Storing Tips to Protect Your Running Gear
Even if you’re running every day, some gear rotation is a good idea. You’ll likely use different kinds of gear depending on the time of year, and may also simply fancy a change now and then. Putting gear you’re not using into storage helps preserve it for future use, and gives you the option to ring the changes without keeping unused items in closets.
Have a Clear Out
If you haven’t worn an item of running gear for a year, chances are you don’t need it. There’s no point storing things you know you won’t wear again, so be a bit ruthless.
Inspect kit for damage or wear, and resist the temptation to hold on to things that are past their best. You won’t feel comfortable in them anyway, and if you’re conscious of your clothing or you’re worried something might fall apart mid-run, you can’t focus on what you’re doing.
Having narrowed your gear down to the items you know you want, the next step is preparing gear for storage. Give everything a thorough clean.
Paying attention to washing labels and instructions, run everything through the washing machine and make sure it’s completely dry before storing. Damp clothes in boxes will slowly ruin. Avoid ironing anything. Not much running gear needs ironing, but if you wear cotton items you’d normally iron, save that chore for when you retrieve items from storage. Ironing can actually weaken fibres and may make clothes tear along the creases over the long term.
- Cleaning running shoes – clean off mud and debris as any left on can weaken fabric fibres. It may be tempting to throw them in the washing machine but don’t as the detergent and heat can cause damage. If they’re really filthy, scrubbing with a small brush (try a toothbrush) and warm water should lift the worst of the dirt. Let them dry at room temperature. Stuffing with newspaper can help wick away excess moisture.
- Waterproof jackets – you don’t want to over wash them as this can affect how waterproof the fabric stays, but they need some gentle cleaning. Do up the zips and close any flaps before washing. Choose a detergent formulated for waterproof fabrics and wash on a gentle, warm wash. Always check the label before tumble drying, but it will probably be okay. The heat from tumbling reactivates many water repellent materials.
- Don’t forget water bladders – without thorough cleaning, bacteria can quickly build up inside water containers. A couple of tablespoons of baking powder in warm water works well. Give it a good shake and let it sit for around half an hour, then rinse thoroughly. Let it dry out completely before storing. A sneaky alternative is to store it in the freezer, if you have room. No bacteria will grow inside a frozen container.
Choosing Containers and Correct Packing
Plastic storage tubs are brilliant. You can see what’s inside, they stack securely and are light and sturdy. They offer excellent protection, but for extra security you could add layers of acid-free tissue paper between items.
When space is tight, rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones. No matter how tight your space is, avoid over packing boxes, and place heavier items at the bottom. Use separate shoe boxes for trainers and running shoes.
Locations for Storage
If you’re storing running gear at home, make sure your space is clean and damp free. Pests and moisture are the enemies of anything put into storage.
When space for storage is tight, self storage is a viable option. There are smaller lockers as well as entire rooms, so you can tailor your space exactly to your needs. Plus, short contracts mean you’re not tied in for longer than you want.
Good quality running gear isn’t cheap. Look after it, have a variety of items to give some a rest now and then, and your kit will give many running miles of good service.