How and where to store seasonal clothing in South Africa.
We offer a guide to seasonal clothing storage in South Africa.
In this article, find information on:
– how storing seasonal clothing can make life simpler
– a three-step approach for preparing clothing for storage, including:
- extra drying of clothes prior to packing
- grouping and bagging clothes by type
- packing clothes for storage
- protecting clothing from moths, including:
- general tips for preventing fish moths
- recommended alternatives to mothballs
- preventing mould during clothing storage
- choosing a suitable storage facility.
With a change of season comes a change in clothing.
Just one problem – how do you make sense of 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.
The less “clutter” you have in your wardrobe, the easier it is to pick outfits. This can save considerable time and stress in the mornings.
XtraSpace offers secure, affordable storage units – ideal for seasonal clothing storage – at branches across South Africa.
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.
We recommend a systematic, three-step approach to preparing seasonal clothing for storage.
A three-step approach
1. Tumble-dry or iron to combat any dampness
It’s always a good idea to launder clothes before packing them. This ensures that they’ll be clean when you need them again. It’s also so that no spills or residues attract insects.
To prevent mildew, 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.
2. Stacking and bagging
Start by laying out and organising the clothing you want to pack.
Group similar clothing types, 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. Also identify garments that may be damaged by folding. Loosely roll these up and put to one side, for packing on top of everything else.
Once you’ve organised clothes for storing into piles, place in suitable bags. Ideally, opt for cloth bags. Pillowcases are ideal! See tips below for choosing suitable bags or containers.
3. Packing clothing into storage containers
For general guidelines, see our guide to keeping all kinds of clothes in great condition during storage.
The best options for seasonal clothing storage are linen or cotton storage bags, and good quality double-wall cardboard boxes.
The porous nature of these materials helps prevent condensation and dampness.
If you do use airtight plastic bags or containers, pop a few silica sachets in with the clothes to absorb moisture. It’s also a good idea to line each container with an absorbent towel.
Generally, stack items from heaviest at the bottom to lightest at the top. This will help prevent lighter garments from being crushed out of shape.
Boots and bags can go in boxes at the bottoms of containers. Follow with heavier jackets, hoodies, jerseys and t-shirts. End with lighter clothes and any delicate items.
A tip for sensitive suits, jackets, blouses and is to invest in one or more wardrobe boxes. These are designed with built-in hanging bars. They’re ideal for preventing creasing and folds.
Fish moths can cause irreparable damage to clothing.
This can occur when clothes are in storage – or when they’re still in your wardrobe.
To discourage fish moths, try scattering dried bay leaves, lemon rinds, mint or lavender into storage areas or containers.
It’s also possible to create your own “fish-moth trap”, using a simple glass jar with some flour.
See our article on how to protect clothing from moths for more detailed advice.
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.
When it comes to mould prevention, moisture is enemy number one.
Three key ways to protect stored clothing from mould:
- ensure clothing is bone dry before packing it
As mentioned above, tumble-dry clothing or give it a quick iron before packing to make sure it’s completely dry.
- avoid using packing containers that are prone to condensation
Plastic or vacuum-sealed containers aren’t recommended. Opt for breathable fabric or cardboard instead. Also, consider lining storage containers with towels and adding a few silica gel sachets.
- choose a storage facility that offers clean, dry storage units
Mould and mildew thrive in damp conditions. Opt for a storage area that’s clean, dry and well-ventilated. It’s also a good idea to place your storage containers on a protective tarp or old blanket, rather than directly on the floor.
Consider these factors when choosing a self-storage facility:
Find out whether a deposit is payable, the monthly costs of different unit sizes that could meet your needs and any “extra” charges (for example, for insurance, administration, a padlock and so on).
- rental terms
How much notice do you need to give if you no longer need the storage unit? Can you rent a unit by the month? Is it cheaper to rent a unit for a longer period?
- sizes of available units
Check what’s available. You don’t want to have to pay for a larger space than you need (or end up short on storage space).
- access to stored items
Can you get to your unit when you choose? Also, can you lock it and keep the key?
- security of the facilities
Does the facility have guards, a secure perimeter and CCTV monitoring? Does it “feel” safe? Is there safe parking space?
Is the storage facility conveniently located for you?
XtraSpace for clothing storage
At XtraSpace, we offer clean, dry self-storage units that are ideal for seasonal clothing storage in South Africa.
- flexible terms, with no need to commit to a long lease
- wide range of unit sizes
- secure premises with 24/7 CCTV monitoring
- branches at key locations across the country.