Autumn leaves mean more scarves and fewer beaches. If your summer clothes are sitting in your closet taunting you, now may be a good time to pack them away until the sun comes back. Properly storing clothes takes a bit of time and effort, but it’s worth it.
Step One: Sort
Before you take the time to clean and pack away your summer dresses, be sure you’ll wear them again. If you did a wardrobe spring-clean earlier this year, the process will be simple. If not, now is a great time to do some editing.
First, make three piles – one to clean, one to mend or repair (and then clean), one to give away.
Now go through everything with these questions in mind: When did you last wear it? If you didn’t wear it this summer, you probably won’t wear it next year. Can you still wear it? Just because it’s meant for summer doesn’t mean you can’t layer a camisole or tank under a cardigan or beef up a sundress with boots and a sweater. Does it fit properly? Do you still love it or merely tolerate it? Does it make you feel good when you wear it?
Once everything is sorted, take the give away pile to your nearest donation center and mend and fix what’s needed. Pro tip: If you know you won’t ever get around to fixing it, put it in the donation pile now and save yourself the hassle.
Step Two: Clean
Take clothes to the dry cleaner, toss them in the laundry, or hand wash the delicates. You know how laundry works. Wash every item you plan to store, even if it looks clean. Small amounts of food or dirt may not be visible now but could morph into a tough-to-remove stain over the next six months – or attract bugs. Hand wash swim suits with a mild detergent and allow to drip dry completely and store it in a small fabric garment bag. Run fabric storage bags through the washing machine too in order to remove any dust or mold.
Before storing sandals or other summer shoes, wipe them down with a damp sponge to remove any dirt or debris. Condition leather shoes with leather-specific products and store footwear in shoe bags.
Now is also the perfect time to clean the closet or storage area you’ll be using as storage. Clean and vacuum to banish dust, dirt and insects. If you see mold, mildew or insect infestation, use a bleach solution to kill any spores and hit the hardware store for pest control options. If you plan to use plastic containers, clean them with a disinfectant.
Step Three: Store
For delicate items, you’ll want to be sure you get boxes made of cast polypropylene – it’s safe for clothing storage – and line the container with a clean 100 percent cotton sheet or acid-free tissue paper. Store in a spot with cool, even temperature. Make sure it’s well-ventilated and away from artificial or natural light. Avoid attics, damp basements and garages. Some drycleaners or storage facilities offer seasonal clothing storage. If you decide to store at home, clear plastic containers make items easy to identify – or use luggage you don’t plan on using this season.
Roll clothing instead of folding it, because folding can result in hard creases. Over-achievers can add sachets of lavendar, rosemary or cedar chips in each container to protect against odor and pests.
Pack everything away and forget about it until the snow melts.
Do you have any tips for storing items over the winter months?