If you are going to be putting some clothing into a storage unit, whether for a month or several years, it is important to take the time to prepare, pack and store that clothing properly. Without the proper precautions, you could end up with nothing more than a pile of smelly or moth-ridden rags when you go to pull your items out of storage. Follow these tips to preserve your wardrobe.
Wash everything first.
Even if you have not worn an item in years and it looks clean, it is a good idea to send it through the wash before you pack it away. If there happen to be any mold spores, bacteria, or insect eggs on the clothing (and you can’t always see these things) time in a storage unit might be all they need to multiply and destroy the clothing. Wash your clothing with a good detergent. Use a second rinse to make sure all detergents are rinsed out, and make sure your clothing is completely dry before you proceed with packing it.
Pack your clothing in plastic totes.
Those big, vacuum-sealed, compression bags might seem like the perfect storage vessels for your clothing, but they have a dirty secret: mold. These bags don’t breathe, so if there is even the tiniest amount of moisture inside them when you seal them, you’ll come back to a bag of moldy clothing a few months later. Some clothing also does not withstand being compressed very well. Cardboard boxes are also a bad idea for storage, since they can become moist and allow access to rodents and other pests.
Packing your clothing in plastic containers with lids is your best bet. These containers keep your clothing dry and pest-free, but they don’t compress it. They also breathe just a little, so mold is not such an issue.
Say “no” to scented sachets and the like.
You might assume that tucking a little potpourri or a scented sachet in with your clothing will keep it smelling nice in storage, but this is not the best idea. With the changes in humidity levels and temperature that occur in storage, these products may end up leeching oils onto your clothing, staining them permanently. If you really want to make sure your clothes emerge smelling fresh, pack a little cloth baggy of baking soda in with them. The baking soda will absorb lingering odors and moisture, and if it gets on your clothes, it will rinse away the first time you wash them.
Condition your leather before storage.
Two bad things can happen to leather shoes, belts, and accessories when in storage. They can get too dry and crack, or they can mold when exposed to too much moisture. The best way to guard against both of these issues is to fully condition your leather before putting it in storage. Follow the instructions on your leather conditioner. Make sure you clean your leather, and then fully massage the conditioner into your items. Do this a few days before you plan on putting your leather items in storage so the conditioner has a chance to absorb deep into the fibers.
The conditioner will keep the leather from cracking. Plus, when the leather is saturated with the oil-based conditioner, it won’t absorb as much water from the air — and this will prevent it from molding.
Take clothing out of dry cleaner bags.
If you have items that need to be professionally cleaned, they might be hanging in your closet in the bags the dry cleaner sent them back in. These bags need to be removed before you put the clothing in storage. Otherwise, they might yellow and cause discoloration of your clothing. They could also trap moist air near your clothing, perpetuating mold growth. If you want to add an extra layer of protection to certain clothes, you can cover them in plain, acid-free, white tissue paper.
By following the tips above, you can increase the chance of your clothing emerging from self-storage in good shape. If you have any additional concerns, speak with the staff at the storage facility like North Star Mini Storage. They deal with people storing items of all varieties and can offer you spot-on advice that’s applicable to your unique situation.