A girl really can’t complain about having too many bags. It’s just like shoes – the more you have, the merrier. But you should also be a responsible bag owner. You have to protect your investment, especially if you have a penchant for Bally, Lanvin, or Louis Vuitton.

Still, whether you got your bag from an exclusive store or from a flea market, the bottom line is that you have to store them properly so that you’ll be able to enjoy them longer.

The way you store your bags and also where you put them can have an effect on their condition in the months or years to come. If you want to better ensure that they stay looking like brand new for a long time, below are a few tips that you might find helpful.

1. Make sure that the bag is empty.

Before you put your bag away, see to it that all of its pockets are empty. It is absolutely necessary that all food items and candy wrappers are thrown away because any food particles, no matter how minute, can attract all sorts of creepy crawlies to your bag.

Don’t leave items inside too because these will affect the shape of the bag. Eye creams, powders, lipsticks and make-ups can also leave stains, while pens and pencils might puncture the surface.

2. Keep the dust away.

Dust can easily get into tiny gaps and spaces, and this is difficult to clean. To avoid this problem, a bag must be placed inside another bag that will protect it from dirt. Most handbags, especially costly ones, often come with their own snugly-fitting cloth bags with drawstring ties.

For those that don’t, you can use a pillowcase or any type of dust bag made from a cloth-like material as this will allow the items to breathe. Avoid using plastic because it cuts off ventilation and it might encourage mold or mildew formation. Aside from keeping dust away, cloth bags also protect items from scratches and other damage. These also prevent color from fading too quickly.

3. Stuff your bags.

Bags should be stuffed with tissue, cloth, bubble wrap or any type of soft material so that it will be able to retain its shape. But be careful not to overstuff your bag because this will only stretch and damage the leather in time. Also, don’t just forgo the stuffing because failing to do so will leave your handbag misshapen.

4. Choose the right place.

Bags must be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not put your bags in an area that’s a bit humid. Any form of moisture can encourage mold formation, which can damage your bag. Avoid putting bags in a hot room or in a room where the items are exposed to full sunlight as the harsh heat can damage the leather or cause it to get cracked.

5. Have your bag cleaned or treated.

If your bags have been in storage for more than a year, make sure to air these out and have them cleaned or treated if needed. There are cleaning companies that offer such services if you prefer. But if you have time, you can easily do this on your own. Use a non-abrasive cloth or a slightly damp cloth to remove dust, and then apply a coat of leather cleanser afterwards.