Tips for Packing and Storing away your Winter Clothes

Spring is typically the time that you store away winter coats, sweaters, and wool clothing.  Before packing and storing those winter clothes away, consider the elements that they may be exposed to such as pests, dust, and odors.  Following a few simple tips for storing your winter clothes will keep them safe and clean until they are ready for the next winter season.

Clean before your Store

Any item that you plan on storing for the summer should be cleaned prior to packing and storing away.  Unclean items can cause odors to adhere to the garments and the odors will penetrate other items in the container.  Stains are also more apt to stay in the fabric if not cleaned before storing.  If you plan to hang your winter clothes, the closet area should be cleaned thoroughly to remove dust.  Containers should also be clean and fresh.

Packing and Folding

Fold your winter clothes neatly.  Since they will be stored for many months, the items will become creased at the folds so you may want to consider rolling sweaters.  Place the heaviest items on the bottom of the container with lighter items on top.

Storage Containers

Use sealable plastic containers or bags to prevent pests like moths and mice from reaching your precious winter clothing.  Place acid-free tissue paper between garments to help minimize creasing.  Once the items are separated with tissue, place inside pillowcases or wrap in a cotton sheet to help control humidity within the container. 

Hanging

If you choose to hang your garments in the back of your closet for the summer months, opt for padded or wooden hangers.  Padded hangers can help prevent bumps in the shoulders of your tops and wooden hangers will help slacks hold their shape and decrease creases.  Garments can be covered with a cotton sheet to keep dust from collecting on your clothing.  You shouldn’t leave your clothing in the plastic coverings from the dry cleaners.

Environment

Humidity buildup can cause mildew, stains, and shrinking.  Containers should be kept in a dry area away from any dampness like found in basements. Heat, moisture, and sunlight are a wardrobes worst enemy when being stored.  Heat can degrade fabric, moisture can lead to mildew problems, and sunlight can fade clothing.  You should avoid basements and attics to store your winter clothes.

Airflow

While most people prefer to keep their winter garments in airtight containers to protect the clothing from bugs and dust, this can also be detrimental to the fabric.  If you have had problems in the past with winter clothing suddenly having stains after bringing them out of hibernation, it could be because of the lack of air circulation.

Clothing can be stored in cotton garment bags or even inside cotton pillowcases.  This allows the clothing to get airflow while still protecting the clothing from dust.  However, cotton covers may not prevent pests from taking up residence in your stored clothing.  Most importantly though, avoid using cardboard boxes to store your winter clothes.  Cardboard attracts pest especially mice and they absorb moisture from the environment.

If you choose to place mothballs in your winter clothing, remember that these are a pesticide.  Consider an alternative to mothballs whenever possible especially if you have children or pets in the home.