Imagine an investment that’s literally more valuable than gold. It’s not stocks, it’s not real estate. In fact, it’s something that’s already in your closet. They may require a lot of money up front, but designer handbags often pay for themselves and then some in the long run.
According to a recent study, an Hermes Birkin bag, which can retail for as much as $200,000, has increased in value by 500% over the last 35 years. Similar designer handbags, like Chanel’s iconic lambskin flap bag, which retails for more than $5,000, are also a solid investment. If you’re on a budget you can always opt for the Louis Vuitton Noe ($1,440) and spend the money you’ve saved on the five bottles of champagne the bag was designed to carry.
Whether you want to sell your designer handbag down the road, pass it on to your daughter someday or flaunt it around town on your own arm, you have to know how to protect your investment by storing it correctly.
Whoever said “cleanliness is next to godliness” was clearly talking about designer handbags. The best way to go about the task is to have someone else do it for you. Bring your handbag to the boutique you bought it from and in most cases, they will gladly clean, condition and refurbish it or send it out to a trusted professional to handle it.
If you’re unable to do this, a professional shoe cleaner who specializes in materials like leather should be able to help you. Just make sure this person has the necessary experience to do the job right.
The harshest chemical that you should personally clean your bag with is water applied to a microfiber cloth.
Wear and Tear
A designer handbag is at its most valuable—and its most beautiful—when it’s free from grime, scratches and stains. Prevent wear and tear by thinking carefully about what you put into your bag. Avoid carrying lipsticks, pens or other items with caps that might come off, or place these items in plastic sandwich bags before putting them in your bag. You can also use a handbag liner to prevent stains. If your bag came with a rain jacket, keep it or a simple plastic bag handy on cloudy days and cover your bag when it rains.
Lastly, don’t put your bag on the floor or on any surface that’s dirty or rough enough to cause scratching.
After making sure your bag is clean, take the following measures to store it. Stuff it with a handbag shaper or acid-free tissue paper. Using the correct size of handbag shaper or the right amount of tissue paper is important. You want to make sure you’re helping your bag keep its shape without overstuffing it to the point that it stretches out.
After stuffing it, place it in the cloth bag it came in (or a pillowcase if you no longer have this) and then put it in a box that doesn’t compress it. The key here is to protect the handbag from dust, dirt and light while allowing it to breathe.
Your Storage Unit
Don’t put your designer handbags in just any storage unit. Make sure you choose one with the right features first. Climate control, which keeps temperature and humidity in your storage unit at a safe level, is an absolute must. Dry climates can cause leather bags to crack and moist climates can cause them to get moldy, and drastic temperatures are bad news all around. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about sun damage while your bags are in storage.
Another important step to avoiding damage is to never, ever place your bags directly on the floor of your storage unit, even if they’re in boxes. Because designer handbags are so expensive, you should protect them by getting storage insurance. If possible, don’t store your bags long term. Even just taking them out a few times a month to let them breathe is a great way to lengthen their lifespan.
While it might sound counterintuitive, you’re actually caring for your designer bags by showing them off. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons you bought them in the first place?