How to Store Your Hermès Handbag Properly

Hermès Birkin 25 Gold with Gold Hardware sitting next to its box on a shelf.

When you purchase a luxury handbag like an Hermès bag or a Chanel bag, it is a thing of beauty, a piece of functional art. While some luxury bags, like the Hermès Birkin or the Kelly bag, have proven to be an exceptional investment that grows in value over the years that you own it, most women want to wear their exquisite bags. These bags were made to be worn, to be used, to be loved. 

Made from premium leathers, these bags can last more than a single lifetime. But care must be taken in storing these luxury bags so they retain their shape, beauty, and luster over the years. Learn how to store handbags like the Hermès Birkin with the care they deserve. 

While this discussion of how to store designer handbags may involve more steps or care than you prefer to take, this does not imply that these bags are unusually fragile. On the contrary, the materials and artisanship with which they are made make these luxury handbags exceptionally durable. But to keep them looking their very best for years and even decades of use does require care. Don't think of this as a hassle, but as another way to actively love your bag.

How to Store an Hermès Birkin Bag

Your Birkin bag is made of a premium leather like Togo, Epsom, or Swift, or an exotic leather like ostrich and crocodile. All leathers are organic material that, with proper care, will grow in beauty as it ages. Like real pearls, genuine leather develops a patina that further enhances its natural beauty. Leather will also stretch, sag, fray, stain, and tear if it is subject to rough treatment or improper storage. 

Because leather is sensitive to the elements, learning how to store handbags like the Birkin starts with protecting the bag from direct sunlight, high heat, water, humidity, and excessive dryness. Where to store the handbag is another critical question. Let's start with the Don'ts:

  • Don’t leave the bag lying in its original box; it could put weight on the back of the bag and stretch the leather

  • Don’t leave the front straps in the pontets; they can create indentations in the leather or exotic skin

  • Don't leave the bag hanging from its straps; they will stretch and may crack in time

  • Don't leave the handbag overstuffed; the body of the bag will stretch out

  • Don't leave any makeup, liquid, lotion, or pens in the bag that might leak and stain

  • Don’t store in an area that is subject to odors such as musty odors, mothballs or perfume; these will penetrate the leather and potentially leave non-removable odors.

As much as you might love to showcase your Hermès Birkin bag in front of a large picture window, the best way to store luxury handbags is out of direct sunlight. If you elect to display your bags on a shelf, it should be inside a temperature controlled closet to protect them from sunlight and heat. Be sure the designer purse does not touch anything else as it sits on the shelf and store it upright, in a standing position. 

If you live in a humid area, try to store your luxury handbag in a place away from moisture, heat and sunlight. Putting the handbag on a shelf without touching other bags allows good air circulation around the leather or exotic skin.

In most cases, the safest way to store your designer handbag is standing up in its original dust bag.

Preparing Your Hermès Bag for Storage: Step by Step

Before storing your Birkin bag or other luxury handbag on a shelf, it's necessary to prepare the bag for storage. 

Step #1: Wash your hands well and dry them thoroughly so they are free of perfume, lotion, water, or any dirt, before handling the bag. Then:

Step #2: Using a microfiber cloth, go over every inch of the handbag, gently buffing away any dirt or dust. Check it over for any stains or watermarks. Gently buff away any stains with a high-quality leather conditioner. Use the leather conditioner only to remove stains.

Step #3: Remove all items from the handbag. Hard objects like keys or cases can, in time, create a lasting and visible indentation in the leather. Pay particular attention to the zipper pocket, which, when stuffed, will leave marks on the back of the bag.

Step #4: Stuff the purse with acid-free tissue paper, bubble wrap, or air pillows to retain the bag's shape. Do not over-stuff — all clasps should close easily, and there should be no stress on the stitching.

Birkin 25 clochette inside its dust bag going into the Birkin

Step #5: Remove all removable straps, lock, and clochette, and place them in their own dust covers inside the bag so you don’t lose them. Anything that lays against the bag will cause friction that can eventually leave a lasting mark on the leather.

Step #6: If storing the bag in a humid location for an extended time, you might consider removing the plastic seals on the front hardware, if you have not done so already.  While Hermès has changed the plastic seals to reduce the risk of tarnish, there is still a possibility of tarnishing or discoloration if the hardware is covered for an extended time.

Birkin 25 Gold with Gold Hardware with its felt on, sitting on a shelf.

Step #7: Place the felt that accompanied the bag over the sangles, pontets and plaques to provide additional protection white the handbag is in storage.  

Birkin 25 in its dust bag sitting on a shelf.

Step #8: Now that the handbag is cleaned, stuffed, and ready to be stored, tuck it into its dust cover. Store the box separately.  For extended storage, you might consider placing bamboo or charcoal air purifier bags inside the bag and/or box to minimize the risk of musty or other odors.

Hermès Birkin 25 inside its dust bag next to its box on a shelf.

How to Store Your Hermès Kelly Bag

The steps above for how to store handbags apply to all luxury handbags made from premium leathers like the Birkin and the Kelly. Because the Kelly comes with a removable strap, be sure to remove the strap and store it in its own dust cover when you store the bag.

How to Store Your Hermès Constance Bag

Although the best way to store luxury handbags remains the same in principle for any quality bag, remember to treat each bag as the unique individual it is. For example, if your bag has two interior compartments like the Hermès Constance does, be sure to stuff the two compartments separately. The goal of stuffing the handbag is to help it keep its shape, so don't overstuff, but do support each section. 

Learning how to store handbags like the Birkin and Kelly properly ensures that they will retain their beauty, shape, and value for more than one generation.

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