Summer is here… are you ready for some fun in the sun? Or are you still searching for your favorite shorts and bathing suit that are buried somewhere underneath a pile of heavy knit sweaters in your bedroom dresser?
If you have limited room in your home, rotating seasonal clothing out of your closets and drawers and into storage is one of the best ways to make the most out of your valuable space. You’ll keep your home organized and your garments in good condition, and dramatically reduce the amount of time wasted searching for the items you or your family need. Declutter your closets and create a cram-free space for your clothes with these seasonal clothing storage tips.
Sort – Prior to storing your clothes, sort them. If you have not worn an item within the past year consider donating or selling it. Less clothing clutter means less stuff to store.
Clean – All clothing, including shoes, should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s care instructions. Even if they look clean, you should launder them again just to be sure. Even a small amount of body oil, perfume, or perspiration can set into the fabric and stain it. Moths, carpet beetles, and other insects are especially attracted to clothing that has been stained or soiled with perspiration and food. A little preparation now will go a long way to keeping your clothes free from damage.
Don’t starch – Avoid starching clothes prior to storing. Bugs feed on starch. Starch can also harm the fabric and lead to stains.
Dry thoroughly – After cleaning, all garments should be completely dry before storing. Moisture in clothes can turn to mildew, which can attract pests.
Choose your containers carefully – Sweaters and accessories can be stored in clear, airtight plastic containers that have been completely cleaned and dried. Place the heaviest items on the bottom and make sure there is enough room for the clothes to “breathe” so that air can circulate. This can prevent mildew and mold. Make sure the lid is closed tightly and label the containers.
Garment racks and hanging garment bags are helpful for storing coats, dresses, skirts, button-down shirts, suits, and other clothes that hang. Avoid hanging sweaters; they can stretch out.
Take a pass on cardboard boxes. They do not provide enough protection against humidity and pests.
Repel pests – Many people rely on mothballs to deter moths but they can irritate the skin and can be very dangerous if children or pets come in contact with them. As a non-toxic alternative, try using cedar blocks, cedar chips, or lavender sachets.
Select the right storage location – When storing your seasonal clothes there are four words to remember: clean, cool, dark, and dry. Keep in mind that basements, garages, and attics can often be too hot, too dry, or too wet for clothing storage. A cool, dark, well-ventilated area can ward against mildew, mold, pests, and color fading from sunlight. Try to place any plastic bins on a shelf or raised platform. If you can’t find a suitable storage spot in your home, renting a climate-controlled storage unit can be a valuable, low-cost investment to keeping your clothes in optimal condition.
Switching out and storing your clothing on a seasonal basis is a smart way to maintain organized closets and drawers. As an added benefit, when you take out your clothing from storage at the beginning of each season, your garments can seem like “new” again!