The leaves are changing, the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air and you can’t wait to pull on your favorite sweatshirts and hoodies, leggings and knee-high boots. There’s no denying that sweater weather has arrived, but before you wrap yourself up in your much-loved chunky cardigan, you need to give your summer gear a proper send off. The joy of bundling up in cozy clothing comes with the sadness of needing to wash, organize and store your favorite tanks, sundresses and other summertime wear. It may seem like you just bought them, but now is the time to get them put away for next year.
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While the idea of switching from your summer wardrobe to your fall and winter wardrobe may seem a bit overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Preparing your clothes for storage and putting them away for the season is easier than you may think. And if you are still dreading the task, keep in mind that doing so will help make your clothes last longer and ensure that you won’t need to do a mad dash to buy new clothes once warm weather rolls around again. Getting organized now means that, come next summer, you’ll be able to find your sundresses, bathing suits, shorts and all of your other warm-weather gear quickly and easily.
Sounds pretty great, right? Let’s get started! Keep reading to discover how to store your clothes for winter.
Get Caught Up on Your Laundry
It’s important to thoroughly wash and dry your clothing before putting it into storage. Take the time to launder all of your summertime clothing to ensure that there aren’t any lingering spills that could cause your garments to mold. Once everything is clean and dry, inspect it thoroughly. If there are any garments that are badly stained or damaged, set them aside to repurpose or donate. There is no point in storing clothing that you’ll never wear again!
If you are storing clothing for kids, remember that the things that fit them now might not next year. Anything that will likely be too small next summer should be set aside to sell, donate or hand down to a younger sibling or family member.
Garments that need to be dry cleaned should be removed from their thin plastic bags prior to being placed in storage. The bags that your dry cleaner sends your clothing home in can trap moisture inside, which could result in mildew or cause your garments to discolor.
Sort Basic Clothing into Totes
Once everything is clean and dry, you can start sorting your wardrobe basics into plastic storage totes. If you don’t have a lot of storage space, under bed storage boxes work perfectly. Totes in other shapes and sizes work well for storing clothing in closets. Fold or roll your clothes neatly and place them in the containers. It works best if you have separate containers for each member of the family or sort by garment type. Label the outside of each container so you’ll be able to find what you need at a glance once warm weather returns.
Store your totes in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. This will prevent mold growth and keep your clothes from fading. Avoid storing your clothes in garages, attics and damp basements.
Take Care of Clothing That Needs Extra TLC
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While plastic totes work great for storing things like kids’ t-shirts, they aren’t the best option for your nice dresses and work attire. For these more delicate garments, you need to take steps to properly hang them in your closet.
After laundering, place dresses and other dressier clothing inside a garment bag. Fabric garment bags are better than the plastic variety as they protect your clothing while still allowing air to circulate. If you do not have a fabric garment bag, you can make your own using a 100 percent cotton sheet or pillowcase. Simply cut an opening for a hanger to slip through and then hang in your closet. This will protect your summertime clothing from dust while in storage.
The right hangers are important, too. Avoid using thin wire ones when storing clothing long term because they can rust or discolor fabrics. High-quality plastic hangers are a better option. For structured garments, such as jackets, you need shaped hangers that will provide adequate support for the shoulders. Hang pants and skirts by their waistbands using skirt hangers to prevent creases.
Keep Everything Smelling Fresh
If you want your clothing to still smell fresh when you open your storage containers or garment bags next spring, consider placing a few dryer sheets in with your stored clothing. Alternatively, you can tuck cedarwood in with your clothes to help keep things smelling fresh and ward off unwanted insects. They are a much safer (and more effective) option than mothballs, and they won’t leave an unpleasant chemical odor on your clothes. There are cedar sachets, hangers, hang-ups, hanger rings and all sorts of other products that you can use to keep your stored clothing fresh and insect-free.
Storing your clothes for the winter takes a bit of effort, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Spend a day cleaning, sorting and packing away your swimsuits, shorts, tank tops and sundresses now, and you can rest assured knowing that everything will be in great condition once warmer weather returns. Plus, getting all of that summer clothing out of your closet and dresser means that you will have plenty of room for those cozy sweaters and leggings that we all love so much at this time of year!