Most people have clothing for summer and winter, except for those lucky individuals that live in tropical climates, where a sweater is a term for individuals that perspire too much and a parka is a place to leave your car.
Then there are those poor souls from England, and Vancouver (myself included) where we too, only have one season. It is called “Wet”, but for everyone else, there is good reason to store your unneeded clothing during the off season.
Wool sweaters and down jackets are some of the most prone to being damaged by moths, mildew and mold. Wash and dry very thoroughly before storing, and never store in a plastic bag, or air proof container. The best storage container is likely a rattan trunk, which permits free circulation of air through the clothing. Here are some tips for other types of materials:
If the garment is small, store at home in a cold dry place. Cover with cloth or washed muslin. Otherwise, use professional cold storage.
Leather and Suede
Store in a cool, well-ventilated closet. Cover with cloth or washed muslin. For soft leather, pad with white tissue paper and fold flat.
Roll if possible. If you must, re-fold periodically to avoid creases. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.
Roll with white tissue paper or washed muslin to separate each layer. If you must fold, place white tissue paper between each layer and re-fold periodically to avoid creases. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.
Fold and store flat. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.
Store flat. if you must hang the garment, pad it well with white tissue paper. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.
For sheer or knitted silks, store flat. If you must hang the garment, pad it well with white tissue paper. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.
Pad with white tissue paper and hang on a padded hanger, supporting skirt area from loops attached at waist. Cover with cloth or washed muslin.
Clean thoroughly, pad with paper, fold, then wrap in white tissue paper. Add mothballs to storage area.
Ventilate storage areas when the weather is dry and cool. Pack storage areas loosely so that air can circulate around clothes. Don’t use starch or fabric finish on items to be stored.
When storing clothes, use a chemical desiccant such as silica gel or calcium chloride, but don’t let it touch the garments. Place Para dichlorobenzene mothballs or crystals inside closets and drawers; they prevent mildew and absorb moisture.
To reduce dampness in closets, wrap some chalk together and hang them up.
To protect garments from snags, and possibly acid damage from wood, line your dresser drawers with quilted fabric or good quality shelf paper that is ungummed. (Gummed paper attracts insects and is hard to remove).
For sweet-smelling clothes, put unwrapped bars of scented soap, empty perfume bottles, or fabric softener sheets into drawers.
Consider professional cold storage if you have any of the following:
- furs or fur-trimmed clothes
- a climate that is very hot or humid;
- inadequate storage space
- chronic problems with carpet beetles, silverfish, moths, or mildew
Before you put clothes in storage, make sure they’ve been cleaned thoroughly; insects are attracted by dirt, especially from perspiration, food, and beverages. Storage areas should be clean, dry, free of insects and away from light, which can fade some colors (especially blues and greens) and promote hatching of insect eggs.
To wrap folded garment and to line dresser drawers, use white tissue paper or washed muslin. At least once a year, replace the tissue paper and wash the muslin.
Store clothing in places that have moderate temperature or humidity; avoid extremes, such as a hot attic or a damp basement. Garments made of natural fibers (cotton, wool, silk, and linen) need to breathe, store them in a well-ventilated area in containers with ventilation holes.
When you take your clothes out of storage, put them in the dryer for about 10 minutes on the air-only cycle (no heat). This will help get rid of wrinkles.
Mothballs and crystals won’t kill those moth eggs that are already present in clothing when it’s stored. Clean clothing thoroughly before you put it away.
Because mothballs and crystals emit a vapor which is heavier than air, suspend them in containers above clothing. Keep them away from children and pets (they are poisonous if eaten). Old stockings or socks make good bags for mothballs.
If you’re using moth crystals, sprinkle them on the adhesive side of masking tape and hang them up.
To dispel mothball odor, add a pomander or an herbal potpourri to the storage area. Either suspend it or pack it in a small sack. A very simple herbal is five or six bay leaves strung together.
To protect sorted clothing from moths, a cedar chest must be made of cedar heartwood at least 3/4 inch thick. It should also have felt gaskets to make it airtight. Although cedar will kill newly, hatched or young worms, it won’t kill eggs, half-grown worms, the pupae or chrysalises, or moths.
Handbags and Purses
To maintain the shape of your leather bags, stuff them with tissue or plastic bags. Then, to keep them from sticking together when you store them, place each in a flannel bag or a pillowcase.
To brighten a patent-leather bag, spray on a little glass cleaner, then wipe with a paper towel.
Keep the metal trim on your bag from tarnishing – apply a coat of clean nail polish over it.
Every now and then, it’s a good idea to clean and condition your leather purses. Wipe them them with a damp cloth and mild soap, or apply a colorless leather conditioner with a dry cloth.