Storing clothes and linens in self-storage may seem straightforward compared to items such as furniture and appliances. However, if you’re storing clothes long term it’s very important that you prepare and pack them carefully to maintain their longevity.
Here are the tips you need to follow to ensure your clothing and linens stay in great condition.
1. Wash your clothes
Wash all your clothes and linen even if they seem clean. Dirty clothes can attract mould and mildew. Oil and food remnants, while not always visible, will attract vermin such as cockroaches, mice, and rats. Sweat, anti-perspirant, perfumes, and other chemicals can stain your clothes and linens
After you wash all clothes and linen going into storage, let them dry or iron them and then hang them so that they can air before folding them and packing them away. Dry, well-ventilated clothes are less likely to let mould or mildew build up.
2. Don’t use plastic bags or cardboard boxes
Plastic bags and cardboard boxes may seem like cheap, convenient options to pack your clothes in, but they will not do you any favours. Plastic bags trap moisture and are likely to cause mold and mildew. Cardboard boxes could soak up any moisture coming from the floors. They also do not prevent rats and other pests such as silverfish from getting in.
Choose plastic boxes with a snap-close lid. These will protect your clothes from humidity and pests. Disinfect and dry your plastic containers completely before use.
3. To vacuum seal or not to vacuum seal
There seem to be many pros to vacuum sealing your clothes and linens, namely, to save space and protect your clothes from moisture and vermin. However, the jury is out, and it is actually best not to vacuum seal.
Vacuum sealing your clothes compresses their fibres. This can lead them to become misshapen and lose their longevity. When you pack your clothes it’s best to leave some space between them to let them breathe. Do not overpack your containers and use cotton sheets between them and the clothes. For delicate items such as wedding dresses, use scrunched up butcher paper to give them space.
4. Create an inventory system
Pack your clothes by type and season. Write up an inventory list with the numbers of all the boxes and the detailed contents, e.g. Summer activewear, swimsuits, coats and jumpers, office clothes (suits and shirts). Label the boxes accordingly. Keep an online version of the list such as emailing yourself a spreadsheet or word document in case the paper one gets lost.
Decide which clothes you may need easy access to, these will have to be packed close to the storage entrance. It is also a good idea to have a map of your storage module/unit with the general location of the boxes. E.g. boxes to the front for easy access may be boxes 100-150.
5. Say bye to mothballs, hello to cedar
Do away with mothballs. They smell terrible and can be harmful to children.
Use cedar balls or cedar chips instead to prevent pests such as moths and mouldy smells. Cedar has a very refreshing smell and is a natural alternative to chemical solutions which can leak toxins into your clothes. These toxins can discolour your clothes over time.
6. Clean, cool, dark and dry
When choosing a storage unit or module, it’s best to shop around for a place where the items will be stored in a clean, dark, dry, temperature-controlled environment. Protecting your clothes and linen from dust, humidity, mould, mildew, and light will keep them in a good condition for longer.
Not all warehouses provide these options so it’s best to ask and even visit the place where you will be storing before moving day.
7. Check at least once a year
At least once a year if it’s possible you should visit your storage to check that there are no problems such as leaks or that nothing has fallen over. Checking and preventing a problem snowballing in your unit or module is better than trying to fix it years later. More likely than not you will probably find yourself having no choice but to discard items!