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How to properly store your winter wardrobe

If you are short on closet space, you know very well how difficult it can be to find a home for all your clothes. While you can take full advantage of seasonal wardrobes, the question remains: How can you store your clothes during the off-season? With summer in full swing, now is the time to swap out your winter clothes for your warm-weather gear. And though it may be a lot of work to switch out your wardrobes, it’s also an excellent opportunity to sift through your things and get rid of items you don’t wear anymore. Without further ado, keep reading to discover everything you need to know about winter wardrobe storage.

Person folding clothes
Sarah Brown/Unsplash

Sort your clothes

Transitioning your wardrobe from winter to summer is the perfect opportunity to take stock of what clothes you have, what you need, and what you don’t. While sorting through your closet, separate your pieces into two piles: one for things you love and one for items you no longer like, need, or wear. After all, there’s no reason to keep clothes that you won’t use next winter (or waste the energy and space storing them).

Donate pieces that are in good condition to a charitable organization or thrift store. Or, you can sell them to a consignment shop or online using a website like Depop, Poshmark, or ThredUp. Items that are not in good enough condition to sell or donate can be recycled. Some stores like H&M and American Eagle Outfitters offer in-store recycling bins for clothing and accessories. You can also use this tool from Earth911 to find textile recycling options near you.

Prep your clothes for storage

Once you’ve decided which clothes you’re going to keep, you can begin getting them ready for storage. First, launder everything you plan to put away, even if it doesn’t seem dirty. Even the tiniest amount of body oils on clothing can attract moths, which will absolutely ruin your clothes. Storing dirty clothes can also lock in odors that will be incredibly difficult to remove come next winter. So, wash everything before storing it away (and yes, this also means dry-cleaning and handwashing your higher-maintenance pieces).

Clothing hanging in a closet
Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

Folding or hanging?

The age-old question of clothing storage: should I fold this or hang it up? Generally, you should fold items that will stretch and change shape when hung up and hang things that get wrinkled when folded. Most of your clothing pieces can likely be folded and packed away. With synthetic fabrics, place acid-free tissue paper between the folds to protect the piece. Here are some handy guidelines to help you decide how to store specific clothes:

  • Sweaters: Fold and put in plastic bins or fabric storage bags; avoid stuffing too many sweaters in a bag, or mold could form
  • Winter coats: Zip, button, or clasp the coat closed; gently fold coats of wool, leather, or faux fur, so they keep their shape; hang down coats
  • Casual tops and pants: Fold or roll before storing
  • Delicates: Wrap in acid-free tissue paper; store in cotton garment bags, and hang
  • Boots: Use boot forms to help them keep their shape; lay on their sides in plastic bins with an old shirt between each pair
  • Shoes: Stuff each shoe with tissue paper to maintain its shape; store them in plastic bins
Pile of folded sweaters
Tijana Drndarski/Unsplash

Where to store your winter wardrobe

Avoid using cardboard boxes to store your winter wardrobe; use plastic bins instead. While cardboard can be tempting since it’s affordable and easy to come by, it can harm your clothing. Cardboard boxes are acidic, which can deteriorate the fibers of your clothing. They are also susceptible to water damage and attract insects and other pests.

On the other hand, plastic containers have a stronger seal, making them secure against water, pests, and other potential threats. Consider choosing clear bins so you can easily see what’s in each box. And don’t forget to label your boxes!

It’s also a good idea to add deodorizers to each box. Even after cleaning all of your clothes, they can still smell a little musty after months of storage. Try putting a few dryer sheets in with your clothes to keep them smelling fresh until the cold weather returns. Charcoal bags can also help absorb odors. Even with plastic bins, it doesn’t hurt to include pest deterrents, too. Add cedar balls or lavender sachets to your bins for easy pest repellent.

Now that your clothes are packed in boxes or garment bags, where should you put them? The key is to find a cool, dry, clean, and dark location. Both attics and garages can experience major temperature fluctuations during the summer, making them less than ideal for clothing storage. If you have space, consider storing your clothes under a bed or in an extra closet. Or, if your winter wardrobe is valuable, think about renting a climate-controlled storage unit for the summer.

With these tips, transitioning your wardrobe from winter to summer will be a breeze. You can protect your clothes from damage and create space for your warm-weather clothes. Plus, you can pare down your wardrobe in the process, donating your unwanted items to those who actually need them. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start packing up your winter clothes today!

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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Shannon Cooper
Freelance writer
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
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