Storage tips to keep clothes looking like "new"

July 27, 2015

Whether it's because your closet is stuffed with too many things or you're swapping wardrobes for the season, if you're putting clothes into storage it's important that they come out later in good shape. These practical tips will help ensure that happens.

Storage tips to keep clothes looking like

Preparing clothes for storage

Before putting clothes into storage you'll want to take some precautions to help ensure that the next time they emerge, your clothes will look as good as when they went in.

Things to do include:

  • Be sure that the closet or storage area has been dusted or vacuumed thoroughly.
  • Make sure the clothes have been properly cleaned.
  • Line shelves with acid-free paper (available at art supply and framing stores) to help preserve clothing.
  • Wrap the clothing in folds of acid-free paper.
  • Place some mothballs near the clothing, but not touching it, to help deter insects. Cedar wood, available in balls or blocks, also keeps insects at bay and smells much nicer.
  • Wash your hands before handling the clothes you're putting into storage.
  • Store flat antique clothing or fabrics and garments that have sentimental value. They should also be wrapped in acid-free paper and placed somewhere dark and dry.

Special instructions for delicate fabrics

Certain items and types of material benefit from a little extra care before being put away. Here's how to prepare and store special garments.

Professional cold storage is best for fur; but if stored at home, a fur should be hung on a well-padded hanger in a moisture-free garment bag.

Wash and iron linen before storing. Roll rather than fold whenever possible to avoid creases.

Brush or clean wool clothing and wrap the garments in acid-free paper.

  • Use mothballs, cedar blocks or cedar balls, or place garments in a cedar chest.

Hats with feathers
Store in hat boxes with plenty of breathing room.

Wedding dresses and long gowns
Hang wedding dresses or long gowns on well-padded hangers in moisture-free garment bags.

  • Long trains can be attached to the top of the hanger with stitched-on ribbon.

Wrap silk items in acid-free paper.

  • Place extra paper in folds to protect the delicate fabric.

Store quilts as flat as possible.

  • Wrap quilts in acid-free paper, fold and store. Refold them often to avoid creases.

Wrap velvet garments or items in acid-free paper and roll them loosely in the direction of the pile to avoid creases.

Since our clothes spend more time in the closet or wardrobe than on our backs, it's important to keep them stored properly. That way, your favourite pieces of clothing will always be ready when you need them, whether for a special occasion or a change of seasons.

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