Since Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer season in my mind, I thought it was an appropriate time to address a task that I’ve been putting off for several weeks – putting away my winter clothes. I desperately needed to pack away my sweaters and boots to make room for shorts and sandals! But rather than just taking stacks of sweaters out to the shelf in the garage, I thought I’d do a little research to make sure I’m storing my clothes properly.
There are several threats that clothing face in storage, including light, moisture, and insects that like to snack on your clothes! Light can quickly cause discoloration, while moisture and insects can cause irreparable damage (not to mention unpleasant smells!) But with just a little extra time and effort, you can ensure that your winter clothes will still be clean and fresh when you unpack them in the fall.
Here are my 10 simple tips for properly storing your winter wardrobe:
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- Wash (or dry clean) everything BEFORE you pack them away. Lingering oils from deodorants and perfumes can discolor your clothing over time, and no one likes pulling musty-smelling clothes out of storage.
- Store your winter wardrobe in a cool, dark place, avoiding direct sunlight and stuffy air. A clean shelf in a closet or garage works perfectly.
- If you’re using a storage container, choose an opaque one rather than a clear one. An opaque container will keep light out, which will keep your clothes from getting discolored. (Just make sure to label your containers so you know what’s inside.)
- Help keep the shape of your shoes and accessories by stuffing them with tissue paper, toilet paper, or paper towels. If you’re using tissue paper, use white tissue paper to avoid any color transfer or staining.
- Before packing boots and shoes away, sprinkle a bit of baking soda into each one. Baking soda will help absorb any odors, and keep them from spreading to your other clothes. When it comes time to pull out your winter wardrobe again, simply dump the baking soda out before wearing.
- To ensure that colors don’t rub off or transfer between your sweaters or pants, place a sheet of white tissue paper between each article of clothing.
- Clothing made from natural fibers should be folded for storage, rather than hung up on a hanger. Hangers will stretch items over time, especially items made from natural fibers.
- If you’re using garment bags to store winter items, use garment bags that are made of muslin or cotton (like this one), rather than plastic. Plastic garment bags don’t allow for air flow, so humidity build-up could become an issue. Muslin and cotton garment bags will allow your clothes to “breathe” while in storage.
- Traditional mothballs contain insecticides designed to deter moths, but they can actually be quite harmful to children and pets, too. A safer, but still effective, alternative to mothballs is a lavender sachet.
Fill a small muslin bag or even a coffee filter with dried lavender (or cotton balls treated with a few drops of lavender essential oil). Tie off the bag or filter and place in your storage container or garment bags.
- If you have suitcases or travel bags you don’t use very often, you can save on storage space by storing your winter clothes in them. (But if you travel a lot, this may be more trouble than it’s worth!)
By using these tips and taking the time to properly pack away your winter wardrobe, you will not only cut down on the amount of items that go missing between seasons, but you’ll also lengthen the lifespan of your clothes. Since many winter items like coats and boots are quite expensive, you’ll be saving yourself quite a bit of money if you can use each item longer!
And lastly, taking the time to properly pack away your winter clothes will ensure that when winter comes around again, you’ll be ready to face it with fresh, clean clothes, rather than wrinkled, musty ones.