How to store textiles and clothing inventory for online trade.

textiles and clothing

Textiles and clothing aren’t considered perishable, but they still need careful storage to avoid damage. Online traders and e-commerce shops that sell textiles and clothing will benefit from these storage tips.


Growth of online clothing sales in South Africa

Even before the pandemic gave online shopping a significant boost, online clothing sales were already growing. In 2019, online apparel sales made up almost 40% of all apparel sales in the US.


Here, similar trends in online sales have been seen. During the height of the 2020 lockdown, the online retail industry in South Africa grew by approximately 40%.


Growth of the second-hand clothing market in South Africa

The second-hand clothing market has always thrived through informal trading, charity shops and markets.


More recently, formal second-hand clothing stores have been gaining momentum with online thrift stores and even brick and mortar shops such as Luxity.


Guidelines for storing textiles and clothing

When storing clothing or textile inventory you need to be sure that your items can be taken out of storage and shipped without worrying about damage, undue creasing, moisture build-up, pests or mould. Proper storage protocols will help you avoid these concerns.


Find the right storage materials

Research the best ways to store the textiles or clothing you have. Generally, breathable wrappings like tissue paper are better than plastics, which can cause condensation. Choose acid-free papers. Don’t use coloured papers that may transfer.


Use only clean and dry storage

Find a storage space that’s clean and dry. Check all the corners, the ceiling and the floor for signs of damp or mould. If you need to steam your textiles, don’t do it in the storage unit. This will introduce unnecessary humidity.


Store items according to their type

Each item will have its own ideal storage method. Some items should be hung on a rack; others are better off loosely folded in a sturdy box with tissue paper. Some items may need silica gel packets for extra moisture protection.


Invest in good storage equipment

Storage units come completely empty, so you’ll need to invest in shelves, hanging racks, boxes, garment bags and other storage equipment. Pallets help keep items off the cold floor.


Check your inventory regularly

Even with every precaution taken, you must check your inventory regularly to ensure there’s no damp, pests or mould creeping in. Your storage facility should take care of pest control, but it never hurts to take your own precautions.


Don’t use perfumed products

Don’t use any products that will leave a smell on your items. This includes air fresheners and mothballs. If you’re concerned about bad odours, invest in an odour neutraliser or moisture absorber.


Storing antique clothing and textiles

If you deal with antique clothing and textiles, you’ll need to take extra precautions to prevent damage. Depending on the items, this may be a legal requirement.


This is a general guide for dealing with antiques. If you want to deal in antiques, it’s advisable to get formal training on how to handle and preserve them properly.



Antiques need to be handled with extra care. Ideally, use both hands at all times and, in some cases, wear gloves.


Temperature control

Your storage area will need to be temperature controlled. An environment that’s too cold or too hot can damage antique items.



Cleaning can cause more harm than good to some antique items. Don’t clean items that are very fragile, damaged or where the colour might be affected.


Storage techniques

Storing antique items might require special materials or equipment, depending on their age, condition and value.



Some antiques are sensitive to light, so avoid exposure to sunlight and harsh fluorescents. Keep this in mind if you need to display them.


Storage for textiles and clothing in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban

XtraSpace offers clean, dry and secure storage units in a range of sizes that are ideal for storing textiles and clothing. We have branches in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.


We also offer onsite flexi-offices and business centres. E-commerce businesses that need to be close to their stored inventory can have everything in one place.


To find out more call us on 01 09 777 777 or contact your nearest branch to organise a tour or get a quote.



At XtraSpace, we offer clean, secure self-storage units that are ideal for storing textiles and clothing as well as inventory for other e-commerce stores and household or office items. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.


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