Wintertime is approaching, it’s time to pack away your summer wardrobe and bring out the sweaters, scarves and other warm things. Take time this year to carefully pack away your seasonal clothing. Come next summer, you will be so glad that you took the time now to protect and store your summer wardrobe.
Sort and Decide
If you are like me, you probably have a lot of things in your closet that you haven’t worn in months. Pull everything out of your closet, bureau and dresser drawers. Sort through all your clothing and decide what you will keep, what you will throw away, what you will donate and what you may choose to sell. Be honest with yourself, if you never wear certain articles of clothing, consider donating or selling them. Sort your clothing into separate piles based on what you are keeping, throwing away and donating. Once you have everything sorted, bag up the clothing and get it out of the way.
Launder and Clean
Cleaning is an important step, even though your clothes may look clean, invisible body oils can stain and discolor clothing in storage for long periods of time. Carefully wash the clothing that you will be storing for the winter. Inspect each item of clothing for stains which will need extra attention and removal. If you find any clothing in need of repair, bring it to the tailor. Make sure to drop off the dry clean only items at the cleaner too.
Hangers and Containers
Decide which items will you will box and which you will store on hangers. If you normally hang it, store it on a hanger. Hang your skirts from the waist on a skirt hanger. Slacks can be hung likewise or also by the cuff allowing them to hang straight to avoid creasing. Avoid using wire hangers which can rust and stain the clothing. Wood or plastic hangers are good choices. If you are storing any jackets or suits, remember to use wooden suit hangers which help maintain the shape or your nice suits and jackets. Avoid using plastic bags from the dry cleaner; plastic can trap moisture causing mildew. Instead, use cotton garment bags. If you don’t have garment bags, a plain white cotton sheet will work as well. Punch a hole for the hanger and let the sheet drape around the clothing to protect it from dust.
Store your folded clothes in plastic storage containers with lids. Cardboard boxes contain chemicals and glue which can discolor clothing and attract pests. Loosely fold and pack the clothing into the plastic containers. Rolling clothing is also a good technique to avoid creasing and takes up less space. Pack the heavier items on the bottom and the lighter, more delicate items on top. Be sure to store your swimsuits lying flat on top of the pile to avoid stretching.
Safe Storage Locations
Now you are ready to move your summer wardrobe to a safe storage location. It is important to avoid damp basements which can cause mildew. Also, beware of hot attics which can damage your clothing’s fibers. Choose a location that is cool, well-ventilated and dark. Store them away from sunlight which can cause discoloration.
Additional Tips and Tricks
- •Make some homemade sachets out of some fabric, ribbon, rice and lavender essential oil. Cut four 6″ squares of fabric and four 6″ pieces of ribbon. Mix 6-8 drops of lavender oil for each one cup of rice. Divide the rice into four one-fourth cup portions. Tie each portion of rice into a cloth square with a piece of ribbon. Place these in the boxes with your clothing you plan to store. The lavender oil will keep your clothing smelling fresh.
•Substitute cedar essential oil for the lavender oil if you live in an area where moth damage is common. The Cedar Oil will act as a natural moth repellent.
•Avoid moth balls because they smell terrible and make your clothing terrible too. They are also toxic to children or pets. Either make cedar oil sachets or buy natural cedar wood balls or shavings for this purpose.
•Hang on to all those little silica packets that they are always warning us not to eat. Place them in the containers with your stored clothing to absorb moisture.
•Avoid vacuum seal bags. If you store your clothing for the long term in vacuum bags, you could harm them. Damage occurs because the natural fibers in clothing need air to maintain their structure.