Regardless of the season we’re in, prioritizing what items to keep in your closet should take center stage to help you make the most of your available storage space. It’s no use keeping out-of-season clothing next to the items you’re currently wearing. That’s why it’s better to put them away until it’s time to wear them again. However, make sure you’re taking the right steps to protect your sartorial investments. Here are some practical clothing storage solutions to help keep your wardrobe in wearable condition:
Go Through Your Clothes
With every change of season, you’ll find it’s a great time to “Marie Kondo” your clothes. Go through your wardrobe and evaluate how you wear clothes. If you’ve not worn an item in the past year, it’s time to ditch it. Consider donating items still in good condition to a local charity or thrift store. You can also sell your gently used or unworn clothes online. As for the items that are in poor shape, either toss them or cut them up to use as cleaning rags.
Prepare Your Clothes for Storage
Before putting last season’s clothes in long-term storage, you need to make sure they’re properly prepared for this step as shown below:
- Clean Your Clothes
It’s important to wash your clothes before putting them in storage to rid them of any unpleasant odors, stains or dirt. Make sure clothes are completely dry when you’re putting them away as even damp garments can cause mold to grow. Take your special garments to be dry-cleaned if they call for it.
- Mend Any Damage
You don’t want to put away a jacket that has a missing button or a zipper that isn’t working. That’s why it’s important to carefully inspect every clothing item for any potential damage. If you’re not handy with a needle, you can always take your clothes to a seamstress to have them mended prior to storage.
- Keep Moisture and Bugs Away
Packing a moisture absorber with your clothing is always a good idea when prepping for long-term storage. Also, make sure the container of your choice is tightly closed to prevent moisture from seeping in. Moreover, pack lavender sachets or cedar packs to keep moths at bay — bonus point, they also bring a pleasant smell to your clothes.
Where To Store Your Clothes
Now that your clothes are ready to be put away, consider where you should store them:
If you have a roomy closet, you can use the back for storage, where you can hang winter coats, jackets and other out-of-season wearables. Also, this is a good spot to put containers with other seasonal clothes until you’re ready to use them again.
- Use Under-Bed Space
The space under your bed is untapped real estate for long-term storage, so why not slide a few bins with clothing there? It’s a perfect spot to keep seasonal clothing without cluttering your home. Use rolling storage drawers or short plastic bins that can easily be tucked under the bed.
- Rent a Self Storage Unit
With clothing being some of the most commonly stored items, it only makes sense to consider putting your garments in storage. A climate-controlled self storage unit can be a great place to keep clothing long-term. That’s because it provides the ideal environment — where temperature and humidity are kept at optimal levels — to help keep your clothes in great condition.
Be Smart About the Way You Store Your Clothes
Putting your clothes away for a season requires certain types of containers, with different fabrics requiring particular care. Here are some popular options:
- Fabric Storage Organizers
They are great options that allow your clothes to breathe. Think about storing silk or cashmere items in this type of container. Going for fabric boxes with clear windows can make it even more practical as you can see what’s inside. For long-term storage, pick containers with securely closed tops to protect your clothes from dust.
- Plastic Bins
Plastic bins are some of the most common storage containers — they stack well and are great at keeping the contents safe from moisture and pests. Store cotton and polyester clothing in this type of container as they fold well, and the containers don’t get damaged when stored vertically. Go for clear bins as you can easily see the contents, but make sure you keep them in a dark spot. Exposure to sunlight can cause your clothing to fade. Instead, opt for dark-colored bins if you’re keeping them under these conditions.
- Vacuum-Sealed Bags
For your winter sweaters, jackets and other bulky clothing, you can turn to vacuum-sealed bags. Fold your clothing, place it in the bag and use the pump to get the air out. You’ll get a more compact version of your clothes that will take up less space. Vacuum-sealed bags can keep your clothing protected for months.
You can hang some clothing items to store them for a long period, whether we’re talking outerwear, a vintage leather jacket, cocktail attire or delicates such as a silk blouse. Avoid metal hangers as they’re not sturdy enough — most garments can slip off, and the metal can even compromise the shape of your clothes. Instead, go for velvet-lined hangers, which keep your clothes secure and in great condition.
- Garment Bags
Garment bags are useful to protect hangable items, especially cotton clothing. The bags are breathable, avoiding mold growth. They help to keep the dust off your clothes and can be an excellent choice for long-term storage. There are also plastic ones, but they are not ideal for long-term storage as they can attract moisture and mold formation.
- Cardboard Boxes
Cardboard boxes are not ideal for keeping clothes as they can attract moisture and bugs. Avoid placing delicates and wool clothing in this type of container. If you choose this option, make sure you’re only keeping clothes inside your home or in a storage unit, as a garage or shed is more susceptible to the elements that can ruin your garments.
- Storage Bench for Shoes
A storage bench is a great addition to your home, offering a new seating area and serving as an out-of-sight storage spot. To make the most of it, use it to keep seasonal shoes. Pack them in cotton bags or wrapping paper and remember to add silica gel packets or cedar shoe trees to help keep the shape of your shoes and to keep moisture away.
After choosing the containers that best fit the types of clothing you’re storing, label each plastic bin, vacuum-sealed bag and garment bag before putting them away for the season. This way, you can always find the items you’re looking for when their corresponding season comes around.
Storing your out-of-season wardrobe can seem an intimidating task at first sight, but by following a few simple steps that allow for organization and appropriate storage, you’re likely to realize the whole process can be a breeze, and you might enjoy putting your clothes away in the end.