There are many reasons people choose to take their clothes to a storage unit. One reason could be because you’re traveling and don’t want to carry all your clothes, or you’re considering seasonal storage. Either way, a storage unit can make a perfect short-term or long-term home for your clothes, but only if you do it well.
Keeping clothes in a storage unit doesn’t just involve packing them in a suitcase and dumping them there. Remember, you’re dealing with different kinds of clothes, and some need special handling. You might be dealing with winter clothes, baby clothes, or even special work clothes. Before you take them to the storage unit, you must know how to handle them properly. You have to protect them from any damage no matter how long you’re going to store them.
So, how do you keep your clothes safe in your storage unit and minimize damage? Well, the process is nothing close to rocket science. This guide is here to help you out and make your work easy.
1. Start by Cleaning All Your Clothes
Ensure you wash all the clothes you want to store before packing. Storing dirty clothes can lead to building up of stains over time. Cleaning removes the kind of dirt or stain that can become permanent due to long-time storage. Built of dirt can easily and damage the clothes because they get deep into the fibers.
Without cleaning your clothes, you’ll be giving mildew and mold a chance to thrive. Not to mention that you won’t like the foul smell that you get when you retrieve dirty clothes from a storage unit.
Your clothing can turn yellow if you store them with perfumes, oil, lotions, and sweat. If these substances remain in your clothes for a long time, the chemical reactions can result in color change. Washing your clothes also ensures you get rid of food stains and particles that might attract pests into the storage unit. Ensure your clothing can stay fresh and smell nice for long.
Aside from cleaning and removing stains, fix all the holes and replace the zips and buttons that might be missing. This will ensure you store your clothes in good shape. If you can do it by yourself, then do it properly. You can go also iron them to remove creases.
2. Have a Clear Picture of Your Storage Unit
To get a clear storage unit plan, you need to sort out all the clothes you want to store. This will help you know the exact space you need for storing. It will also help you know if you need extra storage equipment such as storage boxes, containers, hangers, and acid-free tissue paper. After sorting out all the clothes, think of how you will pack them and the amount of space they’ll likely occupy.
Sorting out your clothes will help you get the storage unit size that you need. For instance, you’ll need a slightly larger storage unit if you have many thick and heavy clothes. But if you have lighter-linen clothes, then you’ll need a lighter storage size. Knowing the exact kind of space you need for your clothes helps you prepare well.
3. Store in a Cool and Clean Storage Unit
Keep your storage unit cool, clean, and dark before storing your clothes there. Exposing your storage unit to heat can cause damage and dampness to your clothes. Make sure you cool, clean, and darken your store before storing your clothes there. This will protect your clothes from unnecessary damage and dampness.
Also, bright light can fade your fabrics if you don’t watch out. Keep the storage unit as dry as possible but not in a too-bright space. Avoid storing your clothes in the garage or attics because these areas are prone to extreme temperature changes that can damage your clothing. You should opt for a climate-controlled storage unit because of its consistency in humidity and temperature. They provide a perfect for storing your clothing for the long term.
4. Get Rid of Unwanted Items
Getting rid of your unwanted clothes doesn’t mean that you should throw them away or stash them in a trash bin. You can donate or sell the clothes you think you won’t need even after the long-term storage. You don’t need to stick everything away in the storage unit when you don’t need them at all.
Go through your items as you get ready to pack and decide which one to store and which to give away. Why do you need to keep the cloth you haven’t put on for almost a year? Put it aside if you haven’t worn it for that long and don’t even think you’ll wear it again. These can even include all those clothes you’ve outgrown, even when they still look new.
Giving some of your clothes to charity is a good gesture. After all, you won’t make much from selling your secondhand clothes. But if you choose to sell, no one will crucify you for it. There are several yards you can sell your unwanted clothes. You can also use online selling apps and get rid of those clothes you no longer need.
5. Plastic Bins are the Best for Storage
You can choose to use cardboard boxes to store your clothes since they’re more cost-effective, but they’re not good for long-term storage. Both cardboard boxes and plastic bags are capable of exposing your clothes to damage. Plastic bags are prone to trapping moisture which can result in mildew and mold. Don’t be swayed by the appealing look of boxes that have been used to carry food. They might hold bacteria or hide pests inside them.
Cardboard boxes are not suitable for storage because they’re vulnerable to humidity and water damage. Your ideal storage container should be plastic bins. Plastic bins are safe and can shield your clothes from any harmful effects. Clear plastic containers also provide the transparency that makes it easy to see what’s inside.
Avoid over-packing your bins to allow airflow in your clothes. You should choose darker bins to protect your fabrics from fading, especially if you’ll expose your storage unit to light.
6. Prevents Pests from Invading Your Items
Any smell, whether a good scent or a foul odor, is not welcomed in the storage unit. Different kinds of smells attract pests to your storage unit.
The best way you can ensure your storage unit smells excellent and doesn’t attract pests is by using cedar wood chips. They can offer that natural protection to your clothes from moths, musty odors, and mildew. Cedar balls are capable of lasting long enough and offering a lovely fragrance to your clothing. You can buy these cedar chips in porous bags or larger blocks. They’re considered superior options than any chemical treatment.
Avoid using other artificial chemicals because they tend to leak and leaving your clothes with toxic chemicals and stains.
7. Avoid Vacuum Packing
Well, vacuum packing can save a lot of space in your store, but they’re not safe for your clothes. Avoid vacuum packing as much as possible if you don’t want to deal with costly damages. Vacuum packing can make your clothes compress, hence interfering with their shape and fit. Vacuuming quickens your clothing’s deterioration process. The natural fibers need to breathe, and when you suck all the air out of them, you render them worthless.
Look for the best alternative way to pack your clothing. Pack them lightly into bins to avoid suffocation. Ensure you keep the heavy clothing on the bottom of your container. Vacuuming can be very detrimental to your clothes. Vacuum bags can be perfect for short-term storage but not long-term. Don’t put your delicate items in vacuum-sealed bags.
8. Stay Organized by Creating an Inventory System
Staying organized allows you to access your clothes whenever you feel like it. You will not waste a lot of time rampaging through a stuck of clothes before you reach the one you’re looking for. You can only stay organized if you create an inventory system to arrange your storage unit.
Here is how to organize your clothing inventory.
· Color-coordinated inventory
This inventory system ensures you color-code each box in your storage unit. Ensure you link every color to the specific type of clothing. You can divide your clothing according to weather, item type, and family members. This can help you to be specific in your coloring. You can move and keep a sheet to indicate which color to coordinate every item in your storage unit.
The best way to identify your clothing fast in a storage unit is by labeling each box. This can relieve the headache of going through many items before reaching the one you are looking for. Stay organized and specific while packing to avoid taking much time when the unpacking time comes.
· Combined inventory
This is the most extensive option. You can combine both color coordinated inventory and labels to be certain about the whereabouts of your items. You also have to note down all the items in your bin on this list. Some of the things you should list include the item, its brief description, and the clothing size. You can use the spreadsheet to tap in such information. This will save you time since you won’t have to dig through several bins before getting the one you are looking for.
9. Be Mindful of Delicate Items
The best way to take care of your delicate clothing is to invest in a wardrobe box. Instead of mixing your delicate clothing with other usual clothing, consider hanging the delicate ones in a wardrobe box. Also, avoid metal hangers because they are capable of stretching your fabric. Metal hangers are also vulnerable to humid environments. What’s more, they can rip your clothes with their sharp edges.
There are many options of hangers you can invest in, such as wooden or padded hangers. Also, protect your clothing from dust and light by covering your wardrobe boxes with a cotton sheet and not plastic. Make sure you use rust-free hangers in your wardrobe box.
10. Check the Storage Unit Often
Just because you have some clothes in the storage unit doesn’t mean they’re completely safe, and you should forget them. Make sure you pay a visit to your storage unit to refold your clothes. This will prevent your clothes from creases and wrinkles.
Check and ensure the storage unit doesn’t contain pests, dust, water, or stains. Checking also helps you identify water leak that can destroy your clothes. You also need to refold all your clothing differently to prevent your fabric from degrading.
Checking your unit more often can also help because your items can fall off racks. Your cedar balls need to be replaced more frequently. You might also opt to clean the area and allow that extra air to get in. Keeping yourself in contact with the unit can improve your items’ longevity. It’ll ensure they’re safe and protected from any damage.
11. Choose a Climate Controlled Storage Unit
Ensure you choose a storage unit that will offer the best protection to your clothes throughout the storage period. A climate control unit not only protects your clothes from weather changes but also keeps away substances like dust, moisture, mildew, among others, from attacking your clothes.
Different items you are storing require different temperatures. This is especially applicable in delicate and seasonal clothing. Getting a temperature control unit also depends on how long you will keep your things in self-storage. If you store your clothes for an extended period, you’ll never regret investing in a climate control unit. Your items’ longevity and quality will depend on how you managed to control the temperature in your unit.
12. Make Sure You Pack Smart
As you pack, make sure you will be able to find your items easily. Separate your clothes by fabric and season. First, line the bottom of your containers with a cotton sheet before you start packing. You can buy the cotton sheet from a nearby fabric shop. You can also buy some pieces of cotton and cut them into squares. Protect each item in your container by using these cotton sheets.
Put the cotton sheet between each item of your clothes or wrap them using square cotton. This is the perfect way to keep your clothes cleaner long and protect them against pests and foul smells. Make sure you pack the heaviest items first to protect your lighter items from crinkle, damage, or squash.
13. Don’t Store Damaged Items
Make sure to check all your items if they have any damages before storing them. And if you have damaged items, ensure you repair them before storage. This will give you an easy time to retrieve your property since you won’t have to deal with tasks that you left pending when storing your items.
Retrieving a damaged item is quite a hectic experience. If you don’t have the time to do the repairs, you can consider getting rid of the damaged clothes instead. This will even save you that extra space in the storage unit.
14. Don’t Store Unpolished Shoes in Your Unit
Make sure you properly clean all your boots and shoes before storing them. After cleaning, polish them thoroughly and ensure they consume the polish. Keep your shoes separate from your other clothes. Putting them separately will ensure your clothes don’t get stained from the shoe polish. Maintain the original shape of your shoes by stuffing any applicable material inside them.
15. Make Use of the Available Space
Ensure your entire storeroom is tidy by using storage accessories such as cupboards and coat racks. Freeing up much space will keep your house clean. Ensure you keep away unused accessories in your storage unit but only after you have stored your clothes. Note that storing your accessories will also depend on how easy they are to move. If they are heavy, then there is no need to store them together with your clothes. Also, ensure they are clean so that they don’t make your clothes dirty.
16. Choose Line Metal Boxes and Drawers that Have Breathable Fabric
The last thing you would want is to expose your items to damage. And one of the things that can damage your clothes is the sharp edges of your packing boxes. To combat such sharp edges, ensure you use line metal boxes and drawers that contain breathable fabric. This will keep your clothes safe from any accidental ripping. It will also ensure your clothes get enough airflow while in storage.
You should consider the tips above if you want to store and retrieve your clothes easily. Keeping your clothes properly in a storage unit provides you with extra space and peace of mind when you are not using them. You want to ensure you can still wear your clothes comfortably even after a long-term storage period. You ought to do all it takes to ensure they’re safe and in good condition.