Blog / How To Store

How to Store Clothes in a Storage Unit

By Matt Wallace

18 April, 20245 mins read

Storing clothes in a storage unit isn’t just about tossing them into a box until the seasons change. The best way to store clothes in a storage unit requires a methodical approach to ensure your garms are kept in pristine condition, free from damage, moisture and pests. 

Whether you’re storing your winter wardrobe to make room for summer attire, or you’re a fashion aficionado looking for seasonal rotation, preparing and organising your clothes correctly can make all the difference. 

In this guide, we’ll be sharing essential steps — along with some tips and tricks — for storing your clothes effectively. By the end of this post, you’ll know how to properly store clothes in a storage unit in a way that preserves their quality and ensures they’re ready to wear whenever you need them. 

Wash, Dry and Iron

Before you do anything else, be sure to wash, dry and iron your clothes — this is the most important step to ensuring your clothes come out of storage in the same condition they went in. 

If you have a lot of clothes to store, start by checking the care labels for each item and sorting them appropriately. This isn’t just about creating piles of darks and lights — instead, check what needs to be hand-washed, what can and can’t be tumble-dried and whether items need to be washed at 30ºC or 40ºC. 

With your clothes categorised in terms of the care instructions, you’ll be able to wash multiple items while giving them the best care. This is also your opportunity to treat any stains you might see, which could become more prominent (and permanent!) over time — if they’re not dealt with. 

Finally, make sure you iron your clothes before storing them. If you don’t, you risk finding some deep-set creases that are hard to iron out. 

Pro Tip: Remember, slight traces of deodorant and perfume may seem harmless now but can turn into stubborn stains. For that reason, we suggest trying to remove them before storing your clothes!

Polish Boots & Shoes

If you’re putting any shoes in storage then it’s important to give them the same level of care and attention as you do with your clothes. Firstly, be sure to give them a thorough clean and polish — especially if they’re leather. 

You may also want to apply a little oil to leather shoes to keep them supple and to help ensure they don’t dry out and crack. If you do put oil on your shoes, try to keep them away from any fabrics to minimise the risk of staining your fabrics.

Pro Tip: Stuffing shoes (especially boots) with clean tissue paper will help them maintain their shape while in storage.

Have a Clear Out

Whenever you put anything into storage, it’s always worth taking the opportunity to do a little decluttering — especially with clothes. It’s the perfect time to evaluate and part with items you don’t wear, that don’t fit or are out of style.

You don’t have to be ruthless and throw away everything, just be honest with yourself. For example, do you really need that tatty hoody that you haven’t worn in two years…? If not, then maybe it’s time to let go — because decluttering is as freeing as it is practical. 

This not only saves space but ensures your storage unit is reserved for the clothes you truly value. You can consider donating those seldom-worn pieces and selling more valuable items online. This process simplifies your storage needs and potentially breathes new life into your wardrobe by focusing on what matters most to you.

Don’t Vacuum Pack Clothes

While vacuum bags are marketed as the ideal solution for textile storage, they’re not suitable for all materials. Natural fibres — such as cotton, wool, silk and cashmere — may suffer from long-term vacuum packing, as it can impact their integrity. This is especially true when being stored for long periods of time.

These natural fibres need to breathe, and the lack of air inside a vacuum bag can cause them to compress, which will ruin their shape and fit.

Use Plastic Boxes

If you’re not using vacuum bags to store clothes, you might be tempted to use cardboard boxes or plastic bags to cut costs, but plastic bags will trap moisture (that could lead to mould and mildew) and cardboard won’t protect clothes from humidity or water damage. 

Instead, we suggest using clear plastic crates with snap-shut lids. These handy (and fairly affordable) boxes offer both visibility and protection without compromising the quality and condition of your fabrics. Plastic crates can also be stacked easily to save space (without squashing) and will be better than cardboard at keeping out pests, like moths and mice. 

Just be careful not to overpack your boxes as your fabrics need to breathe. 

Pro Tip: If you plan to store clothes in boxes that previously contained food, be sure to give them a thorough clean as they may contain bacteria and hidden pests. It’s also important to ensure the boxes are completely dry before packing your clothes.

Use a Wardrobe Box

When it comes to storing particularly delicate and expensive items of clothing, such as suits and dresses, you may want to invest in a wardrobe box. If you’re wondering what a wardrobe box is, it’s a tall box, often made from cardboard, with a rail at the top from which you can hang clothes. 

As cardboard doesn’t offer the best protection, we suggest placing each piece of clothing inside a dress or suit carrier before hanging. For added protection, cover your wardrobe box with a cotton sheet. 

Pro Tip: For optimum care, avoid using metal hangers, which can rust as well as stretch and even tear fabrics. Instead, use wooden or padded hangers to preserve the shape and integrity of your clothes. 

Pack Carefully

While it may seem obvious, knowing how to pack clothes for a storage unit will go a long way to keeping them in good condition, which is why it’s important to pack your clothes with care. A good rule of thumb is placing heavier items like winter coats at the bottom and more delicate pieces, such as cashmere jumpers and fine shirts, on top.

Pro Tip: Rolling garments can prove to be gentle and more space-efficient than folding, especially for items prone to creasing. 

Prevent Pests

Protecting your wardrobe from pests, especially moths, is essential in maintaining the quality of your stored clothes. Moths love to snack on natural fibres like wool, silk, cotton and cashmere, causing irreparable damage in the process. 

To safeguard your garments, you might consider:

  • Moth Repellents: There are many moth repellents out there, including mothballs, sprays and hanging products, designed specifically for wardrobes and storage boxes — though some people don’t like the smell. 
  • Cedar Chips: Cedar blocks and chips naturally repel moths and can be placed inside your storage container — they also smell much better than mothballs! 
  • Conkers: Horse chestnut seeds, better known as conkers, are another great way to keep moths away as they produce a natural insecticide. The only downside is that conkers are only available in the autumn. 
  • Cleaning: Moths are drawn to dirt and sweat, which is why it’s extra important to thoroughly clean all your clothes before storing them.

Taking any one of these steps will greatly reduce the risk of pests getting to your clothes, keeping them in pristine condition until their next wear.

Store in a Dry, Dark, & Cool Place

Storing your threads somewhere that’s dry, dark and cool is key to keeping them in top-notch condition. Attics, garages and sheds might be handy, but damp and drastic temperature changes mean they’re not the best storage solutions for clothes.

You’ll want to keep your clothes out of direct sunlight too, unless you’re aiming for the faded vintage look! If your wardrobe’s got value (sentimental or price tag-wise) it can be worth looking into local storage solutions. From cupboard-sized units to shipping containers, self storage is often the best place for stashing your fashion items for the long haul. 

At Pay Less for Storage, we provide shipping containers for personal storage in two different sizes. Shipping containers are used to transport goods (including clothes!) all over the world while withstanding some of the harshest weather conditions on Earth. This means you can rest assured that our containers are watertight and incredibly secure. 

Furthermore, all our storage sites are protected by 24/7 CCTV surveillance, steel perimeter fencing and electronically controlled gates. You can also drive right up your unit for easy loading and removal — and that’s not even the best bit! 

Pay Less for Storage offers more space at a better price than big-name brands like Safestore and Big Yellow. This means you can safely store your wardrobe, and save enough money to buy a whole new one! 

Create an Inventory

Creating a detailed inventory of your stored clothes is a game-changer, not just for keeping everything well organised but also for making every item easy to find and get to. When it comes to clothes, there are several ways in which you can organise and list your clothes. 

First, there’s the colour-coordination system, where different colours represent different categories, such as seasons, types of clothes or who they belong to. Be sure to keep a reference sheet inside your storage container that lists what each colour represents.  

Alternatively, you can label each box with clear descriptions like “Summer Dresses” or “Kids’ Winter Gear” so that it’s easy to find exactly what you need when you need it.

For those who prefer a meticulous approach, creating a comprehensive inventory list which details every item along with a brief description, ensures you know exactly what’s in each box. This can be a physical list kept inside your storage unit or a digital spreadsheet. 


Is it okay to store clothes in a storage unit?

Yes, storing clothes in a storage unit is perfectly fine — provided you take the proper care in preparing them. Ensure clothes are clean, dry and properly packed to prevent damage, moisture and pests. Using the right packing materials and methods, like breathable containers and wardrobe boxes, can help maintain their condition over time.

What is the best way to put clothes in storage?

The best way to store clothes involves cleaning and drying them thoroughly, using suitable packing materials (like plastic boxes) and organising them effectively. 

You might consider vacuum-packing clothes for the short-term storage of synthetic fabrics, but be sure to use breathable containers for natural fibres. Labelling each container with its contents and using an inventory system can also significantly enhance the organisation and ease of access to your stored clothing.

How do you keep clothes fresh in storage?

To keep clothes fresh in storage, ensure they are clean and completely dry before packing. Use acid-free tissue paper to prevent creases and maintain freshness, and consider adding silica gel -packets to absorb excess moisture. Additionally, cedar blocks or lavender sachets can ward off pests and give clothes a pleasant aroma, helping to keep them fresh while stored.

How do you keep clothes from going mouldymoulding in storage?

To prevent clothes from going mouldy in storage, make sure they are completely dry before packing. Use breathable storage options like cloth garment bags or boxes with ventilation to allow air circulation. Including drying agents such as silica gel packets in your storage containers can help absorb any residual moisture, reducing the risk of mould.

What is the best way to store hanging clothes in a storage unit?

The best way to store hanging clothes in a storage unit is by using wardrobe boxes or a hanging rail. This allows clothes to remain hanging, preventing creases and preserving their shape. Be sure to use sturdy, padded hangers to avoid stretching or misshaping garments, especially for delicate items. Wardrobe boxes also protect clothes from dust, pests and light, which helps them maintain good condition over time.

Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace

Matt is a Director of Pay Less for Storage. He blogs tips for storage customers and helps them navigate self storage.

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