By Molly Hammond, Storage.com
Creating the kinds of costumes that win prizes at conventions is no easy feat, and cosplayers know it. What’s more difficult, though, is finding somewhere to keep completed costumes that keeps them in good shape for later use.
Many seasoned cosplayers, like Lauren Brummett (better known as her YouTube personality, Rexluna), say the biggest problem with storing costumes is a lack of space. “There are just so many things a cosplayer uses [that] it can overtake an entire room quickly, especially since, sometimes, materials come in big rolls,” Brummett says.
Self storage can be a great solution for the space challenges that cosplaying poses, which is why cosplayers should consider renting a storage unit to house their cosplay outfits.
Here are some tips for cleaning and organizing cosplay outfits, finding a good storage unit for cosplay outfits, and even creating your very own cosplay studio!
Clean Your Outfits
Jeff Ley, Sales Manager at STORExpress, has experience with storing elaborate costumes since Pittsburgh is home to Anthrocon, the world’s largest furry convention. In fact, several Anthrocon attendees choose to store their furry outfits at STORExpress.
Ley’s most helpful advice for cosplayers? Clean outfits before storing them in a storage unit because sweaty clothes don’t smell any better after six to nine months in storage.
Washing cosplay outfits can be tough, though, particularly when it comes to delicate homemade pieces. However, with this tutorial from veteran cosplayer Ax Waldron, cosplayers can learn how to clean their creations without ruining all of their hard work.
Organize Your Outfits
Having a whole storage unit dedicated to your cosplay outfits won’t do you any good if you store your garments improperly. Brummett says poor organization is a common mistake for cosplayers trying to store their garments for future use.
“When it’s getting close to convention, you can’t waste time sifting through your whole room looking for something,” she says, urging cosplayers to keep components of their costumes in labeled containers for easy access.
While you can spend a lot of money on containers, Brummett doesn’t think that’s necessary. “Plastic drawers, sewing baskets, bags, and even plastic ice cream containers—cleaned out, of course!—are all great ways to keep your pieces nice and organized,” she says.
Although plastic drawers, sewing baskets, and bags are great for organizing individual pieces from your cosplay outfits, Ley advises putting all of those organizational containers into a larger, air-sealed, plastic container to protect outfits, especially after they’ve been cleaned. He adds that cosplayers should never use cardboard boxes, as cardboard allows moisture to get inside, which can cause mildew and mold growth.
Get a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit
As with any type of clothing, cosplay outfits will fare better in a climate-controlled environment, which means a climate-controlled self storage unit should be on the top of your list when looking to store your outfits.
Ley says it’s important to store cosplay outfits in a unit with regulated temperature and humidity levels—which the climate control storage feature allows you to maintain—because it protects fragile (or expensive) homemade pieces from damage caused by extreme temperatures or high humidity.
If cosplay outfits get too hot or too humid, the fabric can start to smell, stretch, or, worse, break down. After all of the hard work you put into creating and washing your costume, you definitely don’t want any of those things happening. So be sure to look for storage units with climate control.
Create Your Own Cosplay Studio
Self storage is a fantastic choice for keeping your cosplay outfits in good shape until the next convention, but if you’re looking to turn your storage unit into a total cosplay oasis—a place to plan, create, and store your pieces—it can be done. The key is finding a unit that has electrical outlets. Though still fairly new to the self storage world, this amenity certainly exists and is the first step to creating a great cosplay studio.
Some facilities, like the one Ley oversees, even cater to this creative market by offering converted storage units that serve as creative spaces for all kinds of art. “It can be a great workspace that eliminates the need for keeping everything at home or trying to designate an extra bedroom as the sewing room,” Ley explains.
If you want to turn your storage unit into a cosplay home away from home, simply find a unit that’s conveniently located, offers electricity, and has climate control.
Once you’ve found a unit, fill it with racks of your clean, complete cosplay outfits, as well as all of your creative supplies for future projects (fabrics, sewing machine, reference photos, etc.). Also, get a table or two of wig heads for displaying and storing your wigs, which Brummett and Waldron both stress using for intricate or expensive hair pieces.
Brummett thinks using self storage as a cosplay studio offers cosplayers a creative outlet as well. “It would totally help with creative road blocks if I could just sit in my cosplay closet and be inspired by all the things I’ve already accomplished,” she says.
On the other hand, dedicating a space to cosplay outfits allows room for things that a bedroom or closet at home just can’t accomodate.
Waldron says she would use the space for displaying mannequins for each outfit and storing all of her shoes. “If every cosplayer could just have a Batcave with specially-made glass storage displays for each of their costumes, that would be the dream. If only…”
While personal Batcaves probably aren’t in the cards, self storage can sure give you a shot at creating a great space to practice your passion.