How to store your clothes properly

Garments hanging on a clothing rack

Using what you already own and making those things last as long as possible is the first rule of sustainable fashion. So how do you store your clothes in the best way to make them last longer?

General rules

Good hangers are vital for storing your clothes well. Avoid the slim metal ones you get at the dry cleaners and invest in wooden or fabric ones. Talking about dry cleaners, you should not leave your clothes in the plastic bags they cover them in. It suffocates the garment.

Natural fibers risk getting infested with moth or other pests. If you live in an older house or you have experienced problems with pests you do best in storing your clothes covered, either in boxes or clothing bags.

The same applies for storing clothes out of season. They need to be kept dry and safe from pests and dirt. If storage space is an issue (when is it not?), vacuum bags are perfect for saving space while also keeping the clothes safe.

Some fabrics are more delicate than others. One of the more delicate ones is linen, which risks breakage if folded too many times in the same place. So if you are folding linen items, avoid folding them too tight and try to either hang them or roll them to avoid edges.

Jackets

I would guess most of you store your jackets hanging? Which is the best way if you want them to last! Jackets should be hanging as to keep their shape and preferably they should have broad hangers that fill out the shoulders, none of those thin metal ones you get from the dry cleaner. Rather wooden hangers than plastic, as well, as those are sturdier.

Knits

Knits should never be hung up, it stretches them out. Instead, you do best in storing them folded or rolled up on a shelf or in a drawer. Natural fibers and synthetic knits can be stored the same way, except if there is a problem with pests and fungi, then natural fibers do best in closed boxes or bags that keep them isolated from the outside.

Shirts

Shirts and blouses do best hanging up. If you are lazy like me you can hang up shirts straight after laundry and let them air dry on the hanger and you might be able to skip the ironing! For delicate fabrics its preferable to use a padded fabric hanger so you don’t risk damaging the fabric.

Dresses & skirts

It depends on the fabric of the garment. Knits and jerseys risk getting stretched out hanging up, but in general dresses and skirts do best hanging. Skirts should have hangers with clasps and not be hanging from the strings at the sides.

Pants

Pants could be stored either hanging or folded. It depends on what type of pants and fabric. Lighter pants made of cotton or blends, like chinos and other casual pants, can be stored folded while suit pants and slacks do better on hangers.

T-shirts

Best stored folded or rolled on shelves or in drawers (or folded Konmari style if you prefer that). Just like with knits t-shirts risk getting stretched out if they are hanging, so this is not advisable.

Shoes

Are best stored in a box, protected. A cheap way of storing shoes is to keep the box they come in. Using shoe blocks are great for keeping the shape. If you don’t own any, stuffing the shoe with paper can work. Higher boots keep best hanging up in boot hangers or laying down stuffed with paper than fill them out to keep the shape.