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How To Store Heirloom Clothing The Right Way

I am sick and sad. I cleaned out a storage place in my home and I found an old suitcase and large plastic bag with baby clothes included two christening dresses that I had saved. I am sick because of the condition they were in. It’s a good thing I decided to organize this area or there would have been even more damage to some precious things. Over a 30 year period I had stored these items and I am sad because of the lack of care I gave to them. They were just tossed into plastic bags, suitcases and boxes. I gave myself a scotch blessing because I didn’t fold them carefully and place them in an appropriate box so they would have been preserved as part of my daughter’s heritage. As a professional organizer organizing for seniors and busy women I am going to help them not to make the same mistake I made. It really hit home when I found these once precious items carelessly stored, especially because many of them had mildew on them. So that I can help other women when we are organizing I did some reading and research to learn how to store textiles. Here are tips and ideas on how to store heirloom clothing: *Make sure the article is clean. Remove jewelry, and any metal buttons as metal may corrode and cause staining. Place a note in the box telling where the buttons or jewelry has been stored separate from the article. If it needs to be dry cleaned and there are any spots or stains point these out to the dry cleaner so they can effectively remove them. If washing them use a suitable mild soap or detergent. Rinse at least three times with clear, cool water. Hang the article to dry. * Chose a large, roomy box with plenty of room for air circulation. It is suggested to use an acid free, lignin free box. *Before handling the garment wash and dry your hands, do not put on lotions or creams. You can use white cotton gloves if you prefer. *Lay a clean white sheet on a flat surface and cover it with a layer of acid and lignin free tissue. For cotton fabric you can use buffered tissue when folding the garment. Bonnets, slip, bibs and so forth are wrapped separately. They can go in the box with the dress. Stuff some of the tissue into the sleeves and bodice to prevent creases as these lead to a breakdown of the fibers in the fabric. *Place the garment in the box and store in an interior closet shelf. External walls can have extreme temperature and humidity swings which need to be avoided. * Once a year inspect the garment. You will be able to see if there are any developing troubles and corrective measures can be taken. When refolding, fold on different lines to minimize and equalize stress to the fabric and seems. * Do not store in a cedar chest (or closet) or in a regular cardboard box. Do not store it in an airtight container of plastic. Avoid storing in a damp basement or near direct heat sources. I wish I would have known about these protective measures when I stored my children’s christening’s dresses. Now I am getting a second chance. I just made my granddaughter’s christening dress. I spent over twenty hours smocking, beading, sewing pin tucks and sewing the dress. I am going to make sure it is stored properly. Remember the five things to consider when storing heirloom treasures are: Temperature, humidity, lighting, cleaning and storage material. Marilyn’s bio: Marilyn is a creative organizer who helps women, seniors and their families create space and end clutter in their homes and offices by setting up custom made systems. Marilyn invites you to visit her website http://www.marilynbohn.com where you can find solutions to your organizing needs. She offers free tips in her blogs, articles and videos for your home and office organizing solutions.

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