Storing blankets in plastic bins can be perfectly fine as long as certain precautions are taken. The main things to consider are:
- Make sure the bin is clean before storing blankets
- Use bins that seal tightly to protect against bugs, moisture, and odors
- Store blankets loosely to prevent creasing
- Wash blankets before storing to remove oils, dirt, and dust
- Place fabric softener sheets in the bin to keep blankets fresh
- Avoid storing blankets in bins long-term
- Take blankets out periodically and refold or reshape them
As long as you keep these tips in mind, storing blankets in plastic bins can be a convenient way to free up closet space, keep them protected, and access them easily when needed. Just be careful not to pack them too tightly or leave them in storage too long without airing them out.
Are Plastic Bins Good for Storing Blankets?
Blankets are bulky items that can take up a lot of closet or shelf space. Plastic storage bins offer a compact solution for keeping blankets organized and protected without sacrificing precious room in your living areas. But is it really okay to store blankets in plastic bins? Here are some pros and cons to consider:
Pros of Using Plastic Bins for Blanket Storage
- Save space: Plastic bins allow you to condense the bulk of blankets into a smaller footprint in your closet, under the bed, or on shelves.
- Protection from dust and bugs: Blankets stored loosely on shelves can gather dust, pet hair, and even attract carpet beetles or moths looking to nest. Tight-sealing plastic bins keep your blankets encased and protected.
- Mobility: Clear plastic bins make it easy to identify and pull out needed blankets. The portable design with handles also lets you easily shift the bins as needed.
- Affordable: Plastic storage bins are an affordable organizational solution compared to custom closet builds or cabinetry.
Cons of Storing Blankets in Plastic Bins
- Lack of breathability: Blankets need airflow to prevent moisture buildup. Plastic bins may trap condensation.
- Potential for creases: Folding blankets tightly to fit in bins can lead to difficult-to-remove creases.
- Risk of compression damage: The weight of stacked bins can compress blankets underneath, damaging fibers.
- No UV protection: Plastic bins don’t shield blankets from color-fading UV light like dark closet spaces would.
So plastic bin storage for blankets does have some disadvantages to weigh against the benefits. But in many cases, the pros outweigh the cons as long as you take some added precautions.
Tips for Storing Blankets in Plastic Bins
If you do want to use plastic bins for organizing and protecting blankets, follow these tips to do it the right way:
1. Clean bins thoroughly first
Brand new plastic bins will likely have a strong plastic odor. Wipe down the inside of bins with a mild soap and water solution before storing blankets. Avoid harsh chemicals that could leave residue. Allow bins to air dry fully before use.
2. Select sealable bins
Look for sturdy plastic bins designed to seal tightly. This will prevent bugs, dust and moisture from getting inside. Locking lids offer the most secure closure.
3. Wash blankets first
Before storage, machine wash blankets on a gentle cycle and dry fully to remove body oils, dirt, dust mites or other accumulated allergens. This helps blankets stay fresh in storage.
4. Fold loosely
Don’t pack blankets too tightly in bins. Compression can lead to creases that are difficult to smooth out later. Gently fold in thirds or roll blankets instead of excessive folding.
5. Put fabric softener sheets in the bin
Place a couple dryer sheets in the bins to keep blankets smelling fresh. You can also use cedar blocks or other scent aids. Just avoid strongly scented sachets, which can overwhelm blankets.
6. Seal tightly
Ensure bins are completely closed and sealed before stacking or sliding under beds for storage. This prevents moisture, odors and pests from entering.
7. Store in a temperate location
Avoid storing blanket bins in attics or garages where extreme temperature shifts can cause condensation to form. Best to store in closets or bedrooms.
8. Flip and air out blankets occasionally
Every few months, take blankets out and refold or reshape them before returning to the bins. This helps prevent permanent creases from forming while stored.
How Long Can You Store Blankets in Plastic Bins?
Blankets can be kept sealed in plastic bins, but not indefinitely. For best results, make sure to use and air out the blankets every 6-12 months. Some guidelines on plastic bin blanket storage time:
- Seasonal blankets (heavy winter blankets in summer): Store up to 12 months.
- Infrequently used blankets: Store up to 6-9 months.
- Favorite/daily use blankets: Store up to 3-4 months.
- Heirloom or delicate blankets: Store up to 1-2 months.
The more delicate or prized the blanket, the less time it should stay tightly folded and sealed away. For long-term storage beyond a year, consider having blankets professionally cleaned before using archival quality box storage, which allows more airflow.
Signs It’s Time to Remove Blankets from Plastic Bins
Here are some signs that blankets have been stored too long in plastic and need to be removed and aired out:
- Musty, mildew or stale smells
- Visible moisture or condensation
- Crumpled, rigid or degraded texture
- Presence of bugs or eggs inside bin
- Permanent creases and wrinkles
- Discoloration or dust buildup
At the first sign of any of these issues, take the blankets out of the bins immediately and inspect thoroughly before airing outside. Then reconsider if plastic bins are the best storage method going forward.
Best Practices for Storing Specific Types of Blankets
Certain blankets may require more care when storing in plastic bins. Follow these best practices for specific materials:
– Only store clean wool blankets to avoid attracting insects
– Use cedar blocks in bins to repel moths
– Fold loosely to avoid creasing delicate fibers
– Store for only 3-4 months before airing
Cotton and Polyester Blankets
– Can be stored up to 1 year before cleaning
– Fold tightly to maximize bin space
– Refold halfway through storage to avoid permanent creases
– Store detached from cords to prevent damage
– Never tightly roll – lay flat or fold in thirds
– Don’t store longer than 6 months before use
– Inspect wires and connectors before reusing
Heirloom or Antique Quilts
– Use archival quality acid-free tissue paper between folds
– Lay as flat as possible – no tight rolls or folds
– Store quilts in bins for 1-2 months max
– Consider professional cleaning before storage
– Only store freshly washed blankets
– Use unscented detergent and no fabric softener
– Change out fabric softener sheets monthly
– Store for 3-4 months before airing out
Alternative Blanket Storage Solutions
If storing blankets in plastic bins doesn’t seem like the right solution, consider these other options:
Vacuum Storage Bags
Space-saving bags suck out air and compress blankets tightly to conserve space. Allows you to stack and slide bags under beds.
Cedar-lined chests protect against moths and smells. The solid wood construction prevents compression damage. Looks attractive for living spaces.
Acid-Free Archival Boxes
Provides protection for heirloom textiles without airtight sealing. Allows more airflow. Made from non-damaging materials.
Installing custom closet shelving creates space to neatly fold and store blankets while allowing air circulation. Easy to access.
Use underbed storage bins, bags and boxes specifically sized to utilize the empty space under beds for blanket storage.
FAQs about Storing Blankets in Plastic Bins
Get answers to some common questions about keeping blankets in plastic storage containers:
Are plastic bins bad for storing blankets?
Plastic bins are not necessarily bad for blankets as long as air circulation is allowed periodically and folding is done gently to avoid creases. Long-term sealed storage can damage blankets.
What size plastic bin is best for blankets?
For queen and king size blankets, use large 18-20 gallon bins at least 18″W x 30″L x 12″D. Smaller throw blankets only need slim 6-12 gallon bins.
Should blankets be stored flat or folded in bins?
Folding blankets loosely in thirds fits better in bins, but storing flat prevents creases best. Try alternating folding and flat stacking from season to season.
How do you keep blankets fresh in plastic bins?
Washing blankets before storage keeps them cleanest. Placing cedar, scented fabric softener sheets, or charcoal air purifiers in the bin helps absorb odors.
Should you put blankets in trash bags for storage?
Trash bags lack durability for long-term storage and offer minimal pest and dust protection. Use extra thick vacuum seal bags instead for similar compression.
Storing blankets in plastic bins can be a smart organizational method with the right precautions. Choose sealable bins, store blankets loosely folded, use cedar or scents, and don’t keep blankets in storage too long without airing them out. Rotate blankets from season to season to minimize damage. With proper care, plastic bins allow you to keep blankets protected and accessible while freeing up closet space. Just be careful not to simply throw blankets in bins long-term without occasional inspection and maintenance. Follow these best practices, and your blankets can stay fresh and ready to use when needed.