Most people have more than one week's worth of clothes, which means most of us need to store our clothes in wardrobes, on shelves, or even in excess storage. And what's stored away is quickly forgotten, buried and creased beyond repair, causing repeat wears or endless purchases of fast fashion. But this isn't overly sustainable or sensible, especially when you consider that all you need to know is how to store clothes properly.
But there is a knack to being neat and tidy when storing your clothes. We've spoken to some experts to learn how to store clothes, both at home and in storage.
1. Keep similar items close together
To store clothes in a tidy fashion, Emma Harrod, founder of EH Lifestyling, suggests storing related items in the same place. "The most basic rule is to hang clothes in the same category side by side, dividing your space into a jacket section, a suit section, a dress section and so on. It will make it much easier and quicker to get dressed when you're in a hurry and when it comes to putting items away, you'll know exactly where they belong. Everything should have a designated spot. Keeping your space tidy then becomes second nature. You can do it effortlessly, even when you come home tired from work, and this gives you more time to enjoy life."
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2. Hang from left to right
Emma also suggests arranging your clothes so that they rise to the right, so you can see everything you've got in your cupboard. To do so, she says to "hang longer items on the left side and shorter items on the right. Opt for velvet, notched shoulder hangers, and they'll prevent your clothes from slipping and creasing. They're also excellent space-savers."
3. Fold (or roll) your clothes
Emma says that folding rather than hanging clothes will also save some space. "You can solve almost every problem related to storage by neatly folding your clothes. Items that don't crease easily, for example, jeans, sweaters, and T-shirts, can all be folded and placed in drawers or on shelves, saving you plenty of hanging space."
Bethany Hamer, Online Fashion Editor at Jules B, has a great folding tip to share. She said: "If you're folding items into a pile, stack garments loosely and keep the heaviest clothing at the bottom. This encourages air circulation and keeps items fresh."
Steve Cochrane, Managing Director of luxury fashion retailer Psyche, also suggested rolling clothes to save space. "There's a reason the army roll their clothing — it saves on space and can prevent wrinkles. Just fold your sleeves in, fold the garment in half and roll it up."
4. Give clothes room to breathe
When considering how to store clothes for the long-term, Steve Cochrane says that you'll need to let air in to keep them in good condition. "If you're storing clothes for a few months, you'll want them to be able to breathe to prevent damp and damage. So, avoid airtight containers unless you're only storing them in there for a short while. Instead, look for breathable fabric bags or boxes. In a pinch, you can even use an old pillowcase!"
5. Stuff shoes to hold their shape
You should also consider how to store your shoes so that they don't lose their shape. Steve says "You can invest in cedar shoe trees, which absorb moisture and odours while keeping the shape of the shoe. For long boots, you can keep them in good shape by rolling up two magazines and placing them in the top."
6. Consider packaging for long-term storage
Echoing Steve's advice, Andy Bojko, MD of online fashion retailer Hidepark, warned against vacuum bags for long-term storage. "Vacuum bags are great in the short term and can be real space savers. But over time, the items stored can become misshapen and damaged. If you're storing beyond your wardrobe rack, avoid cardboard boxes as these aren't very secure against moisture and bugs."
If you're looking for long-term storage for your clothes, Access Self Storage can help. Our clean, dry and secure storage units across the country will keep your clothes in excellent condition.
7. Check your pockets
Just as you should check your pockets before putting clothes in the washing machine, you should check your clothes before putting them away. Bethany said: "Make sure all clothing is clean and dry before storing it, paying special attention to individual label instructions in order to prevent damage. As well as keeping your clothes smelling fresh and in top condition, insects are less likely to be attracted to freshly laundered garments! It's also important to check pockets for scraps of paper, spare change and old wrappers, as these can damage your clothing once in storage."
8. Label your boxes
If you're putting clothes away in storage for a long time, be sure to label boxes. Bethany also suggests that you, "keep an inventory of what you've stored and where. This is the easiest way to keep track of what's in storage and makes it easy to find later on – especially if you have a last-minute event and just know the perfect outfit is packed away somewhere! It could also be beneficial to keep a note of when you last checked on your clothes, as it's best to inspect them regularly and refold them to keep garments fresh and prevent damage."