How to Store Clothes in a Storage Unit | Expert Tips
October, 18, 2023
Whether you’re downsizing, clearing out, or simply need more space for your collection, storing your clothes in a storage unit can be an easy and cost-effective way to keep them safe and secure until you need them again – or until they’re back in style!
But if you’re staring into your wardrobe with no idea of where to get started, we’ve put together this handy collection of expert tips on how to store clothes in a storage unit.
Clear out your clothes
It might be tempting just to throw everything you have into a box and be done with it, but clearing out your wardrobe before you book a storage space is a good idea.
Not only will it leave you with less to pack, but with your clothes taking up less space, you could potentially switch to a smaller unit and save money in the long term.
Donate any good quality clothes to a local op-shop or charity or try selling them for a bit of extra cash.
eBay or Facebook Marketplace are great places to start. If you’ve collected a lot of clothing from a specific brand, check Facebook for a dedicated buy/swap group – someone could be looking for exactly what you’re selling! Vintage and second-hand stores are always on the lookout for more stock, especially higher end products, and may buy from you. Or you could set up your own online storefront or book a stall at a local flea market or car boot sale.
Pick the right storage unit
Choosing the right unit is more than just about how much space they have.
Look for clean, dust-free units, with good security. Brightly lit spaces can also have a negative impact on clothes, so check the the lights are off when the storage unit is locked.
You may also want to consider a climate-controlled unit, especially if you have delicate or particularly valuable clothing, or live in an area with extreme temperatures.
Wash your clothes
Before packing them away (or before donating or selling them), make sure to give your clothes a good wash and dry them thoroughly. You’ll not only avoid any musty smells when you unpack, but you’ll be protecting your clothes from mould and mildew.
Don’t forget to check pockets for rubbish and loose change before throwing them in the washing machine!
You don’t need to be an Insta-worthy organiser to prep your clothes for storage but sorting them before packing will make things easier along the way. Not only will it be easier to find anything you need in the storage unit, but you’ll be able to take advantage of plenty of packing hacks along the way!
You might want to start by sorting by family member, and then by garment. It’s also a good idea to keep similar colours and fabrics together to avoid issues like dye transference, or damage to delicate fabrics.
Roll, don’t fold
Folding might seem like the obvious choice – not only is it what we usually do with our clothes, but it’s a great space saver too.
But rolling your clothes can store them more effectively long term, preventing any creases from making a permanent home in your clothing.
Try rolling things like t-shirts, baby clothes, or leggings if you’ve got the space to do so!
Use plastic bins
Invest in plastic bins – ideally ones with snap closure lids. They’ll last much longer than cardboard boxes, and provide better protection for your clothes.
They’re also relatively inexpensive, and often designed to stack, meaning you can make the most of your storage space. You’ll also find that large plastic bins are often available with wheels, making them easy to move around.
Heavy items first
When boxing up your clothes, put heavy items like jeans, coats, and jumpers at the bottom. This will protect lighter clothing from the weight of the heavier pieces, reducing the risk of creasing and long-term damage.
Wardrobe boxes are fantastic for delicate items and clothing you’d prefer to hang, such as easily creased fabrics or wedding dresses.
Choose your hangers carefully too – wooden hangers are much better long term than wire or plastic options, which can stretch clothes out over time.
Avoid vacuum bags
Vacuum bags are fine for short term storage or for seasonal sheets and blankets, but their effect on clothes can be detrimental in the long term.
Vacuum bags work by removing all the air from the bag, creating a tight seal and reducing the space needed for storage. The problem is that this creates a lot of pressure on the clothes inside, pushing them tightly together and creating heavy wrinkles in the fabric. Not only can this wear clothes down and cause permanent creases, but natural fabrics need to be able to breathe – vacuum bags stop this from happening and can speed up their deterioration.
Keep the pests out
Using cedar chips and other natural deterrents will keep pests like moths at bay, as well as keep them smelling fresh. Moth balls might be the more commonly thought of method, but cedar chips smell much nicer, last longer, and don’t contain anything that might damage your clothes over time.
Don’t forget to visit!
If your clothes are going to be in storage for a long time, it’s a good idea to visit the unit every now and again to air them out – ideally once or twice a year. This is especially important if you’re storing valuable or delicate clothes. You also never know what might find its way back into your regular wardrobe!
In addition, checking in regularly is a good way to make sure everything in the unit is functioning as it should be, especially if you’ve booked somewhere climate-controlled.
Hopefully, these tips on how to store clothes in a storage unit have helped you with your packing. For further advice, take a look at our blog, where you’ll find guides to everything from storing photos and books to decluttering sentimental objects and packing for a move.