When thinking about how to store handbags, there are two major considerations. One is the convenient physical aspect - no small factor in most closets. The other is the best storage and maintenance condition for really good purses, so that they stay in the best possible condition for years.
How to Store Handbags for Convenience
Most women have a number of handbags and a small closet. Since sweaters, shoes and hats need to be stored as well, finding room for handbags can be a challenge. The advantage of handbags over the other items mentioned is that, with the exception of clutch purses, they can hang. So you can stack them on hooks on the closet wall or buy hangers with hooks and hang them on the rail. This isn't necessarily the tidiest solution, because the bags can collect dust and be annoying to sort through when trying to find something in particular, but it is a convenient and realistic means of how to store handbags for most women.
One good reason not to use hooks is that, even with a very good bag, it can eventually compromise the quality of the strap. In general, the better the bag, the more nicely you want to store it. Shelves are really the best way to go - they are convenient and easier on the bag. Obviously, not everyone can have the sort of closet that boasts shelving just for handbags, but if you have space on the rail, you can buy a canvas hanging shelf. This provides you with a few new shelves at a low price. Although these shelves can be in a variety of colored fabrics, you should get an untreated canvas as this is the healthiest for your closet and your bags - the chemicals in the dyes can leech and create a smell that is hard to get rid of.
Even with a cheap handbag, you don't want dust to collect - it can be difficult to clean; and with a good handbag, you want to keep it as pristine as possible. For some women, storing bags in drawers works well. If you have good bags that you only use occasionally and not much space, you can try keeping them in an under-bed drawer. But if your only storage option is a closet without drawers, there are still things you can do.
High quality designer handbags usually come with a cotton or silk storage bag. You want an organic fabric for maximum breathability and integrity. If you keep the purse in these and then stow them on a canvas shelf, they will stay in good condition.
For vintage bags, you can either look for a storage bag or simply wrap them in untreated newsprint paper. This is also a good way to prevent any sunlight damage, should your closet have a window.
Other Storage Options
If your closet is too small even for your clothes, never mind your accessories, you will have to visit your local container store. You can get purpose-made boxes or rolling drawers that can be perfect for storing purses. In a three-drawer cart, you can keep your daily bags on top, sports bags in the middle and evening bags on the bottom.
If you do want to use hooks for bags that are less important, such as messenger bags or totes, you can find prettier hooks in better shops, or even a good hardware store. A nice wooden hook will always look better than plastic and you can even get some that are painted or fabric-covered.
Maintaining Bag Integrity
There are a few other small tricks for how to store handbags that you want to hang on to. A vintage leather bag will keep best if lightly treated with cream or saddle soap before wrapping in paper to store. If it is a fabric bag, sponge it gently with water and lemon juice - this can help prevent stains developing on the handle. Store your bags well and they can last years.