Store Winter Clothing Properly
Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Lynn, Eng, Nuance
What do you do with your winter clothes when the cold season ends? Do not throw your sweaters, coats, gloves, hats, and thermals into the nearest container and/or some out of the way place. Doing so will present you with very bad surprises come next winter. Take good measures to store your clothing properly. Follow these nifty tips to ensure that your clothes are safe throughout their storage. A little effort can go a long way and make a big difference when it's time to unpack your winter clothes again next fall.
Things You Might Need
Prepare Prior to Storing
You must clean the closet you will use before putting in any of your winter clothing. Mould and moths can damage your clothes if the closet is not clean and dry enough when you store them.
- 1Wash everything. Make sure all winter clothes are washed or dry-cleaned before you store them. Insects are fond of and feed on dead skin cells and perspiration. This makes it important for you to wash your clothes before packing them away. Also, a small amount of soil and/or food may not be noticeable at first glance, but they can become stains that are impossible to remove when left in that state for long periods of time.
- 2Fold all sweaters carefully and slip a piece of acid-free tissue paper into them. Acid-free paper will protect your clothes from stains and deterioration caused by moisture that can gather during the long period when your winter clothes are packed away.
- 3Remember to store your clothing in airtight bins or completely clean areas. You can also use mothballs, cedar and lavender to keep moths at bay. Either buy moth balls or simply include cotton sacks soaked in lavender essential oil with your clothes. Cedar balls are handy for storing with your clothes. Note - the smell of mothballs is really pungent, and many don't like the smell at all, and it's difficult to get rid of. There's a reason the moths don't like it.
- 4Place your storage packs, bags or containers in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing clothes in a hot and humid basement or attic. The heat can make clothes deteriorate, and the mildew commonly found in basements, can ruin your clothes. Place your clothes instead underneath your bed or in the back of your closet.
- 5Prepare sturdy hangers if you're keeping heavy winter coats in the closet. This way you will avoid misshapen clothes. For boots, check them inside out for any debris, insects or foreign material which may have been left inside. It's a good idea to get that fixed before storing them as well. Stuff them with old newspaper or even tissue paper to ensure that they hold their form, then store them in an airtight box.
Below are different storage methods you can utilize for storing your winter clothes, so pick what works best for you and the environment you're in. Remember not to buy fake containers or use old ones, as this can defeat the purpose of protecting your clothes from damage during the off-season.
- 1Closet. Empty the entire closet and remove dusts, insects, dirt and other debris. If you suspect insect infestation or mildew, do some insect control first, followed by killing the mould. Sort through your winter clothes before storing them. If you didn't wear it this winter, there's a good chance you won't wear it next winter. Prepare a bag for such clothes and another for children's clothing that might be too small for them next year. You can give them to charity or consign them for resale.
- 2Fabric storage. Fabric storage bags offer a flexible and reusable type of storage, but before using them, make sure to run them trough the washing machine in order to remove mould spores and dust. Remember to dry them thoroughly before putting your winter clothing inside, as moist containers allow mildew, mould and other bacteria to gather, which will ultimately result in your clothes being infested and nasty smelling the next time you unpack them.
- 3Plastic containers. If you're going to use plastic containers for storage, clean them with a disinfectant cleaner first. Before putting in the clothes, line the container either with a cotton sheet or acid-free tissue paper to keep the fragile materials of your clothes from touching the plastic container. If you use a non-transparent container, label each one so you'll have quick access to it during unpacking.
- 4Cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes provide another affordable method for storing winter clothes, as the absorb moisture and won't result in too much fuzz when unpacking. Just remember to put them in a dry place and seal the opening completely so that no insect can enter and infest your clothing.
- 5Garbage bags. While not the most beautiful storing material on the list, garbage bags also offer an inexpensive option for storing your winter clothing. Although they provide a moisture barrier, they can be easily punctured and do not keep nice folding in place. So you may want to use them only when you have no other option to store your winter clothes.
- 6Vacuum storage bags. This is a very nice storage option. Vacuum bags make a compact storage option, and act as an effective barrier for your winter clothing. They discourage mould, insects and other harmful elements from bothering your clothes. If you're not planning a vacation soon, you can even put them inside any of your luggage or carry bags during the off-season.
When storing clothes, always remember Cool, Clean, Dry and Dark. It will do you good to take note of these four essential steps when storing your winter clothing. #COOL. Choose a place that is not hot or near any heat sources.
- 1CLEAN. Clean all areas prior to storage.
Tips, Tricks and Warning
- Skip ironing your winter clothes prior to storage, as bugs are attracted to starch anyway. It's best to wash them again when you pull/unpack them from their storage space.
- Do not use cardboard boxes if you live in a humid environment/place because they're very susceptible to moisture.
- Moths are naturally repelled by the smell of lavender, which smells so much better than Granny's mothballs.
- Refrain from using trash bags for storing boots, because they can potentially damage each other if they have sharp heels.
- Be careful when using mothballs. Pets and even small children are typically attracted to them, with sometimes dangerous results. You can try cedar blocks instead if you sense moths can be a potential danger to your home.
- Storage chemicals must be used with discretion and care, according to their directions.
- Regularly check on the items you have stored to make sure there are no issues.
- Clean all winter clothing after unpacking and before using it.
- Only buy containers that will work together nicely with your storage and environment.