Storing Outerwear: Is there a Correct Way? - Spacer Blog

Storing Outerwear: Is there a Correct Way?

The right jumper, scarf, and coat storage ideas can keep your outerwear looking brand new for years. Not only is extending the life of your winter clothes a feel-good sustainable option, but it will also help you save money when temperatures drop again.

So, what are the dangers of storing your outerwear? What can save your knitwear from moths? Should your items lay flat or be stored on hangers? And what natural alternatives can help prevent your storage nightmares?

From the best coat storage bags materials available to outerwear storage secrets that have been passed down for generations, this Spacer blog takes a look at coat storage fact and fiction.

Fact: Different materials require different storage conditions

You might have guessed this already, but your knitted jumper is going to have different storage needs from your rain jacket. Likewise, boots have their own ideal storage conditions. The list goes on.

Here are the basics when it comes to storing some of the more common winter clothes materials:

  • Down and synthetic coats. These warm winter jackets are made up of compartments of feathers or synthetic material. And if you compress them too much, you’ll be disappointed to find lumps and clumps when you pull your favourite coat out of summer storage. Avoid damaging these items by hanging them on sturdy hangers and providing them with good air circulation. Some storage pros also suggest covering down coats in paper or cotton garment bags, not plastic, to prevent light damage.

  • Leather. Leather jackets are some of the most delicate winter materials in your coat closet and storage. They can be damaged by heat, dampness, or even improper folding techniques. To take care of these sensitive pieces of outerwear, hang them on sturdy hangers and cover them with cotton coat storage bags.

  • Knitwear. Your jumpers, cardigans, beanies, scarves and other knitwear are begging you to save them from storage pests, pilling, stretching, and other fibre damage. Unlike leather and down coats, hanging your knitted items can cause stretching. The best way to store these items, then, is by folding them and storing them in a cool, dry, and dark place. Make sure to avoid overcrowding – when knitwear is packed into a small space, it can cause pilling and prevent the air circulation needed to ward off pests.

  • Boots and other footwear. Boxes are an ideal way to store winter boots, but you might swap out their original cardboard boxes for plastic ones that won’t attract pests or be vulnerable to water damage. Inside your storage boxes, make sure that your shoes have enough room to breathe, and consider filling them with rolled up socks or, better yet, plastic shoe shapers to help them keep their shape.

Fiction: All storage bags are the same

When we mentioned down and leather coat storage ideas, we suggested the use of cotton storage bags. But surely, plastic does a better job of warding off moths and dust and other storage hazards? The truth is, while plastic does have it’s advantages, plastic storage bags are not the best option for your outerwear. 

On the one hand, any moisture trapped in the plastic will have nowhere to go, putting your clothing at risk for mold growth. And, vacuum-sealed plastic bags can actually damage fibres of your winter clothes. With zero air supply, your coats and jumpers can quickly lose their shape. On top of that, there’s the smell. Clothing stored for long periods of time in plastic boxes or coat storage bags tend to take on an unpleasant smell when you pull them out of storage.

Cotton and other natural materials are much better coat storage ideas. They allow your winter wear to breathe, preventing mold growth and fibre damage.

Fiction: If your outerwear is well-packaged, the climate of your storage space doesn’t matter

Now that we’ve revealed that plastic can actually harm your clothes and that your winter items need some air flow, it’s probably clear that your storage space matters. Coats and jackets hung on hangers and knitwear folded in cotton storage bags may be safe from plastic storage damage, but they’re still at the mercy of the conditions of the storage space.

So, how can you ensure that you’re creating a good climate for your winter clothes? Here are a few key considerations:

  • Stable temperature, not too hot. Pests and mold both thrive in warmer temperatures, so you want a storage space that tends to run cool. That’s why storing winter items in a home, instead of a garage or backyard shed, is ideal.

  • Dry and breezy. Making sure to package your winter clothes with air flow between items will not matter if your storage space is stagnant and damp. There should be good ventilation, and perhaps a dehumidifier on particularly humid days, in the storage room. 

  • Limited UV exposure. While some light is beneficial to preventing mold growth, you want to ensure that sunlight in your storage room isn’t causing major temperature fluctuations or causing damage to your storage containers.

Given these suggestions, a spare room in a home is the ideal place to store winter items. If that option isn’t available to you, then you might consider renting a storage room from someone in your neighbourhood. Spacer has hundreds of affordable storage solution options, whether you’re looking at suburbs in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, or anywhere else in Australia. 

Fact: Proper cleaning is a must

As important as your storage space is to protecting your winter clothes, one of the best things that you can do for them is wash before storage. This isn’t just for the convenience of pulling clean winter clothes out of storage the next time you use them. Instead, cleaning your clothes before storing them is a necessary step in warding off pests and mold.

Check your manufacturer’s instructions for proper care of your winter items. And, don’t forget to clean and sanitise your winter boots as well! 

Fiction: Cedar wards off all cabinet critters

For generations, cedar has been used in storage spaces to ward off moths and keep clothes safe from nesting pests. 

And while it is true that cedar balls, blocks, or essential oil can deter clothes moths from nesting in the first place, they’re not a one-stop solution to cabinet critters. Cedar doesn’t ward off all storage pests, like spiders and some beetles, and it can’t kill off populations that have already been established. 

Cedar is a great addition to your coat storage ideas, but it will only be effective if your clothes are washed and the storage space has good airflow to deter nesting insects.

Fact: There are some great DIY sprays and natural solutions for cabinet pests

Cedar is one storage secret that can help you prepare your coat cabinet and storage space, but there are plenty of natural DIY solutions that you can try, as well. Camphor, lavender, thyme, and bay leaves are all natural deterrents to moths and other storage stowaways. You can create a nice-smelling spray to use every time you air out your storage space or put together a sachet of dry ingredients to place inside your storage boxes for long term use.

Your cold weather clothes are ready for their storage vacation!

In this Spacer blog installment, we’ve covered how to care for different winter attire, the importance of washing before storing, and some clever coat storage equipment and DIY tricks to protect your items from all kinds of damage. These coat storage ideas will keep your outerwear looking new for seasons to come!

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