If you are not planning to use your handbag for a while - maybe you have decided to put it away for a season or give it a rest from using it every day - its a great idea to store it properly. Carefully storing your bags ensures the leather is cared for and they keep their shape so they look good for longer.
Here’s a few tips on how to store your bags so you can get the most out of them:
1. Don’t leave them hanging
Hanging bags for an extended period (like on a door handle or in a cupboard) is a fast way to help them lose their shape. The leather stretches, keeping the saggy hanging on the back of the door look, they start to look scruffy as well as gather dust. And if they are in the sun, they will start to fade.
2. 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, and its an important bag to you, you could go to the extra effort of wrapping straps, handles and tassels in tissue paper to keep them being scrunched up and also wrapping hardware like heavy buckles, locks etc to ensure they don’t indent the leather. Don’t overstuff, just put enough tissue paper for the bag to hold its shape nicely.
3. Use a dust cover
Most bags these days are supplied with a dust bag. These are brilliant at keeping the leather protected from sunlight, which will fade leather, and obviously, dust free. Do not keep your bags in plastic where the leather cannot breathe. Depending of the level of moisture, the leather may either dry out or become mouldy. If you don’t have a dust bag, an old pillow case will do the job beautifully.
4. Put them on a shelf
To be kept in top condition, it’s much better for bags to be sitting on a flat surface like a shelf and kept upright where possible. If you have stuffed your bag, hopefully, it will stand up on its own, but if not, you could try using book ends or shelf dividers to help keep them upright. Smaller clutch bags can even be stored upright in a drawer.
If there’s no option other than lying your bags down such as under your bed, its advisable to wrap all the hardware so as not to mark the leather, ensure the stuffing is done well and that everything is lying as neatly as possible and definitely don’t put anything on top of it that will flatten it.
5. Keep it dry
When you put your bag away for a while, your bag will be susceptible to damp and humidity. If any moisture gets into the leather, it can form mould and once it's in the leather, its basically impossible to get rid of. Make sure that when you store your bag, it is completely dry and if you have silica gel sachets, put a couple in your bag as a preventative measure.
6. Check your bag from time to time
It’s a good idea to check your stored bags every couple of 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 is important. If you notice leather drying out, it’s a good time to use some leather conditioner to put a bit of moisture back in. Make sure it’s had time to absorb and dry again before putting it away. Shifting positions of handles, straps and hardware will stop creases, indentations and permanent marks from appearing.
When you decide to put your bag back in circulation again, take the stuffing out and keep it in the dust cover so you don't waste it and its ready to use for the 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.