Prolong the life of your handbags by storing them properly and keep them looking great. Here’s a few tips so you can get the most out of them:
1. Don’t leave them hanging
Hanging your bags in a cupboard, coat rack or a door handle is a speedy way for them to become misshapen. Sure, it's fine for limited amounts of time, but leaving bags hanging up for too long can make them lose their shape, the handles stretch and the body of the bag can start to look slouchy and scruffy as well as gather dust.
2. Take everything out
This might seem obvious but if you are going to store a bag for a while, you need to make a point of removing anything that might impact the shape of the bag, leak (eg. biros and perfume) or become stuck to the lining like sweets.
3. Clean them
Once it's emptied of all its contents, tip your bag upside down and give it a good shake - you'd be surprised how much gunk has collected - and if you want to get it super clean, use a small head on your vacuum cleaner to get into all the pockets and corners of the lining. Bags also carry a lot of germs (think about it - we put them on the floor, take them into public bathrooms, sometimes carry used tissues etc) so it's a great time to make sure it's clean by giving it a wipe with a damp cloth (ensuring it's fully dry before putting it away).
4. Stuff them
To keep shape, bags should be emptied of their contents and stuffed with tissue paper, including external pockets. If you are putting your bag away for a while, consider wrapping tassels in tissue paper to keep them being scrunched up and also wrapping hardware like heavy buckles, locks etc to protect the leather. Any detachable handles or decorative pieces can be taken off the bag and carefully placed inside. Make sure you don’t overstuff the bag with tissue paper - put enough paper for the bag to hold its shape nicely but not stretch it. If you want something fancier than tissue paper or something special to look after your investment pieces, The Container Store has these quilted handbag shapers
5. Use dust covers
Most bags these days are supplied with a dust cover. These are brilliant at keeping the leather protected from sunlight and obviously, dust free. A handy alternative that's readily available in most households are cotton pillow cases. But if you have a touch of an organisational freak in you, you will really love the options from Mia Cotone
and The Container Store
Mia Cotone zip up dust covers - US shipping only
6. Keep them on a shelf
Back to the first tip about not hanging bags up for a long time, it’s much better for bags to be kept on a flat surface like a shelf and kept upright where possible. Hopefully, once you have stuffed your bag, it will stand up on its own, but if not, you could try using book ends or shelf dividers to help keep them upright like these
. Or you could have a bespoke handbag closet made (!!) like the photo below.
Tailored wardrobe storage space for handbags. Image source Ebay
Of course not everyone has loads of wardrobe space so if you do need to lie your bags down eg. under your bed, follow the above steps and definitely don’t put anything on top of them.
7. Keep an eye on them
They might be out of sight but it’s a good idea to check your stored bags every few months to make sure everything is ok. It goes without saying that bags should be completely dry when they are put away, but checking to make sure there’s no mould or discolouration appearing while they are being stored is important. If you feel the leather is drying out, it’s a good time to use some leather conditioner to put a bit of moisture back in. Again, make sure it’s had time to absorb before putting it away again. Shifting positions of handles, straps and hardware will stop creases and permanent marks and indents from appearing.
When you decide to put your bag back in circulation again, take the stuffing out and keep it in the dust cover for easy access next time. It might need another treatment of leather conditioner. And don’t forget to give it a spray of leather protector to protect from the rain.