There’s no better day than the when you realize you won’t be needing your thick and heavy sweaters, coats, and boots again this year. Breaking out the summer wardrobe is cause for celebration, but it’s a bad idea to ball up your winter clothes and chuck them into the back of your closet. They’ll sit there for months on end, and since they’re pieces that you invested in they’re worth preserving!
We’ve outlined how to store your winter clothes properly, for the easiest transition possible.
1. Clean everything first.
The biggest and most effective tip is to machine wash or dry clean everything you plan to store before packing it all away. It’s icky, but moths and insects are naturally attracted to our everyday scents, such as food, perfume, deodorant, and smoke, which can linger in the fabrics despite being unnoticeable to you. Using a natural laundry soda, like Nellie’s All-Natural Laundry Soda, instead of a chemical detergent, removes odors instead of covering them up with synthetic scents. This is ideal for long-term storage!
2. Remove all of the plastic from your garments.
Never store anything in the dry cleaning plastic it came in. The plastic is ideal for trapping moisture, which can cause fibers to dry out and cause the yellowing of fabric.
3. Invest in plastic storage bins.
You may be tempted to try those as-seen-on-TV plastic vacuum bags, but many experts warn against them since you use a vacuum to suck out all the air, which again dries out the garments. Clothes need to breathe, so plastic bins are fine for non-delicate items like t-shirts, jeans, wool sweaters, or polyester. Just make sure to pack things loosely to ensure optimal air flow.
4. Pack delicates differently.
For your delicate items like silk, organza, or cashmere (or anything that’s just extra special to you), remove them from the dry cleaner’s protective plastic immediately, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper, and place in 100% cotton-canvas storage bags.
5. Don’t hang your sweaters…
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare storage closet, resist the urge to hang your sweaters, as they can become misshapen beyond repair. Alternatively, fold them and place them in your plastic bins of your fabric storage bags with the heaviest garments at the bottom. One thing to remember: don’t shove all of your sweaters into one bin. Air needs to circulate to keep your fabrics fresh and to prevent mildew and mold from forming. You may also want to add cedar-scented panels to keep pests away.
6. …And don’t hang most coats.
Yes, it’s true! Believe it or not, coat storage is more effective when each item is gently folded, instead of hung if the coats are wool, leather, faux fur, or down. First remove everything from the pockets and fasten all snaps, buttons, and zippers, and then gently fold the coat. Then, loosely stack them into boxes, storage bags, or plastic pins. This will help to better retain the shape of your coats than hanging them in the closet.
7. Commit “CCDD” to memory.
This means “cool, clean, dry, and dark.” The last thing you want your storage environment to be is too hot, too dusty, too damp, or too bright.
8. Invest in boot trees.
After spending your hard earned money on beautiful footwear, don’t let the leather or suede break down in your closet! Buying a few boot forms can do wonders when it comes to maintaining the shape of taller boot styles. It’s always best to keep your boot standing upright, but space is often at a premium in your closet, so you can lay them flat on their sides in your plastic bins. Just be sure to condition the, first, and lay some cotton (like an old shirt, pillowcase, or a muslin shoe bag) over each pair to keep them clean.
9. Pack shoes with tissue paper.
If your cold-weather shoes aren’t tall boots, but instead things like ankle booties, pumps, or loafers, loosely packing them with clean tissue paper before storing will help maintain their shape while they sit in storage, but be sure to wipe them down first.
Now you’re all set to swap out the kits for the bikinis, and can look forward to perfectly maintained clothes when Winter rolls back around.