Can I store clothing in garage?

Quick Answer

It is possible to store clothing in the garage, but there are some important factors to consider first. The main concerns with garage storage are temperature, humidity, pests, and cleanliness. With some preparation and storage tips, clothing can be safely kept in the garage. Monitor conditions and store clothes in protective containers. Avoid direct contact with the garage floor. The garage may work for short-term, seasonal storage if climate controlled. For long-term storage, a closet, basement or attic are better options.

What are the temperature concerns with garage storage?

The garage can experience extreme temperature swings from very hot to very cold. Most garages are not insulated or climate controlled. Hot summer temperatures can damage and warp delicate fabrics and cause colors to fade. Freezing winter temperatures can create condensation that promotes mold growth. Ideal storage temperatures for clothing are between 68-72°F. Consider the climate in your area and avoid storing clothing in the garage if temperatures fluctuate beyond this comfortable range. Investing in insulation, climate control or exhaust fans can help regulate garage temperatures.

What causes humidity problems in the garage?

Dampness and humidity tend to be common problems in garages. Concrete floors and humidity from cars contribute to moisture. Excess moisture causes mildew, mold and pests that can damage clothing. The best humidity level for stored clothing is in the 35-55% range. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels. Consider installing a dehumidifier to regulate moisture in the humid summer months. Be sure to wipe down boxes and check for signs of dampness. Avoid storing clothing directly on the concrete floor. Lifting items up on shelves or pallets improves air circulation.

How can I prevent pests from getting into stored clothing?

Pests like moths, silverfish and mice can chew holes in clothing and destroy fabrics. Garages often harbor these hungry pests so take precautions. Clean the garage thoroughly before using it for storage. Seal any cracks or openings that pests can use to get in. Use mothballs or cedar blocks as a deterrent. Pack clothing tightly into airtight plastic bins or wardrobe boxes. This denies pests access to the clothing. Be sure to check periodically for any signs of infestations. Deal with pests right away before they can spread and do extensive damage.

Is garage storage clean enough for clothing?

Garages tend to be dusty and dirty places. Grease and car exhaust can create grimy conditions. Storing clothing directly on the floor almost guarantees it will be soiled. Even dust settling on clothing over time can leave stains. Take measures to keep stored items clean. Use wardrobe boxes or cover with plastic sheeting for an added layer of protection. Shelving or pallets can elevate clothes off the floor. Wipe down shelves and sweep the floor before moving clothing into the space. The garage may be fine for sturdy items like coats and shoes. More delicate clothing may need a cleaner storage environment.

Can I use the garage for short-term or seasonal clothing storage?

The garage can work for short-term, temporary storage if conditions are right. This includes things like seasonal clothing, sporting goods or extra household items. Monitor the temperature and humidity to ensure levels stay in the proper range. For extra protection, pack items loosely in wardrobe boxes or plastic bins. Elevate objects off the concrete floor and check periodically for dampness or pests. Have a plan to access garments so they do not end up stored for years. Rotate seasonal clothing back out before extreme summer or winter temperatures set in. If your garage stays dry and moderate, it can accommodate short-term storage needs.

What are the best practices for storing clothing in the garage?

If you do choose to utilize garage storage, follow these tips:

-Clean thoroughly before moving clothing in
-Check temperature and humidity levels regularly
-Keep consistent 68-72°F temperature range
-Use dehumidifier to maintain 35-55% humidity
-Do not store clothing directly on floor
-Elevate boxes on shelves or pallets for airflow
-Use wardrobe boxes or plastic bins with lids
-Zipper plastic covers offer extra protection
-Inspect for pests and treat any infestations
-Limit storage time to avoid damage from elements
-Rotate seasonal clothing back indoors annually

What kind of containers can I use to store clothes in the garage?

Container Benefits
Plastic storage bins Airtight seal keeps out pests and dust. Stackable and movable. Available in many sizes.
Wardrobe boxes Designed for hanging clothes. Portable with built-in rod and bottom. Keeps clothing neat and wrinkle-free.
Vacuum storage bags Compress clothing to save space. Air-tight to prevent pests and mildew. Allows you to store off-season clothes.
Garment bags Lightweight bags zip closed to protect clothing. Breathable fabric helps prevent mildew and pests. Convenient for transporting clothes.
Cedar blocks Naturally repel moths and other insects. Use cedar blocks inside boxes or place near shelves. Release a fresh cedar scent.

Are some types of clothing too delicate for garage storage?

The garage environment may be too harsh for certain delicate and fragile fabrics. Very fragile items that should probably avoid garage storage include:

-Sequins or beading
-Heirloom textiles

The dust and extremes of humidity and temperature can damage fragile fabrics over time. Plastic containers help but do not fully prevent degradation. If possible, store delicate fine fabrics in a climate controlled closet or basement instead. Sturdier natural fabrics like cotton, linen, denim, leather and wool hold up better in garage storage when packed well.

How should I prepare my garage for storing clothing?

To get your garage ready for clothing storage, it’s important to take these steps:

-Clean thoroughly – sweep and wipe down floors, shelves, walls. Vacuum any cobwebs. Remove all trash and clutter.

-Check for gaps or cracks and seal them so pests can’t get in. Pay special attention to corners, doors and windows.

-Install shelves or pallets to elevate storage containers off the concrete floor. This improves airflow.

-Organize space efficiently for easy access to frequently needed items. Keep seasonal clothing handy.

-Install insulation, exhaust fans or climate control devices to regulate humidity and temperatures.

-Check for existing pest infestations. Set traps and treat for pests if needed.

-Place cedar blocks or mothballs around perimeter as a deterrent.

-Set up a dehumidifier or hygrometer to monitor moisture levels.

-Make sure adequate lighting is available to see items clearly.

-Have a cleaning and inspection plan to periodically check on stored clothing.

What are the signs of damage to clothing stored in the garage?

Check stored clothing frequently for any of these signs of damage:

-Faded colors
-Yellowing fabric
-Mildew or mold odor
-Visible mold or mildew growth
-Pungent musty smell
-Holes chewed in fabric
-Evidence of pests like larvae or webbing
-Warping or distortion of shape
-Loss of elasticity in fabrics
-Corrosion on buttons, zippers or embellishments
-Rust stains
-Brittleness or dry rot feeling

At the first sign of damage, remove affected clothing from the garage and inspect all items. Clean or dispose of items that cannot be salvaged. Identify and address the source of the problem, such as excess moisture or pests. Then improve storage methods to prevent more clothing damage.

What are better alternatives to storing clothes in the garage?

If garage storage will not work for your situation, consider these better clothing storage solutions:

-Interior closet – Less temperature fluctuation and cleaner environment. Can install additional closet rods and shelves to maximize space.

-Attic – Provides stable temperatures if properly insulated. Install lighting and flooring for access. Be mindful of humidity.

-Basement – Cool and dry with minimal humidity if dehumidifier is used. Must guard against possible flooding.

-Vacuum storage bags – Keeps clothing compressed to save space and prevents dust and pests. Store bags in closet, attic or basement.

-Storage unit rental – Climate controlled units keep clothing clean and prevent damage from elements.

-Under bed storage – Use plastic bins that slide neatly under beds.

-Portable wardrobes – Freestanding closet units create extra space inside house.

-Garment organizer – Roller racks store lots of clothing in small closet space.

The most important consideration is keeping clothing in a clean, dry, pest-free environment with stable, moderate temperatures around 70°F. This helps prevent damage and extends the useful life of your garments.


Storing clothing in the garage is convenient but does carry some risks. With vigilance and proper storage methods, your clothing can survive short-term garage storage unscathed. Monitor conditions closely and do not keep clothing in the garage for prolonged periods. For longer-term storage, it is wise to choose an indoor, climate controlled space like a closet or basement. With some adaptations, the garage can work for temporary storage during transitions. Just take steps to mitigate temperature, humidity and pest problems. Always inspect clothing frequently for any early signs of damage. With prudent precautions, you can successfully use your garage to store extra clothing and household items.

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