Storing Your Bag
The relationship with our bags can be bittersweet.
Brimming with excitement as the sales assistant bundles our latest purchase in its tissue paper, we can’t wait to undo all that careful packing as soon as we get home and dote on our new treasure.
I don’t know about you – but with that same rush of joy comes a little niggling sense of dread. Like my latest trip to the hairdresser, my subconscious knows that pretty soon, my hair will stop being so bouncy and will eventually fall flat, and my latest handbag will get grubby.
Yet a worn-out bag is not inevitable. While it’s important to clean it regularly, it’s just as vital to store it correctly. If not, you could end up with crumpled, misshapen leather, a flaking and sticky interior, and discolouration.
Unless you’re investing in a Kelly, a Birkin, or certain limited edition design collaborations, your bag will most certainly fall in value. However, the rate at which it dips is ultimately down to you and how you care for your bag. Not only is correct storage important for extending the lifespan of your purse, it’s also a vital factor in maximising its resale value if you want to resell it in the future.
If you’re serious about preserving your treasure, here are some tips I’ve learned over the years for ensuring that you get maximum value for money from your bag – whether this means keeping it in tip-top condition for many years for yourself, or if you plan on maximising your return for it in the future.
#1 Keep all the accessories
Any bag with its dust bag, care card, box and authenticity cards will garner a higher price than a bag on its own. This is because a pre-owned bag with all the accessories reassures the buyer of its authenticity, making them more likely to buy it over another. Not only this, but a bag with all its bits and pieces feels more valuable than one on its own because it’s presented exactly as it would have been when it was bought in the shop. Again, this means that the buyer is more likely to choose your bag over others.
#2 Stuff it
Not stuffing your bag can lead to sagging sides, misshapen leather and crumpled edges, especially if your bag is unstructured in the first place. Stuff it with acid-free tissue paper or cotton fabric in a neutral colour. Focus the stuffing in the areas that are likely to sag the most, like the bottom corners and sides. Not only will this extend the life of your bag, it’ll also make it look more presentable when you take it out, and will stop it from sagging when you place it down.
#3 Cover it
Dust-bags are included for a reason. They’re a valuable tool in prolonging the life of your bag. When not in use, make sure your bag is always kept in it. If you don’t have one, a cotton pillowcase in a neutral colour will work just as well. Make sure it’s not too tight around the bag – particularly the handles – as this can misshape them over time.
#4 The ‘no touching’ rule
Often the areas of your bag touching one another will leave a mark. Sometimes, the flap just sitting on your bag can make imprints on the leather, and this is especially common with suede.
I’ve bought several pre-owned bags with suede components. But unfortunately, the hardware or the handle had made imprints on the bag. One instance is a Céline Trapèze which I bought second-hand (below left photo). It had a blue suede flap and a black leather carry handle. The handle had been sat on the flap while in storage, and this caused it to imprint on the suede. It’s clear that the handle was being pushed onto the suede, which was probably caused by other items sitting on the bag while it wasn’t being used. What a shame for a once expensive bag!
To avoid this, separate the parts with packing foam, bubble wrap or cotton fabric, and avoid laying other items on top of your bag.
Another example is this Delphie bag from Mulberry (above right), which had never been used. Unfortunately, the hardware on the flap had still impressed against the blue suede. This is partly due to a flawed design, yet it can be reversed by laying some packing foam, or bubble wrap in between the leather and the suede when not in use.
#5 Shelve it
The best place to put your bag is on a shelf. Hanging them from their handles or straps will stretch and warp the leather over time. Remember to keep it away from heaters and strong smells, like plug-in air fresheners. The chemicals in these can often degrade the leather over time, so keep clear!
#6 Temperature control
Make sure that your bag is kept away from overly hot or cold temperatures. One common problem with older Louis Vuitton bags is the Vuittonite lining, which was a patented, vinyl-like material that was marketed as being easily washable. Fortunately, the lining is no longer in production as it was known to become ‘sticky’ over time, causing it to eventually deteriorate. This issue was more likely to develop in warm and humid climates, as the humidity would melt the adhesive, causing the lining to peel and crack. If you’re worried about humidity, pop a couple of silica gel packets in your bag. This will also absorb excess moisture as well as any bad smells. And if you have a humidifier, store your bag as far away from it as possible.
#7 Keep Liquids Out
This should go without saying, yet so many pre-owned bags on the market have pen marks! Only put pens with lids in your bag, and always keep them in a case. If you can, keep make-up in a case. I like to seal my cosmetics in a zip-lock bag, before putting them in a make-up bag for extra peace of mind. Putting in a little extra effort will ensure that you won’t have to spend money on specialised cleaning products or services when a spillage does occur.
Taking care of your bag will make sure that you get the most amount of use out of it and maximum value for money. Similarly, if you do want to sell it further down the line, it’ll make sure you get the highest return possible.