So, you've just bought yourself a new handbag and have been carrying it for a few days already. Now, you've decided to store it so you can carry another one. You open your closet, only to discover that the bags you already own are not receiving the care and tender loving that you promised to give them when you bought them.
And now you are also worried about how to store your new handbag properly because your last purchase just got damaged, all because it wasn't being stored the right way.
The question on how to take care of your handbag is the one we get the most from our Collectors so we decided to make it into a two-part article - the first one will be on how you should store them properly and the second one will be on how to take care of them so they can last long but also have some value left in them if you decide to part with them.
As you know, I am a big believer of spring cleaning and I think I am constantly spring cleaning or pruning my belongings. I love to take care of it and I love for them to take care of me, meaning they make me feel and look good because most of my treasures do last.
I purchased my first luxury handbag when I was 16 years old, a Louis Vuitton Noé bag in Epi and yes it is still in my collection and whenever I carry it, I get people asking me if it's new. No, it's 21 years old actually… So, yes. A vintage treasure that looks brand new, thanks to the love I have given it over the years.
Running THE FIFTH Collection for the past few years have also given me direct insights on how people take care of their handbags or how some people simply don’t know what to do to maintain them. I am not telling you not to use your items - I am a firm believer of "you should use your things, if you don’t then it is time to part with them". What I am saying is that sometimes by simply storing them properly, you can make them last longer.
To do so you are going to need:
- A trip to Ikea depending on your closet arrangements
- Some time on your hands
- Good music or a podcast to listen to
- Shoe dustbags
- Tissue paper, the softest you can find
- Label machine (optional but a must for me)
- Empty wine crate
First, evaluate the situation by pulling all of your bags onto your bed, and I mean all of them. Even the one hanging on the door knob as well as the tiny clutches you are hiding in drawers. Now, assess the situation by asking yourself if you want to keep all of them or it is time to part with some of them (for more tips of detoxing your wardrobe see my previous article). You don’t need to waste time figuring out how to store them properly if you are not going to use them and as I like to say, the most expensive foot print in everyone’s home is the closet… so use it wisely.
Once you have decided which ones to keep, assess the space that you have for them - do you have enough storage space? My ideal storage space are simple shelves with adjustable heights, I like my bags to be stored either standing up, in their boxes, or flat depending on the type. And yes, I do label the side of the shelves as I don’t want to think too much about where to store it again after I used them.
In order to assess your storage space, I will urge you to group them by type of bags, clutches, totes, sling bags etc… that should help you fully understand your needs or shall I say your handbag needs.
Once you are done with assessing the space, time to empty those handbags - make sure you have nothing stored in them like makeup, coins, barrette etc… Time to vacuum clean the inside if necessary… but most importantly remove any plastic. Do not store bags with plastic pieces as stuffer such as bubble wrap etc… the mix of plastic, leather and humidity could be lethal to the inside of your bag. The only plastic I allow in my bags are the authenticity cards that came with some of them.
If you kept the dustbags and boxes for your bags, please use them. If not, in future try to keep them as they do come in handy and are perfect for storing purposes. If you did not or if your bag did not come with dustbags, fret not. Shoe dustbags can do the trick for your smaller pieces such as clutches and for bigger ones I would recommend white pillow cotton cases. I like my handbags to be protected from the dusts, light and the neighbouring handbags to avoid any scratches or colour transfer.
1) Keep them in top shape:
To keep their shape, my trick is to fill in shoe dustbags with tissue paper, this way I can easily remove the stuffer when I am using the bag and replace it when not in use. Never over-stuff your bag as you could actually stretch some delicate leather. For my larger bags, I did invest in bag pillows, they come with a price tag but so did my bags. In the end, I find the investment worth it.
2) How to store them per shape
The best tip on this is to try to remember how they were stored in the store itself but as a rule of thumb, I store my tote bags, flats in their dustbags and create a mini-pyramid with them. For the bags that have a solid base I store them standing and make sure they are well-stuffed, so they won’t lose their shapes. The only model that I would recommend to keep flat in the box is the Birkin model by Hermès. This bag needs to be stored flat or need a very good bag pillow as it has a tendency of sagging due to the proportions and hence create a crease on the side. Also, please store the clochette inside its own dustbag inside the bag so it does not scratch the leather.
For my clutches I actually store them in a wine crate. I find that a wine crate is the perfect size to have them all lineup on their side so easy to see, but it also acts as an easy removable drawer from the shelves.
3) Fight the culprits
Handbags have two notorious enemies - the content of the handbag itself and humidity.
For the content of your bag, please invest in pouches of different sizes. Not only will your bag be more organised but you are also lowering the risk of makeup and pen stains. If you intend on keeping the bag forever and you don’t mind those kind of accident then fine, but if you want to sell the bag one day, remember that those little accidents can decrease the value of your handbag and sometimes make it nulled. Also, who wants to be reminded of the incident each time they use their bags. So please go and splurge on pouches.
Enemy number 2 - humidity
Here in Singapore, it can be pretty difficult to fight the humidity but it is doable. In my 11 years here, I never had an issue and yes, we do store all the items we have on the site in our offices and as the saying goes: so far, so good.
First monitor your humidity level in your home, we do it in the office at all time. We also use silica bags, and keep the A/C on at all times. We also check our stock often to see if everything is in order. And I do the same thing at home. I open my closet to make sure the A/C gets in there, I spring clean my closet so often that it is neither overstuffed or never kept for.
And as an extra precaution I use the charcoal dehumidifier in the back of my closet and change them often.
However, the best tip to fight the humidity is probably to use your handbags. You see, leather is skin and like your face, it needs to see the light. It needs to receive some care and tender loving, so go ahead and organise your handbags so you can enjoy them more.
Do you have a tip you would like to share with us, leave us a comment below
Otherwise, stay tuned for part 2…