How to Properly Store Your Winter Clothing

As the winter months pass, and the weather changes to spring, it’s time to change the wardrobe in your closet. It’s time to pack away clothing items such as heavy wool sweaters, long twill pants, and turtle neck shirts. However, storing your winter clothing is more than just moving it from your main closet to another closet, or to cardboard boxes. In order to protect your clothing investment and keep them looking new, it takes a little time and effort.

First off, make sure that your winter clothing is clean. It’s common for some people to wear a shirt or dress more than once before they dry clean it. While this practice is fine, you may forget that you’ve worn an article of clothing once already. You may assume that it’s completely clean. So, you’ll need to inspect your wardrobe; look for stains. Some stains, such as underarm perspiration spots, can really be hard to detect. Perspiration stains can become permanent if the clothing they are on are stored away for a season. Not only that, but stains that contain sugary or oily substances can easily become permanent as well. They can also draw unwanted pests into your storage area.

Be sure you read and follow the care labels in each item of clothing to find out what cleaning method the manufacturers recommend.

Personally, when I inspect my winter wardrobe before I store it away, if I’m in doubt whether an item is 100% clean or not, I launder it anyway just to be safe. I guess I’d rather be “safe than sorry”. Next fall when I unpack my winter clothing for the season, I don’t want to be surprised by what I could find if an item was dirty.

Next, you should have two places where you store your winter clothing. One should be a “hanging” place like a closet. The other place should be either a dresser or a chest of drawers. If you don’t have spare drawers, you can also use cardboard boxes to put your winter wardrobe in. Some of your clothing needs to be hung up, while the rest should be folded up and put in a drawer or a box that has first been lined with white, acid-free tissue paper.

Take, for example, heavy coats and suits. In order for them to be properly stored, they should be zipped or buttoned shut. Check inner pockets in the lining, as well as outside pockets, to make sure they are empty. Don’t store hats, gloves, scarves, or other accessories in the pockets. Instead, store these items separately in a drawer or cardboard box.

Then, hang your heavy coats and suits up on sturdy padded hangers. You can cover them with plastic bags to help protect them…as long as you don’t close the bags up. Leave the bags open at the bottom so the air can circulate. Plastic bags that are sealed shut can easily draw condensation. The moisture that’s trapped inside the bags can then cause mold, mildew, and a host of other unwanted problems.

If the item is made of wool, you can help protect it from moths and other fabric-chewing pests by hanging a moth or a cedar block inside your closet.

Coats and other winter clothing that are made from leather should also be dry cleaned before they are stored away. Leather requires air circulation, so don’t place these items in plastic. You can use a piece of clean muslin cloth to protect the shoulders from dirt and dust, but other than that, don’t seal your leather items up!

Long-sleeved dress shirts, dresses, blouses, skirts, and the like can also be hung up in a closet. Again, just make sure they are clean, the pockets are empty, and the items are zipped or buttoned. (This helps them to hold their shape.)

Many of your other items, such as shirts and slacks, can simply be folded up and placed inside a drawer or cardboard box that has first been lined with white, acid-free tissue paper. Accessories such as hats, gloves, scarves, et cetera, can also be properly stored in this manner.

And finally, the perfect environment for both your hanging winter clothes and your folded garments, is one that’s cool, dark, and dry.

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