Whether you are spring cleaning to prepare your wardrobe for the upcoming hot summer months or switching out your sun hat for your winter parka, it’s essential to ensure your clothes are properly stored. If you don’t store your clothes correctly, your precious garments will be in danger of getting wrinkled or even ruined. Instead of taking such unnecessary risks, make sure you follow these garment tips before storing off-season clothes.
How to Store Off-Season Clothes
Is your closet working overtime to store clothes for every season? Does the term overflowing come to mind? Are hangers sticking out in odd directions? If so, you might want to consider storing your off-season clothes. Although it may seem simple, storing clothes is no walk in the park! In fact, storing clothes incorrectly could heavily damage your favorite garments, so make sure to follow our 9 easy tips:
- Clean Your Clothes Before Storing
- Get Rid of Old Clothes
- Store Your Clothes in a Climate-Controlled Area
- Don’t Vacuum Seal Everything
- Optimize Your Space to Store Your Clothes
- Prevent Moth Damage
- Repair Your Clothes Before Storing Them
- Be Careful with What You Hang
- Avoid Sunlight
1. Clean Your Clothes Before Storing
One of the first things you should do before storing your clothes for the new season is clean your clothes, especially if you have stains. Although you could clean your clothes in your home washer and dryer, you should consider dry cleaning since the temperature used in the dry cleaning process kills off nasty germs and bacteria. Insect larvae that are attracted to food stains in the clothes cause damage by eating fibers along with the food residue. Stains that are left in clothes for a long period of time may oxidize, making them even more difficult to remove. When you open up your clothes again the next year, you want them to smell good and be clean instead of sitting in a year’s worth of their stench.
2. Use Plastic Storage Containers
There are many different options when storing clothes, but some are better than others. One of the biggest concerns you will need to look out for when storing clothes is moisture content, as closed storage can trap moisture, risk developing mildew and yellowing. In addition, insects can eat through thinner materials like cardboard boxes and garbage bags, so packaging your clothing in a more sturdy bin is the wiser option.
3. Store Your Clothes in a Climate Controlled Area
It doesn’t matter if you are storing your prized possession of Converse sneakers or prepping winter coat storage, you should store your clothes in a climate-controlled space so that your clothes are protected from the elements. You want to store your clothes in an area with consistent, cool temperatures so that your clothes can stay as well preserved as possible.
Tip: Be careful not to store clothing anywhere that is damp because moisture can quickly destroy your clothing with mold and mildew growth. If you live in an area that has high humidity, it might be best to invest in a dehumidifier.
4. Don’t Vacuum Seal Everything
When some people store their clothing, in order to get the most out of their space, they opt to use a vacuum seal so that they can compress even the biggest comforter or the largest winter jacket. Although this sounds like a great idea to save storage space, you want to be careful with what you decide to vacuum seal. For instance, the natural fibers that are in some types of clothing can be impacted if you press them too tightly and they may never return to their previous shape. Avoid vacuum sealing the following clothing items:
- Winter coats
- Down jackets
- Sleeping bags
- Wool, cashmere, or silk items
5. Optimize Your Space to Store Your Clothes
There is always a need for more storage space, right? Depending on where you live, you might not have the luxury of having a garage, an attic, or even a walk-in closet, therefore, your closet can become overflowing and unorganized. For that reason, you will want to optimize your space and figure out the best place to store your clothes so that they are out of the way but still safe. You can try to free up space in your closet by storing clothes in a dresser, under the bed in storage containers, or even in your laundry room.
Another way to optimize your storage space is to go through your closet every 2-3 months and throw away or donate the clothes that you are not wearing anymore. Not only do clothes go out of style, but if you decide to keep that one t-shirt that you thought you would wear but never have, it will just take up space in your closet. Make ‘keep’ ‘donate’ and ‘toss’ piles of your clothing as you prepare them for storage.
6. Prevent Moth Damage
Cedar has been the go-to for years to keep those pesky moths from eating sweaters and other wool items. Cedarwood produces oil that contains the chemical compound Cedrus atlantica which repels moths and other insects. However, it’s important to note that these oils don’t last over time and an older cedar chest will not have as much oil as a newer one. If you do have an older cedar chest, you can purchase more oil to apply.
Mothballs are another option for you to repel insects and prevent them from piercing holes in your clothes although aren’t guaranteed, and you should be careful when using them. Because mothballs are a pesticide, they contain toxic ingredients that can be hazardous. So if you do use mothballs, make sure they are in an airtight container and out of reach of your pets and children.
7. Repair Your Clothes Before Storing Them
Another important tip for storing clothes is to prepare your clothes before you store them. Even though it may be tempting to throw in your shorts with the broken button into storage and forget about them until the next season, failing to prepare your clothes before you store them only results in disappointment next year. Make sure you patch up any holes, sew on missing buttons, and replace any broken zippers as they can become worse over time, damaging the garments even further.
8. Be Careful with What You Hang
Contrary to popular belief, you actually do not want to hang every piece of your clothing. If you hang your more delicate materials such as knits, silks, and synthetics, they can lose their shape over time, stretch out the fabric, and even destroy the stitches. Instead, make sure you carefully fold your favorite sweaters and cardigans before you store them for the off-season. If you still want to hang these items, ensure you avoid wire hangers and only use padded or wooden hangers that offer more support.
9. Avoid Sunlight
When you store your clothing, you want to make sure your clothes are stored in a dark area. This is because some clothing is susceptible to light damage and the colors can fade if they are left in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Although this will not be a problem for most people, it is something that you should think about while you are preparing to store your off-season clothes.
Make the ZIPS Switch
In prepping your clothes for storage, make sure they get a proper clean before putting them away. Regardless of if you need your dresses, suits, blouses, or even your khakis, stop by one of ZIPS’ many locations today.