In our business we often see the results of incorrect home storage procedures. There is no great mystery surrounding safe and effective storage but we thought we’d offer some home storage tips below.
If you have the space, and take just a few simple precautions, you can protect your valuable investment season after season.
As Steve Boorstein (aka “The Clothing Doctor”) points out in his book The Ultimate Guide to Shopping & Caring for Clothing, “Insects do not distinguish between moderate and wildly expensive clothing; they just munch.”
So here are a few simple suggestions that will help to improve your odds at successful home storage of your off season wardrobe:
1. Clean your clothes before storing them.
Clearly, the single most important precaution is to clean all your clothes before you put them away for the season. It may be hard to take this advice seriously from a drycleaner, who may appear to have a bias, but this fact is one of the more universally accepted notions in the fashion world. Even those who erroneously maintain that cleaning is bad for clothes (in fact cleaning is good for most clothes – it is bad cleaning that is bad for clothes) recommend cleaning your clothes once a year.
2. Choose an appropriate area for storage.
It should be:
- Well Ventilated
- Free of excessive moisture or humidity
- Free of large temperature fluctuations
- Free from direct sunlight or artificial light
- Free from dust
3. Don’t mix cleaned and uncleaned.
Never allow clothes that have not been cleaned to be stored in the same area with your cleaned garments – regardless of how little they have been worn.
4. Make the right choice between hanging and folded.
It is very simple to make the proper determination as to how the garment should spend its time in hibernation. Sturdy tight weaves do just fine on a hanger, and require very little maintenance when it is time to reactivate them. Most knits, especially the looser and thinner ones, should be folded (using an acid free tissue to soften the folds) to prevent distortion of the shape.
5. Remove all plastic bags from your clothing.
The plastic bags that Clean Clothes Dry Cleaners and others use to cover your clothing is intended as a short term protective measure. By not allowing the fabric to breathe, these bags can trap heat and humidity and contribute to the oxidization of stains, and general discoloration of fabrics. To protect the garments from having dust settle on them, simply throw a cotton sheet or large towel over the top of the pipe or rack to protect the fabrics from dust – while allowing them to breathe.
6. Avoid attics and basements.
This is a general rule, and while there may be exceptions, in most instances these areas do not have the same level of temperature and humidity control as the main living areas of the home.
7. Consider installing a cedar closet.
If you indeed have the space to dedicate to off season garment storage, converting the space to a cedar closet can be very helpful. Cedar has long been considered an ideal storage environment in the fight to stave off insect damage. While there are no guarantees, a well sealed, and periodically renewed cedar closet is a wonderful asset when it comes to home storage.