Storing your Clothes
Quality clothing is a significant investment, and careful storage can make a big difference to its longevity, as well as ensuring that you always have clean clothing ready to wear!
Firstly, consider where you keep your clothes. It should be clean, dry, dark and well ventilated.
Hang clothes loosely so that air can circulate and to avoid clothing becoming crushed and creased.
As a general rule, only store clean clothes. Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry your clothes before storing them. Particles left on clothing can set into and stain your clothing over time and insects are less likely to be attracted to clean clothes.
Clothing should also be properly aired before storage. When storing clothes that have come from the dry cleaners, remove the dry cleaning cover and allow them to air for at least two hours before putting them away.
Never use starch or fabric conditioner on articles that are to be stored long term.
The hangers you use will make a big difference. It’s worth investing in some wooden hangers, preferably cedar, which will help coats and jackets in particular keep their shape. Sturdy plastic hangers can also be good. Choose hangers with clips for trousers. Wire ones are best avoided – they are only intended for short-term use and are not strong enough to support most clothing over time.
For items of clothing that will be hanging unused for a long time, consider investing in some garment covers to protect them from dust. Make sure these are breathable – cotton or canvas are ideal – to prevent mildew.
Storing your Shirts
Keeping shirts folded will increase wrinkles and lines, meaning you have to iron before wearing. It is far better to hang your shirts in a wardrobe and consider coding by colour or frequency of use. This way you will soon see the shirts that you rarely wear. Perhaps it’s time to get rid of them!
For short-term storage in your wardrobe, you can protect the shoulders of shirts from dust with a cut off dry cleaning cover. Do not leave them completely covered as air cannot circulate.
Hang shirts with the top and/or second and perhaps fourth button done up.
For special occasion shirts, place tissue paper around the collar. Fold french cuffs back, iron into place and secure with a twist through the holes to keep them closed. Protect them from dust with breathable clothes bags – it is best not to use plastic covers as your clothes need to breathe.
If you have limited space, think about keeping off-season shirts in a vacuum bag. This can then be stored flat. You may need to steam and iron shirts when you take them out to refresh them.
Storing your Suits
Always hang your suit on a curved wooden hanger, with the curve going forward. Leave space between your suit(s) and the other garments hanging in your closet.
When your suit gets wrinkled, have it pressed. You only need to dry clean your suit when it is dirty. Suits worn regularly usually only need to be dry cleaned a few times per year. Too much dry cleaning makes natural fibres like wool more brittle, so dry clean only when necessary.
Storing your Coats
Before hanging a coat in your wardrobe, make sure it is free of dust and lint. Brush against the nap and use a lint roller.
If you are storing coats more long term, firstly make sure they are clean and aired. Wool coats should be brushed and cleaned to ensure there is no body oil present. Leather will need specialist cleaning and should not be stored in plastic as the leather needs to breathe.
Storing your Woollen Clothing
If you have woollen clothes such as sweaters, it is best to keep these folded rather than hanging in your wardrobe, which will gradually stretch them and ruin their shape. If storing long term, the most important thing is to make sure that they are clean. Moths are attracted by human scents. Store them folded in a rattan box or similar that allows them to breathe. Use a moth repellant in the storage area. Avoid using air-tight plastic containers.
Protecting your Clothes against Moths
Finding that your favourite garment has been munched to pieces by moths is heart-breaking so it is worth using some kind of repellant.
If used, moth balls should be placed in a cloth bag of some kind to avoid direct contact with any clothing and then placed as high as possible in the wardrobe, as the fumes filter downwards. However, there are growing concerns about the chemicals used in moth balls and let’s face it, nobody really likes the smell!
Cedar will help to repel moths from clean clothes. If your cedar hangers or wood blocks no longer smell of cedar, sand them gently with fine sandpaper to release the odour.
Other alternatives which are said to be effective against moths are bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, eucalyptus leaves, lavender, peppercorns, rosemary and wormwood. You might also consider making an old-fashioned pomander, from an orange studded with cloves. This can be hung in your wardrobe and the resulting scent of slowly released orange oil and clove is pleasant and also helps to deter those pesky moths! With either of these options, avoid direct contact with clothes – make sachets out of the herbs and hang the pomander in a mesh bag.