what to do with winter clothes in the summer

Rotating Your Winter Wardrobe Into Storage

by Josh Kruk

As temperatures rise, you can start thinking about moving bulky, cold-weather clothing into storage until next winter. Getting your coats, sweaters and gloves out of the house will open up closet space for your spring wardrobe and help to ensure that your winter clothes are in tip-top shape next year. Before you put away winter clothes, however, carefully think through your storage strategy. Proper planning now means fewer hassles when it comes time to get your winter wardrobe out of storage again. 

Preparing Your Winter Wardrobe for Storage

Before you start packing up your winter duds, go through them and eliminate pieces you don’t wear anymore. Get rid of items that don’t fit or are too worn to be of use next year. Corri McFadden from House of Consignment sagely notes that “if you didn’t wear it this season, you probably won’t wear it next season.”[1] Donate clothes that you can’t use any longer to a local charity or thrift store.

After you’ve decided what pieces will go into storage, make sure that they’re clean. It’s a good idea to run items through the washer and dryer even if they already look clean. Tiny stains can develop into nasty dark splotches over time, especially if it gets hot in your storage unit. Clothes that have been dry cleaned should be aired out before being stored. Avoid storing items on wire hangers as this can cause wrinkling and creasing. 

Choosing A Storage Strategy

Once you’ve pared down your wardrobe and cleaned your clothes, you’re ready to put your items into storage containers. As a general rule, it’s best to store winter clothes either in suitcases or in airtight plastic containers. Whether you are using a suitcase or a plastic tote, remember to leave room for your items to breathe. Clothing that is packed too tightly will begin to smell stale and can become permanently wrinkled.

Lifestyle Expert John Jannuzzi notes that special care must be taken with knits and fine fabrics. “For folded items, place them in sealable bags to keep them fresh,” says Jannuzzi.[2] He warns that items not sealed in bags or plastic containers may experience color changes or attract pests. Cashmere, silk and wool items can be loosely folded or rolled and placed into gallon-sized freezer bags. Rolling items helps to prevent wrinkling and reduces strain on the fabric too.

Garment Bag

Organizing Items in Your Storage Space

Deciding how you’ll organize storage containers is just as important as carefully cleaning and folding the items inside them. According to Style Blogger Vicki Santillano, “the ideal spot for winter storage is a dark, dry, and relatively cool area.”[3] If you live in a humid area, you may need to look for a climate-controlled storage unit. This is particularly important if you’ll be storing any wool or fur items. If you live in a relatively dry area, look for a storage unit that doesn’t get much direct sunlight during the daytime.

Before placing your containers into your storage unit, double check to be sure they are labeled. Think about how you’ll stack the items in the unit. Make sure to put anything that you might need before next winter towards the front of your unit. You might want to pack light jackets and fall-appropriate clothing in a container separate from your heavy winter coats and pants.

If you need to store winter boots or shoes, put them in their original boxes and stack them inside your storage unit. Place wads of tissue in the shoes to help them retain their shape and absorb moisture. It’s always a good idea to store containers with clothing, shoes and accessories off the ground. Place these containers on a wire storage rack to protect them from water damage.

[1] Corri McFadden, “Storing Your Winter Wardrobe,” CorriMcFadden.com, http://corrimcfadden.com/storing-your-winter-wardrobe/

[2] John Jannuzzi, “How to Store Your Winter Clothes in Style, Lucky Magazine, http://www.luckymag.com/style/2013/04/how-to-store-winter-clothes#/slide=2

[3] Vicki Santillano, “Four Ways to Keep Winter Clothes Pristine in Storage,” DivineCaroline.com, http://www.divinecaroline.com/life-etc/home-food/four-ways-keep-winter-clothes-pristine-storage

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