When the weather finally starts warming up, it’s tempting to shove sweaters into a corner of the closet, but taking time to think about how to store winter clothing can save you frustration when winter returns.
I usually make winter clothing storage part of my closet Spring Cleaning routine by sorting winter clothes into their own pile, but it’s just as easily done as a separate task. What’s most important: taking the time to do it properly, which is probably easier than you think.
How To Store Winter Clothing
1. Decide on a few transitional pieces to keep out of storage. Unless you’re waiting until the middle of summer to put your winter clothing away, it’s risky to stash all of your warmer clothing. I’ve learned this the hard way living in Kansas where it’s not unheard of for the temperatures to climb over 85°F during the day, only to plunge back into the 30’s when the sun sets. After shivering through one particularly wild Spring followed by a summer where we had more than a few chilly nights, I now keep a lightweight pullover sweater and a heavier cardigan in my closet year-round.
2. Clean everything, even if you don’t think it’s dirty. Left untreated, stains you can’t see now will set in your clothes while they’re in storage and it’s a sure bet you’ll see them when you pull them out next winter. Cleaning also deprives cloth-eating insects (moths, silverfish, etc.) of a reason to burrow into your duds. Take expensive or vintage clothing to the dry-cleaners (though other “dry clean” items might be washable at home) and wash everything else in the hottest setting allowed by to the manufacturer’s label. Skip the laundry additives for this load: the fabric softeners attract bugs.
3. Repair damaged items before storage. Many dry-cleaners will be happy to repair zippers and sew buttons back on, so be sure to point out any items that need extra care. Perform minor repairs yourself, or find a local tailor who can fix them at a reasonable cost so your clothes will be ready to wear next winter when you need them.
4. Choose the appropriate storage method. Never store clothing in the plastic bags from the dry-cleaner, which don’t allow fabrics to breathe and promote humid environments that contribute to mildew.
• Bulky coats and jackets should be hung on sturdy plastic or wood clothes hangers.
• Sweaters, shirts, pants and delicates should be folded carefully and can be stashed in plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids to keep out pests. Add a lavender or cedar sachet to keep items smelling fresh; their scents deter bugs as well. If you live in a humid area, consider adding silicone dessicant packets (the kind you find in the box when you buy new shoes) to absorb moisture, too.
5. Pick the right place. Avoid storing clothes in the attic, garage or basement. These places tend to be more humid and less temperature-controlled than other areas in the home. As a result, they’re havens for the very cloth-gnawing bugs we’re trying to avoid. Under the bed, in the back of the closet, even behind the sofa are all better locations.
Giving how to store winter clothing a little effort now is a great way to say goodbye to the cold, dreary days of winter. You’ll make more room in your closet for your favorite Spring and Summer outfits, and you’ll also be protecting your favorite sweaters and coats from damage.