Using Self-Storage as Your Off-Season Wardrobe Closet
We in the Western world spend a lot of money on clothes. Over time, shirts, pants, and skirts we seldom wear either end up cluttering the back of our closet, donated to Goodwill, or thrown in the trash only to end up in landfills. Unless you’re especially into following every fashion trend, you probably already know what you like to wear. With a bit of planning, you can have a clean, well-organized closet, matching the season, all year round.
Many areas have distinct summers and winters, so you can have a vastly different wardrobe from one half the year to the next. Many people don’t have the spare room in their homes to keep two sets of clothes all year. Also, attics and basements are terrible places to store clothing. Both are subject to large fluctuations in temperature, mold, mildew, and pests. When clothing gets ruined due to improper storage, you need to buy all new garments.
If you want to keep your clothes in great shape for years, and rotate them in and out with the season, consider keeping them in the right sort of storage unit. Depending on how many clothes you have to store, look into both self-storage and valet storage options in your area. Valet storage allows customers to store several boxes cheaper than it would cost to rent a 5x5 storage unit.
Of course, if you're putting away season specific clothes for yourself and your family, a 5x5 self-storage it may be just the thing. As with anything else, compare prices and decide what works best for you.
How to Best Pack Your Clothes for Storage
These guidelines should help you understand how to pack your clothes to store them safely in a self storage unit or a valet storage facility, and why it's best to pack them this way.
First, choose storage that has climate control. Most valet storage facilities, and many self-storage facilities, have this feature, Climate control keeps the air temperature and humidity consistent year-round and minimizes the occurrence of pests, dust, and mold. For clothing, climate control is absolutely necessary in places with extreme weather differences.
Before you store any clothing, make sure it is clean and dry. While your drycleaner may hang your clothes in plastic bags, it is a bad idea to store your close the same way. This also goes for airtight plastic trunks. As clean as you get your clothes before putting them in storage, the sealed environments of a plastic bag or air-tight trunk can foster the growth of mold or mildew.
We recommend storing your clothes in rattan trunks. You can find these on Amazon and elsewhere. They are porous, and therefore allow the clothing to breathe.
Leather, Radeon, and silk fabrics should be properly folded and stored flat. Linen can become permanently creased when folded, so roll linen garments instead. Metallic fabric should also be rolled before storage, but each layer needs to be separated with muslin. In fact, put a sheet of white muslin between each garment as you place it in your rattan trunk.
Even a climate controlled environment may not completely be free of excess humidity and pests. Place a few silica gel packets in each trunk to draw excess moisture away from your clothing and help prevent mildew.
Protect your woolen clothes from moths. However, do not use mothballs, which smell terrible and are bad for the environment. Instead, put lavender, cedar shavings, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, eucalyptus leaves, peppercorns, rosemary, or wormwood in a cheesecloth bag. Make sure the bag does not touch the clothes. You may want to put the cheesecloth bag in a plastic sandwich bag and place it near the top of your woolen clothes where it can be open without the cheesecloth sack touching the clothes themselves.
Keep in mind that valet storage companies provide their own boxes for customer use. However, most will also store a variety of items that are not in their boxes and should allow you to keep your rattan trunks in storage. Let them know the dimensions of each box before you book, as this will allow them to quote your price per box..
Every season, you can switch out your off-season clothes for your in-season outfits. This, and smart clothes shopping, will keep your closet from overflowing and help to make it a more attractive, usable space.
It will certainly be easier to pick each day’s outfit from such a well-organized space. The Unfancy blog calls this a wardrobe capsule. The author, Caroline, recommends for women a wardrobe with 37 articles of clothing. This includes 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 9 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses, and 2 jackets. Most men would need an even leaner wardrobe. Such an arrangement makes it easy to come up with various attractive clothing combinations to keep yourself looking original all season.
Overall, the recommendations here should allow you to organize a flexible wardrobe in your closet, save a great deal of money on new clothes, and to have weather appropriate attire all year long.