With winter chills officially in the air, many of us are reaching for clothes that we haven’t seen since spring. Unless you have an enormous closet, you probably need to do some re-organizing around this time, rotating your seasonal clothes into and out of storage. Out come the jackets and scarves, and away go the summer hats and maxi dresses.
Transitioning your closet from summer to winter can be overwhelming, but there are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure that you’re taking good care of all your clothes.
For Clothes You’re Putting Into Storage
- Clean your clothes before you store them. Wash or dry clean each item one last time before it goes away. If any grime, mildew, stains, or other ickiness is on your clothes now, it’ll be twice as hard to remove after sitting there for several months.
- Take this time to purge. Take note of the items that you didn’t wear all summer. This is a great opportunity to make a “donate” pile and drive it to the local thrift store.
- Choose the right containers. Stow your summer clothes in air-tight plastic containers with a lid. Avoid plastic dry cleaner bags, which trap moisture and suffocate your clothes, or cardboard boxes, which attract insects. Vacuum-seal bags work, but will wrinkle your clothes.
- Pack properly. There’s a “right” way to pack every item. Shirts, dresses, and other flexible items should be rolled up, rather than folded, so they take up less room. For clothes that should stay hanging, use a rolling garment rack. Hats can be placed in a hat box or regular plastic bin; stuff them to maintain the shape and don’t place anything heavy on top.
- Don’t put everything away. Only store items that are truly limited to one season, like shorts and sandals. Other items, like short-sleeved T-shirts, can be useful all year long.
- Add a pest-repelling sachet. A sachet full of lavender or cedar will discourage pests and also make your clothes smell great through the winter. Don’t forget to replace it occasionally!
For Clothes You’re Taking Out From Storage
- Organize as you go. Transitioning a closet can be daunting, and it’s tempting to take shortcuts and just kind of toss everything in. But truthfully, this is the perfect time to organize, since you have to go through each item anyway. Sort similar pieces together – sweaters in one place, jackets in another, and so on. It makes everything much easier later.
- Inspect your clothes for damage. Did moths get to your sweaters? Are your boots intact? Take a look at each piece as well as the storage containers. Even if there aren’t any holes in your clothes, moths leave behind other evidence, like casings or cocoons.
- Get rid of musty smells. Depending on your summer storage situation, your clothes may develop a musty smell after a few months despite your best efforts. To get rid of the smell, mist them with a mixture of one part vodka and two parts water. If that fails, consider the dry cleaner.
- Refresh down coats. To help puffy coats regain their natural, full shape, toss them into the dryer with a few tennis balls or hang them in the bathroom during a hot shower.