With a change of season and warmer or colder weather comes a change of clothing. Just one problem – how do you make space for all these bulky items in cupboards already bursting with clothes, shoes and bags?
The answer is to pack away and store items you won’t be needing for another five or six months.
Top tips for packing clothes
If they’re not packed and stored properly, clothes may be damaged due to damp, mould (which can corrode fabrics and leave permanent stains) or insects such as clothes moths or carpet beetles.
Some types of fabrics can also be damaged if they’re folded and left with heavy items on top of them. You may find that no amount of ironing will remove the fold lines.
First make sure clothes are clean and dry
It’s a good idea to launder clothes before packing them so that they’re clean when you need them again, and so that no spills or residues attract insects.
To prevent mildew, it’s important to ensure that clothes are completely dry before packing them. Even if clothes are properly dried after being laundered, they can become damp while sitting in a cupboard or drawer. If you have a tumble drier, it’s a good idea to give the clothes a spin. Alternatively, give clothes a quick “once over” with a hot iron.
Stacking and wrapping
Like for other types of packing, it makes sense to start by laying out and organising what you want to pack. For example, group similar types of clothes, like t-shirts, pants or work blouses, into separate piles.
Identify sensitive items for special treatment. For example, it’s a good idea to wrap delicate items in a layer of tissue paper. Garments that may be damaged by folding should be loosely rolled up and put to one side, so that you’ll remember to place them on top of everything else you pack.
Like for other types of packing, it’s best to stack items from heaviest at the bottom to lightest at the top. This will help prevent lighter garments from being crushed out of shape.
Shoes and bags can go in their own boxes at the bottom of containers, followed by any heavier jackets and then lighter clothes.
Packing clothes for storage
Once you’ve organised clothes for storing into piles, place these in sealable bags, preferably with a silica gel packet in each bag to absorb any moisture.
Label the bags to make it easy to find particular items and then place the bags in one or more large plastic containers with secure lids. It’s a good idea to line the plastic containers with towels, again to control moisture.
Good substitutes for mothballs
It used to be commonplace to include mothballs whenever packing clothes for long-term storage. However, there are good reasons not to use mothballs.
Most importantly, mothballs are toxic. Their use has been banned in Europe since 2008 because of the carcinogenic chemicals they contain, including naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene. They pose a particular risk to children and pets, who may eat them. The strong smell of mothballs also permeates fabrics and can be difficult to remove even with repeated washing.
Good substitutes for mothballs are satchels filled with lavender or cloves, or a few drops of citronella oil placed on strips of cotton. These options discourage insects without the unpleasant smell or toxic chemicals.
Store in a cool, dry place
Last but not least, store the containers you’ve packed somewhere cool, dry, out of direct sunlight and free of insects.
To save space at home, consider using a secure, affordable self-storage unit at an XtraSpace branch near you. You’ll have immediate access to your clothes when the season changes and will feel like you’ve treated yourself to a whole new wardrobe, without having to spend a cent on new clothing!