Keeping clothing in a self-storage unit is a great way to create more closet space. It’s also useful for preserving seldom-used or valuable clothing, like a wedding dress or baby clothes, rather than letting them collect dust. If you’re looking to put some clothing in self-storage, follow these basic steps to ensure your wardrobe remains in pristine condition.
1. Wash your clothes before storing them
Whether it’s for one year or 10, your clothing needs to be clean before being put in storage. Perfumes, perspiration and other contaminants can settle into the fabric and stain, possibly damaging clothing over time. Soiled clothing can also cause foul odors to fill the storage unit and potentially attract insects and other pests. Even if your clothes appear clean, run them through a washing machine or have them dry cleaned before packing them away to be sure.
Don't forget to allow your clean clothes to dry completely before putting them in storage. Wet or slightly damp clothing that’s densely packed in a box or container can lead to mold or mildew growth on the fabric.
2. Take advantage of storage supplies
While the average cardboard box will suffice in most instances, there are a variety of useful storage supplies specifically designed to protect your clothing you should consider acquiring.
Clothes storage bins
Plastic storage containers are especially helpful, as they’re more durable than cardboard and can shield your clothing from dust, moisture and potential pests. Be sure to wipe down the containers and allow them to dry before placing your clothing inside. For added protection, consider lining the container with a cotton sheet.
U-Haul Wardrobe boxes are specifically designed to store clothing on hangers. This is ideal for jackets, dresses and other articles of clothing that cannot be easily folded, or clothes you wish to keep from developing creases. Sizes vary from small to extra large so you will surely find a box that complements your storage needs.
If you’re concerned about moisture or pests damaging your hanging clothes, you can store items in a cotton garment bag before placing them in your Wardrobe box. Folded items can be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper for added protection. Never leave clothes in plastic bags while in storage, as they tend to trap fabric-damaging moisture.
If you live in a humid region, consider adding moisture absorbing silica gel packets and/or cedar balls to your storage containers and throughout the storage unit to keep your belongings dry and to prevent musty aromas from overtaking the space.
3. Choose which clothes to hang and which to fold
Certain types of clothing are better stored folded while others are better hung up. Knowing the difference is crucial to keeping your clothing in the best possible condition while in storage.
Items that should be folded:
- Stretchy clothing
- Denim and khaki pants
Items that should be hung:
- Dress pants
- Wrinkle-prone clothing
4. Opt for climate controlled self-storage
It’s highly recommended you acquire a climate-controlled self-storage unit if you’re storing clothing you want to keep in pristine condition. Not only does this keep your clothing at room temperature, but it also keeps humidity and dust in the storage unit to a minimum.
5. Avoid vacuum-sealing for certain items
Vacuum-sealing clothing in a plastic bag can be helpful, as it creates more space in the storage area, but it’s not recommended for all clothing. Generally, expensive or rare materials, like fur for example, should not be stored in a vacuum-sealed bag, as it can crush the material. Other issues with vacuum-sealing include the possibility of moisture being trapped in the bag and the vacuum-sealing process drying out your clothing over time. You can vacuum seal for temporary storage, but long term storage items should be stored in a container or garment bag.
6. Visit your storage unit often
Storage isn’t a “set it and forget it” project. If you want your clothing to stay in excellent condition while in storage, it’s best to visit your unit every so often and make sure there are no problems with your clothing. The earlier you discover an issue, the earlier you’ll be able to take action to prevent additional problems from occurring.
From storage supplies to climate-controlled self-storage units, U-Haul has everything you need to keep your most treasured clothing safe and secure. Find a self-storage location near you.