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You may think that your clothes will stay clean and protected in the closet, but there are many things that can damage your clothing. Use these tips and preparations to make sure that your clothes don't smell musty, sustain insect damage, get molded or mildewed, or get misshapen by below-par hangers. Don't risk one of your biggest investments by leaving your wardrobe's protection up to chance. Follow these steps to ensure their safe storage.

1) Most people will notice a musty smell on their clothes if they sit in storage for too long. This smell is actually mold growing on the clothes. Fabrics can absorb moisture from the air. When we seal them up, the moisture can grow into mold and mildew. To sidestep this problem, you should store your clothes with cedar hangers or cedar accessories. Cedar absorbs moisture and keeps clothes smelling fresh. You can use dryer sheets for freshness. Just make sure that they don't actually touch your clothes because they can leave a waxy deposit.

2) Insect damage to clothing is more common than you might think. Most people associate moth damage with old closet full of wool clothing. However, there are many fabrics that moths can eat. It is actually your body oil that they are attracted to. If you wear a suit, sweater, dress or coat and then hang it back on the hanger, moths will be attracted to the smell. They will lay their eggs there and disappear. So, even though you may not see any moths, the larvae will be there, feeding on your clothes. Cedar helps repel moths. Having clothing cleaned before you put it back in the closet is a good idea too.

3) Many people use those old wire hangers because it's what they got at the cleaners, or they're trying to save space and money. However, those old hangers have edges and points that snag and tear clothes. They get all crossed up on the bar and even bend to let your heavier items end up on the floor. They also cause the shoulders of your coats and suits to lose their shape and look shabby. Investing in some nicer clothes hangers will save you money in the long run. A nice wood hanger will help your clothes to keep their shape. They will also help your clothes to stay slightly separated on the bar so that they don't get wrinkled or crossed up. You can save space by using suit hangers or other specialty clothes hangers that allow you to hang more than one item on each hanger.

About the Author: Joe Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online resource for well made clothing hangers for the home.