This time of year, many of my clients are jetting off overseas for a few months at a time and leaving many of their gorgeous clothes in storage. The scary part about storing your clothing for a long period of time is that you could come home to find your clothes are mouldy, rust, moth or cockroach eaten and even discoloured. A horrible thought, I know.
So this week I wanted to outline the precautions you can take to ensure your wardrobe is kept safe and clean while away. This is best suited for those who are leaving for 3 months to a year and are putting clothing into self-storage, shipping containers or garages.
The last thing you probably feel like doing before jumping on a plane is ensuring everything you put into storage and the storage area itself is clean. This is so important though and can be the difference between permanently damaged clothing and clothes that only need a wash when you get home.
Wash every item of clothing you plan to store and fold like colours together after drying. Ensure that any plastic containers, cupboards or the space you’re using for storage is clean and dry.
Ditch The Plastic
If you use a dry cleaner, you probably have an abundance of thin wire hangers and plastic garment bags. These need to go. Plastic bags can create moisture and wire hangers are bad for the shape of your clothing, especially during long term storage. If you have these garment bags to protect special items such as formal wear, store these in acid-free boxes, lined with cotton. This will ensure your sentimental pieces like wedding dresses/formal wear/ family heirlooms are protected.
Products like Damprid and even our kitchens old favourite, bi-carb soda are both great moisture absorbents. Try to keep in mind that Damprid should be replaced every 6 months as a minimum as it can overfill. I use Damprid in my own wardrobe and replace mine every 4-6 months.
Refrain From Vacuum Sealing In The Long-Term
If you’re only away for a few months and aren’t storing your clothes in your wardrobe because someone else may be staying at your house, or you’re renting – vacuum sealing is an okay option. I’m on the fence about this as it’s not the best for your clothing, but if space is an issue and you’re away for 3 months maximum – it will do the trick and keep your clothing moth and mould free. This is not a long term solution, remember that fabric fibres need air around them to keep their structure, sucking all the air out of their environment compresses and flattens the fibres. If you store your clothing like this for too long, expect to wait months for your clothing to start sitting the same way it did before you wore it.
Stock Up On Cedar
I love cedar, it’s my secret weapon and it doesn’t make your clothing smell dreadful. Mothballs, designed to keep critters away, can make your clothes reek. Cedar balls and blocks will be far better and you’ll get extra brownie points if you use cedar hangers for anything being hung up.
Check Up On Your Goods
If you’re travelling and can’t get back to your stored clothing to check on them, see if you can have a friend check on your items. Checking on them at least once every six months means that you can take extra measures with moisture prevention and it means that if there are any extreme weather conditions arising like a heat wave, heavy rain or snow, that your clothes can be checked on to ensure their protection.
Say No To Cardboard Boxes
Cardboard boxes are favourites of cockroaches, mice and rats. Instead, store your folded clothing in airtight plastic containers, lined with cotton. Place a cedar block on top of your clothing and place the lid on top, ensuring it’s on tight.
Have you had to store your clothes for a year or a long period of time? Are you planning to do it in the near future? Let me know in the comments below!