For months now, our coat closet has been working overtime corralling all of my family’s winter jackets, boots, and various cold-weather accessories—and, truth be told, not doing a very good job of it. (Casualties of our overtaxed coat closet include one recently bought ski glove that my son swears is in there…somewhere.) So now that spring is here, I am beyond ready to lighten its load and put away our bulky outerwear and winter gear—and maybe find that glove.
But storing seasonal clothing isn’t as simple as tossing everything in a cardboard box and putting it in the attic. In fact, unless you want to shorten its life, don’t do either (read below for the reasons why). Here are five tips for properly storing your out-of-season clothing.
Photography by Matthew Williams for Remodelista: The Organized Home; styling by Alexa Hotz.
Above: Some of our favorite products for seasonal clothing storage are from the Butler’s Closet. Its Shoulder Dust Covers and Coat Garment Covers are all made of 100 percent cotton; $18 and $58, respectively. A couple of Cedar Rings hang from the tops of the hangers to deter moths; on sale for $6.99 per pack at the Container Store.1. Clean clothing before you store it away.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many seasonal clothes—like coats and sweaters—aren’t items you normally wash after every wear. Make the effort to wash them or have them dry-cleaned before they go bye-bye for the season. Perfume, perspiration, and body oils can all attract insects (including your closet’s dreaded Enemy No. 1: moths). And stains that go untreated will only darken with time. (That goes for your bedding, too. To learn how to clean your wool blankets, see Expert Advice: How to Clean Woolen Blankets, 5 Tips.) Note: If you’re having something dry-cleaned, don’t have it starched as starch can also attract pests.
2. Learn what to hang—and how to properly do it.
It may have been fine to hang that cardigan on a hanger when you were reaching for it once a week, but when it comes time to stow it for the season, it’s best to fold it. In general, any item that can lose its shape—knits, synthetics, and silks—should be folded for long-term storage. Outerwear can be hung up; avoid wire hangers and go for wood or padded hangers, which offer more support. And it’s best to hang your pants using the kind of hangers that have two boards to lock in the hem or cuff so that you won’t crease them.
Above: Ikea’s Bumerang Hangers in white ($5.49 for eight) and the Container Store’s Basic Shirt Hangers in natural ($7.99 for six) are both good options for wood hangers, which help prevent misshapen clothes.3. Say no to plastic or cardboard packaging.
Your clothing needs to breathe. Plastic bags from the dry cleaner, plastic bins, cardboard packaging—keep your clothes trapped in them, and you’ll risk mildew, insects, and yellowing. The best storage container for your seasonal clothing is made of either linen or cotton.
Above: Muji’s Cotton Linen Zip Box is no longer sold on the US website, but it’s still available on the UK site; £19.95.4. Pretreat for moths.
For extra protection from moths, consider adding lavender sachets to your stack of seasonal clothes. Lavender smells pretty to us but is actively loathed by moths. But no matter how much you want to prevent holes in your sweaters, stay away from mothballs, which are toxic not just to moths but also humans and their pets.
5. Store in a dark, cool, dry spot.
That means the basement and attic are verboten as both areas tend to be humid and musty. Many closets have a high shelf that is perfect for stowing your out-of-season wardrobe.
Want more ideas on organizing your closet? Here’s some inspiration:
How to Organize, Store, and Keep Track of Hand-Me-Downs $10 and a Day: Justine’s DIY Closet Makeover, Fabric-Wrapped Hangers Included Closet Clean Out: The Only 10 Pieces of Clothing You Need #Uncategorized #ClothesHangers #ClothingStorage #ClosetOrganizers #PersonalOrganizing