mould
Choose Your Storage Space Wisely
If you’re storing your clothes for longer than a few weeks, then you’ll need to think more carefully about where (and how) you store them.
Here’s some guidance:
- Storage Facility: Store clothes for a few weeks and up to a couple of months – but make sure they’re packed in airtight bags or plastic boxes to minimise the effects of cold and damp.
- A Friend’s Attic: You can store clothes for longer periods, with the right preparations. Use plastic boxes, mothballs, tumble dryer sheets and airtight vacuum storage bags to reduce the risks of damage to your clothes.
- Someone’s Garage: Garages are more prone to cold and damp than attics (but slightly less than storage facilities) so they’re okay for storing clothes for a few months. Again, you’ll need to ensure they’re backed in airtight bags and plastic boxes – and make sure the boxes are raised off the ground.